Using Campden tablets to clean water and sanitise brewing equipment

Saturday, September 23, 2023

Using Campden tablets as an 'old school' method of making better-tasting beer

These tablets can be used to remove added chlorine from your water, kill bacteria on brewing equipment, and protect your beer by preventing unwanted foreign bacteria from fermenting in your beer.

So what is this, some kind of super pill?

Campden tablets are basically potassium metabisulfite or sodium metabisulfite. When added to the beer or even cider or wine, they instantly react with the chlorine (or chloramine), removing it from the water solution. 

All this is done without adding any unwanted flavours to your water or beer.

campden tablets for beer

How many Campden tablets should I use?

  • If used for sterilization of equipment, use 16 tablets to one gallon
  • If removing chlorine from water, half a tablet to 5 or 6 gallons will break it down in less than 10 minutes.
  • If stabilizing apple juice when making cider to kill off wild yeast, deploy one crushed tablet per gallon of juice. You should wait for approximately 24 hours before you pitch your yeast.
  • If trying to stave off an infection in cider or wine, then 1 or 2 smashed up tablets dissolved in your product, rack if you need. You will then probably want to bottle your cider asap and hope the tablets can overtake the infection. This trick may or may not work. 

Are Campden tablets safe to use? What about the release of sulphur dioxide?

Yes, the tablets break down into very drinkable compounds - remember this product has been used for many years, and if it did cause any harm, it wouldn't be such a successful product.

You may have heard that sulphur dioxide is released into the water. This is very true, however, when it reacts with the chlorine and chloramine it quickly breaks down. By the time your beer is to be drunk, the concentration in terms of parts per million is massively diminished.

So your beer is safe as houses to drink.

This is quite similar to how homebrewing doesn't make methanol.

When to use Campden tablets for making cider

Producers of cider know full well that a batch of juiced apples can easily succumb to acetobacter bacteria contamination which causes the classic turn-to-vinegar spoilage of the apples.

Yeast is resistant to the tablets but the acetobacter is easily killed off, hence treatment with an agent like a Campden tablet is important in cider production.

Why are campden tablets used with wine?

In addition to preventing stray bacteria from taking hold of homemade wine, Campden tablets can also be utilised as an anti-oxidizing agent when transferring wine between containers. The sodium metabisulfite in the Campden tablets will trap oxygen that enters the wine, preventing it from doing any harm.

Do Camden tablets halt fermentation?

It is a fairly common misconception that Campden tablets can be used to halt the fermenting process in wine or beer before all the sugar is converted by the yeast, hence controlling the amount of residual sweetness in the final product.

It is simply not true though.

To truly completely stop fermentation, you'd need too many Campden tablets to do so, which would then actually make your produce undrinkable. 

Where do Campden tablets get their name from?

The original solution was developed in the 1920s by the Fruit and Vegetable Preserving Research Station which came from the English town of 'Chipping Campden'. 

The Boots UK pharmacy chain then made the product popular when they developed it as a tablet. 

Do I have to use these tablets, are they necessary for brewing?

No, the use of Campden tablets is totally your choice as a brewer. If you live in an area where the municipal water supply is not heavily dosed with chlorine, then you might not need to.

Brewers in Havelock North, New Zealand will sure tell you how bad the chlorine is in the water after the local Council managed to poison so many residents, so in such regions, you would seriously want to consider using them. Indeed, you can always do home DIY water testing with a kit. Or, just forget all of this and check out the very best Star Wars quotes by Darth Vader.

There are other means of removing chlorine and chloramine in the form of active carbon filters. In the context of a home or residence, these units are generally only good for producing tap water. If you need larger volumes of water for brewing with, a carbon filter will take a fair bit of time to filter your water. 

Patience is a virtue, they say. 

If you are using Campden tablets for sanitizing your brewing equipment or wooden barrels that you age your beer in, there are many other options out there, including sodium percarbonate (it's cheap as chips) or something more professional like Powdered Brewery Wash

Fun fact: Campden tablets are also useful in decontamination and neutralization after exposure to tear gas!

What is the best homebrew sanitizer?

Wednesday, September 13, 2023
best products for santization

Chances are you found this page because you are looking for the best sanitiser to use with your homebrewing.

Smart move, brewer.

You know why right?

You know because every decent beer maker knows that to make a good beer you need to have all your equipment and bottles sanitized so that your brew is not spoiled by nasty bacteria.

Have you ever had a batch ruined by a lack of proper cleaning or sanitization?

So then, let’s cut to the chase.

Here’s a list of what are the best sanitizers to use when making beer or even cider or wine.

Choose what you want but no whining about ruined beer if you don’t properly prepare your gear before you make that wort!

Star San - the best comes first

Product DetailsIf you want to use a product that will destroy all the microorganisms that could screw up your beer, then Star San is the sanitizer for you.

It's described formally by the manufacturer as "a self-foaming acid sanitizer ideal for brewing, dairy and other food and beverage equipment."

It is an extremely effective bactericide and fungicide and is not affected by excessive organic soils. Star San also reduces water spotting and can be used without rinsing under the proper concentrations. STAR SAN is a blend of phosphoric acid and dodecylbenzenesulfonic acid."

So as bonus then, when using Star San there is no need to rinse it from your beer bottles or the carboy when can be pretty handy when all you wanna do is make beer!

One can use Star San as a spray on or for soaking gear and beer bottles. Used at a ration of one ounce to 5 gallons of water it will do a damn fine job of keeping those bacteria at bay.

It is probably the most well known and well recommended sanitizing product known for home brewers.

This bloke said of his use of it in his Amazon review:

"This works great and is very easy to use. I just followed the directions on the bottle and had no issues. I like that it doesn't have to be completely rinsed just allowed to dry."

The only down side is that the manufacturer knows this and you can be charged an arm and a leg for it!


iodophur for home brewing cleaning
Iodophor is another popular sanitiser adopted by the beer brewing community. Iodophor has been traditionally used by the food service industry and medical industry to sanitize equipment but it works just fine on your brewing gear.

Iodophor is a three-things-in-one iodine product. It's a detergent, germicide and sanitizer.

The solution takes approximately 10 minutes to sanitize your equipment and like Star San, it's a no rinse product when used at the recommended concentration.

This Amazon review is telling:

"I had been using bleach to sterilize my stuff but too often had bleach aftertaste in my beer. Since moving to BTF Iodophor, my batches taste great and have the hoppy aftertaste I want and not a mix of hops and bleach."

It is a good idea to keep it away from your clothes because it will stain them. So wear old clothes when preparing your solution and be careful!

That said it is odorless, tasteless, and easy on your hands.

Powdered Brewery Wash known to many as PBW

This cleaning product was originally used widely used in commercial breweries (hence the name) but over time countless home brewers across the country have cottoned on to how they can use it for sanitizing their brewing equipment

It's one of the most commonly used sanitizers and for good reason as it works!

Go onto any beer brewing forum and you will find seasoned beer makers raving about this product.

Go on, Google it now and you'll quickly find we are not exaggerating about how good this cleaning product is. If you are looking for some guidance about how to clean your brewing equipment, they will probably say use this powdered wash.

PBW is also pretty handy for removing beer labels from bottles and so is alkaline brewing wash.

Make your own substitute PBW with basic ingredients

You can also make your own version of PBW as a substitute using ordinary home products.

Basically what you do is combine a home brand like TideOxiclean, or Napisan with a product that has metasilicate as an ingredient - we've found that many home DIY brewers use a cleaner called Red Devil TSP/90 to fill that part of the equation. Mix them together in 70 / 30 ratio in favour of the laundry soak and you've become a home DIY sanistizer!

Now this last one is a perhaps a bit of a surprise however, it's tried and true for many home brewings.

Are y'all ready for this?

Laundry soakers as sanitizer

That's right, it's probably already sitting on your laundry shelf.

Here's a handy trick, this chemical is basically what you might know as Tide or Napisan or any product with a brand name that tries to use the word 'oxy' as in oxygen cleaning or oxidization agent.

That's right, most of the fancy laundry soaking products have sodium percarbonate as a key ingredient!

Chances are you already have some in your home laundry so feel free to use that.

I have done so several times with no problems whatsoever!


When I was a young lad I used to work as a cleaner in a butchery. Once of my jobs was to clean the bin which housed all the meat scraps and bone that could not be made into mince or whatever.

That bin sat outside all week until Thursdays when it was emptied and then it was my job to clean it.

Because you know, maggots.

So I would prepare a bleach solution to clean it out, kill the maggots and most importantly get rid of that smell that was created when the hot sun beat down on that damn bin all week.

One week I managed to accidentally kick the bucket of bleach solution over and it went all over one of my brown boots.

No big drama right?

No drama until I looked down a short while later and my boot had turned mostly orange.

And that's when I learned truly the power of bleach!

But brewers have known for much longer that bleach can be used to clean home brewing equipment.

It's pretty cheap, readily available at supermarkets and it does the job of clean bugs and bacteria in its path.

All you need to do when using bleach is to make up a solution with the ration of 1 tablespoon of bleach to 1 gallon of water ( or 4 mls per liter). You then need to soak for about 20 minutes and the santization should be done.

The thing about bleach though is that it can have a bit of a strong pungent smell. While at the suggest use ratio, you probably don't need to rinse it off your gear, we strongly recommend that you do.

Given that Star San is pretty much good to go after less than a minute of contact, we suggest that if you can afford it, you use that and don't muck around with bleach.

It might stop up from changing your shoe color too!


There are other options out there too - caustic soda, using boiling water, cooking in an oven and using an autoclave etc.

So there you have, there's plenty of choices out there for the best homebrewing sanitizer. To our mind, it comes down to three areas of choice:
  • The more you spend, the better the quality and ease of use - so it's clear then that PBW and Star San are the best bets there 
  • If you are looking for a mid range price, try a product with sodium percarbonate 
  • If you want cheap and cheerful with a longer sanitization time, you'd go with a standard bleach. 

In the end, all roads lead to Rome! Clean clean clean!!

How to brew ginger beer

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

A guide to brewing alcoholic ginger beer

Despite what many recipe sites on the internet may claim, there is a significant difference between ginger ale and ginger beer. While ginger ale is simply carbonated water flavored with ginger, ginger beer is a more complex, fermented drink made from ginger spice, yeast, and sugar.

One key distinction between the two is that ginger ale is not brewed, whereas ginger beer undergoes a fermentation process similar to that of beer. This results in an alcoholic beverage that boasts a unique flavor profile.

If you're interested in making your own ginger beer, the process is relatively simple. You'll need to ferment a mixture of water, brewer's or baker's yeast, ginger, and sugar for a week or longer, adding sugar daily to increase the alcohol content. Once the mixture is concentrated, it should be strained, diluted with water and lemon juice, and then bottled.

how to brew alcoholic ginger beer

How to make alcoholic ginger beer

Here's a stock standard recipe:
  • 2kg ginger
  • 1 kg brown sugar
  • 1/2 kg castor sugar
  • 2 limes
  • 1 orange
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • Use an 'ale' style yeast

This DIY recipe will make 5 gallons of hard ginger beer - simply add the ingredients to your water (which is in a clean, sanitized vessel, a standard beer brewing fermenter or carboy is fine!).

You'll want to shred the ginger in a food processor and then juice your lemon and limes if you're adding them.

Feed the brew a little sugar twice a for three days to feed the brew and allow the yeast something to feed on. The more you do this, the higher the ABV your brew will be.

If you want to 'brew' your ginger beer in a more traditional beer-making sense:

You need to bring your ginger to the boil in a boiling kettle - add the ginger and sugar when the 5 gallons of water is boiling. You can put the ginger in a mesh bag if you like - this will mean fewer bits of it in your final product, making for a clear poor.

Boil your ginger wort for about 60 minutes, watching to ensure you don't get a boil-over (this is less likely than with a grain boil, however).

While you're doing the boil, take the time to sanitize your carboy or fermenting drum. I like to use sodium percarbonate, it's cheap and does the job well. Many brewers will use tried and true Star San.

If you are serious about ginger beer clarity, then add some Whirfloc tablets (Irish moss) into your wort just before the end of the boil. Don't add it early or the effectiveness of the Whirlfloc will be reduced.

If you have the equipment, it's time to cool your wort using a counterflow or an immersion coil - this is good for the beer how, if you don't you can simply transfer your wort to your fermenter and let it cool naturally to room temperature.

When your wort is at a room temperature, you can pitch your yeast. It is important that your ginger wort is cool as a hot boiling wort will kill the yeast, meaning fermentation will not occur.

You can then let the ginger beer ferment for at least a week. If you are keen, take readings with a hydrometer so you can work out the final gravity and thus ABV of your ginger beer.

After that week, you can bottle but as with making beer, we'd let it sit for a bit longer to let the yeast do its thing. This increases the chances of any odd off-tastes lingering in your ginger beer.

Before you bottle, you may wish to sweeten your ginger beer. If you do not, it's quite likely that it will be extremely dry, making for a tough drinking experience.

root ginger

If you want to bottle and cap for the long term, pasteurize your ginger beer

Many a brewer has learned the hard way about over carbonation of bottled beer - gushers and exploding glass bottles. The same can happen when brewing ginger beer - so many brewers will use plastic bottles with loosely tightened tops to ensure gas release or tin foil over the top. 

But if you want to bottle and cap for a long term storage solution.

Once you've done your boil up of the ingredients, pitched your yeast, bottle & cap and let it brew for 2-3 days.

If you let your ginger brew continue to ferment longer than that, you're probably going to get some exploding glass bottles.

So, you need to kill the fermentation process.

Bring a large pot of water to 180F, turn the heat OFF, and add your bottles to the hot bath. Make sure your water level is high enough that it will reach the top of your ginger beer level inside the bottles.

What you are doing is pasteurizing your ginger beer. Let the bottles stand in the hot water for at least 10 - 15 minutes. Remove from the bath and let cool.

Your brew is now pasteurized and 'shelf-stable', meaning you can store it without fear of exploding bottles.  

Your beer will probably have a minimum alcohol content given it fermented to only three days.

If you are really worried about exploding ginger beer, you can condition in plastic bottles, you can also use campden tablets to halt the fermentation process. This does mean your beer will be quite flat as no secondary carbonation will occur in the bottle.  

What yeasts can you use to brew ginger beer?

To make ginger beer you can use brewing yeast or baker's yeast. That said, many homebrewers tend to use the well respected 'Safale US-05', ale yeasts or champagne yeast.

How to make a ginger bug

  • Add 20 grams of grated ginger (leave the skin on) and 30 grams of granulated sugar to a mason jar. Add 300ml of water, and place a cheesecloth on the lid. Store in a place where it will not get disturbed.
  • Over the next 2-4 days (until you see yeast activity in the form of bubbles), keep adding the same amount of grated ginger and sugar. Stir with a clean item to mix up.

Fun facts about ginger beer

  • Used in cocktails like Dark 'n Stormy and the Moscow Mule
  • Brewed ginger beer originated in the Yorkshire region of the UK during the Victorian Era
  • The ginger plant is sometimes known as "bees wine"
  • Ginger beer can be traced back to the 18th century, when it was first brewed in England as a non-alcoholic alternative to beer.

  • In addition to its use in cocktails, ginger beer is also commonly used as a mixer for non-alcoholic drinks such as ginger ale and lemonade.

  • Ginger beer has a long history of medicinal use, with claims that it can help with digestion, nausea, and even alleviate menstrual pain.

  • During the prohibition era in the United States, ginger beer was used as a mixer in "mocktails" as a substitute for alcoholic drinks.

  • In Australia, ginger beer is often enjoyed during the summer months and is commonly served over ice with a slice of lime.

  • In Jamaica, ginger beer is often made with added spices such as allspice and nutmeg, and is traditionally consumed during Christmas time.

  • Ginger beer can be brewed using either fresh ginger root or ginger extract, and can be made to varying levels of sweetness and spiciness.

  • Ginger beer is sometimes used as a base for non-alcoholic fermented drinks such as water kefir and kombucha.

Other interesting brews you can make are 'prison hooch', hard seltzer with a kit and of course the classic apple, brew, cider. 

⇒ How to use carbonation drops for brewing beer and cider

Using carbonation drops for secondary fermentation in beer brewing

A common way to bottle beer or cider is to add sugar to each bottle individually using a spoon or by batch priming.

That can be messy or take a bit of time.

For faster bottling times, many brewers use carbonation drops to make bottling quick and error-free.

Once the beers have been sealed with a drop safely inside, the process of secondary fermentation begins as the yeast eats the sugar in the carbonation drops.

Too easy!

You may have heard of Coopers Carbonation Drops?

using carbonation drops for beer

They are pretty well known and are they are a reliable brand. Mangrove Jacks drops are also pretty popular.

What are the ingredients of carbonation drops?


That's it, sucrose is the only ingredient.

So there is no difference between a carbonation drop and sugar.

The reason for using them is simply for ease of use.

You can try other alternative methods of adding sugar to the beer - such as 'priming' the whole batch of beer or by adding sugar to each bottle using a funnel or spoon.

That can be a bit messy though!

So, you should use carbonation drops if you want an easy bottling process and wish to save some time and keep things nice and clean.

Using drops also allows you to ensure that each bottle is given the same sugar dosage - this will allow for a consistent brew and also will help prevent 'gushers' from occurring (more on avoiding beer gushers later on).

Because the drops are just simple sugar and used at low volumes, they leave no 'off-tastes' in your beer. 

So how do you use carbonation drops? 

It's actually probably the easiest part of making beer!

Once you have added the beer to your sanitized bottles, all you need to do is literally drop a carbonation drop into the bottle.

Instantly, you are done. Easiest instructions you will follow all week!

You then cap the bottle so that carbonation can commence and the CO2 becomes trapped in the bottle.

You might now be thinking:

How many carbonation drops do I add to each bottle? 

It depends on how big the bottles are. 

It's not an exact piece of maths but here are the standard practices:
  • 1 drop for a beer bottle that is around 350 to 375 mls or 12 OZ. Even 500 mls will cover you
  • 2 drops for a 750 mls bottle (your standard crate size bottle) or 25 OZ but you are probably pushing the limits.
  • If you're doing anything bigger like a litre, you may wish to consider 2 and a half drops or possibly 3 but you're risking over sugaring your beer and this may cause beer gushers.
  • Another rough rule of thumb is one drop for one pint which is possibly on the light side if an Imperial pint equals 540 mls but prob OK for an American pint of 473 mls.
Once you have added the drops, give them a chance to dissolve. When they've had long enough after capping, give the bottle a firm shake to ensure each drop has dissolved completely.

Actually, you really shouldn't have any problems with drops dissolving so you can feel free to skip this step.

If you have added sugar using a spoon or funnel, you should definitely shake the bottle so any sugar stuck inside the bottleneck gets into the beer.

Do I need to sterilize carbonation drops?

No, you do not need to take such a step.

If you take the drops straight from a freshly opened packet and use clean hands, you should be absolutely fine.

No one ever sterilizes their sugar when brewing so we don't see any reason to do this. 

Not sure how you would either, maybe dissolve them in boiling water? ... and if so you may as well just use ordinary sugar.

The reality is I have a bag of sugar that I keep in my brewing shed. It's in a plastic container but it's manky - I've never had any issues with using sugar that's not sterilsied. You just don't need to do it. 

Do different beer styles affect my use of drops?

Ales generally need less sugar than lagers however we really don't think you should worry too much about it when you are at a beginner stage of home brewing.

When you are more experienced and understand what sugar content suits your beer, you'll probably want to think about batch priming more so you can be more targeted with your sugar content.

Though to stay on target, do not over carbonate - using one drop per bottle is a good way to avoid this issue. Why waste your brewing efforts by spilling beer?

How long do carbonation drops take to work / carbonate?

The same amount of time as simply adding sugar does!

Basically, carbonation will take place fairly quickly, a matter of days.

A good length of time is then needed to let your beer condition properly and we recommend an absolute minimum of 2 weeks for that (we won't begrudge you a taste tester one though eh?).

At three weeks your beer should be beginning to become quite drinkable, but as usual, we suggest you wait till that fifth week if you can be so patient.

A wee bit of advice, when you do you first taste, lower your expectations and secondly, make sure you have chilled your bottle in a fridge over night. The lower temperature can reduce excessive fizz when you open the bottle. 

Don't believe me? Open a warm brew that's had a little too much sugar added...

Can I use carbonation tablets instead of drops? 

carbonation tablets
You can also use 'carbonation tablets' or (conditioning tablets) for bottling which is a different way to carbonation glory.

The tablets usually contain tablets contain dextrose, dry malt extract and heading powder which is clearly different from using sugar for fermentation.

Carbonation tablets work in the same way as sugar in that the more you use, the more carbonation occurs.

In that sense, they are an equivalent alternative product but given the ingredients, they will add more flavour and body to your beer.

This is important to keep in mind as some beers are better with more bubbles (lager) and others are more enjoyable to drink when they have less (heavy ales, bocks etc). The usage is 3, 4 or 5 tablets per 12 ounce bottle (350 mls) for low, medium or high carbonation.

Popular brands are Muntons' 'Carbtabs' and Brewer's Best Conditioning Tablets.

Remember that after carbonating your beer, it's essential that you store the bottles properly so that optimal conditioning can occur.

Is priming sugar the same as brewing sugar?

Yes, they are! Priming sugar and corn sugar are both simply dextrose.

Tips and tricks for when using carbonation drops:

  • You can use drops to carbonate apple cider. The measurements are the same. Just as with beer, be wary of over carbonating the cider. 
  • Once you have added the drops and bottled the beer, it will take about 7 days to condition. This is the bare minimum before which you can drink your beer. The patient beer brewer should wait about 3 weeks before sampling their brew. Leaving your beer in a dark, cool place will help too.
  • Beware of over priming your beer. If you add too much sugar, too much CO2 will be produced by the yeast and it will have nowhere to escape. It will escape in the form of a 'gusher' when you open your beer and it will gush out the next of the bottle like a geyser and go bloody everywhere - and ruin that beer experience you were about to enjoy!
  • Different temperatures will affect the carbonation process as well (the yeast generally enjoys a warmer temperature) - so if you are questioning whether the drops didn't produce enough CO2, bear in mind there are other factors at play.
  • If you do choose to not use drops and just wish to add granulated sugar to the bottle, we recommend the use of an ordinary kitchen funnel as it speeds things up and helps reduce the mess of sugar going everywhere. Get your measurements correct! You can always try to batch prime - we find this method quite effective.
  • We once tried using jelly beans as a substitute for carbonation drops. The results were quite interesting! Basically, you can use any form of sugar lollies for carbonating beer - as long as it fits down the neck of the beer bottle you'll be right! Flavours may vary though...
  • We've used Mangrove Jack's drops many times and had no problems so are very happy to recommend their use.
  • 60 carbonation drops, will be enough drops for one 23 litre brew (i.e. up to that 'line' on a plastic drum.
  • You can use carbonation drops with your ginger beer as well! And though we've never tried it, maybe your hard seltzer. 
  • If you are buying drops online, say Coopers Drops from Amazon, we suggest you order at least a couple of packets - that way the cost of delivery becomes more effective by price per unit.
  • You can use Soda Stream machine device to carbonate your beer. Just be careful how you go about it. 

What is the science behind carbonation drops for secondary fermentation?

The science behind carbonation drops is based on the concept of priming sugar. During secondary fermentation, yeast consumes the sugar added to the beer, producing carbon dioxide (CO2) as a byproduct. This carbon dioxide is then dissolved in the beer, creating carbonation.

The science behind carbonation drops is relatively simple. Each pellet contains a precise amount of sugar that is carefully calibrated to produce a specific level of carbonation. As the yeast consumes the sugar, it produces a known amount of carbon dioxide, which is then dissolved in the beer. 

The result is a beer that is carbonated to a specific level, which can be adjusted by varying the amount of sugar added.

How to use a Soda Stream to carbonate flat beer

Can you use a Soda Stream to carbonate beer?

The short answer is yes. 

The slightly longer answer is yes but it's gonna get messy if you force carbonate homebrew beer without following the advice below. 

how to carbonate beer with a soda maker

Here's how to safely and cleanly use a Soda Stream machine to carbonate flat beer

Soda Stream machines are a classic piece of kitchen equipment. If there was one thing I was envious of my mate Molyneux as a kid, it was his soda machine. After school, we'd head to his house, eat mountains of hot toast and butter and wash it down with homemade red fizzy. 

Or lemoade.

It was the best. 

But now I'm an adult and I've cracked open a home brew expecting to hear that wonderous sounding FITZZZ of CO2 escaping from my beer ... and nothing. 

The sound of silence. 

And defeat. 

Or am I defeated? 

A trick to fix/fizz a flat beer is to add a fresh beer to it! It's a handy rescue to be able to open a can of beer and pour into the flat beer. 

But what if I don't have a spare beer?

The soda stream machine is starting to look pretty good eh? 

So? Shall I pour my flat beer into a Soda Stream bottle, synch it with the machine and press the bubble maker? 

Only if you are a very brave brewer. 

One simply doesn't stuff the gas into the bottle at an explosive rate. Soda is generally carbonated to at least twice the pressure of beer so do this can be a risky little game.

Otherwise, this will happen:

beer carbonation explosion

With that in mind, you may want to do your initial testing outside. Ideally, before you begin these steps your flat beer will be as chilled as possible. 

1. Transfer the flat beer into a genuine Soda Steam bottle. You do not have to have it filled to the line on the bottle - a single bottle of beer will mix with the CO2...
2. Connect the bottle properly. This is a must. If you do not, the beer proteins will connect with the CO2 in ways that will cause a beer explosion. 
3. Give the machine ONE frim press of gas and then release your finger. Do not do an extended press of the button. Such a move will greatly increase your chances of beer spillage.
4. Let the newly carbonated beer 'settle' in the machine before you release the bottle from the Soda Stream. Trust me, let it sit a bit. Your bottle may be quite foamy and fizzy. Let it settle.
5. Remove from the device and pour your beer into a cold glass. 

This is the time to assess what you have done. 

Did it work? Did you put enough gas in?

Did you put too much? (You'll have learned quite quickly if you did!)

This is where some muscle memory comes in so that you learn just how much to press the Soda Stream button. Too little, you're beer will still be flat. Too much and it will be all over the floor. 

burping beer with CO2 soda maker

Pro tip: The more you burp CO2 in your beer, the greater the chance of an explosion of foam all over the ceiling and the odd chance an over-pressurized bottle goes flying off the Soda Stream! Also, the fresher or more filled the CO2 Cannister is, the greater the rate of release of CO2 into the beer. So hold back on massive depresses of the button if you have a fresh gas bottle!

Here's a handy video lesson that guides you step by step:



Rinse off the valve of the Soda Stream with water. Beer residue can get quite icky and reduce the efficiency of the valve and impact normal making soda practices. 

What about conditioning beer with Soda Stream?

All of the above advice has been to rescue a flat beer, not as part of the consideration of carbonating a whole fermenting drum with a view to capping the newly gassed beer for conditioning. 

I honestly have no idea if this would work. So, some 'google fu' tells me you can do this. This perhaps seems counterintuitive but there we go. I venture however using a Soda Stream for full carbonation is a costly way to carbonate beer. You are probably better off priming your fermenter drum with sugar and bottling. The choice, as always Dear Brewer, is yours. 

Fair Warning: The Soda Stream instruction manual CLEARLY states to not use their device for anything other than making soda water. 

You have been warned.  

Can I get methanol poisoning from home brew beer?

Can I accidentally make methanol when home brewing beer?

Update: You may have arrived at this page because of the story coming out of South Africa during 2020 where a couple died after drinking homebrew. 

There are limited facts on this sad case - Fact checker site Snopes will sort it out one day for sure but until they do, we can be pretty confident there's no chance methanol from homebrew beer killed them.

methanol poisoning from beer

From time to time I see potential brewers ask if they will accidentally make methanol (AKA 'wood alcohol' when foraying into beer production. 

This is because methanol is quite a dangerous kind of alcohol.

It is toxic to the human body and can have some very nasty effects if poisoned - ranging from blindness to the worst of which is death.

Everyone has heard the stories of some Russian sailors on a fishing boat going blind from drinking homemade spirits right? Drinking this kind of 'rocket fuel' is just a hazard of the job eh?

First up, the answer to the question is that the ordinary beer home brewing process makes the alcohol called ethanol - not methanol, it has a slightly different chemical formula. 

So you can't get methanol poisoning from your homebrew, no matter how much extra sugar you add.

That's in general though - some methanol can be produced but at such minor levels that have no effect on the beer or effect on the body when consumed.

Fruit beers that contain pectin could have slightly higher levels of the spirit but the effect is still negligible.

So from that perspective, there's no risk of making a beer batch of methanol and going blind. It's more likely that you will just get blind drunk or meet Darth Vader!!

There are some genuine risks if one is distilling alcohol - backyard operations can indeed produce batches where the methanol content can be lethal (or more sinisterly methanol is added deliberately and sold on the bootleg market). For this reason, most countries in the world have made the distillation of spirits illegal - plenty of stills can be bought on Amazon though!

It is allowed in New Zealand but only for personal consumption.

The science of distillation is quite complicated and there appears to be a myth about methanol production. The key point to understand is that if you are homebrew brewing beer, there's no risk of making a killer brew. 

Distillation on the other hand... stay away from that unless you've been properly trained or are operating a still under the supervision of an expert.

What is the treatment for methanol poisoning?

Methanol toxicity is the result of consuming methanol.

The horrific symptoms may include a decreased level of consciousness, poor coordination, vomiting, abdominal pain, and a specific smell on the breath. The famous effect of decreased vision or blindness may start as early as twelve hours after exposure.

The blindness is caused by the methanol being broken down by the body into formic acid when then has a debilitating and damaging effect on the eye's optic nerve.

Is there a cure for methanol poisoning?

There is a cure!

The sooner the antidote, fomepizole, is taken, the increased likelihood of a good outcome for the victim.

Other treatment options include dialysis and the consumption of sodium bicarbonate, folate, and thiamine.

This is of course, not medical advice. If you have a consumption incident, seek medical services assistance immediately.

I saw a query from a gentleman who decided to drink a glass of wine after having left the bottle open for 2 months. The wine was disgusting, he burned his throat and he described that he felt like he had a headache. He wondered if the wine had turned into methanol so as to explain his condition.

It's more than likely that the wine's ethanol had not converted to methanol, instead, it was probably oxygenated and had become a vile vinegar!

How to make homebrew hard cider

Brewing apple cider guide

When I was a lad, I lived in a place called 'the fruit bowl of New Zealand', that place being Hastings.

There were apples everywhere, in the orchards, on the farms, in your school lunch, on every corner. 

Open the newspaper and four or five would fall out! 

And never once did I think about making them into cider.

And now that I live miles away from the orchards of home, a good cider reminds me of years of apple picking and thinning and driving a hydra-ladder around an orchard to help pay for university fees.

But you came here to learn how to brew an alcoholic (hard) cider, so let's get on with it. 

If you've brewed beer before, it's the same concept of fermentation but with some slight variations to the preparation of the basic ingredients and the addition of a few handy remedies to augment the cider's flavor. 

As always when brewing, it's very important that all your equipment is exceptionally clean and properly sanitized.

how to brew apple cider

So what do we need to begin making hard cider?

If you think the first thing on the list of things you need is apples or pears, well, you'd be right.

But it's not that simple.

When brewing cider, not all apples are created equal.

Ideally, you'll have been able to harvest some late-season apples, maybe even some which have naturally fallen from the tree. This is because these apples have high amounts of sugar in them, and as any brewer knows, sugar is great for fermenting!

Having a mix of different kinds of apples is very useful for taste preferences as well. 

Mixing Red Delicious with Granny Smith in a 1 to 2 ratio will produce a dry cider whereas 1 to 2 ratio of Macintosh to Cortland will produce a sweeter cider.

Another way to get the mix right is to use a mixture of 70% dessert apples and 30% cooking apples. 
This should give a good balance of sweetness and acidic taste.

Preparation of apples for brewing

First up, wash your fruit of dirt, bird shit, leaves, and twigs, and the like. Cut away any rotten fruit as well. If your apples are a bit bruised, this is not a concern. 

Your immediate goal is to turn your apples or pears into a pulp. Some players may use a scratter but chances are you're gonna have to do this the hard way by using a bit of elbow grease and pulp them into what's called a 'pomace'.

What you do is pulp the fruit in a large bucket by simply pounding it with a piece of clean wood in the form of a 4 x 4 post. Or the end of a baseball bat, or whatever's handy for pulping.  Things will work out best if you quarter your apples or pears before starting this process.

You can always use a blender to speed the process along, but you are not trying to puree the fruit so go easy with the blender. 

Bear in mind, that you're not trying to go all Charles Bronson on your apples. 

Your mashed apples should have some substance to them, and they should certainly not be liquefied. If that's the case, you've over-pulped. 

How many apples do I need to make cider?

A very rough rule of thumb is that 2kg of apples or pears can be turned into 1 litre of juice. If you are thinking in gallons, you'll need 20 pounds or just under 10 kg per gallon. So, if you want to fill your traditional 23 beer fermenter, do the maths and you'll find you need 46 kgs of apples.

Which is a lot of apples!

When crushing, be careful not to overdo it. The finished apples should have some substance to them, and liquid juice should not be present. 

If it is, you have pulped them too much.

brewing cider tips

It's time to press your apples and extract the juice

Seasoned pros will venture that using an apple press will save a lot of time and efficiently produce a lot of juice. 

Make sure your apple press is nice and clean. Make sure you have a clean bucket properly positioned to collect the apple juice. 

Then load your quartered apples or pears into it. 

As you turn the press, you will start to feel some real tension. Don't be tempted to keep going, this tiresome part requires a dedicated application of slowness and patience. Leave the press in this position for a couple of minutes and the juice will actually begin to flow.

Turn the press down onto the fruit until you feel some real tension. As soon as you do, don’t keep turning but leave this in position for a few minutes. You will see the juice will start to run. When the juice stops then tighten the press again and leave to repeat the process again until your apples are fully pressed. 

You should now have all the juice you need to make your cider with but first, it's time to add a campden tablet or two.

Adding sodium metabisulphite to kill off wild yeast

Producers of cider know full well that a batch of juiced apples can easily succumb to acetobacter bacteria contamination which causes the classic turn-to-vinegar spoilage of the apples.

Acetobacter is easily killed off, hence treatment with an agent like a Campden tablet (sodium metabisulphite) is important in cider production.

Using approx one tablet per gallon will also see off any 'wild yeast' that might have traveled with your apples. 

Experienced cider conjurers may also take the opportunity to add pectolase or peptic enzyme to the juice. Pectolase aids in the break down of pectin in the fruit giving you more juice and of great importance, this facilitates a better fermentation and a clearer cider as it helps reduce pectic haze. The amount of enzyme to add is approximately one teaspoon per gallon of juice. 

It's also used in winemaking for the same reasons.

It's recommended that you give this new solution 48 hours before you pitch your yeast to commence fermentation. Given this time, you should cover your apple juice will a towel or some such item to prevent foreign particles from getting in. You may wish to give it a stir once in a while as well.

Actually, stir the heck out of the juice every 12 hours to make sure everything is coming into contact with the metabisulphite

Adding yeast to the apple juice

Having let your juice rest with the Campden tablets for at least 24 hours, you are now at a fork in the road somewhat. You can take your chances with any benign yeast taking their opportunity to ferment the juice or you can pitch a yeast that is well suited for brewing with apples or pears.

If you didn't already transfer the juice into your fermenter, now is the time to do so. Make damn well sure it is properly sanitized.

You might want to take a reading with a hydrometer to get the gravity of your juice so you can work out the ABV. 

It's time to add the yeast but what kind should you add?

The classic, traditional yeasts to use are commonly referred to as Champagne yeast as they produce what is often described as neutral flavors but there are some great wine and beer yeasts out there to try as well. 

Here are a few selections:

Specific yeasts for cider

  • Mangrove Jack’s Cider Yeast M02
  • Safcider from Fermentis
  • WLP775 English Cider Yeast from White Lab

Champagne yeasts for cider

  • Prise de Mousse, EC1118 from Lallemand. A popular choice for those who wish to have a high alcohol content (and you can encourage this by adding extra sugar to your cider batch).
  • Pasteur Blanc from Red Star
  • VQ 10 yeast from Enartis
  • Enartis Ferm WS

    Beer yeasts for cider

    Here's a demonstration video of how the professionals do it:

    How long to leave the cider to ferment?

    Fermentation should start within the week, or a few days if the temperature is ideal. You'll want to let your brew do its business for about two weeks AND then give it another to let the yeast begin to settle out of the solution to improve clarity.

    You can get away with quicker times for brewing beer but apples and pears need this time if you want to make a quality brew.

    What temperature do you ferment cider at?

    As with beer making, sound temperature control will improve the odds you will have a good tasting beer. The extremes apply here - too cold and the yeast will hibernate and not ferment. Too hot and the yeast will be overworked and will produce fusel alcohols which will impair the taste of your cider. 

    The ideal temperature is considered to be about 15 degrees Centigrade or 59 Fahrenheit. Nudging to 20 is acceptable but anything over will produce unwanted side effects. 

    A steady temperature is also ideal. Too much fluctuation can through the yeast off its game. If you have a brewing fridge / fermentation chamber with a thermostat, your cider is ideal for a run in it. 

    When to add malic acid to cider brew?

    Malic acid occurs naturally in apples and plays a part in the pH level of your cider and most crucially taste. If your pH level is too high, then adding extra malic acid will reduce the pH level (remember the lower the pH level, the more acidic a solution will be). 

    Conversely, if your pH level is too low, then you'll want to add a base such as precipitated chalk.

    So then, your next question surely then is what is an ideal pH reading for cider? Many brewers aim for a range of 3.2 - 3.8. If you're nudging over four, you'll want to add malic acid as given it is already present, it matches the profile of the cider. 

    If you're interested in using a digital pH meter for checking the level of your cider, check out our pH tester buying guide.

    Do I need to add tannins to my cider batch? 

    Tannin is a yellowish or brownish bitter-tasting organic substance that can be found in plant material such as tea, rhubarb, grapes and apples. Tannins are acids, a well known one being gallic acid. Tannins give an astringent, drying bitterness quality to cider. 

    Some kinds of apples have high tannin levels so the addition of them is not really necessary. Where brewers are using applies which naturally make a sweet cider, that brew may need some added tannins. 

    A ¼ teaspoon of tannin per gallon of cider is a commonly recommended amount to add. The exact amount can be a bit of a science, this dude has some great advice on how much to use.

    Tannins can be sourced online from Amazon or from your local brew shop.

    bottle conditioned apple cider

    How long do I bottle condition cider for if I'm carbonating?

    Cider takes a lot longer than beer to condition to an optimum drinkable state. It can take up to two months for carbonation to fully occur and even longer for the cider to reach peak performance. That said, some brews will be carbonated within 2 - 3 weeks. 

    It's very important to only bottle when you are sure fermentation is complete as if you cap those bottles before the yeast has done its job, you'll run the risk of bottles blowing up especially if you've added sugar to promote bottle carbonation. 

    A bottle explosion can send a big foamy mess everywhere and littering the place with sharp glass. 

    Trust me, I've made this mistake before and it's a massive pain to clean it all up and worse, it's a waste of time and energy and money!

    If you want flat cider, without carbonation, you'll need to add an additive such as more Campden solution to prevent any residual yeast from fermenting in the bottle. Like when you were preparing the apple juice, leave the Campden to sit for a whole day before bottling to help ensure any yeast present is accounted for.

    Remember to store your bottles in a cool spot, free from direct sunlight, especially if you used green bottles. 

    I should mention that before bottling should taste your brew as this is the time to 'back sweeten' if wish. 

    If you want to do this, you can add a non-fermentable sweetener such as stevia. This is in place of using extra sugar and it will mean you won't over carbonate.

    Making cider from store bought Apple Juice

    Making cider from store-bought apple juice is a very simple process as the hard work has been all done for you. Try and use a juice that doesn't have preservatives as theoretically this can hamper fermentation from commencing but don't overthink it.

    [The short version is you just add yeast - kind of like making Pruno]

    You might want to start with a gravity reading. If it is below 1050, then you may wish to consider adding a bit of sugar so the yeast has something to start working on.

    The process of fermentation is the same so fill your clean and sanitized fermenter with the desired juice. Give it a bit of a shake to aerate and then pitch your yeast - maybe Lalvin EC-1118. You could also add some yeast nutrient as well.

    Some brewers split the juice in half and once they are satisfied fermentation is occurring, they add the second half.

    Seal your fermenter with an airlock and leave it be for 2 to 3 weeks at a minimum. When you feel your cider is ready for bottle conditioning, you can batch prime with dextrose in the normal manner.

    You will want to condition your cider for a minimum of two months - cider brewers need to be more patient than beer brewers if they want a good tasting cider!

    What is a Demijohn?

    A demijohn (or jimmyjohn) is a particular kind of glass fermenter that is popular with cider and winemakers. 

    They come in all kinds of sizes from 5 litres through to 23. The smaller sizes allow for experimentation. 

    Their long necks can make them troublesome to clean.

    hard cider beer kit

    What about brewing with a cider kit?

    There are plenty of cider kits out there, just as there are for beer. We've taken a fancy to the Brooklyn BrewShop's Hard Cider Kit:

    A perfect kit for beginners, it makes fermenting hard cider at home simple and fun. The kit has enough ingredients to makes 3 batches of hard cider.

    It includes 1 gallon reusable glass fermenter, 3 packets yeast, vinyl tubing & clamp, racking cane & tip, chambered airlock, 3 packets cleanser, and screw-cap stopper. 

    You'll need to supply your own apples or juice.

    You'll be able to produce 3 batches of 7% ABV of hard cider (9-10 12-oz bottles). Brooklyn BrewShop describe that this kit will help you make a cider that is tart, bubbly and dry. 

    How to properly use oak wood chips for home brewing

    Using oak wood chips to age and flavor beer brews

    Ageing beer in oak barrels is a long-standing practice for making beer.

    This is because the characteristics of the wood impart to the beer which can add to the flavor & drinkability of the beer. 

    Which a reason why wine000 made in oak barrels tastes so good too! And something about whiskey maybe...

    There's a reason why brewers seek out new ways to make beer taste better and that's because, for them, the old days of getting smashed on Budweiser are over.

    They constantly want to experiment, try new ideas and just make better beers.

    To meet that need, using wood while conditioning or ageing beer can impart a range of aromas to the beer, including floral, vanilla, caramel, or coconut tones.

    It's kind of like how smoking fish with cherry or alder wood or bacon with a good maple wood makes the meat taste nice.

    While it depends on the type of wood as to what happens, oak is generally the preferred kind of wood as it produces the desired vanilla note tones.

    All that might sound like some kind of fancy wine snob speaking at a tasting session, but that vanilla thing is true!

    I don't have any spare oak barrels lying around to use, so how can a small-time home brewer use wood to improve their brewing results?

    That's the short of it.

    You can use oak wood chips by simply adding them to the wort. 

    However, it's not that simple.

    There are some choices to make as to how you oak your beer and for how long and for what kind of beer. 

    Let's explore the ins and outs of 'oaking' homebrew beer. 

    First of all, we should consider this question:

    What kind of beer profile suits wood chips?

    You can oak any beer you like but through the experiences of many other pioneering brewers, it has been generally settled that English and some Scotch ales such as Old Ales, stouts, porters, browns, IPAs, and some bitters benefit from going through this process.

    That's not a finite grouping of beers though.

    Brewers have been known to successfully use oak in styles such as the darker Belgian ales, Farmhouse Ale, or even Saison.

    And let's be frank, some of the current generations of craft brewers are trying all kinds of combos and methods to make their mark on the world, so backyard brewers should explore and experiment as much as they dare!

     Theory: the higher the ABV, the better the result that oaking will produce

    This working theory is usually in reference to beers that are being aged in wooden oak barrels. It is considered that the alcohol serves to ensure a healthy environment in which the beer ages, free of those pesky bugs that can infect and ruin a beer.

    If you are going to invest time and money in a barrel, you don't want to wait six months or a year to find your beer has gone off!   

    High alcohol beers are also often sweet so an oaky vanilla tone can help counter or balance that. 

    oak chips in home brew

    What is the best kind of wood chip to use with the wort?

    Not all oak chips are created equal.

    Oak usually comes in three varieties, American, Hungarian, and French.

    The American oak gives the strongest oak flavor, while French oak gives subtler notes with other sweeter flavors like vanilla.

    Hungarian oak is considered in the middle between these two parameters.

    Their use depends on what types of beers you are making and what you’re going for with them.

    One more thing about the kind of wood - charring. When oaks barrels are used for making bourbon the inside is charred as strangely this helps with aging. 

    Different amounts of charring will have different effects on your beer. The more charred or burnt your wood is, the more strong the flavors and smells that are imparted into the beer. 

    Should I use wood chips or cubes or spirals?

    Instead of using an actual oak barrel or the staves of one, these three options are handy methods for a homebrewer to add wood flavor and aroma to ‘barrel age’ their beer. 

    We prefer chips over cubes as you get more surface area exposure.

    That's just good maths.

    Your local homebrew store may have all three readily available on hand but Amazon will see you right too.

    Using oak chips 

    Wood chips are essentially shards of wood that you add to your fermenter or secondary in order to achieve the level of barrel flavor you desire. Chips offer a greater surface area that's exposed to the beer than cubes.

    Wood chips are probably going to float and that means a lot of oak will be making contact with the air in the fermenter and not imparting oaky goodness into the beer.

    So a handy tip is to place the chips into a clean and sterile hop bag and then weigh the bag down with something heavy and inert such as a clean glass marble or three.

    Make sure the marbles are sterilized!

    It's a really good idea to do this as picking stray oak chips out of your tubing or bottling wand will be a pain in the ass.

    Using wood cubes for brewing flavor

    Wood cubes are exactly as they sound - they are cubes of wood (approximately ¼-½” in size).

    They will sink to the bottom of your fermenter, and won't get stuck in your tubing and many brewers prefer to use cubes over chips because the amount of surface area to beer ratio is easier to determine on a cube than a chip.

    Not that it's really a big deal.

    Using spirals

    Spirals are also a great way to get a high surface to beer wort ratio happening. 

    If you are looking for a hassle-free clean up, then like cubes, oak spirals could be what you want to use for your beer.

    They are more expensive than chips however due to the time required to manufacture them compared to putting some oak logs through a chipper!

    Do I need to sterilize my wood chips ?

    All brewers fear introducing anything into their brew but there are a few things you will most definitely need to consider doing to ensure the health of your brew.

    Here’s a summary of different approaches for adding bits of wood chips to the beer:

    • The 'do nothing' approach, just pitch your chips in and see what happens (kind of like dry hopping)
    • Boil the chips in water to make tea, then add the tea to the wort (just like you would a hops tea).  You could use your propane gas burner if it's handy.
    • Soak the chips in a spirit like rum or vodka for at least a day, and add it all to the beer. The strong alcohol content in the booze will kill off any microbes present in the wood. 
    • Use a pressure cooker to cook them?
    • Sanitize wood with chemicals such as campden tablet solution (we don't recommend this method as you'd likely be transferring the solution you made (potassium metabisulfite) into your wort as the wood absorbs it. That said, campden tablets are great for removing chlorine from your beer. 

    How many oak chips should I add to my wort?

    The amount of chips to use is not an exact science. I've seen recommendations that range from 10-60 grams per 5 gallons.

    Remember this is largely to taste - especially if you are using the tea-making method.

    We would, however, recommend you start light and add more as you get more experienced and learn the effect of whatever form of oak you are using. 

    How long should I soak oak chips in bourbon?

    You could be forgiven for wondering why the spirit of bourbon is suddenly being mentioned.

    Brewers have discovered that if you are going to age beer in oak barrels, then those that have been previously used to age bourbon do a wonderful job.

    The idea then is that if you soak your oak wood chips in bourbon, you're going to somewhat re-create or imitate the effect of a good old fashion barrel soak.

    We'd recommend that you soak your chips in bourbon for at the very least 24 hours but we have read online that some brewers wait as long as four weeks!

    As we noted above spirits in general also help kill any bugs that could be present in the wood chips so using a good bourbon will ensure you do not accidentally infect your beer

    You could just drop them in some boiling water too.

    You can probably do the same trick with a good sherry or any similar spirit. 


    I've never done it but you could potentially skip the oak and just add bourbon to your brew directly!

    You'd have to experiment a bit so maybe split your wort into a few small units, or add a small amount in the first instance and build to taste.

    Making an oak tea

    There are a few ways to add the oak flavor to your beer and making an 'oak tea' is an easy way.

    Simply boil the oak chips and make sure they are covered in an inch of water.

    Once the tea is made, add a bit of the water to your beer in the fermenter and then taste it. Continue to add the oak tea until you reach the flavor you’re looking for.

    Making a tea is much faster than aging with oak, and also lets you more closely control the flavor.

    The boiled tea will also be sterile but don't confuse it for some medicinal brew!

    Speaking of tea - did you know you can make hops tea for brewing?

    How long do I leave the wood chips in the fermenter?

    Chips impart flavor pretty quickly, and usually, 7-10 days in the fermenter is about as long many brewers go before the effect on the beer becomes overpowering.

    Taste tests along the way will help as it all comes down to a matter of taste! 

    If you've put your chips or cubes in a bag, they'll be easy to remove with a clean pair of tongs.

    Just like a good cook doesn't over-egg the pudding, the discerning home brewer should not over oak the beer. Too much oak doesn’t allow for complex flavors to emerge in your brew before an overwhelming wood flavor takes over the batch.

    So, timings wise, if you know you are going to bottle your beer within the week, then add the chips seven days before you intend to bottle. 

    You'll be seeing 'red' if you add too much!

    How can I tell the difference between an oaked and unoaked beer?

    Generally comparing beer that has been oaked to one that hasn’t will show subtle variations.

    A beer that has been properly oaked beer will often have what can be described as having a smooth backbone and aftertaste.

    If the oak has been toasted/charred just right, you might get some of those vanilla notes we mentioned above. It shouldn't taste like over BBQ-ed steak.

    Can you re-use oak chips?

    The question is can one re-use the wood chips? Can I just dry them out and store them until the next time?

    We've read that beer makers often just leave them to sit on a paper towel to dry, then place them into storage in something like a mason jar.

    Make sure they are thoroughly dry though as any moisture could help microbes or mould etc thrive.

    We imagine that the more you re-use chips, the qualities they possess will reduce. 

    I found this totally pro tip which I'll share as found:

    "I keep a 1.75 LT bottle of Jim Beam half full of bourbon and the rest with medium toast French oak chips so they are always soaking up that great flavor to add to bourbon stouts. The chips pick up a lot of the great bourbon flavor and stay sanitized due to the high alcohol."

    So for that brewer, they don't really care about how long they soak their chips in bourbon!

    Check the price ranges on Amazon.
    Powered by Blogger.


    absorption caps abv acetaldehyde acid adjuncts advice about beer brewing aeration aeration kit aging air lock alcohol alcohol poisoning ale ale beer kits alkaline alkaline brewery wash all grain american amylase apera apples attenuation autolysis automatic temperature compensation bacteria baker's yeast baking yeast ball lock ball valve bar keepers friend barley batch prime beer brewing beer capper beer dispenser beer filtration kit system beer gushers beer kit beer kit review beer kits beer lines beer salt beer taps beerstone best brewing equipment biotin bittering BKF black rock bleach blichmann blow off tubing bluelab bohemian pilsner boil in a bag boil over boneface bottle cap bottle caps bottle conditioning bottling bottling beer bottling spigot bourbon brettanomyces brew and review brew day brewing beer guide brewing salts brewing spoon brewing sugar brewing thermostat brewzilla british thermal unit brix brix scale BTU budvar buffer buffer solution burton snatch buyer's guide calcium chloride calcium sulphate calibration calibration probe calibration solution campden tablets capping carbon dioxide carbonation carbonation drops carboy cascade caustic soda cherry wine chinook chlorine christmas chronicle cider clarity cleaning your equipment clear beer clone recipe cloudy beer cold crashing coldbreak conditioning tablets conductivity conical fermenter contamination coopers copper tun corn sugar cornelius corny keg craft beer creamy beer crown cryo hops cubes danstar nottingham demijohn dextrose distilation DIY DME dopplebock draught dry hopping dry malt extract edelmetall brü burner eisbock ekuanot electrode enhancer enzyme equipment ester ethanol experiments in beer making faucet fermcap-s fermentables fermentation fermenter fermentis fermentor final gravity finings five star flat beer floccing foam inhibitor force carbonation french fresh wort pack fridge fruit fusel alchohol garage project gas burners gelatin gift and present ideas gin ginger beer glucose golden ale golden syrup goldings gose grain grain mill green bullet grist guinness gypsum hach hacks hallertauer heat mat heat pad heat wrap home brew honey hop schedule hops hops spider how not to brew beer how to brew that first beer how to brew with a beer kit how to grow hops how to make a hop tea how to wash yeast hydrated layer hydrogen sulfide hydrometer IBU ideas idophor infection inkbird instruments isoamyl acetate jelly beans jockey box john palmer juniper keezer keg cooler keg regulators kegco kegerator kegging kegs kettle kombucha krausen lactic acid lager lagering lauter lion brown liquid malt extract litmus LME lupulin lupulin powder lupuLN2 making beer malic acid malt malt mill maltodextrin mangrove jack's maple syrup mash mash paddle mash tun mccashins mead methanol micro brewing milling milwaukee MW102 mistakes mixing instructions moa mouth feel muntons must nano brewing New Zealand Brewer's Series no rinse nut brown ale oak oak wood chips off flavors original gravity oxygen pacific gem palaeo water pale ale panhead parsnip PBW pear pectine pectolase perlick ph levels ph meter ph pen pH strips ph tester pico brewing pilsner pitching yeast plastic drum poppet valve pot powdered brewing wash ppm precipitated chalk pressure relief valve priming prison hooch probe problem solving propane and propane accessories pruno pump system purity law radler re-using yeast recipe record keeping reddit refractometer reinheitsgebot removing beer labels from bottles review rice hulls riwaka rotten eggs saaz saccharomyces cerevisiae salt sanitization secondary regulator sediment seltzer session beer silicon simple tricks for brewing siphon site glass skunked beer small batch brewing soda soda ash soda stream sodium carbonate sodium carbonate peroxyhydrate sodium hydroxide sodium metasilicate sodium percarbonate sour beer sparge spigot spirals spirits spoon spraymalt star san starch STC-1000 steinlager steralisation sterilisation sterilization sterliization still stoke storage solution stout sucrose sugar supercharger tannins temperature temperature controller therminator thermometer tips for beginners tri-sodium phopsphate tricks and tips trub tubing tui turkey vodka infused gin vorlauf water water testing wet cardboard taste wet hopping weta whirlfloc tablets white claw williamswarn wine winter brewing wood wort wort chiller yeast yeast energizer yeast nutrient yeast rafts yeast starter yeast traps zinc
    Back to Top