Ten Tips To Consider When Brewing Beer From Home

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Ten Helpful Tips To Consider When Brewing Beer From Home

posted on March 18, 2009 in beer

For more tips like this go to the source for this article:
http://www.easybrewing.info by Robert Ragsdale

1.Use High Quality, Fresh Ingredients - Fresh ingredients make better
homebrew. If you started with dry yeast, move up to liquid yeast. If
you are an extract brewer, look for fresh extract rather than a can
that is several years old. Store liquid yeast in the refrigerator,
grains in a cool dry place, and hops in the freezer. Hops, dry malt,
yeast, liquid malt and crushed grains all have a limited shelf life
and must be used quickly. Crushed grains, dry malt and liquid malt
will oxidize over time.

2.Do your Homework - Designing great beer is one part science and one
part art. Why guess on the science part? Switching to brewing software
like BeerSmith can make a difference in your brewing as it gives you
the opportunity to calculate the color, bitterness and original
gravity up front to match your brewing style. As I brewed more, I
started reading top brewing books, engaging in discussion forums and
browsing the internet for brewing resources. All of these sources,
combined with experience and experimentation dramatically impacted my
brewing style and consistency in a search for brewing perfection.

3.Keep It Sterile - Anything that touches your beer after it has
started cooling must be sanitized using any of the popular sanitizing
solutions (bleach, iodophor, etc). The period immediately after you
cool your beer is particularly critical as bacteria and other
infections are most likely to take hold before the yeast has started
fermentation.

4.Cool the Wort Quickly - Cooling your beer quickly will increase the
fallout of proteins and tannins that are bad for your beer and will
also reduce the chance of infection. An immersion wort chiller is a
relatively inexpensive investment that will improve the clarity and
quality of your beer. Cooling is particularly important for full batch
boils.

5.Boil for 60-90 Minutes - Boiling your wort performs several
important functions. It sterilizes your wort, vaporizes many
undesirable compounds, releases bittering oils from the hops and
coagulates proteins and tannins from the grains so they can fall out
during cooling. To achieve all of these noble goals you need to boil
for at least 60 minutes, and for lighter styles of beers a longer boil
of 90 minutes is desirable.

6.Control Fermentation Temperature - Though few brewers have dedicated
fermentation refrigerators, there are simple methods you can use to
maintain a constant temperature for ales during fermentation. The best
technique I’ve seen is to pick a cool, dry area in your home and then
wrap the fermentor in wet towels and place a fan in front of it. Wet
the towels every 12 hours or so, and you should get a steady
fermentation temperature in the 66-68F range. Most brewing shops sell
stick-on thermometers that can be attached to your fermentation vessel
to monitor the temperature.

7.Switch to a Full Batch Boil - Boiling all of your wort will benefit
to your beer. If you are only boiling 2-3 gallons of a 5 gallon batch,
then you are not getting the full benefits of a 60-90 minute boil. The
purchase of a 7-12 gallon brew pot and (highly recommended) outdoor
propane burner (which will make the spouse happy as you now brew
outside) are great intermediate steps for moving to all-grain brewing
and the full boils will improve your beer.

8.Use Glass Fermenters - Glass carboys (or stainless) fermenters offer
significant advantages over the typical plastic bucket. First they are
much easier to clean and sterilize. Second, glass (or stainless)
provides a 100% oxygen barrier, where plastic buckets are porous and
can leak oxygen if stored for long periods. Third, plastic fermenters
often have very poor seals around the top of the bucket and can leak
in both directions making it difficult to determine when fermentation
has actually completed. A 5 gallon glass carboy will do the job
better, and is available at a very reasonable price from most stores.

9.Make a Yeast Starter - While pitching directly from a tube or packet
of liquid yeast is OK, your beer will ferment better if you make a
yeast starter first. Boil up a small amount of dried malt extract in a
quart of water with 1/4 oz of yeast. Cool it well and then pitch your
yeast into it 2-3 days before you brew. Install some foil or an
airlock over it and place it in a cool dark location. When brew day
comes, pitching your starter will result in a quicker start and less
risk of infection or off flavors.

10.Make Long Term Purchases - You may have started brewing with an off-
the-shelf kit, but if you enjoy brewing then you are best off making
long term purchases rather than a series of short term purchases. For
example, early on I bought a 3 gallon pot, then a 5 gallon pot, then
an 8 gallon enamel pot and finally a 9 gallon stainless. It would have
been much cheaper to jump to the 9 gallon stainless after the 3 gallon
pot. Similarly I’ve had several sizes of immersion chillers, finally
settling on a two stage 3/8″ diameter copper coil. If you instead make
long term purchases (a good pot, a good chiller, glass carboys, a nice
mash tun/cooler) you will save a lot of money in the long run.

For more tips like this go to the source for this article:
http://www.easybrewing.info by Robert Ragsdale

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