7 Simple Steps to Improve your Home Brewed Beer
Spoiler Alert: It has nothing to do with going ‘All Grain.’
Kit brewers, extract brewers and all grain brewers alike, please read on…
Home brewers are always looking for any way to improve their beer. I mean who wants to be serving below par beers to their family and friends??? Before we jump into the list though, I want to set the record straight because I hear this statement far too often and it’s just NOT TRUE!
… “to make better beer, you must brew all grain.”
False! False! FALSE! You can make some outstanding beer as a kit or extract brewer.
If you sit here today still yet to make the leap into all grain brewing, don’t fear! Take these 7 steps on board and you will be well on your way to producing phenomenal beer for your family and friends.
Here we go, in no particular order…
Ok I know I just said in no particular order but it’s no accident that this in number 1.
In fact this should be number 1, 2 and 3!
I cannot stress enough how important this is if you’re looking to produce high quality beer. I’m actually going to set the record straight again come to think of it… one other statement I hear far too often is…
“…my temperature control is perfect! My fermenter sits in a room that stays consistently at 20 deg C all year round.”
Let me say this, and please if you have home brewing friends can you also pass this onto them…
The ambient room temperature around your fermenter has nothing to do with the temperature inside your fermenter.
Please really understand this! You absolutely must have direct cooling applied to your fermenter to achieve true temperature control. I know there’s a bit of an investment involved here, but if you have on old fridge + $50 lying around then your set! Trust me this will be the single most important step you can do to improve the quality of your beer.
Use Fresh Ingredients
Simple. But I have a feeling it’s still something that is not given enough attention. The ability the gain access to fresh ingredients has never been better then it is today as a homebrewer. Postal services are more efficient then they have ever been, with next day delivery not uncommon.
Make sure you communicate with your local homebrew store so they understand that having the best quality/freshest ingredients is a high priority for you.
Clean & Sanitize
This is brewing 101!
… but I want to leave you with more value then that and I’m sure if you’re reading this that you’re familiar with The Brewing Network. They have a fantastic outline about cleaning here and sanitation here. Be sure to listen in.
Taste! Taste! Taste!
This is where the fun begins! Tasting commercial styles of beers is an extremely valuable component to understand the stylistic differences between beers. Never underestimate the value in this. Gaining a deep knowledge of styles allows yourself to critique your own beer and pinpoint where improvements can be made.
I highly recommend grabbing a copy of Randy Moshers ‘Tasting Beer’ to learn more on the value of tasting beer.
Detailed Record Keeping
Detailed record keeping is very VERY important if you’re looking to produce consistent beer. But I’ll be honest, I am straight up guilty of too many times not detailing the finer details of my brew day. The words … “ah l’ll remember that” are far too familiar for me and I’m telling you now those words will come back to bite you 6 weeks down the track!
Not only does detailed record keeping help you repeat beers to a consistent standard, it also helps pinpoint aspects of your brewing process which may have had a negative impact on your beer. This helps to not allow yourself to repeat the same mistakes next time around.
Take my word for it when I say no detail is too minor!
Join the Local Homebrew Club
The absolute best way to continually improve your brewing is to tap into the knowledge of your fellow homebrewing peers. Local homebrewing clubs are by far the most effective way to tap into this knowledge.
You’re missing out if you’re not taking the opportunity to chat to 58 year old ‘George’ who has already been where you are and made all the mistakes you are about to make. Not only will you learn a lot about brewing, homebrew clubs will provide a great outlet to catch up with mates, relax and chat everything beer.
Time is your Homebrew’s best friend! And trust me I’ve been there many times when your down to your last 6–10 beers of a 50 beer batch and you realize … ‘damn this beer is amazing now, if I only I had waited.’
Patience play a huge role in producing quality beer. A patient mindset should be adopted from the time your beer is fermenting to the time it’s conditioning in bottle/keg.
Once your fermenting beer has reached stable gravity, its important to give it at least 3–5 days to sit before packaging. The yeast is still sitting quietly in the background cleaning up byproducts of the fermentation process. The same is true after packaging. You really need to give the beer time to sit so to allow the flavours to develop. I would say to not even think about touching a beer until at least 4 weeks after it’s bottled. Kegged beer also, which surprises people. I’m telling you now, you are doing your kegged beer a disservice if you don’t allow it sit for 2–3 weeks after it is fully carbonated.
Trust me, be patient and will you be greatly rewarded!
There you go, that’s it! Did you notice a theme?
Thats right, SIMPLICITY!
Each of the 7 steps are all simple steps that any brewer can adopt no matter what level of experience they’re at.
I know it’s cliche to say that the simplest things are always the most important things, but that’s because it’s true.
THANKS FOR READING!
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