With these tips we’ll have you brewing your best beer yet, so when friends and family rock up after that 10km hike you can welcome them with a brew that will knock their socks off.
Most of us home brewers have been a bit lazy one time or other with sanitisation. And sometimes our beers have turned out ok, but sometimes we’ve had to get rid of the lot. Get into the habit now of sterilising every and any piece of equipment that might come into contact with your brew. The extra effort will be worth it.
2. Use fresh ingredients
This one goes without saying, but as with cooking, high quality, fresh ingredients yield better results. Consider upgrading to partial mash or full mash brews if you are an extract brewer. Make sure your grains are stored in a cool dry place and hops in the freezer. Hops, dry malt and crushed grains have a limited shelf life. Don’t be tempted to use the bag you found under the counter that’s two years old just because it’s there.
3. Read up
Science has a lot to do with making a great beer and the good news is there are plenty of websites and books that have all the information you need in any area you are not certain about. If you don’t already, consider using brewing software to help you out. BeerSmith is a great one to help work out your colour, gravity, bitterness etc. You can also try working form an existing recipe. Just do a search and you’ll be surprised how readily the information is.
4. Update your equipment
Invest in or add to your birthday wish list a piece of equipment that will make your brew day easier. A wort chiller will help cool down the wort quicker leaving less time for infection. Upgrade from the stove top pot and invest in a boiler. If you’ve been meaning to get the latest
5. Good record keeping
There is nothing worse than making an awesome beer that you love and not being able to replicate it. Start keeping thorough records of the ingredients you use, the length of your boil, the temperature you store it and any variations it might have experienced. Record as much detail as possible. You can use this to continually tweak your beers until they are perfect.
6. Go Seasonal
Americans and Europeans brew up different delicious concoctions throughout the year based on the season. Why not do the same? Take advantage of the cooler months to ferment your lagers in time to whip out on a hot summers day. Think about amber ales for winter. Rich in caramel and colour – perfect for sipping by the fire. Experiment with pumpkin ales for halloween or green beer for St Patricks day.