itle

⇒ How to use 'Baking Yeast' to make home brew beer

using baking yeast with beer brewing

Can I substitute active baker's dry yeast for brewer's yeast?


I was doing the shopping last night and I came across a line row of baker's yeast and I wondered if you could use that to make homebrew.

After all, I'd heard of beer a craft brewer made from yeast found on his hipster beard, so why not use bread yeast?

So I did some research, and it turns out you can use baking yeast as it is an 'active dry yeast'.

The real question is should you use bakers yeast to make beer


Yeast is a wholly active part of the fermentation process, it's hugely relying on all kinds of factors to go right and a good yeast will make a good beer better.

Many craft brewers would probably shudder violently at the thought of using a yeast that's normally used to make bread but let's have a look at the idea.

You can totally use baking yeast for brewing, as both yeasts (beer and baking) are different strains of the same species, Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Which sounds like a good starting place!

A good question to start with is, what is the difference between baker's yeast and brewer's yeast?

The difference between the two kinds of yeasts is their cultivation.

Each has been grown for the attributes they bring to the final product. In the case of beer yeast, the popular strains have been cultivated for hundreds of years to hone their specific attributes being the beer flavour produced, attenuation (how well the sugars are fermented by yeast), and consistency.

I found a great comparison of the two: brewer's yeast was bred to produce more alcohol and less carbon dioxide while baker's yeast was bred to make more CO2 and less alcohol.

So be warned using a baking yeast in place of brewing yeast is like driving a Ford and expecting to drive like a Ferrari!

There is, of course, nothing wrong with driving a Ford.

How much baker's yeast to pitch? 


I've read that 11 grams of baker's yeast per 5 gallons or 23 liter fermenter drum are recognized by many brewers as a fair amount to pitch in.  Too much more will probably be redundant. 

What ABV alcohol does bread yeast make?


Bread yeast tends to ferment alcohol up to about 8% without too much effort which is a fine tolerance range for beer, but when trying to produce alcohol beyond this level, the bread yeast begins to struggle, very often stopping around 9% or 10%.

And that's actually because beers are generally brewed between 4 and 8 per cent.

Clearing baker's yeast


When using this yeast, you just have to be conscious that your beer won't taste as clean or look as clear as the beer that you may have become accustomed to brewing.

This is in part because the yeast doesn't settle quite as well as most brewer's yeast does.

If you are bottle conditioning, another trick you could try to clear the baker's yeast is by cold crashing the fermented wort (often referred to as the primary) and then racking it to a bottling bucket and then bottling.

The reason is that the baker's yeast will likely stay suspended in the beer for a lot longer than brewing yeast does (it has a tendency to be awesome at floccing out and then sticking to the bottom of bottles). The cold temperature will force the baking yeast out of suspension and to the bottle of your beer.

You can of course also try and use finings to help clear the baking particles.

The careful pouring and chilling the bottles before pouring will help alleviate this somewhat.

Can I use baker's yeast to make mead?


You sure can. Wine too! Some specific mead recipes state to use baker's yeast!

Can I use baker's yeast to make apple or pear cider?


You sure can use baking yeast with your homemade hard cider brewing. If you do things right, you should be able to get a 6 percent alcohol content. 

I'd recommend you hydrate the yeast before you pitch it. 

Be careful about adding too much sugar. 

If you are really brave, you can even ferment apple juice with bread yeast. But you are gettin gin to making the kind of hooch they make in prison at this point...

Using baking yeast to rescue a beer that's stopped fermenting


If you're worried your pitched beer yeast has run out of puff, in a pinch you could add some baker's yeast to help get things going again.

Just remember by adding a second yeast, the intended nature of your beer's taste will change.

If you go down this path you may need to activate the yeast in water before you pitch it, just to give it a helping hand.

What baking yeasts can I use?


Anything from your supermarket is a good place to start. In New Zealand, Edmund's Sure To Rise suits fine. Fleischmann's active dry yeast seems a popular choice overseas.

There's a lot of amusing internet chatter about the "1847 Oregon Trail Sourdough Starter".

Do 'oxygen absorption' bottle caps work?

bottle caps that absorb oxygen

Dedicated brewers will know that beer exposure to oxygen should only occur before fermentation and not after.

It's the same with food - oxygen will damage food so that's why many foods are packaged in plastic with 'oxygen scavaging' features - look at potato chips, the bags they come in are filled with nitrogen!

So if you are trying to minimize the amount of oxygen in your bottled beer, mead or wine, you may want to consider using oxygen absorbing caps.

The bottling process can add unwanted oxygen into the beer.

To remediate this you can do things like being careful with your pouring into the bottle and using a bottling wand and if you want to do more than that, the bottle caps can help remove the oxygen that sits above the surface of the beer and between the bottle cap.

If you are looking to cellar or age your beer, these caps could help you achieve your goal.

If you intend to drink your beers quickly, you may not need them.

Do oxygen bottle caps really work?


Now, let's take a skeptical view of this concept first. Do you really need to remove oxygen from the beer bottle?

If you have bottle conditioned a 1000 beers and never had a problem, do you even need to use these crowns?

They can if you are intending to age beers or extend the hoppiness of your beer.

The loss of hops aroma can be one of the first signs of oxidation.

In addition, the compounds extracted from hops will can with oxygen, which forms inert compounds that have less aroma and thus a reduction in hop flavor.

Bottle caps which 'scavenge' oxygen from the beer will help prevent or delay this reaction from occurring.

If the food production and beer brewing industries spending millions of dollars doing it, then it surely works.

How do oxygen absorption caps work?


Oxygen-absorbing caps have an internal liner that once activated by water, will absorb oxygen in the headspace of the bottle.

Oxygen absorbing technology is based on oxidation or a combination of one of the following components: iron powder, ascorbic acid, photosensitive polymers, and helpful enzymes.

Glucose oxidase is an enzyme that is popular in the elimination of O2 from bottled beer or wine.


How do you use oxygen absorbing caps?


These caps activate once you get them wet. So once they are capped on, you can invert the beer and they will stand ready to begin absorbing oxygen.

Many suppliers recommend to not wet or sanitize caps in advance of your bottling session or they will not work correctly. They’ll still close the bottle off from the air like any other cap, but the oxygen-absorbing function will be used up.

This does mean you can sanitize them just prior to use.

But that might lead you to ask:

Do I need to sanitize oxygen absorbing caps?


This author personally no longer sanitizes beer caps. They come out of their bag clean and frankly after 1000s of beers bottled without them, I've never had a problem. 

That said, if it is your standard practice to sanitize caps, then a quick dunk in some Star San is just fine, as long as you do it just prior to bottling and not well in advance. This is because the wetness activates the liner of the cap.

Check out the range and price on Amazon

Boneface is a great brewery to have a beer and a meal

bonehead brewery logos

I recently had an opportunity to have a pint at the Boneface Brewery in Upper Hutt.

It's a great establishment!

boneface ipl lager logoSet simply in an old factory of some kind, it's part eatery part brewery.

The staff were a bloody friendly bunch and the roast lunch we had was bang on. Do try the potatoes...

We did a short tour of the brewery and while it was standard stuff, it was well received as it was clear they had a genuine love of beer and were only too happy to share their knowledge.

For myself, the beer of the day was their Outlaw IPL which was a hoppy lager. Yes, this is a very popular style of beer these days, I did, however, find it simply refreshing.

The 'Juice' was not for me, it was too tart. My drinking buddies reported the Darkness Stout was very agreeable!

I particularly liked the artwork above. They had it in large posters on the side of the brewery - reminded me of Judge Dredd!

19 best ways to make homebrewing cheaper

making cheap homebrew

Many brewers like to make homebrew because they can make it to their own taste preferences and also because it's much cheaper than paying $15 bucks a pint at the local.

Seriously, the price of a handle of some craft beers is simply ridiculous - usually due to a poor economy of scale for small breweries and high hop prices.

And that's why brewers like to make cheap beer.

They buy their own hops in bulk.

Indeed buying ingredients in bulk is a great way to save your cash money when brewing. It makes your own beer cheaper by the bottle!

The three best ways to save money are:
  • reuse your yeast (by way of a starter)
  • buy grains and malt in bulk
  • purchase your hops in bulk

Saving on the cost of hops


You can do this with a quick visit to your local beer supplier or buying online from specialty suppliers or even Amazon. It's amazing the range of hops found on there.

A really handy trick to keep your yeast fresh is to buy your own vacuum sealer - so you can reseal your hops, or break them up into your desired batch size. You can then store them in the freezer until they are required on brewing day.

Saving cash on yeast purchasing


Buying yeast can be an expensive exercise, especially when there's so much choice out there nowadays - a brewer's access to quality yeast has never been better.

The beauty of a good yeast is that it doesn't need to be a used once with a brew and then you buy another sachet next time you brew - no, you can recycle the yeast from the trub or you can keep a yeast starter going for the whole brewing season.

Saving money on the price of grains


Most brewers simply purchase a bulk sack of 50 lb base grain. It will usually be uncrushed to you need to mill it so having your own grain mill might be part of the deal - buy a good one so it lasts a lifetime of brewing (a handy trick is to connect a powered drill and save yourself some time instead of doing it by hand).

Some brewers can use up to 20 base pounds for a brew (remember, brewers like to mix and match their malts to get unique flavors) so a 50-pound sack is good for at least two brews! Specialty grains that are added to the base are usually bought in smaller bagged amounts.

If you have a good relationship with the local craft brewer, they may be able to sling a couple of sacks your way. 

Sealable food-grade buckets are a great way to store grains so that they remain fresh and they will keep out those cliched eaters of grain, mice, and rats.

If you are a keen malt kit user, then a great way to save money is to buy them from supermarkets rather than from beer stores. I've found a great place near where my mother lives and every time I visit I buy several of their Coopers kits which are often priced 5 or 6 dollars cheaper than my local beer shop.

There are also other ways to save money when brewing beer, you may already know these but here we go:

  1. Instead of using a 'branded' sanitizer, use a generic product such as a laundry soak that contains sodium percarbonate.
  2. Make your own DIY version of powdered brewery wash
  3. Instead of buying bottles, save your empties and remove the labels. You can also source glass bottles by raiding your neighbor's recycling bins.... best done under the cover of darkness. Given so many people drink craft beer featuring perfect sized bottles for brewing (500 - 600 mls give or take) there's many a bottle to be scrounged. 
  4. If you want to save on buying caps, then you can use swing cap bottles.
  5. All grain brewers often will use a wort chiller to cool down the brew - handy brewers can make their own, saving a few quid. 
  6. Instead of using a wort chiller, you could freeze empty soda bottles with water, say 4 1.5 litre bottles. When it's time to cool the wort, cut the ice from the bottles and drop them into your kettle...
  7. An old fridge can be turned into a fermentation chamber with the smart use of a temperature controller.
  8. A great way to find cheap or free second-hand brewing equipment is to keep an eye out on craigslist - it's quite popular but you'll have to be patient and quick! This is quite true for fridges and freezers, some people just want them out of the house quickly so are prepared to let them go at no cost.
  9. If you want to save on hops, by not using them, you can brew certain styles that don't need them such as Hefeweizen or a low ABV bitter.
  10. Grow your own hops! Homebrew groups on Facebook are a great way to source rhizome cuttings, usually, all it will cost you is a couple of bottles of brew!
  11. Don't use so much hops!
  12. You can find all sorts of handy keg parts on Aliexpress, though if you want quality, you may want to check out sites like Amazon. It's a jungle out there though.
  13. You can also make your own mash tun out of commonly available items such as water coolers.
  14. Organized homebrew clubs can often make purchasing arrangements which means cost savings can be passed to you directly, especially so if shipping costs are kept low.
  15. In winter, you can always use snow to cool wort instead of buying ice for your chiller. Dissolve it in water...
  16. Make your own beer enhancer with supplies bought cheaply online.

Some cautions about cheaping out when buying equipment


There's a long established concept that buying cheap items like tools or shoes will cost you more in the long run than buying a quality implement or boot because you'll need to replace them more often than you would a durable item.

The same applies to brewing in many ways. For example, if you have to choose between kettle sizes, buy the bigger one. Sure, it may cost more but if you stick with brewing, then eventually you'll go all grain at scale and you'll have to buy the larger kettle, thus, you've ultimately spent more than you may have wanted.

This is especially so for items like ph testers - go for quality over cheapness every time, especially all when making kombucha

Best stainless steel ball valves for homebrew kettles

Best stainless steel ball valves beer

Best stainless steel ball valves for homebrew kettles


When you've decided to upgrade from using beer kits with plastic or glass fermenters and you want to use a bit of steel kit in your beer making, you're probably going to want to use a brewing kettle.

Every kettle needs a valve of some sort to release the beer wort and it's crucial that that exit point will work correctly every time and that it doesn't leak. You can even use them with your mash tun.

A quality steel ball valve will do the job. Once properly attached and sealed to the kettle, it's a simple matter of connecting the hose, and your wort's away!

What to look for when buying a valve for you're brewing kettle


Most brewers tend to use valves manufactured out of steel but there are some parts made of brass. Some brewers suggest brass parts corrode too easily and need to be cleaned as a result. We'd recommend you focus your search on buying a steel valve.

A valve made of 304 Stainless Steel will provide for maximum corrosion resistance.

Size is important - most brew kettles have a pre-made hole that is 7/8" inches in diameter - accordingly, you should be sourcing a 1/2" ball valve.  The seal on the valve should take care of the difference!

You'll also want to ensure the nozzle or hose bard is the right size for your needs. A 1/4" nozzle may result in a beer flow to slow for an impatient brewers, so you may want to consider the commonly used half inch nozzle hose barb

What are the best valves to use?


We never recommend cheap products as in the long term they can cost you more trouble than they are worth but mid range is a fine place to start with this bulkhead:


Features
  • 1/2"x10mm Stainless Steel Hose Barb
  • Stainless Steel Full Port Ball Valve
  • Sanitary Ball Valve
  • It features a 1/2" Full Port ball valve and a 1/2" barb, which means you'll get a decent wort flow
Check out the price on Amazon.

CONCORD 304 Stainless Steel Weldless Bulkhead Ball Valve



Concord Cookware have produced a no-nonsense valve and boast the following specifications:

  • Weldless Bulkhead Set Includes 1/2" Barbed Hose, Ball Valve, Hex Nipple, Washer, Red O-Ring x2, Grooved Lock Nut
  • 304 Cast Stainless Steel for highest corrosion resistance
  • High Temp silicon O-Ring for heat resistance
  • Grooved Lock Nut for leak free installation
  • Standard 1/2" NPT fittings made to fit your 7/8" kettle hole
Heh, they said nipple! It's no joke though to check the price out on Amazon.

The "L" Shaped Ball Valve


If you want your hose barb to point more downwards, this model from Tizze will suit your needs.

l shaped ball valve for a kettle

Tizze's specifications:
  • 1/2" weldless bulkhead fitting fits 7/8" kettle hole
  • Made from 304 stainless steel
  • Full port ball valve
  • Heat resistant O ring and it will hold a really good seal on the coupler
Here's a review that an actual brewer left on Amazon:

"Nice valve for transferring wort from the brew kettle to the fermenter. Takes 3/8" tubing doesn't leak and works great!"

So, what are you waiting for? Check out the price on Amazon.

How to attach a ball valve to a drilled kettle


This great instructional video shows you how to easily install the valve. A key take-away is that you can use teflon tape to further prevent leakage.


Another good idea relayed in the video is to test that your valve is correctly installed and your o-rings have made a good seal. Instead of using beer, test it with water!

How do I clean the valve?


Most valves can be taken apart for easy cleaning. A spanner or wrench is quite handy but then, you don't need to tighten these units to death.

Cleaning with a strong brush, hot water and soap will do the trick.

Why is brass made valves a controversial topic?


Both brass and steel are alloys. The metals they are made with each have different properties when they mix with alkalines and acids. Brass is more likely to corrode, so brewers prefer to use quality stainless steel products to avoid the issue of metal leakage into beer. For example brass can leach zinc and that's not really a ket ingredient of beer is it?

The best beer kit ideas to give for Christmas presents in 2019

The best beer kit ideas for Christmas presents

It was my wife who gave me the push I needed to get into home brewing beers.

I'd been saying for at least a year I was going to do it and even started collecting and cleaning the labels off beer bottles but I never made that jump. And then on Christmas Day, my lovely lady presented me with a Mangrove Jacks home brew kit and I was away!

If you are considering buying your partner / husband / best friend a beer kit for Christmas, we've got some great beer kit gift ideas for you!

There's a lot of gear out there but don't fall into the trap of going overboard and spending too much money. If your gift recipient is new to brewing, only the most simple and cheap brewing kit is required.

I was a slightly nervous first-time brewer. I read up all I could about brewing on websites, I read the instructions on the can. I read them 5 times. I called a mate who had done it few times. I read some more.

And I didn't need to as it is so easy to make beer!

I just did it and it was bloody fun. Because all you need is a simple drum, your equipment and some clean hands! But maybe follow this brewing advice too.

What beer kits do make ideal Christmas presents?

Let's start with the kit I was given for Christmas, the Mangrove Jack's beer kit.

This was an awesome present. It came with everything I needed to make my first batch of beer with. All I need to supply was the bottles. The first thing I realised was just how much beer you can make with it.

23 litres of beer is a lot!

The kit came with the malt, cleaners, brew enhancer, a hydrometer (for working out when fermentation was complete) and some easy to follow instructions.

The beer I made was pretty good all things considered - I just wish I had let it bottle condition a little more!

This gift was perfect for me as a home brewer, I personally recommend it as a great starter kit.

Mr. Beer Premium Gold Edition Homebrewing Craft Beer Making Kit

This is a handy kit as it has all you need to start brewing – the brewing extract, fermenter, bottles and ingredients. It even has brewing carbonation drops to make the first bottling experience a breeze. Mr Beer, the company that makes this kit, describes it like this:


“Mr Beer’s Premium Gold Edition Complete Homebrewing Kit provides aspiring brewers with our patented brewing equipment and high-quality ingredients that simplify the homebrewing process. 

Our patented brewing system includes a compact, lightweight fermenter that is modelled after the design of professional brewing equipment. Eleven 25 oz. reusable and shatterproof bottles that are specially designed for carbonating the beer.

We also include a can of brewing extract - a concentrated form of all natural malted barley and hops - produced in a state-of-the-art facility by Australia’s oldest family owned brewery, as well as No-Rinse Cleanser and unique Carbonation Drops to simplify the sanitization and carbonation process.”

So what are you waiting for? Order it now so you get it in time for Christmas!

The beauty of these kinds of beer kits is that they are so easy to clean as well - a rinse with a hose and then a splash of hot water with a cloth or non scratching brush and you are done - ready for the next batch to be made!

Not convinced?

Here's one more awesome brewing kit that would make the best Christmas present:

You could try the Brooklyn Brew Shop Beer Making Kit, Everyday IPA.

You could say it's a little bit fancier than the Mr Beers kit as it involves a slightly different way of making the beer.

The Brooklyn kit involves you making an oaty mash on your stove or gas burner and doing a little bit of boiling.

The Brooklyn Brew shops described it's product like this:

"If you can make oatmeal, you can make beer. Brooklyn Brew Shop's apartment friendly Beer Making Kits make it easy to bring brewing out of the garage and into the kitchen using only fresh, whole ingredients and traditional methods used in homes and breweries for centuries.

By brewing with the same ingredients (cracked barley, hops, spices, and yeast) that the best craft breweries in the world use, making high quality and complex beers becomes possible on the stove top in your very own kitchen, big or small."

Which is all very nice, but is it any good for a Christmas present? Here's what a user of the kit said in their review on Amazon:

If you "enjoy REAL beer and are actually INTERESTED in the process of brewing and how it works, this kit is an excellent way to jump right in by DOING it. They tell you WHAT to do, you do it, and you get very good beer out of it. "

So no complaints then. An easy choice for a Xmas present!

If beer is not the best idea, why not giving a gift of a cider kit?

If your partner is not really a beer drinking, they could well be into making cider! Good drinking ciders are quite the popular product these days.

They seem to have lost that ‘thing’ about them and are more accepted as something to drink in a bar. Which seems strange as cider has been around for centuries!

Our friends Brookyln Brew do a handy cider kit and so does Mr Beer.

If your partner is pretty experienced, take it to the next level with a ph Meter for testing the brew.

Is 'Alkaline Brewery Wash' better than PBW?

alkaline brewery wash
Alkaline.

It's a great word. 

It just rolls off the tongue so easily

And if you want to easily clean the sludge and muck off your homebrew equipment, then alkaline brewery wash might just be the magic cleaning powder you are looking for.

Some brewers claim it works even better than PBW!

The benefits of using alkaline wash include:
  • Cleans effectively in cold or hot water
  • Works longer than oxygen based cleaners as it doesn't break down the same way
  • Can be used to remove troublesome bottle labels
  • Does not leave a chalky residue as it reduces calcium carbonate and oxalate residues that oxygen based cleaners tend to leave behind
  • Powdered formula will eat through carbon build-up
  • Safe to come into contact with skin as it is non-caustic but we'd recommend you take precautions such as using safety gloves and avoiding getting it in your eye.
  • It's safe on glass, plastic, and stainless steel but avoid using on aluminum as it will react with it

One of the most popular washes is the Craft Meister ABW, check out the price on Amazon.


How to use alkaline wash on brewing equipment


You can use it as a spray from a bottle or do a soak. Many brewers like to leave their equipment soaking overnight to ensure it really gets the job done.

It works on kegs and carboys, kettles with no issues. 

Given the washes ability to dissolve organic matter, it works really well on bottles when you need to get rid of that sludge that gets left at the bottom - especially if you don't clean a few for a while and it dries out. 24 hours in an alkaline bath will sort them out, ready for bottling day. 

It will also work wonders on your glass wear!

A user that brought this product online from Amazon said left this short but handy review:
"It seems a little better than PBW. I've used this to clean brewing equipment, as well as to soak and scrub etching marks from drinking glasses. A very effective cleaner."

How much wash do I use?


  • For equipment like fermenters and bottles use 1 oz (2 scoops) per gallon of water.
  • For heavier jobs like brew kettles use 2 oz (4 scoops) per gallon of water.

Is Craftmeister's Alkaline Brewing Wash better than PBW?


While both products are quite similar in their make up, there's some debate. Many brewers sweat it performs better than PBW, especially in cold water.

It's more expensive so you have to weigh it up - what's worth more to you time or cost savings? If you want to use a cheaper product, use a sodium percarboante laundry soak

This quote from a forum sums things up nicely:
"Yes, it's pricey, but holy cow this stuff is magical. I've been pumping it around my rigs for years but you can't see the inside of a hex to appreciate how well caustics can work."
Another committed user said:
"This cleaned spots in my glass carboys that PBW could never get rid of"
So what are you waiting for? Check out the price on Amazon.

What are the active ingredients of Craftmeister's alkaline wash?


  • Sodium Carbonate 50-65%
  • Sodium Metasilicate 30-40% 
  • Sodium Sesquicarbonate  ≤ 5%

On the safety certificate, National Chemicals (who produce the brand) state there are some other ingredients that are nonhazardous but are of a propriety nature so they do not disclose their full composition.

It's important to note that many other products out there are referred to alkaline wash powder for things like foot fungus and eczema. These products are made of different chemicals!

If you think the Craft Meister ABW might be for you, check out the price on Amazon.

Venting over carbonated beer bottles

venting home brew beer gushers

Have you ever had a beer gusher


They damn well suck.

You casually open your beer and whoosh! There's beer foam all over the bloody place. 

Why did this happen? 

The fizz is the result of over carbonation. 


There could be a few of reasons for this. 

1. You bottled too soon and fermentation continued.
2. Your beer is infected by bacteria and they have overproduced on the CO2
3. You added too much sugar at bottling time.
4. You served your beer too warm

All these factors you have a strong degree of control over. 

If you've bottled too soon, you should have taken a final gravity reading and determined that matched the kind of beer your making and that you had the same reading two days in a row. 

If your beer is infected, it's quite likely you didn't clean and sterilize your equipment and bottles properly. I've said this a million times on these pages, you got do the basics and do them well

And if you added too much sugar, you might want to rethink your practices. If you batch primed, how much sugar did you add?

From my experience 40 - 60 grams is enough sugar to prime 23 litres of beer.

 Any more and you will quite likely get gushers. 

If you added sugar individually to each bottle, then you clearly added too much sugar. I used to use a good amount of sugar, now I try and use half a tea spoon of sugar. It's more than enough. 

If you want a consistent and safe measure, you can always consider using carbonation drops when bottling your brew

How to fix gusher beers by venting the bottle



To fix over carbonation, vent your beers individually. 

The technique is that you gently pry the bottle cap open so that only a part of the cap is exposed, let the CO2 escape and then quickly recap.

You need to all of this before the gusher occurs! If you are clever you should be able to use your bottle opener to both open and close the cap with the same action. 

It will be a long, painful process and you'll likely need to repeat the venting on each bottle if there is a lot of built up pressure. 

I have found in the past that the colder the beer is, the less likely it is to gush or be too fizzy or foamy.

Thus I would recommend that you leave your beers in a fridge for 24 hours before attempting this little rescue job of your beer.

Let's be clear though - if you've got gushers because you've got a bacteria problem, your beer is rooted and you'll need to tip it out and sterilize the bottles very well. Or you can store for a long time and hope the beer sorts itself out. That's kind of a Hail Mary move though...




A wee risk to bear in mind 


Over-pressurized beer can explode.

And that means glass can explode. I've seen the result in my man shed - green glass everywhere and the dank smell of wasted beer. 

If your under pressure beers are at that much of an extreme point you should ask yourself is it safe to vent?

While beer bottles are generally tough, the risk is there so I'd recommend you use gloves and a good pair of safety googles or glasses

What's the lesson here then? 

Review of Hach 9532000 Pocket Pro+ pH tester

hach ph tester review
Enthusiastic home brewers know that a beer brew that is properly pH balanced will produce excellent drinking results.

Getting the pH level right is really important for getting the brewing results you want, especially when one invests some much money into gear and ingredients, let alone your time.

That's why many beer makers use the Hach 9532000 Pocket Pro+ pH tester to get the results they need.

The Hach company says that it's Pro+ is engineered to deliver accurate results. 

Features:
  • Backed up with built-in performance diagnostics, you never have to guess when to clean or calibrate the sensor. 
  • You also get replaceable batteries for convenient field use, and a large, easy-to-read LCD screen.
  • Automatic Temperature Compensation
  • Instructions are found in the manual, which can be downloaded.
All those specifications are nice and all, but what do brewers who have actually used and tested the Hach meters have to say?

"Hach makes pretty reliable products and the pocket Pro is no exception to that. It is easy to use and pretty hardy, we use them at work and they hold up well. This model does not have the replaceable tip, but they make one if needed. I use this meter at home as well for pool pH checks that are quick and easy. It only comes with a single buffer of 7, so you may want to get a 4 and 10 buffer, to allow a 3 point calibration."

"Works very well, I do recommend calibrating the unit soon as you get it and it will be correct"

"I am very pleased! fast and easy and stable"

"Works great for my home brewing"

What are you waiting for, order the Hach from Amazon.

If you don't think the Hack Pocket Pro is for you, check out our buyer's guide with further ph tester options.

If you're new to using a ph meter, check out guide for mistakes to avoid when checking pH levels.

What are adjuncts used for in beer brewing?


Adjuncts are unmalted grains (such as corn, rice, rye, oats, barley, sugars, and wheat) or grain products that are used in beer making to supplement the main mash ingredient (which is usually malted barley).

Under the German Beer Purity Laws, and adjunct could really be considered anything which is water, barley, hops, and yeast but that's just being a bit German eh?

So an adjunct can be anything added to beer such as:
  • Unmalted wheat, barley, rye, oats, maize, and other grains
  • Belgian syrups 
  • Honey, maple syrup, molasses, other sugars like jelly beans.
  • Fruit, pumpkins (!)
The reasons for adding an adjunct are varied. Some brewers will seek them for head foam retention, flavour or even to cut costs!

There is another reason why brewers use high-adjunct beers, and that's to make high alcohol beers. 

By adding extra sugars, for example, the yeast will ferment that in addition to the malt, thus produce more alcohol. 

When adding adjuncts to the beer one needs to understand that this can hamper an efficient fermentation as the yeast can tend to get a bit overwhelmed by all the extra sugar. 

To adjust for this, brewers who are looking to brew a high ABV beer, will add a yeast nutrient to give the yeast some respite from all the sugar.

Adjuncts can also be used to achieve specific beer styles and flavors:
  • Use simple sugars such as that from corn can be used to lighten the beer body and encourage a good rate of attenuation of your high-gravity styles.
  • The addition of flaked barley or rye can promote a strong head and a full body (which is good for mouth feel).
  • Tossing in a handful of flaked oats is known to result in silky mouthfeel.
  • Flaked rice, when matched with an earnestly hopped pale lager, is another method of changing the taste profile.
  • Using cherries and raspberries in sour ales is a popular trick

When and how to use yeast nutrient for brewing

brewing with yeast nutrients

Yeast, that magnificent beast of an organism that converts sugars to alcohol, is the key to fermentation.

Fermentation itself a fairly straightforward process but there are a lot of variables at play to ensure that you get a good tasting beer, let alone a brew that tastes like you intended!

Temperature, time, pH levels and oxygen are key factors.

An overlooked one is often yeast nutrition.

Does your yeast need nutrients? 


The malt in your beer is usually enough to sustain the yeast cells but in order to thrive (and thus efficiently ferment your beer wort and achieve a high attenuation) other elements such as levels of free amino nitrogen, fatty acids, and even vitamins and other minerals come into play and become factors in a successful brew. 

The truth is though, you could do a hundred brews and never need it but if you a looking for high attenuation rates or a brewing a beer with a high ABV, it may help as you need a strong yeast to achieve those two goals.  

When should I use a yeast nutrient?


You may also consider using a nutrient if your water is lacking in calcium, magnesium, and zinc as these metals. Zinc can help with the cell count while magnesium helps with cellular metabolism.

If your beer is using a high proportion of 'adjuncts', you'll want to consider supporting the yeast too. Sugar alone does not support the yeast so if there's a higher concentration of sugars in your beer, then a nutrient may assist yeast development. 

If you are making wine or cider or mead, you would be more likely use nutrient as there is less for the yeast to make do with than in the malty beer wort. Honey,. for instance contains no nitrogen.

To cover some of these factors off, many home brewers choose to add yeast nutrient to their beer batch.

The other benefits of adding a yeast 'energizer' include the shortening of the 'lag phase' of fermentation can contribute to a reduction in off-flavours in beer or wine.

Yeast food may also help reduce the final gravity by invigorating the yeast pushing it to a more complete fermentation leading to a reduction of diacetyl or acetaldehyde (that apple flavour). 

There are three modes of yeast nutrition:


  • Nitrogen supplements -  usually in the form of di-ammonium phosphate which is a water soluble salt and or urea, this should be used when there's a lack of free amino nitrogen. Can be used for mead, cider, wine, and beer. Fermax and Fermaid are popular brands used by brewers as it contains the phosphate as well as magnesium sulfate and autolyzed yeast
  • Yeast hulls - dead yeast of which the residue acts as a home for live yeast. Live yeast will eat the hulls and feed on the nutrients contained therein. 
  • Yeast energizers are used to stimulate or restart a stalled fermentation.

Can I add yeast nutrient to my starter?


You sure can. Brewers will often add about a quarter teaspoon to their starters. Bread bakers have been known to add it to their sourdough starters!

When should I add yeast nutrient to my brew?


It should usually be added at the start of fermentation. If you are using an energizer you will most likely be adding it when fermentation has failed or halted. 

How much yeast nutrient should I add?


Manufacturers typically recommend 1 gram per litre or 1 teaspoon for 5 litres/1 gallon. There should be instructions on the packaging.

What are Servomyces?


This is a yeast supplement produced by the famed yeast developers, White Labs. They boast that 

"Servomyces enables any yeast strain’s ability to incorporate essential nutrients into its cellular structure. It is propagated in a micronutrient rich environment and then killed off prior to packaging.  
Boiling incorporates the servomyces into the wort. The benefit of servomyces is that micronutrients, e.g., zinc are able to pass through its cell walls to your live cell yeast cell, thereby delivering the micronutrients without toxicity."
Check out what White Labs have to offer on Amazon.

So if you batch is short of zinc, then using Servomyces may be the right option for you. If you are doing a boil, it is recommended you add one capsule ten minutes prior to the end of the boil. If doing a kit brew, you can open the capsule up and add the Servomyces directly to the wort. 

Best wort aeration pump systems

The best aeration pumps provide an efficient and inexpensive way to aerate the wort in your primary fermenter.


An aquarium pump forces room air through a properly sanitized tubing. The air is delivered then delivered the wort through a diffusion stone. This promotes rapid absorption into the wort.

So what pumps do this the best?

best pump for adding oxygen to beer wortSmarter brewers than I have worked out that your wort should ideally have an oxygen level of 8 ppm (parts per million) before pitching the yeast. The reality is that many brewers only achieve between 2.5 - 4.5 ppm if they do not aerate with a pump.

By using this wort aeration system you can probably easily double the oxygenation you might normally be getting.

A brewer who brought this unit on Amazon left this genuine review:

“Works great! Bubbles quite a bit, and foamed out of the top (mainly because I didn't leave enough room), but I didn't have any issues at all. My yeast took off like a bat out of hell when I pitched, which seemed to be better than when I didn't oxygenate in the past. I would highly recommend this to any homebrewer looking to improve fermentation.”

What are you waiting for? Incomplete fermentation to occur? Check out the price on Amazon.

Eagle Brewing FE380 Aeration System


Eagle Brewing FE380 Aeration System wort pump
The Eagle Aeration System does what you want it to do, quietly and effectively.

Attach the ⅜-inch transfer tubing to the unit and your stone and you will be aerating in no time. 

There’s not much more to say about this unit, it’s basically 'plug and play' once you’ve submerged the stone at the base of the fermenter.

Just bear in mind that the tubing (as with all pumps) will be wound up on arrival due to packaging constraints so you may want to stretch it out a bit so it settles on the bottom of the fermenter.

Check out the price on Amazon.

Using diffusion stones to oxygenate beer wort


Here’s a funny thing we learned.

Diffusion stones are not actually made of stone.

How about that eh?

They are actually made of stainless steel which is added to a porous mold.

They do work a treat in making bubbles get that oxygen into your beer. You’ll want your stone to have a micron level of between .5 to 2 microns. This is pretty standard for brewers.

When using a diffusion stone you’ll want to ensure that you’ve sanitized it in an appropriate sanitization solution (don’t forget the tubing as well!).

I’ve read some punters warn that your hand can leave natural oils on the unit which can then clog it up - I say if you’ve washed your hands prior to use, then you should be fine.

It can be hard to attach a diffusion stone to the tubing. Instead of trying to force it in, place the end of the tubing in some near boiling water for a short time. This should soften the tubing enough so you can insert the stone’s connector part.

When placing your stone in the wort, you want it to get to the bottom of the fermenter, not near the top. If your tubing is a bit curly, you may want to try and straighten it out.

If this continues to be a problem, you may wish to consider using an oxygenation wand which will sit quite nicely in the fermenter, ensuring the oxygen bubbles start at the bottom and filter into to the whole wort.

When aeration is good but oxygenation is bad

carboy areation wort shake

How to properly aerate wort for brewing


While in some ways beer brewing is simply following a recipe but it sure is not like making a cake. There are some many variables at play.

Is the yeast viable?

How much hops do I need to add?

Is my equipment germ-free?

Is the temperature correct?

And on and on.

There's also one more variable that sometimes gets overlooked in the brewing and bottling processes and that's the role that oxygen plays in fermentation.

Oxygen supports yeast growth and effectively then has an influence on the ABV of one's beer so understanding the best way to manage this element will help improve your beer drinking experience.

First up, let's discuss the:

The relationship between yeast and oxygen


The yeast in your beer requires the presence of oxygen so that is can develop new yeast cell walls. The oxygen is used to develop unsaturated fatty acids and sterols, of which the yeast membrane is built.

Good oxygen levels promote strong yeast which in turn means it can handle high alcohol concentrations which means it was last longer and do a better job on your beer.

An efficient yeast means one gets quicker fermentation times and a reduce chance of a stuck fermentation. This also will mean that you will get fewer off flavors in your beer.

The higher the desired ABV, the more oxygen required


We made reference to it above but if you intend to make a high alcohol beer, you need to create an environment where the yeast can handle that - and a strong yeast is key.

At the same time, you are probably intending to pitch your yeast at a higher rate than you would for a 'session beer' so, all things being equal, you'll want to increase the oxygen ready to be used by that yeast.

How to aerate your wort with oxygen 

Before you aerate your wort the first thing to consider is WHEN.

If you aerate when the wort is too hot (this includes being warm) there is a vastly increased change the oxygen will bind to wort particles. 

If this happens, the risk is that over time these compounds will begin to break down, adding the oxygen back into the beer. The harm occurs as the oxygen can tend to oxidize the hop and alcohols.

This can produce 'off flavors' which are often described as being like 'wet or damp cardboard' or sherry like.

How to prevent oxygen from getting into your beer


We discussed above that aeration at hot temperatures is undesirable - so cooling your wort quickly is the best thing you can do.

Using a wort chiller will quickly bring your beer down to the right temperature so you can pitch your yeast but before you pitch, it's the time to oxygenate.

Carboys

If your wort is in a glass carboy, cover the mouth of the carboy with a cap and gently rock the carboy back and forth to encourage oxygenation of the wort. You can do this with a plastic fermenter too. 

Just make sure you have a firm grip!

If you're making a beer with a kit, once you have the kit in (along with hops and brew enhancer) then I fill it up with water from the garden hose. This will easily add plenty of oxygen to the wort. 

Once your beer is in the fermenter and fermentation is to begin, it's pretty simple to keep the oxygen out - you need to ensure the drum or carboy is tightly sealed and that your bubble airlock / air vent has water in it.

Then try not to move it again!

When bottling your beer, a bottling wand and a steady hand will help to prevent aeration. Do not leave your filled bottles uncapped for too long either!

stirring wort with a whisk

Other tricks for stirring in oxygen:
  • Use whisk. Get in there and use some elbow grease
  • Use a beer spoon. Not as efficient as a whisk but a strong arm will make some foam
  • Add an agitation rod into a drill such as this mixer.
  • Use a siphon tube to spray the wort into the fermenter
Whichever agitation method s used, make sure that your implement is clean and sanitized to prevent risk of infection

Another great method is to use a pump system for aeration. Check out this instructional video on how to configure the pump.


If using an aquarium fish style pump, you need to make sure the diffusion stone is clean and sanitized and is small enough to fit into the neck of the carboy. The stone also needs to have a small micron level of  between .5 to 2 to ensure lots of gas bubbles are produced.

diffusion stone for wort oxygenation

For best results, aerate your chilled or cool wort for 20-30 minutes.

When racking beer, try not to disturb the beer too much


When you're racking to a secondary fermenter or to your fermenting bucket it's imperative to prevent the liquid from splashing or getting agitated. When using a siphon it's best to keep it smoothly flowing.

Do I have to oxygenate my beer?


No.

You do not need to proactively aerate your beer, fermentation will still occur.

The point of aeration is that you are trying to give the yeast a leg up.

That said, some brewers are known to starve the yeast of oxygen as this assists with the beer profile they desire. This process is called anaerobic fermentation.

How to use foam inhibitor to avoid 'boil over' or a 'krausen explosion'

pot boil over prevention

Beware the krausen! A watched pot never boils right? 


This rule doesn't apply on brewing day.

Even though you are paying keen attention to your boil, it takes but a second for a boil over to happen, making a mess and causing you to lose wort.

But what if there was a way to stop boil over?


Some pundits recommend that you add marbles or ball bearings to the brew to help boil over.

Or use a spray bottle of cold water whenever the foamy beast raises its head.

But if you want to make sure you don't suffer a boil-over, try using a foam inhibitor!

Foam inhibitor or 'defoamer' is a handy trick to keep your beer from boiling over.

A popular product is 'Fermcap-S'. A fancy way to describe it is that it is a "silicone based food-grade emulsion".

There are two main ways to use it - during the boil and during fermentation.

If you choose to use 'Fermcap-S' to prevent boil overs on the hot side, add 2 drops per gallon for a nice rolling boil.

If you wish to use it in your carboy or fermenter to prevent the krausen from escaping the fermenter, then the dosage is only 2 drops at the start of fermentation. If you didn't know, the krausen describes the foamy head that develops on top of fermenting beer.

If you have added your inhibitor during the boil, there is no need to add any to the fermenter as it will carry over.

When used in the fermenter, 'Fermcap-S' increases the bitterness of your beer (retained IBUs) by about 10 percent.

This sounds dandy but why should I use a foam inhibitor?


Boil-overs are more likely to be a problem if you are using a smaller pot. Users of fermcap have reported being able to make a 5.5 gallon batch in a 7 gallon pot.

While mess is annoying, the real reason you want to prevent this is that the foaming can cause any top-fermenting yeast to be expelled from the fermenter before it can do its job in the wort. 

This then requires the rest of the yeast to work harder to achieve the final terminal gravity which will not necessarily occur if yeast lost has been significant.

There is also another sweet effect of using an inhibitor like Fermcap it actually can help retain the IBUS from the hops - that is to say, it can help your beer become even more bitter when the product is added to the primary fermenter.

Beer is supposed to be foamy! This seems an odd product to use?


Using anti foam may seem to be a counter-intuitive idea. It would seem fair to consider that putting something in wort or fermenting beer to control foam will also kill the head on the finished product.

However, when anti-foams are used properly, quite the opposite is true!

Using vegetable based defoamer


Instead of silicone based products, you can also try vegetable oil versions.

Vegetable oil is a known yeast nutrient and will be consumed by the yeast during fermentation of beer before bottling or kegging.

Commercial breweries use it


Big commercial breweries often use defoamers and anti-foamers as part of their beer processing but given that it's not really within the spirit of purity brewing, it appears not many commercial operations will freely admit to adding silicone based products to their beer!

So what are you waiting for? Here's the cheapest Fermcap I have found on Amazon!

Begun, the beer wars have


Begun, the beer wars have.

Actually, this has been happening for a while now.

Big commercial brewers versus the little guy.

Big commercial brewers buying up the little guy.

Big commercial brewers trying to trademark beer lingo like radler.

And everyone hates them for it.

So when Tui attempted to bully Moa brewery a few years back, Moa stood up for themselves in a deliciously brilliant way.

While they are not the littlest guy, let's call them a mid-strength brand. They are on the NZ share market, and at the time of Tui's dig, there was nothing spectacular about their share price but they were slowly picking up sales around the world.

Either way, the diss Tui made as part of their famous yeah right campaign was worty of a retort.

If you haven't read the above very word image, do it now. You'll see the story play out really well. Moa is making the point that Tui is part of a world conglomerate where there a layers of corporations and SHAREHOLDERS.

So attempting to pick on a small fish for their share performance is somewhat ironic and amounts to a form of corporate bullying.

It's also amusing as if we are comparing the flavour of Tui to Moa's product, it's this humble drinker's opinion that Moa has the superior product range.

Sure, Tui was a beer I swilled back in my University days (where my Speights drinking mate used to say of Tui beer, "Tui is a bird and let's leave it at that". And that's about what it's still great for, binge drinking at a Uni Bar or a party or summer BBQ somewhere.

Hey don't get me wrong, Lion Nathan who is owned by mega-sized Japanese company Kirin still make Steinalager, which despite its massive commercialization, it's one of the best beers around. Other drinkers will disagree but for this drinker, there's something really special about that first taste of a cold bottle at the end of the day.

The horror, the horror of Garage Project's decision to withdraw Death From Above

death from above garage project


"Death from Above" has been one of Garage Project's most well known beers for a couple of years now. We've extremely enjoyed the odd bottle when we've had the cash to spare for it was a pricey wee brew, often cited at 12 dollars a bottle in the Supermarkets of Wellington.

It was officially described by Garage Project in it's tasting notes:

"Big, juicy, death. The ultimate combination of fruity, herbal, spicy, and citrus. DFA is largely herbal on the nose with the Vietnamese Mint rearing to go, being pushed up and out of the glass by the also bold mango aroma."

And it was paired with a label which had flash backs to Vietnam War era imagery of a Helicopter reigning Death From Above with Napalm.

It quickly became a very popular beer around Wellington and beyond.

Well it used be popular until Garage Project brewer and co-founder Pete Gillespie completely lost his nerve and withdrew his companies most popular beer from sale as a result of a single contact by an Australian woman.

Brewer Pete Gillespie is reported by Stuff as saying that "ending the beer was his personal reaction to the letter from a Australian woman of Vietnamese descent."

He's also on the record as saying "She wrote a very long and detailed letter to us explaining how upset she was and how the imagery and name had triggered things in her."

I wonder if this woman has also written to every Hollywood film producer who ever released a movie about Vietnam. I wonder if she has written to every author of everybook about the Vietnam War? Has she asked for any books or films in her local library to be removed so that young children are not triggered too? Has she written to Netflix to ask the to stop streaming it's war films?

It's my view that while one can defend movies and books as really exploring the issues surrounding Vietnam as being more 'proper' in taste and treatment of the issue, the moment you publish for profit, everything is in the camp, whether it a beer or the Platoon movie.

I appreciate the letter writer may well have some residual issues with her possible experience with the Vietnam War (it's not made clear and the use of 'Vietnamese decent' suggest may may have born in Australia) but come on.

Unlike Death From Above, Gillespie appears to lack some balls.

What's quite amusing is that when the beer was first released to the market 4 years ago, it was met with some quite verbal resistance from the Returned Servicemen Association.

At the time of release the RSA president Don McIver, who served in the Vietnam War, said he found the advertisement "cheap" and "disrespectful", although he noted New Zealand never used napalm. "It seems to me this is almost celebrating it. It's terrible stuff - I don't agree with it."

Garage Project's other co-founder Jos Ruffell responded at the time that the promotion was "a playful pop culture reference" to to the classic war film "Apocalypse Now". That movie famously opens with an attack which uses napalm.

So let's get this straight.

On release of the beer, the RSA, a respected New Zealand society group that represents soldiers who fought in the Vietnam war makes their displeasure known and Garage Project responds by say it's just referencing a movie.

But now when an AUSTRALIAN of Vietnamese decent says she was 'TRIGGERED', they take their beer off the market?

It just makes Garage Project look like hypocrites and their decision is almost a double insult to the RSA!

We imagine Death from Above clones are about to become pretty popular recipes!

I note that Garage project have deleted all references to the beer from their website however by the power of google cache, I found a deleted blog which actually covered the inspiration of the name:

"The beer was originally going to be called Hopocalypse Now, a hoppy pun pop reference to the cult movie by Francis Ford Coppola. The only problem was that there are 12 other Hopocalypse beers in the world. Perhaps one more wouldn’t have mattered - but not everyone agreed with us. So we made the decision to change the name to Death from Above, the motto of the US Airborne Division, a lateral reference to the famous Ride of the Valkyries scene from Apocalypse Now… and the name of a jolly good band into the bargain"

The post also said "It was never meant to be a controversial brew. It is just meant to be a good beer."

So there's that.


Maybe Gillespie and Reffell can reconsidered their decision and come back with the originally intended name?

Either way, based on comments around the social media traps, I suspect that Garage Project has lost a small amount of goodwill.

There is another possible, less 'genuine' reason - simple marketing and brand promotion.

 It could be that Garage Project have decided withdraw the beer from the mark - maybe it was too expensive to make, not actually selling well. To make this call by way of 'The Letter' gives the brand some publicity - and a chance to increase short term sales before they sell out of the drop - and thus giving extra interest in what ever new beer the team has up their sleeve.

Time will tell.

Update:

The beer has been reborn and repackaged as 'DFA' which means Demus Favorem Amori, Latin for “we choose to stand for love”. Quite the turn around eh?

DFA DEATH FROM ABOVE


Article has been edited slightly in response to some thoughts raised on social media.

Using Malic Acid with wine to reduce the pH level

using malic acid to reduce pH in wine

How to manage pH levels with malic acid 


Did you ever see that episode of Knight Rider when K.I.T.T. was placed in an acid bath and he left simply a shell of a car?

Yeah?

Well, don't use that acid when making wine, perhaps use malic acid instead.

Malic acid is an acid that is found in fruit and quite commonly in grapes and apples. Have you ever had a Granny Smith apple and found it to be quite sour?

That's the malic acid at work. It's quite similar to citric acid in that sense.

As such it's used in all kinds of foods to give that tart flavor. Ever tasted 'Salt and Vinegar' chips?

That's not just vinegar you're tasting...

So why would one use malic acid when brewing wine? 


It's a very handy compound for reducing the pH level of wine.

All good brewers know that both beer, cider, and wine need to be within certain pH level otherwise, the tasting experience will be horrible. The acidity works to counter the sweetness and bitter components of the wine such as tannins.

A wine that features too much acidity will taste extremely sour and sharp and produce a physical response from the mouth and tongue. A wine with not enough acid present will taste somewhat flabby and flat and its intended flavor will hard to discern.

This is why so many wine makers use pH testers (such as the Apera) to ensure their wine is in the correct range.

A word to the wise. If your wine is going to undergo malolactic fermentation (such as red or sparkling) do not add extra malic acid as this will convert to lactic acid.

Which wines suit the addition of malic acid?

  • Most reds
  • Rieslings
  • Gewurztraminer
  • Muscat 

When do I add acid to the wine?


Malic or tartaric acids may be added either before or after primary fermentation.

They can also be added during any blending or aging periods, but the increased acidity will become more noticeable to the drinker.

How much malic to add to the must?


It's a general rule of thumb that 3.4 grams per gallon will adjust the acidity by +.1%. 

It will lower pH less than tartaric acid will which is why some wine makers prefer to use that acid.

Order your acid from Amazon.

What is malolactic fermentation?


Malolactic fermentation or conversion is the chemical process in winemaking where the malic acid that is naturally present in grapes, is converted to lactic acid

Fermentation is caused by a family of bacteria known as lactic acid bacteria.

Malolactic fermentation usually occurs as a secondary fermentation shortly after the end of the primary fermentation. The process is usually undertaken for the vast majority of red wines produced. Some white varieties such as Chardonnay use it as a byproduct of the reaction is a diacetyl which imparts the 'buttery' flavor associated with Chardonnay.

This process helps give the wine a good 'mouth feel' which is something all good beer brewers appreciate.

If you're wondering how beer makers can reduce bitterness and pH levels, they can use gypsum salt and calcium chloride.