5 mistakes EVERY beer maker should watch out for
Beer brewing can be a thankless task at times and no one will thank you if you serve them a horrible tasting home brew when you host your mates for a 'BBQ and Brews' evening.
Here's 5 mistakes that home brewers should bear in mind before they even begin to open the can of malt extract from their kit.
If you follow them well, you'll be sure to produce some delicious tasting brews.
1. Wash, wash away your sins.
We actually mean santise. Sanitise the heck out of everything you use. If you're starting out as a home brewer, your equipment and kit should contain a cleansing and sterilizing agent.
You NEED to make sure that at the very least your drum is fully clean and sterilized before your start your brewery process.
There is nothing more disappointing that going to bottle your brew and recognizing the scent of a bad brew that has been contaminated by nasty bugs.
It would be a mistake to think that home brewing is basically a 'set and forget' process.
Well, it can be and a key part of that is making sure that where ever you leave your beer to ferment that it's a place that has the desired temperature and that it is a constant temperature.
Don't leave your beer outside on the back porch to do it's thing! Too muhc heat will kill the yeast. Too much cold and it will go dormant. Leave it wrapped in blankets in your garden shed if you have to, but make sure it's in a generally constantly heated place.
My work colleague leaves her beer brewing in the bath tub!
3. Those bubbles...
Just because the bubbles have stopped bubbling through the airlock, it doesn't mean the fermentation process is complete.
It would be a real shame for your bottled beer to start exploding if you haven't given the beer a chance to finish the process.
Use a hydrometer to ensure the fermentation is finished before you at least consider getting that beer into glass bottles.
Hint, more experienced brewers tend to let the batch sit in the fermenter for at least a week longer than normally recommended on beer kit cans or after fermentation is complete. In the sense that the yeast has stopped feasting on the sugars and making alcohol, fermentation has finished however there's a 'tidy up' phase where sediment falls to the bottom of the fermenter which helps clear the beer.
3. Running before you can walk
Get the basics of beer brewing down first.
Before you run off and try and make the most fanciest beer you can that features some imported yeast from England and three different kinds of hops, learn the principles of beer making.
You will enjoy your first few brewing experiences if you keep them simple. Then you can start to branch out into more complicated recipes and practices.
4. Not keeping records
If you write down what you did, what you used, when you did it and why you'll have a good basis on which to make judgement about your beer brewing failures and successes.
If you find that you've pulled off a stunner of a beer, you might be able to figure out just exactly how that happened.
It could be the difference between remembering that you used a certain kind of hops in your brew!
5. You drink your beer too early
Patience my young Padawan.
It is a mistake for sure to drink your beer too early.
Post bottling, your beer needs time to carbonate. It also needs time to chill and do its thing. The fermentation process is in a sense a simple chemical reaction but there is a complex relationship going on with the beer's ingredients that need time to sort themselves out.
The patient beer drinker who leaves his beer at least three weeks before indulging will be a better beer maker for it. If you can make it to 5 or 6 weeks before you taste, the better your beer should taste.
Image credit Bruno Girin as per Creative Commons Licence