Patience is Key (and Temperature)

January 15, 2011

I recently brewed a Brewer’s Best English Browne Ale kit.   After 3 weeks of bottle conditioning, the beer was still completely flat.  After 5 weeks of bottle conditioning, it was still completely flat.  Needless to say, I was super disappointed as it was only supposed to take 3-4 weeks to bottle condition.

So, I started thinking about possible causes for this.  The bottles were in a cardboard box in the utility room of my basement.  It is winter in Minnesota and the cement floor in the utility room was very cold.  Maybe the bottles were actually colder than I thought they were and this was slowing down the bottle conditioning process.  So, I moved them to a different, carpeted, room.

I’m happy to report that this beer making kit turned out delicious.  The cold cement floor must have been keeping the bottles at a lower temperature than that of the rest of the room.  After another couple weeks on the carpeted floor, the beer turned out great.  Out of all the homebrew recipes available, this one definitely has a solid taste that appeals to many beer lovers.



Maltodextrin in Brewer’s Best seasonal Oatmeal Stout

November 30, 2010
The seasonal Brewer's Best Oatmeal Stout kit includes a 1 pound bag of maltodextrin.  Ever wondered what the heck that is… Here's wikipedia's explanation:

Maltodextrin is a common adjunct to beer brewing to increase the specific gravity of the final beer product. This improves the mouthfeel of the beer and reduces the dryness of the drink. Maltodextrin is not fermented by the yeast and has no flavor.

A pound of maltodextrine adds approximately 7 or 8 points to the OG and FG for a 5 gallon batch because it is only about 12% fermentable.  It is used to make the beer have a creamier feel.

For more beer brewing equipment information, be sure to check out


Why Not Try Making Mead

November 27, 2010
Mead is also called honey wine.  It is made by fermenting honey and water.  Homebrewers sometimes experiment with different types of beers, why not experiment with mead…. you might like it.  You can use much of your existing beer brewing equipment to make it.


Removing Labels from Bottles

October 13, 2010

Used commercial beer bottles are a great source of bottles for your homebrew.  All you have to do is save the non-twist off bottles from your favorite micro-brew or ask your buddies to save theirs for you.  These bottles have labels on them and most homebrewers don’t want someone else’s label on their custom homebrew.  Here’s a simple and easy way to remove the labels.

1.  Put all the bottles upright in a big tub.

2.  Fill them with water and fill the tub with hot water above the level of the bottle labels.  Filling the bottles with water will prevent them from floating around too much.

3.  Let them sit overnight.

4.  Peal off the labels and dry the bottles.

For more beer brewing equipment tips and information, visit the beer brewing equipment blog.

Beer Brewing Equipment Discounts

October 2, 2010
Did you know that many local brew shops have a "Brew Club"  or something similar?  This usually means that if you pay a small fee, you get a discount on all your purchases for a certain amount of time.  For example, my local brew shop offers a "Membership Card."  You give them $5, and you get 10% off of most purchases for one year.  This includes beer brewing equipment, ingredient kits, and many other items.


Raise your glasses! Five fall beer fests

October 1, 2010
Here is a nice CNN article about fall beer festivals.

The are probably lots of opportunities to learn about homebrew recipes and beer brewing equipment.

Beer Glasses

September 30, 2010

Don’t underestimate the importance of a good clean glass to drink your beer from.  Some dish soaps can leave a small amount of residue on the glasses.  This affects the smell and taste of whatever you drink from the glass.  Be sure to drink your homebrew from a squeaky clean glass for the best flavor and aroma.  A dedicated set of beer glasses can be a nice addition to your beer brewing equipment.


Brew Your Own Magazine

September 28, 2010
If you're new to homebrewing, you might not know about Brew Your Own magazine.  It is a very popular magazine devoted to, you guessed it, brewing your own.  It has articles on beer brewing equipment, homebrew recipes, beer making kits and many other related topics.

Check it out here:


Don’t Kill the Yeast

September 27, 2010
A big mistake that is made by anxious brewers is not sufficiently cooling the wort before adding the yeast.  The wort should be cooled to around 70 degrees F before adding the yeast.  If you add yeast to a wort that is too hot, you will kill the yeast and get no fermentation.

Some beer brewing equipment such as a wort cooler can help with this.  You can also just put the bucket containing your wort in a bathtub full of ice and cold water.


Easy Bottle Cleaning

September 25, 2010
An easy way to clean your bottles is to rinse them with hot water right after you empty the beer from them.  If you pour your beer into a glass, don't wait until you have finished drinking the beer to rinse your bottle.  Rinse it right away with hot water.  Then, put some water in the bottle and let it sit.  When you accumulate a few dirty bottles this way, wash them all with the same cleaner you use for the rest of your beer brewing equipment.  You can use a bottle brush if you like.  Then rinse them well with hot water and let them dry.  Before you use them again, you just need to sanitize them.
This method doesn't give sediment time to dry at the bottom of the bottle and makes them much less frustrating to clean.  There are also many pieces of equipment on the market to make cleaning and drying bottles easier.  Your local brew shop may be able to suggest something.