Archive for September, 2010

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.

Cheers!

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:  http://www.byo.com/

Cheers!

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.

Cheers!

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.
 
Cheers!

Two Step Fermentation Advantages

September 24, 2010

Two step fermentation means to use a secondary fermenter. In a two step fermentation process, the brew is typically left in the primary fermenter for about a week. Then it is racked into the secondary fermenter and left there for about two weeks. The hydrometer measurements however will determine the proper fermentation times.

Two step fermentation has these primary advantages.
1) Reduced sediment. Less sediment makes it taste better and makes it better to look at.
2) Flexibility in when to bottle. There is much less risk of contamination spoiling your beer in a secondary fermenter, so you can bottle it when you have time.

The only extra beer brewing equipment you really need to use a two step fermentation process is a bung and a glass carboy.

How to Avoid Bottle Bombs

September 23, 2010

One common cause of exploding bottles, or “bottle bombs” is uneven mixing of the priming sugar.  Add your priming sugar solution to the bottling bucket as you rack from the fermenter to the bucket.  Maybe the best way to end up with a bottle bomb is to add the sugar solution to each bottle individually.  It is really easy to mess that up.

On a side note, a handy method to fill the bottles is using a piece of beer brewing equipment known as a bottle filler.  It just lets beer flow when you touch it to the bottom of the bottle and stops the flow when you lift it up.

Homebrew Competitions

September 22, 2010

Are you interested in entering your creations into a homebrew contest?  Check out this link:

http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/pages/competitions/aha-bjcp-sanctioned-competition/calendar

It lists all of the American Homebrewer’s Association sanctioned competitions.  There is probably one near you.

beer brewing equipment

Cheers!

How to Siphon

September 21, 2010

Here is a great video on how to siphon beer.  It recommends practicing with water first.  I highly recommend this.  The video shows the siphon being filled with tap water.  If you don’t like the taste of your tap water, you may want to let the tap water flow into a different container and then switch the hose to the container you want your wort or beer to flow into when the beer is about to flow.  I brew with spring water, but it is easiest to fill the siphon hose with tap water, so this method works well.

Alternatively, a good piece of beer brewing equipment is a siphon starter.  This can make siphoning much less frustrating, but will set you back about 10 or 15 bucks.

Cheers!

What are IBU’s?

September 19, 2010

Basically, International Bitterness Units (IBU) are a measure of a beer’s bitterness.  Here is a definition from wikipedia:

The International Bittering Units scale, or simply IBU scale, provides a measure of the bitterness of beer, which is provided by the hops used during brewing. Bittering units are measured through the use of a spectrophotometer and solvent extraction.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beer_measurement

Some commercial beers have the IBU measurement printed right on the bottle.  However, most home brewers don’t have a spectrophotometer as part of their personal beer brewing equipment.

Cheers!

 

The Great American Beer Festival 2010

September 18, 2010
Best Wishes to everyone at The Great American Beer Festival.

If you’re not familiar with The Great American Beer Festival, it is Sept 16-18 in Denver, Colorado.  It is listed as one of the top 1,000 places in the US to visit before you die.

Here is a good description of the event from their website.

According to the Guinness Book of World Records®, there is no other place on earth where a beer aficionado can find more beers on tap. The Great American Beer Festival is the American brewing industry’s top public tasting opportunity and competition. Tasting sessions will offer attendees the opportunity to tour America’s brewing landscape, one ounce at a time, with access to more than 2,000 different beers from more than 450 of the nation’s finest breweries. The GABF gathers practically every type of beer from all of the regions of the country, and are arranged geographically on the festival floor. The festival allows visitors to taste the largest number and the widest variety of hand-crafted products in the American beer industry.

For more information visit:  http://www.greatamericanbeerfestival.com/

Cheers!