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↣ How long can I leave beer in the primary fermenter?


What is the risk of leaving a beer in the primary fermenter too long?


One can leave the beer in the primary fermenter as long as one needs. There is no maximum time limit, though there a couple of risks to keep in mind.

Many brewers simply follow the beer recipe or instructions on the malt kit and leave their wort to ferment for around a week to ten days. This usually allows enough time for fermentation to have completed.

And technically that's OK, and it's time to bottle.

But the mystery and muscle of brewing beer is that there is a whole range of chemical processes happening in that wort you're fermenting. Sure the yeast may have produced enough alcohol to make a good drop of beer but there are still a few things that happen.

The longer you leave your beer, the more chance the yeast has to get rid of smells and other leftovers from the fermentation process.

A great example of this is the presence of acetaldehyde in the wort. This chemicals forms at the beginning of the fermentation process. It tastes like sour green apple and is not really conducive to a good brew.

What's the best way to get rid of this apple taste? 

Let the yeast take the time to convert it into ethanol (alcohol).

So leaving your beer for longer than the recommended instructions on the tin of the beer kit is pretty much a smart move. Frankly, given the benefit to the beer and thus the kit manufacturer's reputation, I do not know why they don't frame the time as a minimum.

That said, when I followed Te Aro's brewing instructions for their Obligatory ale, I made damn good beer.

Exceptions aside, the longer you condition your beer, the greater reduction in acetaldehyde that will occur and the beer your beer will take.

Stout beers have even more to work through so they can happily take longer in the primary.

Another benefit of leaving the beer in the primary for longer is that there is a greater chance that your beer will clear more sediment, thus giving you clear beer

Many a brewer likes to see their lager look like a lager - that classic light yellow / orange combo. Sure, some wheat beers can be a bit hazy. And the end of the day this comes down to personal preference as the beer taste is not generally affected.

What about extra long times?

Many brewers have reported leaving batches for months and suffered no issues. I'd reason though that the beer was stored in a cool place - a beer wort left in a hot environment is sure to fail as the yeast would probably get cooked. 

There is an issue that can happen called autolysis. 

This is when the yeast cells die, giving off some potentially off flavours. These could be hydrolytic enzymes, lipids, and metal cations that can contribute to off flavour. If you've made a healthy batch with a quality yeast, pitched at a good temperature and brewed in a stable environment, then the risks of autolysis are quite low. 

If you are quite concerned about this, you could counter by racking your beer to a secondary, thus removing the yeast cake from the equation.

It's important to note, the same process begins again when the beer is bottle conditioned - more sugar is added to the beer for the yeast to eat - this is because CO2 is the by-product of fermentation and is trapped in the beer. Most beers strongly benefit from being bottle conditioned for three weeks before consumption.

How to properly clean and sanitize your fermenter drum post a brew

Don't leave your spoon in the drum!
How to properly clean and sanitize your plastic beer fermenting drum after brewing a batch of yummy beer


This post will help you properly clean and sanitize your fermenter after you've finished brewing.

Note that we said both clean and sanitize.

This is because while cleanliness is next to godliness, clean is not good enough to kill and remove bugs and bacteria that may lurk in the tiny scratches of your beer fermenter.

This is basically a 'suck eggs' post - we sound like your mother telling you to clean your room but dude or dudette, you gotta clean up after yourself!

Cleaning your fermenter


It's our practice that when we have finished bottling that last beer, we clean the fermenter to remove all the scum and fermentation residue that has collected on the inside of the drum. If you do this now rather than in a few days or weeks or months ...it will be a much easier job.

First up, I dump what's left at the bottom of the drum on the vegetable garden as I suspect that's quite nutritious for the plants.

Then I grab the garden hose and clean the drum out.

Kill the bugs until they are dead


Then I get a kettle of still hot and boiled water and dump it in and then I add a large spoonful of sodium percarbonate.

I then seal the drum and shake it vigorously. The heat from the boiled and sodium will act as a cleanser. I then drain and put the drum in a clean spot ready until I need to use it (at which point I will give it a another proper dose of sanitation. 

You could use some ordinary house hold detergent to clean the drum but it could leave smells and residue behind. If you do choose to do this, don't use a harsh scrubbing brush as that could put tiny scratches in the fermenter.

These scratch marks could make a nice home for unfriendly bacteria so bear that in mind.

We suggest you use a clean rag. Or your best linen, we're not fussy. 

You could also implement a scorched earth policy and use something stronger to clean your fermenter. Caustic soda or bleach based cleaners could be used, but again I would caution on residues.

As with all chemical agents, be careful when using them and take precautions such as using eyewear and gloves.

The call to action:


If your beer fermenter has had its day in the 'beer making sun' and you need a replacement, order one online

We mentioned gloves - you can get boxes and boxes of them cheaply from Amazon.

↠ The best way to properly store opened beer hops




What is the best way to store opened beer hops?


Today I brewed an ale. After I added the deliciously smelling Cascade hops, I wondered if my my trick of storing the left over hops in the freezer was actually a good storage method.

You see, when I first used hops with a brew, that's the first thing that came to mind to do (maybe I was thinking about coffee or batteries) and I've done it ever since without a further thought. 

Is this an OK way to store the hops?

Are there better ways to care for hops?

Do different hops need different storage methods?

These are the questions that I started to ponder.

So, to save you the hassle, I've done some research into the best ways to store beer hops. And when I say research, I mean I just did some reading on the internet.

Because beer brewing only needs to be simple and not over thought.

But first we need to take a moment to discuss why the home brewer wants to preserve their hops.

It's because they lose their bittering qualities over time, and their essential oils degrade and this means you might not get the desired brewing flavours if you used hops that have deteriorated.

Fresh is best as they say.

So what's the answer to storing hops then?


Turns out freezing hops is actually a popular trick with beer brewers!

This is what you can do and pretty much all you need to do.

Take your left over beer hops and place them in a zip-lock bag. Remove the excess air, seal and place in the freezer until required.

If you want to go all 'professional' you could use a vacuum sealer to remove all the air.

In such cases, you might not need to freeze the hops if the sealing has been done properly, but it wouldn't hurt.

You can also refrigerate the hops. Again, put them in a zip lock bag and remove as much air as possible. I read that hops can stay fresh for up to a year this way.

That trick would seem to rely on there being hardly any air in the bag!

Extra for Experts:

How to dry hop your beer
How to add hops to the beer kit's wort
Where to buy beer hops online

↠ Best Grain Mills to crush your grains

best grain mills for malt and barley


Have you ever heard the expression, "that's grist for the mill?"

Its origins relate to corn being the grist that was taken to the mill. In the more modern use, grist is something that it is useful for a particular purpose. 

Which is just an excuse to talk about the best grist mills to mill grain with so that you can brew fabulous beers!

There's a little bit to think about when buying a mill and you should ask yourself the following kinds of questions
  • Can the mill handle the volume of grain you want to run through?
  • Can you adjust the mill gap to ensure the grains are cracked and not crushed?
  • Can you upgrade it as you go along?
  • How does it get mounted? Does it need or come with screws?
  • How affordable is the unit? 
  • Do you plan to use it long-term, what are quality considerations?
Or you can just have a look and compare between these top-rated units:


Here's some specifications of these three handy mills.

The 'Barley Crusher'


barley crusher malt mill
The Malt Mill 'Barly Crusher' is Northern Brewer's most popular mill due to it being a high-quality mill that is clean, durable and most importantly, it's hop will help you crush 7 pounds of grain.

Features:
  • Solid base fits easily on a standard 6.5 gallon fermenting bucket.
  • Adjustable rollers with a .015 to .070 range.
  • Materials that will last a lifetime: 1018 Cold Rolled Steel for the rollers, 6061 Aluminum for the mill body and hopper, tool steel for the axles with oil-impregnated bronze bushings.
  • 5-inch rollers have a 12 TPI knurl that pulls grain through while leaving the hull intact to form an excellent filter bed for sparging.
  • Large hopper holds approximately 7 pounds of grain.
  • Includes a hand-crank but no adapters are needed to use a 3/8 drill motor; using a 3/8 drill motor at 500 RPM gives a throughput of 6 pounds a minute.

Genuine Amazon reviews left by happy grain millers:

  • "This mill pounds through grain like a champ. There's no going back to my old Corona mill."
  • "The malt was nicely crushed, with husks moderately broken up, and endosperms exposed and cracked. My efficiency got a big boost- I got roughly 81% compared to the 63 to 73% I was getting before."
  • "Far more than looks, this thing consistently and smoothly grinds my grains. I run the grain through twice and have the husks beautifully unbroken and ready for mashing."
  • "Great barley crusher, very fast. This is great for increasing your mash efficiency."



Kegco KM7GM-2R Grain Mill 



The Kegco KM7GM-2R Grain Mill is a sturdy mill with an aluminium hopper that can hold up to 7 lbs of grains.

Featuring an alloy block frame that houses two steel rollers on stainless steel ball bearings. The drive shaft and all axles are integral to the roller, which makes it possible to drive the mill clockwise or counter-clockwise. 

A traditional hand crank is included, but a handy feature is that the mill can be easily motorized with a drill. No extra parts or attachments are required, you simply attach the drill as you would a drill bit. Charge your drill battery well!

Stainless knurled knobs allow a gap spacing adjustment range of .070". 

This unit is designed to crack grain, not flour.

Adjusting is simple - just loosen the adjustment screws, adjust the gap and tighten the adjustment screws. You will need to supply or build a base to set the mill over a grain bin or 5 gallon bucket. Sounds like a deal!

Ferroday Stainless 2-roller Homebrew Grinder

ferroday grain mill
The Ferroday is a no-nonsense mill is made of hardened stainless steel, The roller size is 5" long and 1.25" in diameter and the crank shaft has a 3/8" diameter.

The roller is adjustable so you can select your crush settings. The unit weighs 6.6 pounds.


If you've got some questions about using mills, we've got the answers:

Why do I need to mill my grain?


A beer mill allows you to crack your grains right before you brew so that you can retain freshness. Possession of a mill will allow you enable you to purchase more affordable unmilled grain in bulk thus saving you money in the long run.

When should I mill the grain?


It's best to mill your grain as close as possible to brewing day. Many brewers do it a couple of days beforehand so that they don't have to do it on brewing day. It's a long process which just adds to the length of brew days - and those brewers who don't have eight hours on a Saturday to play around with, shorten the process by milling earlier.

If you are unable to actually mill your grain,  you may want to delay your purchase as long as possible so that you can be confident that you have the freshest grains. If you are happy buying milled grain, then you may want to consider investing in a wort chiller or decent mash tun as they are crucial to brewing success.

Coarse or finely milled grain milling?


A grain mill that is appropriate for crushing barley for a mash is usually referred to as a 'grist mill'.

The mill needs to be set 'open' enough that the husk of the barley seed will crack open, but will not be torn apart. The goal of milling is to crack the grain kernels open, rather than pulverizing them into dust. By leaving the husks intact they serve as a filter bed during the sparge process.

Should you grind the grain much too finely, you run the risk of developing a stuck sparge, where the wort will not flow as intended through the grain.

Where should I mill grain?


Most brewers choose to mill outside, over a big bucket. The mess can begin when you dump the grain out of its sack - and that alone can justify your decision to mill outside!

Can I mash grain without a mill?


If you find yourself without a mill, you can try using a rolling pin. The rolling pin should at least crack the grain open. You might try crushing the grain on top of a thin towel. The towel will stop the grain from rolling around while you try to crush it. This 'rolling pin method' is very time consuming so I'd personally discount it as a method for the long term. 

Many a brave brewer has used a food processor and you can give it a whirl but be wary of over processing the grain.

How can I hook my drill up to the mill?


It's a simple trick to use you ordinary handyman drill to get the mill turning over. Here's a great example of how to set up the drill:

how to connect a drill to a mill

Can I interest you in a ph Meter or the best burner for brewing with?


>> What are the best beer kits to use for brewing?

best home brew beer kits to try

There is a great range of beer kits to use for home brewing


The best thing about beer kit selection is that it all depends on what kind of beer you want to make. 

So the choice is up to you.

No one wants to screw up their beer, they just want a great tasting beer that they can share with their mates.

Or drink it all themselves while watching the Footy. 

But you gotta make that choice.

So.


Are you after a hearty ale or a light lager? 


Maybe ever something more fancy like a 'saison' which seems to be all the rage at the moment?

There are many kinds of beer kits from all kinds of sellers. They are all intended to be used to make great tasting beer so let’s review a selection of the best beer kits and see if we can find the best one for you.

Things to consider first when buying a beer kit


What kind of beer do you want to brew from a kit?


Beer kits are made to cover just about every beer style that there is. 

If you are a beginner brewer we would recommend that you go for a more darker beer like an ale or stout (we love nut brown ales with some fuggle hops ourselves). 

This is because it's more likely you will get a better tasting beer, especially as most first time brewers will not be patient enough to wait for their lagers to properly age!! 

Speaking of lager...

Is the kit reasonably fresh?

If it’s been sitting under the kitchen sink for three years the ingredients may not be in an optimum state and the condition of the yeast will certainly be questionable.

You want your beer kit to be in the best state so as they say, fresh is best. When making your purchase feel free to inquire with the seller or check the batch data.

If it’s old, show the kit the door.

If you are buying from a popular beer speciality store or online site, chances are you will be buying a product of an appropriate age and there should be no reason for you to wonder.

One handy trick brewers often do is discard the yeast pack that comes with the beer kit and instead they add their own fresh yeast they have sourced elsewhere, the Safale yeast is a popular choice with homebrewers.


Many brewers believe that the yeast in beer kits are not as good as speciality yeasts. We say each to their own, and if you can afford it, go for it.

Lager beer kits


Lagers can be a challenge to make as they need lower temperatures during fermentation to achieve the desire result.

Since lagers are light in body it is very easy to tell a lager that has been fermented at too warm a temperature as they may taste too fruity or spicy due to too much ester production.

So what are some good beer kits to use to make a lager?


Getting the malt ready
The very first lager I ever made was a Black Rock Lager with beer enhancer and Dr Rudi Hops. I have no idea who Doctor Rudi is but he sure helped make a good beer! 

I’ve used plenty of Black Rock Kits and they are just the best for basic home brewing and produce very drinkable beers. 

You could think of these kits as being your 'standard' kit - nothing to fancy but you can be confident they will help you produce good beer.

You’ll also find that Cooper’s DIY Lager is well worth a crack – we do recommend you add some hops of course! We did a great brew of a Cooper's larger with the combination of both Moteuka and Saaz hops

Cooper’s kits have been reviewed by drinkers as being “a great beer to start with for new brewers and veterans alike. The flavor is very smooth, has a creamy head and ends with a slight bitterness.”

Another popular choice in the American home brewers market is the Munton’s Premium Lager Kit, which has a 5 star review on Amazon


What are the popular ale kits? Is IPA the way to go?


Some of the tastiest beverages around are ales. There’s something about them that just makes you feel good when drinking them (other than the obvious alcohol effect!).

They are hearty to drink, and pair well with many food dishes.

A well-crafted ale can explore all kinds of taste sensations and they are certainly a great session beer where you can just get on them.

Also, the best ale kits are pretty forgiving to brewing mistakes and they are also able to be brewed at warmer temperatures than those pesky and pernickety lagers ;).

So what are the best ale kits?


We are going to focus on the IPA, the good old Indian Pale Ale.

A style of apparently that was apparently invented by the British during their efforts to colonize India, the IPA is a hoppy style beer from the pale ale family.

There are three kinds of IPA’s American-style, English-style, and Double or Imperial. All have good things going for them, especially Mr Beer’s Diablo IPA.

It is a very popular beer kit. It has been described as being “a very nice dark ale with subtle hints of winter spices, and takes kindly to many different yeasts.”

Get your thrills from your pils (kits)


Let’s have a think about Pilsner beer kits.

Hand tip - use a hydrometer to check the gravity
The pilsner style is arguably the most successful beer style in the world with some counts suggesting that 9 out of 20 beers is from the pils family or a style derived from it.

Take that with a grain of malt, but there’s no doubt as to the popularity of a good pils (if you ever get the chance, try the Three Boys Pils, it’s one of our personal favourites).

The pilsner has a long history coming out of Germany. The modern pilsner has a very light, clear colour from pale to golden yellow. It will usually have distinct hop aroma and flavour.

Pilsner beers have become nearly synonymous with the four so called 'noble hops'. These are varieties of hop called Terrnanger, Spalt, Hallertauer and Saaz.

So what are the best pilsner beer kits? 


Here's a handy selection of the popular sellers on Amazon:


Stout beers are... strong!


You may always want to try a stout.

Stouts are not for the shy beer drinker, they are a full on ‘meal’ in a glass. A dark beer, they are often 7 or 8 percent ABV and have been around as a beer style since the late 1600s.

The stout, like most beer families, comes in a variety of styles. Milk stouts, Irish, Porters and oatmeal are popular versions.

The most well-known Irish stout is the Guinness Draft, the most drunk beer around the world on Saint Patrick's day!

There’s even a method of brewing stout that uses oysters but we recommend the home brewer stay away from adding some of Bluff’s finest export to their brews!

Stouts will often use East Kent Goldings hops but the classic Fuggle hop is used, as are several others.

So what are the best stouts to homebrew from a kit?


Here's a handy selection of popular options from Amazon.



So there you go, there are plenty of quality beer kits to choose from. What to choose depends on what kind of beer you want and how much you want to spend!

We would recommend you go with popular beer kits when you are starting out.

This way you can have some confidence that many brewers have been there before and voted with their wallets as to the quality and taste of the kits.

Always bear in mind that having a good kit is not a guarantee of success – attention to good brewing technique and adhering to the mantra of sanitizing your equipment are also fundamental to the chances of brewing a tasty beverage! A good choice of hops will go a long way too - our Riwaka hops experiment was a great success.

↠ Do I really have to sanitise all my beer brewing equipment?

sanitization of beer brewing equipment

Yes you do bloody have to clean, sanitize and sterilize your beer brewing equipment, right down to the bottle caps and stirring spoon.


There are plenty of tricks and cheats you can do to product quality tasting beer but the one thing you can't escape from is the proper cleaning, sanitizing and sterilization of your beer gear.

There's a difference between sanitizing and sterilizing

Sanitizing is a technical term that means a certain allowable amount of microbes to survive on the surface of your equipment.

Sterilizing is like sanitizing, but it removes all the microorganisms (the bugs and germs that will ruin your beer).

 Do I have to sanitize my brewing equipment every time I make beer?Think of washing your hands with hot water and soap as sanitization as it kills a few bugs but not all and is an acceptable means of cleaning your hands.

If you want to kill all the bugs on your hand so the skin is sterile with no bugs on it anywhere, then I suggest you boil your hands in water...

For the most part, the typical homebrewers don't need to sterilize, only sanitize. The chemicals commonly used for homebrew brewing are made to sanitize.

Now we've got those definitions clear, there are several methods that you can try to 'sterilize' your gear.

We'll note a couple in detail:

You can drown everything in bleach

A cheap and cost effective way to get your gear free of bugs is to drown your gear in bleach.

But what is bleach?

Bleach is usually a solution of chemicals such as sodium hypochlorite or hydrogen peroxide and they act as an oxidizing agent. They are great for all kinds of things such as removing bad smells, making your whites whiter and your brights brighter and for home brewing.

A popular American brand of bleach is Chlorox but there are hundreds of brands of bleach you could use.

As with all these sterilizing methods, you simply soak your equipment in the solution for a good length of time. A quick dip of ten minutes is the bare minimum.

We try and do several hours of soaking if possible.

The trick with bleach is to remember that you need to rinse everything off with clean water after. This is done to ensure that no yucky flavours left over from the bleach make it into your batch of beer. 

Use sodium percarbonate as a sanitizing agent

Using sodium percarbonate is our preferred method as it works well, no rinse is required and it's very easy to order in bulk online.

If you've ever tried to buy sodium percarbonate from a specialist beer brewery shop, you'll know that you can get a small bottle or container of it that will cost you a small fortune.

If you can buy it in bulk from an online supplier, you'll do well to nab some as using it will effectively bring down your cost per brew. 

To use sodium percarbonate you simply add it to water. I like to add hot or ever boiling water to the drum so as to get the action of the chemical happening pretty quickly. The boiling water also helps kill off any nasty bugs hiding about as well. 
using sodium percarbonate to steralise beer equipment
A home brand with sodium percabonate.

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

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.

Non scented house brands are awesome.

Other methods of sanitisation and sterilization
  • Applying heat - use your oven for a good dry heat.
  • Boiling in water with your camping stove or burner
  • Use an autoclave or pressure cooker (this seems like a bit of overkill though)
  • An ordinary house dishwasher machine can be used for sanitation
The key goal here is to make sure that your equipment is nice and clean and that it has a few microbes on it is possible. You can use whatever means you like to achieve this but you have to do it and you must be consistent.

You cannot take a break from it. If you want a good tasting beer that's not contaminated then you just have to take the plunge. 

Image credit Anna L Martin as per Creative Commons License

⇒ Best propane gas burners for home brewing

When a dedicated home brewer decides to grow up and move out of their kitchen (or their partner gives them the boot to the shed...) they stop using the stove or cooktop and look to using a burner that will give out some serious heat on brew day. 

Because there's nothing worse than waiting around for the wort to finally boil. 

A good burner will allow for an even heat distribution, prevent scorching of the bottom of the wort and speed up the boil. That's where having a strong British Thermal Unit (BTU) heat output rating can help.

Brewing outside also gives you more space, more freedom and a floor that you don't need to clean up when you make a mess with a boilover or whatever.  

A handy portable propane burner should get your wort boiling in around 15 minutes or less and last if you've gone for a quality purchase, it should last you many years.

But enough of this chit chat.

Here are our best rated gas burners:


Brand
BTU
Price Comparison
55,000
Low
140,000
High
72,000
High
200,000
Mid Range

Burner specifications below, and reviewer commentary!

Blichmann HellFire Floor Burner


The Blichmann is the kind of unit that Tim 'The Toolman" Taylor would approve of.

If you want a quality burner that goes all the way up to 'eleven', here it is:


Blichmann Hell Fire Floor Burner review


The Blichmann burner is designed to operate in two use modes. The high-efficiency mode can be used when you just need to 'cook something'.  In the high power mode, you can produce a massive 140,000 British Thermal Units per hour output for literal blazing fast heating.

This is code for your brewing boils will occur a lot faster than you might be used to.

When using the unit's 'high efficiency mode', you'll still get a not-to-be-sneezed at 80,000 BTU/hr and superb heat transfer to the wort and whisper quiet operation. That's enough energy to maintain a rolling boil on a 20 gallon batch of beer.

Amazon reviews are really positive:

"The burner its self is beyond belief. I currently do 5 gallon batches but want to start 10 gallon batches. This is overkill for a 5 gallon batch. I did a full volume boil and had the burner about 25%. Nice rolling boil in about 10 minutes or less. The control is fantastic, goes really low to "holy crap the house is on fire" in seconds. "

"This thing is a volcano. Awesome burner!"

Coming in at a sturdy 29 pounds this unit is designed for propane use but an adapter kit for natural gas can be purchased.

Check out the price on Amazon

Need more power? Even Tim Taylor gets nervous when thinking about the

GAS ONE 200,000 BTU Square Heavy- Duty Single Burner Outdoor Stove




This Gas One propane gas cooker comes with an adjustable 0-20PSI regulator with steel braided hose and is just the ticket for brewers wanting to get the boil - and at 200,000 BTU this thing could probably inflate and launch a hot air balloon!

A sturdy and durable design, it is made of cast iron so you know it's going to long-lasting 

The fully adjustable heat-control regulator knob allows you to simply regulate the heat output.

The high-pressure burner output of maximum of 200,000 BTU, means it will cook just about anything - so it's handy for camping and outdoor recreation. 

The manufacturer, GasOne, consider that 'safety and heat go hand in hand. The burner is accompanied by a 0-20 PSI, CSA approved pressure regulator which controls gas and pressure flow, ensuring a secure experience with your burner. The regulator uses an O-ring to prevent any gas leakage.'

Amazon Reviews from actual users of the Gas One:


"This is a HOT burner. Heated my 15 gallons of beer to boiling easily. The stand is sturdy"

"While this burner is a little pricey compared to some its totally worth the money. Really well built with a heavy duty frame and the large burner is great!"

"Wow I didn't expect it to be so big. I'm using it to brew beer and it's plenty big enough to hold a 10 gallon kettle. It's soooo rigid too. I would guess it weighs about 30lbs. With 200,000 BTU it heats water real quick too. I love it. Would definitely recommend."

So, some pretty satisfied Amazon buyers there!

Check out the price on Amazon

Bayou Classic Single Burner Patio Stove

bayou classic gas burner

The Bayou Classic is known as the classic quality burner because it simply does what it does as a single burner unit.

With a 55,000 BTU rating, it suits smaller brews or those with slightly more patience in the boil time.

Don't be confused though, the 16 square inch cooking surface allows for good efficiency of heat spread and it should accommodate any style pot or kettle.

It's very portable unit at just over 19 pounds / 8 kilograms.

Amazon Reviews from actual users of the Bayou Classis:


"I originally tried boiling 7 gallons of water to test and it took me 45 minutes, which was too long. I called the 800 number and customer service was great, they told me to stop being a chicken and feel free to turn the hose control all the way on, as I had only went about half ways because the flame was already pretty intense and pretty loud. So I tried again, went full blast, and got to boil with a new batch of 7 gallons of water in about 12 minutes. Perfect!"

"The 15.5 gallon keg sits perfectly on the burner. It sits nice and sturdy. The paint on the burner does burn off the first time you use it, and the scent is pretty noticeable, but oh well, as long as it gets the job done. Just brewed my first all-grain beer on it, and I'm looking forward to the next brew day!"

"Originally tried boiling 7 gallons of water to test and it took me 45 minutes, which was too long. I called the 800 number and customer service was great, they told me to stop being a chicken and feel free to turn the hose control all the way on, as I had only gone about half ways because the flame was already pretty intense and pretty loud. So I tried again, went full blast, and got to boil with a new batch of 7 gallons of water in about 12 minutes. Perfect!"

"I use this for brewing beer. It brought my 7 gallons of wort to a boil in no time and heated my water to strike temp in about ten minutes (maybe less?). The flame is super easy to control, which makes preventing a boil over much easier. The construction is very sturdy, and the burner is plenty big enough to hold a 15 or 20 gallon brew kettle if need be. Another plus, the burner came already assembled. All I needed to do was screw in the hose and it was done. I opened the package and had the thing lit up for my brew day thirty minutes later!"

Check out the current price on Amazon


Edelmetall Brü Burner


Edelmetall Brü Burner


If there was ever a burner made by beer brewers for beer brewers, the Edelmetall Brü Burner is without question, the champion burner. Nothern Brewer market this feisty unit as "The last propane burner you’ll ever need—or want—to buy"

Which seems a bold claim but when you consider that it is fair 72,000 BTU and features a Precise needle valve that banishes boilovers and allows for crucial adjustments you see why brewers marvel in online forums about this unit.

Says one user "It is far superior to any others I have had and brings water to a hard boil quickly. The flame is easy to control. It is sturdy and reliable"

Even though it's designed for beer making, you can, of course, use the unit for the good old turkey frying.

The stainless steel and copper finish sets this unit apart from other burners. 

Check the price on Amazon.



Common questions about burners that buyers might want to consider


What are BTU and why should I care when buying a burner?


British Thermal Unit is a traditional unit of heat. It is defined as the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. It is commonly used in the United States and many burners and grills will be rated in terms of BTU output.

The higher the BTU, the more heat can be released and the higher cooking temperature can be attained.

If you've ever heard the expression about not watching a kettle boil, you won't need to if you grill has some BTU power!

What about brewing safety on brew day?


There are always risks of using gas when cooking such as leaks, split piping, touching hot elements and surprise boil overs. 

To our mind, the real risk is children getting too close to the action. A brew day can be several hours of hot instruments and the risk of small hands getting burnt is real.

We strongly recommend that you don't let your little ones anywhere near the burners on brew day. 

Is burner height important?


If we are thinking in the brewing context there are a couple of things to think about when it comes to the height at which the burner sits off ground. 

Outdoor burners normally have been designed with higher legs. When brewing you want large pot you are boiling to not easily topple over so a lower base will offer that desired sturdiness. 

If you intend to use a burner designed explicitly for camping, be wary as its height may be too much. This one is probably too easy to overthink. If you are placing the burner on a flat and stable surface, you're probably good to go. 

Do I need a windshield to protect the gas flame?


The choice is optional to use a plate windshield to prevent gusts of wind hampering your burner's flame. Most burners have the burner set below the 'wind line' of so that the flame is protected. You can, however, use plate shields to protect from an extinguished flame.

It probably depends on the environment where you are brewing. If you're brewing in a backyard that's fully fenced off, you might be protected well enough from the elements.

To what kind of bottle do I connect my burner?


You connect your burners to the standard gas bottle that you would hook up to your BBQ. The regulators are generally universal across products.

If you will be using an LPG source, you will need to purchase an adaptor. This is because LPG is a bit different from propane on the gas spectrum and so their respective appliances are designed differently due to different operational needs of the gas.

⇒ How do I tell if my beer fermented properly? (I really want to drink it)

how to tell if beer fermented

How can I tell if my beer has fermented?

Fermentation is the name of the game when making beer.

If you don't have fermentation taking place, you simply don't have beer.

You have just have a 23 liter bucket of watery malt.

Homebrewers can face fermentation stage issues and a common problem is that fermentation has not begun. A typical sign is that there are no bubbles coming through the airlock.

But is no bubbles in the airlock really a sign of a lack of fermentation?


The first thing to bear in mind is that it can take at least 15 hours of your Earth time before the CO2 bubbles start gurgling through the airlock. 

So don't go drowning your sorrows just yet if the bubbles haven't started. If you think that your beer hasn't started brewing there's some problem solving you can do. 

If you are using a glass fermenter you can look for a dark scum that rings around the water level mark. You can probably see it through the standard white fermenter drum as well.

Or check for signs of foam or the krausen as it is affectionately known. Give it 20 - 48 hours before you start to worry.

If using a plastic drum you might be able to see through to check for the scum. Another trick is to take out the air lock and try and peek through the whole to identify scum or foam.

Also, did you firmly seal your fermenter? If not, the Co2 is possibly passing out via the lid and not the airlock meaning the pressure build up is not sufficient for gas to pass out the water trap.

You could also check the gravity by using a hydrometer.

I'll assume you know how to use one.  The beer has usually finished fermenting if the final gravity reading is  1/3 to 1/4 of the original gravity. This, of course, means you took an original reading when you first prepared your beer.

You did do that right?

If you have the same reading 24 hours apart - that's your final reading and an indication that the fermentation is finished. 

Don't bottle your beer just yet, let it mellow for a bit longer.

The longer the better your brew will probably be. If you are a beginner brewer, trust me on this. Let you brew rest up just a little bit longer than you may have the patience for.

Brewing is a game of patience, and those who wait are rewarded with good tasting, clear beer

So why wasn't there any bubbles in the airlock? 

That's a fair question to ask.

It could be that there was a leak that allows the CO2 to escape (to teach you to suck rotten eggs, those bubbles in the airlock are carbon dioxide gas, the bi-product of fermentation).

You may have not tightened the drum enough or possible not screwed in the tap properly.

It's a good idea to check this is the case before you worry too much.
  • If you didn't see any signs of fermentation it could be that it's too cold to brew.
  • Is your batch of beer in a warm enough place?
  • If you're brewing during summer months, it's probably not too cold.
If you've left your beer in a cold place in the shed, then it may be too cold. If it's too cold to brew in your 'man shed' - say it's the middle of winter, you might want to bring your brew inside the house.

You could consider wrapping it in blankets or old sheets (I do this all the time just because that's what I learned to do at University in the cold, windy town of Palmerston North, NZ. This is a handy trick and will help to keep the chill off your beer. I think this trick works best if the beer is already warm enough to brew. 

Maybe leave it in the laundry if it's a warm place?

When I brew in winter I will often leave the fermenter our the warm kitchen or living room at least overnight so that the fermentation process has a decent chance to start. My wife hates that but still drinks the beer so go figure. 

Some brewers like to use heat pads (try the Mangogrove Jacks one) or panels to keep the beer at a consistently warm temperature. If you do wish to use a pad, you'll need to be able to store your brew close to a power socket so the heat pad can operate.

Yeast issues?

Another more serious reason for beer failing to ferment is yeast failure.

This may occur if the yeast has become dry. This is why you will hear a constant refrain from expert beer users to only use fresh ingredients.

In the case of a beer kit brewer, this means to not purchase old stock as the yeast could be too old (I do suspect however this is a bit of a housewives tale - as stock should rotate fairly we. 

However, in our experience, we haven't had this problem from a beer kit yet. 

A key trick is to add (pitch) the yeast at the appropriate temperature - if using a beer kit you will be well off to generally follow the temp instructions - you especially do not want to add the yeast if the solution is too cold as it may be hard for the yeast to get traction - and whatever you do, don't add yeast to boiling water (if that's what you are using to mix everything together) - as that will almost certainly kill the yeast and ruin any chance of your beer successfully fermenting.

So in summary here's some problem-solving tips:
  • Check for leaks that allow the CO2 to escape - tighten the fermenter drum
  • Look for foamy residue - if you see it, you're OK
  • Look for scum residue - if you see it, you're OK
  • Make sure the temperature is appropriate for the kind of beer you are making
  • Consider using a heat pad to ensure a consistent brewing temperature
Image credit to Quinn Dombrowski via Creative Commons Licence

Eight pH meter use mistakes (that you can totally avoid when testing)

errors made when using ph meter -probes

How to prevent pH meter use mistakes from occurring


pH meters can be a wonder for brewers, chemists, scientists and acid enthusiasts alike but they sure can be finicky things to use and manage correctly.

Calibrate this, calibrate that. 

Storage solution this, store in that.

Given the complexity and the science around their use, it's no wonder that user error can creep in an ruin a good reading. In the case of quality pH meters, it's always good to follow the user instructions!

Here's a list of the most common user errors and mistakes that people sometimes make when using and storing their devices.

Storing the electrode 'dry' rather than in a storage solution


Electrodes are the sensitive parts of the pH meter, they do the hard work and are pretty complex scientific constructions.

Basically, they are designed to be kept wet because something-something science - the electrode will dry out, and be most likely rendered unusable if kept dry too long.

This is because a pH electrode’s sensing glass is generally composed of three distinct and discrete glass layers: a hydrated outer glass gel layer, a dry middle layer, and a hydrated inner layer.

The hydrated layers are responsible for giving the electrode the sensitivity needed to detect changes in pH.

If you fail to store your electrode in a fresh storage solution, you totally reduce the device's sensitivity.

This will mean drifting pH values can drift, you may be frustrated by slow response times from the unit, and obviously, you will get incorrect readings which means any judgement you make about your beer or solution will be founded on a lie.

A lie!

That said, there's many a chance that you can revive a dried out electrode.

If you finally place the bulb and junction in some pH storage solution and leave for at least an hour, you may be able to revive it.

Assuming that works and you then want to use it (naturally!) remember to calibrate your pH meter before you test your sample.

Wiping the sensing glass


original Beckman ph tester
An original Beckman ph tester
You pH probe needs to be very clean to ensure that your measurements are accurate, so it's natural that you might thus clean it.

What you use to clean and how you clean the unit is very important.

The electrode works by sending a voltage to your meter that is based on the pH of the solution is has been placed in.

If you clean the glass probe by wiping it, say with a clean paper towel, the pH glass can produce a static electrical charge. This charge interferes with the probe's reading of the voltage which means the meter will give an inaccurate reading.

So, do not wipe the probes, let them soak in distilled or deionized water.

You can probably blot excess moisture off with a paper towel or cotton material how do not wipe it!

Not properly cleaning the electrode


If you do not clean your pH electrode regularly a coating known as the 'hydrated layer' may develop on the glass bulb. Once this layer settles in, it will cause your unit to display inaccurate readings.

Which just defeats the whole point of using a meter! So clean your electrode with proper cleaning solution.

(in) frequency of calibration 


A failure to regularly calibrate you meet will result in inaccurate readings, and the longer you leave it, the more likely you will get incorrect numbers.

Depending on the amount of use a unit gets, daily calibration may be ideal. If you are an infrequent user, then you should probably consider calibrating prior to using your meter. 

Having a low electrolyte fill level


Refillable electrodes allow you to replenish the electrolyte in the reference compartment once it begins to run down. If the electrolyte is not replaced as this occurs, your pH measurements will go awry.

The problem of 'erratic electrode response' is a common problem caused by inadequate electrolyte levels.

It's good practice then to ensure that your electrode is replenished and functional by maintaining the fill solution level at less than a half-inch from the fill hole cap.

Storing the electrode in deionized water


Never ever ever store your electrode in water, even if you have run out of storage solution.  It will render it useless.

In this case, it's all about the ions. You may remember them from chemistry class back in the day.  is 

An ion is a molecule that has a non-zero net electrical charge.

Got that?

Deionized water contains pretty much no ions. Your pH electrode is full of ions, both in the filling solution and in the hydrated part of the pH sensing glass.

So when an electrode is submerged in a solution that has no ions, the ions in the electrode will want to move out into the solution in an attempt to attain a new equilibrium.

Gradually the electrode will be spent of its ions and it will be unable to complete its task

If for some insane reason you have done this (might why you've found this page....) there's a way you can try and fix the probe. If it is refillable, replace spent fluid with a potassium nitrate fill solution. Then place the electrode in the storage solution. Give it a chance to do its thing. You will then need to calibrate the unit before testing again.

Using an old electrode


It's odd that we have to state that it's a mistake to use an old dried up electrode but there you go. A dry electrode will not have enough ions present to do the job and you won't get any useful readings.

Best, you get a replace probe - one that means the job - the round head style for testing with a beer wort or hydroponic solution and a conical head for 'solid' items such as soil.

Not fully submerging the probe in the solution


This is a pretty simple error to avoid. Make sure the whole pH sensing component and reference junction are submerged in your water, wort or other solution. This is so enough ions can be measured to enable a good reading.

In the market for a quality meter? We recommend the Milwaukee MW102, a tried and true unit that suits the needs of beer brewers.

If you think all this is too much, you can always do a simple test with a pH strip