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Common Mistakes Home Brewers Make (1)

Views: 36     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2022-12-27      Origin: Site

Making a mistake, especially at something you love, like homebrewing, is about as much fun as a swift kick to the nethers. And like any long and complex process, homebrewing gives even seasoned homebrewers a hundred different opportunities to ruin an otherwise wonderful batch of beer. Learning comes from correcting our mistakes and soldiering on to awesomeness.

Better still, though, is avoiding those mistakes in the first place. Knowing how to dodge homebrewing mistakes can save you time, money, and heartache in your quest for the perfect brew.

Not Cleaning Properly

The first step to amazing beer is clean gear. Brewing is a messy process, and keeping things clean not only keeps things tidy, but helps protect your homebrew’s quality and flavor.

Important: Note the important difference between cleaning something and sanitizing it. Cleaning tackles dirt, grime, crud, plus fats, proteins, and assorted gunk that could ruin your beer’s flavor, finish, or fermentation. Sanitizing doesn’t lift a finger against any of those things, but kills off unwanted bacteria, which mere cleaning can’t do.

Not Sanitizing Properly

From funky flavors and unsettling growths to stalled fermentation, improperly sanitized equipment leaves your precious homebrew open to serious problems caused by unwanted microbes. Everything—and we do mean everything, including your hands—that will be coming into contact with your beer during the brewing process needs to be thoroughly sanitized.

A no-rinse brewing sanitizer is an absolute essential in your homebrewing toolbox. Thoroughly sanitizing your clean equipment puts you squarely on the path to a successful beer.


Using Low-Quality Water

Your local tap water may be perfectly tasty straight from the tap, but it might be doing more harm than good when you add it to your brew. Unfiltered, chlorinated water can give beer metallic or plastic flavors. Plus, depending on your area’s water table, the pH and ion profile might alter your beer’s final gravity, pH, and finish.

Your local tap water may not have the minerals or pH balance needed to produce the recipe you’re using. As beer styles developed around the world, many of them were built in part around the type of water available in the area where they first appeared. For example, Bohemia’s Pilsen, the birthplace of pilsner, has soft water with very few minerals.

If you’re looking to replicate a specific style, or just want to correct the eccentricities of your local water to make sure your beer has a generally balanced flavor and finish, use a water test kit to see what you’re working with. You can fine-tune your recipe and make sure your beer has the minerals and balance to look and taste great.

Covering Your Boiling Wort

As it boils, your wort releases an assortment of sulphur compounds present in the ingredients. If you keep the kettle covered, these compounds will condense on the lid and drip back into the wort.

Some sulphur compounds are “good guys,” adding antioxidants to the brew, but in general, the whole sulphur family is unwelcome at the beer party. Sulphur can show up in your finished beer as cabbage, corn, or even fish or rubber flavors. Keeping the kettle covered also increases the odds of a boil-over.

Keep things light, airy, and open as you boil for tastier beer.

Using Unfiltered Wort

In addition to delicious sugars for your finished beer, your boiled wort contains a sludgy blend of hoppy, malty residue. This substance can clog your wort chiller and alter the flavor and fermentation of your homebrew.

Filter hops as it enters the primary fermenter. This will prevent excess starches, proteins, and other goop from affecting the taste and finish of your beer. You’ll also avoid overfeeding your yeast during bottle conditioning, and the messy explosions that can come with it.

Pitching Yeast into Hot Wort

Temperatures above 70°F (21°C) can shock or even kill brewer’s yeast. Should they survive, the yeast will probably fail to complete fermentation properly, leaving you with weird flavors and sugary beer.

Cool your wort to the proper temperature before pitching.

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