Throughout your journey of brewing beer, right from brewing your first stout to tinkering with special styles, you’re bound to make mistakes. Worry not, mistakes are inevitable and happen even to the best brewers.
Plainly speaking, making mistakes is a sign that you’re learning something new. Mistakes provide you an opportunity to refine and widen your knowledge about the brewing process. With that said, brewing is an expensive and time-consuming affair, and no one wants to keep on making mistakes along the way.
Fret not, fellow brewers! Here, in this week’s post, we give you some of the top mistakes made by beginners and also show you ways to avoid them. As a wise man once said, “Regular people learn from their mistakes, while smart men learn from the mistakes of others.”
So, check out these mistakes made by newbies and find out the solutions to avoid making them.
Too Much, Too Soon
Trying to brew a difficult batch or aiming to brew a large batch is a sure-fire recipe to disaster. Excited beginners often set their sights too high. The result – they end up feeling frustrated and disappointed.
The solution – Start with a simple recipe and a small quantity. Make sure to read the recipe a couple of times, get all the required ingredients and equipment on hand, before you begin. There’s nothing as frustrating as finding midway that you’re missing a vital ingredient.
Remember, don’t go too fast. Start slow, perfect your techniques, and then increase your scale. Patience is indeed a virtue.
Skipping Cleaning and Sanitization
Very often, new brewers skip the equipment cleaning process. This is a costly mistake. Proper cleaning and sanitization play a vital role in the brewing process.
Dirty surfaces and hands, dusty equipment all increase the chances of introducing bacteria to your brew, thereby increasing the chances of spoiling it.
Even expert brewers are meticulous about cleaning their brewing equipment throughout the process. Make sure to use the right cleaning or sanitizing solution to ensure that your equipment is spotless and clean. If your brewing equipment is scratched or damaged, then make sure to replace it immediately.
Remember that even a small amount of contaminant will impact the overall flavor, color, and clarity of your brew.
Failing to Use Pure Water
This cannot be emphasized more. Water, though – the simplest and cheapest ingredient – is the most important one for brewing. Yet, most brewers use regular tap water.
The water you use for brewing plays a major role in the taste and quality of the brew. Here, let me give you a comparison. Water is the blank canvas, on which you paint your brew. Tap water isn’t a blank canvas, as it has chlorine, fluorine and other chemicals as well as contaminants all of which affect the final output.
Solution – Use RO purified water as it’s free from all chemicals and contaminants.
All expert brewers have one thing in common – their love for precision. Brewing is a science, and you’ve got to get the measurements and procedures right for the perfect results.
Yes, we agree that there’s a bit of trial and error involved in brewing. But, that happens later once you have mastered the basics.
When you’re starting, you have to pay special attention to – measuring ingredients, reading instructions carefully, and the following everything to a T.
Forgetting Temperature Control
Temperature control is an essential component of brewing quality brews. Very often, beginners fail to monitor temperatures during the brewing process (especially during fermentation). If the room is either too hot or too cold, then fermentation can take a hit. When the temperature increases excessively, it can lead to over-sweet brews or increase the alcohol content of the beer.
The solution – Invest in a high-quality thermometer. Make sure to check the ideal temperature for your specific strain of yeast. It’s often printed on the back of yeast packaging. Also, don’t forget to monitor the wort while it cooks. If it’s overcooked, it can create a huge mess.
Remember that brewing is not magic. You cannot expect to brew a stellar batch on your first attempt. And, don’t set high expectations.
Bad batches happen, and it’s all part of the learning curve.
The Solution – Make sure to document your process. This way, you’ll know where you have gone wrong and refine it in the next attempt.
Selecting an Advanced Recipe
Yes, that exotic beer is all that you dreamed of. But, this isn’t the time to try it. While you’re starting, it could be quite tempting to try everything at once. This is a costly mistake.
The solution – Make sure you stick to simple tried and tested recipes until you get the hang of the brewing process. And, when you’re ready to experiment, make sure that you play around with just one ingredient at a time, instead of changing everything at once.
When it comes to brewing, there are no shortcuts. You cannot try to save time or resources by skipping steps or ingredients. It doesn’t work that way.
Don’t skip cleaning and sterilizing. Wait until the wort cools completely. Measure your hops accurately. Siphon carefully – the list goes on.
If you try to cut corners, then your results are sure to reflect that!
Final Thoughts – Mistakes Happen. The practice is what Makes it Perfect.
Successful brewing comes down to patience, following the instructions, using the right ingredients and above all, willingness to try and try again. Make use of all the resources available to you.
Our weekly blog posts are a good place to begin. You can find plenty of tutorials as well as answers to your queries about brewing. If possible, join a brewery club near you.
Above all, don’t lose heart if you don’t get it right on the first attempt (or even the tenth). Success is just around the corner, and your best batch of beer is waiting to happen!
For the best brewing equipment in India or any further help on setting up your brewery don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of us, here at Microbrewery India.