7 easy tricks to make brewing beer a breeze
Here’s a selection of random tips for the experienced and not so experienced beer brewer. Some of these tips will suit your beer making style, some will not.
Some are nice to haves, some are things that even the most harden veteran must do (STERILIZATION!) and do every time they brew.
The beauty about making beer is that there are many ways to do things, but given that beer has been brewed for over 6000 years, the process of brewing beer is well trodden and any short cuts will lead you off the path of quality beer making.
Stick to your brewing instructions and recipes whilst bearing these hints and tricks in mind.
Get the bigger kettle or pot, in the long run you’ll save money
For many first homebrewers the purchase is a starter equipment kit. Once they have that, all they need is a brew kettle or pot and ingredients. So they get the cheap, smaller size kettle – and then suddenly they find they want to keep going with beer making and so need to purchase the bigger kettle or brewing pot.
If you have in inkling you are going to do a bit of brewing, get the 5 or 8 gallon size unit, save the smaller ones for making jam! Big is better for most of your brewing equipment needs.
O is for Oxygen, get that element away from your beer
Once your beer is ready to have the yeast pitched in, this is the last chance for oxygen to be exposed to the beer. Once the yeast is in, the fermenter needs to be properly sealed.
The presence of excess oxygen can result in poor smelling beer.
Allowing the fermenting beer to be exposed to oxygen can allow beer spoiling bugs and organisms such acetobactor to sour your beer by using the oxygen to ferment the alcohol into acetic acid – commonly known as vinegar. Keep your fermenter well sealed!
Same goes for bottling – try to avoid getting too many bubbles in the bottle as your pour.
It’s cool to cool your wort
Cool the Wort quickly.
Doing this will increase the fallout of proteins and tannins that are bad for the beer.
It may also reduce the chance of infection occuring. Some brewers use immersion wort chillers as a relatively inexpensive investment that will improve the clarity and quality of your beer.
If doing a full batch boil, there’s not much choose, the wort should be cooled for maximum effect.
You may wish to consider investing in a wort chiller.
It’s not clean until its ALL clean
When we say clean we actually mean clean AND sterilized. Sterilize the heck out of everything you use. If you're starting out as a home brewer, your 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.
You'd do best to brew an ale than a lager
The truth is that the darker the beer, the more forgiving it will be in the home brewing process.
It's very easy to make a mistake with your first home brew so a beer style that's good to drink and is also easy to take care of is the brew you are after.
While you should feel free to start with a lager, and yes, many starter beer kits do come with lagers, bear in mind that lagers need to be cooled rather more quickly than an ale and they also require a bit more yeast in the fermentation process.
Use fresh beer making ingredients – it’s not a fancy suggestion at all
The importance of brewing with fresh ingredients cannot be overstated. The quality of home brewed beer can only be as good as the quality of the ingredients going into the brew kettle.
If you use old stock, you run the risk of your beer tasting like old socks. Pretty simple. This is especially true of the yeast that you use (it may lose it’s potency if too old) and hops.
Don’t listen to all the hacks that might be writing about beer (?)
Worrying obsessively about every little thing you read on the internet will not help your beer taste any better. Find a beer brewing guide you are happy with and just get on with it!