Homebrewing is a long and complicated matter. Even the best homebrewers have dozens of different ways they can wreck what would be a great batch. If you’re more intermediate in your skill, your odds are even better, and novices are possibly more likely than not to fail. Whether you need to learn or refresh, keep reading to find 10 brewing mistakes to avoid.
1) Don’t Assume Tap Water Is Okay
Even if your tap water tastes fine as it is, it might not be perfect for home brewing. At a minimum, test it for chlorine levels, ion profile, and pH. Know exactly what kind of balance and minerals you’re putting into your brew.
2) Clean Up Right
Clean equipment is the first and possibly most vital aspect of making great beer. It’s a messy process, even on a good day. Keeping everything clean doesn’t just make your life easier, as it also protects the flavor and quality of your homebrew.
3) Don’t Use Aging Ingredients
Homebrewing involves a lot of organic compounds. Every one of them starts breaking down as time passes, eventually spoiling. This happens even faster once they’re opened up. Some things can last a while in the fridge or freezer, but you don’t have forever.
4) Don’t Get Ahead Of Yourself
Of course, you want to get better at this over time. That means pushing yourself and your boundaries, so you keep evolving your skill. Still, don’t try everything at once. Unless you’ve been doing this for a while, it’s best to stick to styles and recipes that seem a little easy to you. Master the basics and get the fundamentals down pat before moving on to more advanced brews. It is always recommended to us measuring tools than to make use of your instinct; one such brewing tool is calculator ABV, which let’s you calculate the alcohol volume in your brew based on the gravity of the drink. It is suggested to go with accurate measurement than to go with your brewing instincts that spoil your entire lot of Beer.
5) Remember That Cleaning Isn’t Sanitizing
In addition to cleaning, you also need to sanitize. While a good cleaning can get rid of nastiness you can see and even proteins and fats you can’t see, it’s sanitizing that gets rid of bacteria and other microbes that can mess up your brew and even your health.
6) Don’t Let Boil-Overs Happen
Wort can do wonders for a great beer, but the same chemical compounds and sugars can also turn into a gooey mess that would scare even the most destructive and playful of children. Monitor your wort temperature during boiling and stir it all routinely. Want a pro trick? Get some glass marbles to put at the pot’s bottom; they’ll turn big bubbles into much smaller ones, meaning your pot won’t ‘burp’ as much. Since they’re glass, they’re inert and safe in a boiling environment without flavoring your beer.
7) Don’t Forget To Take Notes
Everything you do right is something you should keep available for reference later. Your memory and brain will retain a lot, but it’s also better to get notes down wherever you find useful. Maybe that’s pen and paper, maybe it’s verbal dictation to your phone, and maybe it’s typing things into a file on your tablet. Do whatever works for you. You need to remember what works out well, but you also need to learn from your own mistakes in addition to learning from others. Take note of the most minute observations that you have, be it the rise in temperature or the change is Alcohol levels using a Alcohol-By-Volume calculator.
8) Avoid Getting A Fermenter That’s Not Big Enough
When yeast is turning wort into your beer, they also create foam. That means there needs to be breathing room for the expansion. A good rule of thumb is having a fermenter at least 20 percent bigger than your biggest batch.
9) Don’t Bottle Too Early
Impatience is a big no-no when homebrewing. As badly as you want to taste your beer or get to the next ‘fun’ step, there are long periods of just waiting. Let enough days pass; don’t bottle too early. Doing so might let pressure accumulate to the point of exploding bottles. That’s not fun.
10) Don’t Go It Alone
What you consider a mistake might turn out homebrew that someone else likes. Even if you usually brew alone, have buddies and other enthusiasts over once in a while to try out your concoctions. Let them sample your creations, have them bring over theirs, and swap notes on what everyone is doing. You might discover that you made a batch that only you don’t like, but others love. You might be able to swap your bottles for theirs or even favors rending from working on your car to mowing your yard or even taking care of your kids. You’re only human. You’re imperfect, and so you’ll never be a perfect homebrewer.
Now that you know these 10 brewing mistakes to avoid, your homebrewing will hopefully prove fruitful and rewarding more often than not. There is plenty more that you can learn about beer and brewing. So keep studying your craft until you’re truly satisfied with your results consistently.