Get Closer to Attaining Brewing Perfection
Newbie brewers are often lost in the sea of information out there. One article says that barrel ageing is the best thing that you could do to improve the tastes of your beer, while another random internet article says just the opposite.
With so much conflicting information out there, whom do you trust? Worry not, fellow brewers. Here in this week’s post, we give you the top ten tips for brewing better beer. Here, at Microbrewery India, we really wish someone had given us this list, way back when we were just getting started in the vast, wide world of brewing.
Luckily for you, you’ve got the list right at hand. Make use of this list and improve the taste and flavor profile of your drink.
Let’s get started.
- Always use High-Quality, Fresh Ingredients
Working with stale or poor-quality ingredients is a sure-fire way to failure. How can you expect your final drink to taste good when you don’t start with the right ingredients?
Fresh and high-quality ingredients are a must for the best outputs. If you are currently using dry yeast, then you try switching to liquid yeast. If you’re an extract brewer, then make sure to use a fresh extract instead of relying on an old canned extract that has been lying around for several years.
Make sure to follow the right storage procedures for brewing ingredients – the yeast goes in the fridge, hops in the freezer and the grains in a cool, dry place. Remember that hops, malt (both liquid and dry), yeast and crushed grains all come with limited shelf life and must be used well before they expire. Malt and crushed grains, when exposed to air (for a long time) oxidize thereby producing sub-par results.
- Do your Homework
Beer brewing is both an art as well as a science. Why take guesses on the science part, when you could get it all figured out to a T? Before you start brewing make sure to spend some time on research – read brewing books, engage with other brewers at online communities and other discussion forums, learn the different styles of beers, the differences in brewing styles, look up recipes and more.
In short, arm yourself with sound theoretical knowledge before you start experimenting. Remember that to attain brewing perfection; you need to brush up on your beer knowledge along with running various trials and experiments.
- Keep it Clean
Make sure that your beer brewing equipment is perfectly clean. Anything that comes in touch with your brew once it has started cooling must be cleaned and sanitized with iodophor or bleach. Pay extra attention while your brew cools down. This is because – bacteria and other infections are likely to attack your beer during this stage before the yeast has started fermenting.
- Cool down the Wort Quickly
By cooling wort quickly, you reduce the chances of the fallout of tannins and proteins, both of which are bad for the final brew. This also helps to reduce the likelihood of a bacterial infection. Invest in an immersive wort chiller. This helps to improve the quality and clarity of the final brew.
- Boil the Wort for at least 60 to 90 minutes
Boiling the wort helps in several ways. It:
- Sterilizes the wort
- Releases bitter oils present in the hops
- Vaporizes any undesirable compounds present in the wort
- Coagulates tannins and proteins from the grains, so that they fall out during the cooling phase
To ensure that you achieve all these, make sure to boil the wort for at least one hour. For lighter beers, you can even boil long up to 90 minutes.
- Control the Temperature of Fermentation
During fermentation, it’s essential that you maintain a consistent temperature. Few brewers use dedicated fermentation fridges for this purpose. They have a separate refrigerator used exclusively for beer fermentation.
If you cannot afford to invest in a fermentation refrigerator, worry not. Here’s another simple method – select a cool and dry area, preferably in a corner. Then wrap the fermentor securely using wet towels. Place a table fan before this setup.
Make sure to wet the towels once every 12 hours or so. This way, you get to maintain a steady fermentation temperature in the range 18 – 20◦C.
- Use a Full Batch Boil
If you have the habit of boiling your wort batch by batch, then you aren’t getting the complete benefits of boiling the wort. Make sure that you boil the entire batch in a single step. If you don’t have a big brew pot, consider investing in one. Additionally, use a propane burner to help you boil at the right temperature.
- Invest in Glass Fermenters
When compared to the commonly used plastic bucket, stainless or glass fermenters work better and offer added benefits. Here are the top benefits of using a glass fermenter:
- It’s easier to clean and sterilize when compared to plastic.
- Stainless steel or glass provides a complete barrier to oxygen. On the other hand, plastic buckets are often porous and can leak oxygen, if used for long periods.
- Plastic fermenters come with leaky seals that leak at both ends, making it difficult to pinpoint accurately, whether fermentation has come to a stop.
- Switch to a Yeast Starter
By using a yeast starter, you not only accelerate the process but also ensure that the beer ferments properly. Here’s how to use yeast starter – boil a small quantity of dried malt along with ¼ oz of hops in a quart of water. Cool this solution well. Then put your yeast in it. Let it sit for around 2 to 3 days before you start brewing.
Place this solution in an airtight plastic container and keep it stored in a cool, dark place. On the day of brewing, use this yeast starter solution, to accelerate the process and to reduce chances of infection.
- Always invest in Long-term Purchases
When it comes to buying specialized brewing equipment, make sure to think long-term. While a small brewing pot may be sufficient to meet your present needs, buying a bigger brewing vat could be better in the long term, as your brewing quantity increases.
When we were just getting started with brewing, we initially purchased a 3-gallon pot, then move to a 5-gallon one, next to an 8-gallon enamel pot before finally moving to a 9-gallon stainless steel pot. It would have been definitely cheaper to buy the 9-gallon pot directly, instead of all these changes.
So, make sure to invest in high-quality brewing equipment that will last you for years. This helps you cut down expenses in the long run.
And, for any queries/doubts on brewing equipment, don’t hesitate to give us a ring at +91-98-1123-3358/+91-98-1119-6262/+91-99-2043-2056. Our expert brewers will help you get started.