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:

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

beer brewing equipment


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.


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.

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.



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:


Awesome Beer Varieties Poster

September 18, 2010
Here is an awesome poster linking different varieties of beer.  A large print of this would make a great addition to any brew room.


Tips to properly install a bung into a carboy

September 17, 2010
We all want all of our beer brewing equipment to be sanitized.  However, many sanitizers make the surface of our equipment very slippery.  This is a problem when you're ready to install a bung into a carboy full of fermenting brew.  The bung can just work itself back out of the top of the carboy.  Pushing the bung in too far can also cause it to fall into your brew.  So what do you do?

YOU DRY IT OFF before installing it.  You should also dry off the inside of the mouth of the carboy.  This should create enough friction for the bung to stay in place.  Alternatively, you can use some cheap vodka to sanitize these parts only.  The alcohol will not create a slippery surface and it will also dry quickly.


Retrieving a bung that fell into a carboy

September 17, 2010
Dropping the bung into the carboy while installing the airlock is a common mistake.  Don't worry about it.  Just leave it there and get another bung.  Install it right the second time.  Then, finish the fermentation and racking as you normally would.  Rinse the carboy to get all the trub out.  Then, use the trick in the video below to retrieve the bung.  A plastic bag becomes a valuable piece of beer brewing equipment.



So what IS the difference between porter and stout?

September 15, 2010
This article says… NOTHING

I love porters and stouts.  I'm using my beer brewing equipment to brew a porter now.