Today, modern brewers have access to staggering tons of information that wasn’t available before. This is indeed a wonderful thing. Having the right resources at hand prevents you from making expensive mistakes. With that said, this also has a downside.
There’s something as too much of a good thing! Very often, brewers, especially beginners come across several beer brewing myths that don’t have an iota of truth behind them. But, sadly since it’s been repeated enough these myths spread like wildfire and it becomes difficult to distinguish fact from fiction.Today, modern brewers have access to staggering tons of information that wasn’t available before. This is indeed a wonderful thing. Having the right resources at hand prevents you from making expensive mistakes. With that said, this also has a downside.
Here in today’s post, we give you the top beer brewing myths and misunderstandings that are so common in craft brewing circles.
Myth #1: Beer Tastes Better if it Ages for a Long Time
Brewers usually mature beers to remove unwanted flavors like the butterscotch taste of diacetyl. But, the maturing is restricted to a short amount of time – such as one or two days. However, a few brewers claim that they can taste a richer, smoother flavor – after weeks or even months of maturing.
As a new brewer, you have to learn to distinguish the good flavors of your brew from the bad. Very often, when brewers are not aware of the different flavours in their brew, they believe that prolonged ageing leads to a better outcome.
Hence, maturing for a longer time need not provide you with better results.
Myth #2: Filtering the Beer Removes Flavour
Several microbrewers and homebrewers don’t filter their beer, because they believe that filtering the brew removes too much flavour from the drink. On the other hand, if done the right way, filtration doesn’t remove any flavour, but just eliminates the yeast extracts.
By removing yeast from your brew, you make the beer come alive exposing the hidden flavours. If your beer is well-made and there are no off-flavours, then it’s a huge pro for you, especially in the case of lagers – that require, crisp, clean flavours.
Myth #3: Kegging saves you plenty of time compared to Bottling
Ok, let’s state the truth – we love kegging. The ability to serve beers quickly, adjusting the Carbonation levels accurately to keep beers fresher for a longer time – are some of the top reasons why we love kegging. But, if we were to disagree with one benefit of kegging, then it’s this – kegging doesn’t save much time as compared to bottling.
Though both these processes are very different, the times you spend on them are similar. Sure, kegging may appear to feel faster, since all you have to do is – sanitize a keg, rack a beer into it, close the lid and hook it up to the tank. But, then brewers forget the time taken for other kegging related activities like – running to the store to fill the tank with carbon-di-oxide, cleaning and sanitizing the tap lines, assembling/disassembling the tap line for cleaning, cleaning the kegerator and so on.
While it’s true that kegging offers several benefits, time-saving is not one of them.
Myth #4: Boiling Work for a long time leads to Caramelization
Generally, worts are boiled at around ≈213◦F. This standard temperature isn’t hot enough to start caramelizing the sugars in the wort. And, fructose one of the common sugars used in brewing has a caramelization temperature of 230◦F.
Generally, when brewers assume that caramelization occurs, it’s the Maillard reactions in progress. The wort boiling temperature is hot enough for Maillard reactions, which occurs due to the reaction of amino acids and sugars. The result of this reaction appears similar to caramelization – dark colours and complex flavours – and, hence the confusion.
However, the flavour contribution due to boiling your wort for a long time is generally very slight and not that distinct.
Certain styles like the German hefeweizens are boiled for two hours, while the gueuze/lambic are boiled for nearly four hours, and both styles don’t experience any caramelization.
Myth #5: Brettanomyces make Beers Sour
Very often, brewers think that just because a beer is fermented with Brett, it will have a sour taste. Brett or Brettanomyces, a particular style of yeast produce huge aromatic phenols and esters that don’t have much acidity.
When it comes to sour beers, other strains of bacterial-like Pediococcus and Lactobacillus are the ones responsible for generating lactic acid and not Brett. When exposed to air, Brett produces a small amount of acetic acid, but even in vinegary styles of beers, it’s Acetobacter and not Brett that contributes to the sour tastes.
Beers fermented with 100% Brett are no sourer than beers fermented with brewer’s yeast.
Myth #6: You must follow the Fermentation Temperature Specified on the Yeast Packet
When you purchase a particular strain of yeast, you can find the manufacturer recommended fermentation temperature printed on the packet. What most brewers don’t know is that – these are general guidelines and not hard-and-fast rules.
The temperature at which yeast fermentation occurs has plenty of impacts on the flavour of your brew. The warmer you ferment, the stronger the flavour. With that said, all the flavours may not be that desirable.
Here’s a helpful tip to get the fermentation temperature right – begin fermentation at temperatures lower than what’s specified on the package. You can then raise the temperature if needed.
Myth #7: Liquid Yeast is always better than Dry Yeast
This may have been the case a few years back. But, with significant improvements in yeast production techniques, dry yeasts today are far more sophisticated than what they were a few years ago. It doesn’t matter whether the yeast is available in liquid form or dry form. What matters is the – flavour and performance of a particular strain of yeast.
These are the top brewing myths that we have come across. Have you heard any other myths of brewing? Do you believe them? Share your brewing stories with us below.