with the occasional rant about tin openers...

Quick Tips

Here's a quick list of things it doesn't hurt to know.
  • Wash EVERYTHING, and wash it well. No suds, just steriliser and rinse with cold water.
  • For lager/pils, feel free to boil all water before use, and allow to cool before adding to the bucket. I think this is to help make the water soft, so it's probably not strictly necessary for kit beers.
  • For stronger beer, add less cold water at the start. make 32 pints instead of 40 for a 6%ish beer. Adding more sugar is a silly way to go.
  • Don't go mad with the sugar in the bottles, either. There's no need to make live grenades. A half teaspoon per pint will do, or about 4 1/2 ounces per 5 gal. batch.
  • Leave the beer alone for ages before drinking. 4 weeks min. for an ale, and twice as long for a lager/pils. It gets better with age, but quicker than wine.
  • Use 1 litre bottles if you don't have friends, use two litre bottles if you do. Open and pour in one go, so have glasses handy!
  • A common internet query seems to be about the smell yeast makes. Don't worry. Different yeasts have very different smells, and I've yet to find one that's particularly pleasant! By and large, the bad smell won't find it's way into the finished beer, but it's beautiful armoatic by-products will (banana, bubblegum etc.).
I'm going to try and suggest a few all-grain tips, because, frankly, I've learned a lot these last two months!
  • Mashing is relatively easy, it's sparging that I've no luck with! So, invest in a Zapap Lauter Tun, or, if you're cheap like me, go to your nearest cafe and mooch two (or why not four) 10litre mayonnaise tubs from them. They work a treat. See here for details on how to make one.
  • Measuring is only half the job if you've not worked out how much of things you need first! Also, consider the difference between Lbs and Kilos, the difference between American and British gallons (turns out our transatlantic cousins can only handle a very small gallon of ale), and also the difference in Alpha Acids between the hops used in the recipe, and the stuff you (should) have in your freezer.
Finally, I'm going to try and answer a couple of questions that crop up from time to time:
  • Real Ale: is beer that is made in the time hounoured fashion, same as any other, but instead of being force-carbonated in a metal keg, it naturally conditions itself, and IMHO can be served from anything, provided it's been naturally conditioned (plastic keg, bottle), but I suppose the really traditional Real Ale comes out of a big oak barrel, served into pewter by a burly landlord with his sleeves rolled up.
  • Yeast smells funny. It's supposed to.
  • If you're confused by a cidery smell/taste in your homebrew, ask yourself if you used too much household sugar. There are other sugars available to the homebrewer, from Dextrose to Lactose, so read up about the options and choose what's best for you - or suck it up and get it drunk, as it's harmless!
That's it for now.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing this Home brewing recipes. I just love to do brewing at home especially when my college mates comes, we do it together and we have lot of fun and excitement in whole process.