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Common Mistakes Home Brewers Make (2)

Views: 37     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2022-12-27      Origin: Site

Using an Undersized Fermenter

Yeast create foam while they’re turning your wort into beer. And whether you’re dedicated to the carboy or prefer a state-of-the-art conical fermenter, your beer needs room to expand while it ferments. Without it, you can find yourself facing a messy eruption.

Use a fermenter that’s around 20% larger than the volume of your batch. If, for example, you’re brewing a 5-gallon (19 L) batch, your fermenter needs a volume of 6 gallons (23 L).

Not Aerating Your Wort Thoroughly

The yeast in your beer need oxygen to thrive. Adding air to your wort after you cool it, but before you add the yeast, is essential for proper fermentation. The recommended concentration of oxygen for ideal fermentation of most beers is around 10 parts per million (ppm).

You can reach 8 ppm of oxygen in your wort by shaking your fermentation vessel vigorously for around 40 seconds. Or, if you have a sanitized air pump and a 2-micron aeration stone, you can reach 8 ppm in around five minutes.

Exposing Your Beer to Direct Sunlight

When sunlight hits your fermenting beer, a series of photochemical reactions take place. The heat and light interact with the hops in your beer to create a nasty, skunky flavor.

Your beer does best away from the sun. Make sure your fermentation chamber protects your wort from the sun. And if you’re bottling beer, choose amber bottles. They filter out the ultraviolet wavelengths which cause skunking. Blue, green, and clear bottles don’t.


Bottling Your Beer Too Early

This homebrewing mistake is usually caused by impatience. The exciting parts of brewing are broken up by long stretches of time while you wait for yeast to convert wort into beer. As the days pass, you might be tempted to bottle your beer before it’s ready. But your beer continues to ferment during bottle conditioning, and bottling too early can allow pressure to build up, and your bottles to explode.

Always follow the guidelines and recipe for your particular beer. Measure the final gravity of your wort with a refractometer before you bottle. If it matches your target, you’re ready to roll. If not, give your wort another day or two in the fermenter and test it again. Repeat until you’re at target gravity.

Adding Too Many Flavors

We love playing with our brews. It’s exciting to experiment and create a tasty, tempting homebrew with herbs and spices. But too much of a good thing can ruin an otherwise great beer.

Unless you know exactly how the seasonings and flavors you’re adding will interact, it’s best to start with just one or two extras. Once you’ve mastered the basics, you’ll be ready to tackle that boysenberry milkshake IPA you’ve had your eye on.

Selecting a Recipe That’s Too Advanced

Brewing beer is an adventure. And when you’re just starting out, it can be tempting to try to do everything you want to accomplish in a single go. But Rome wasn’t built in a day, and award-winning beer isn’t crafted in a week.

Start small. Try basic recipes and styles as you learn the ropes, and when you’ve mastered them, move on to more technical brews.

Taking Shortcuts

This may be the easiest of the most common homebrewing mistakes to avoid, and they can be a catastrophe for budding brewmasters.

Keep things simple. Stay on top of your boil. Measure precisely. Keep things clean, sanitary, and organized. Common sense and patience will carry you much further than cut corners ever will.

Not Taking Good Notes

The foundation of science is producing results that can be readily reproduced by others. Notes make it easy for you to keep track of what works—and what doesn’t. Recipes, brew temperatures, fermentation schedules … if it has to do with your brew, write it down, or risk losing your best work to the mists of unreliable memory.

Start a homebrew journal, either on paper or electronically. You’ll be more organized, have reliably reproducible recipes to consult, and a handy way to chronicle your growth as a homebrewer.

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