Wort Aeration & Oxygenation

In beermaking it is critical that you limit the beer’s exposure to oxygen. Oxygen can react with compounds in the beer to degrade the overall quality of the brew but perhaps most noticeably it can create undesirable flavors. However, exposing wort to oxygen is a whole different story. In fact, prior to pitching the yeast, you’ll actually want to make sure that there’s a certain amount of oxygen in the wort. Having oxygen in the wort will make for healthier yeast, better attenuation and an overall more complete fermentation.

It is important to note that you’ll only want to introduce oxygen to wort that has been properly cooled. Bringing oxygen into the mix with wort that is hot or warm will inhibit bacterial growth ultimately increasing the likelihood of infecting your beer. You should always make sure that you are cooling the wort to pitching temperature immediately after the boil is complete and before aeration.

There are a number of ways to introduce oxygen to wort but they all fall under two main approaches: aeration and oxygenation. Aeration is the process of adding air to the mix while oxygenation is the process of infusing pure oxygen.

The difference here is that air is only about 20% oxygen. Because of the difference in composition, using pure oxygen will be the quicker approach though aeration can get the job done just as effectively.
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Why It Is Important to Clean & Sanitize Your Homebrew Equipment

You’ve heard that proper cleaning and sanitation in brewing are paramount, but you may find yourself asking, “Do I really need to spend money on a brewing-specific clean or sanitizer when I already have all of these effective cleaners around my house?” Well, the short answer to that question is “yes”.

Why You Should Clean Your Equipment

Homebrew Ingredients

Spending several hundreds of dollars on all the homebrew equipment your heart desires but deciding to skimp on cleaners and sanitizers would be like buying an expensive sports car and filling it up with regular unleaded. While you may initially save a couple of bucks at the pump, the inevitable repercussions make the frugality seem completely idiotic.

While bleach and other household cleaners are great for your bathroom and kitchen surfaces, you’re not consuming things that come in direct contact with these surfaces. These are very harsh cleaners that are great for their intended use but a less than ideal choice when making beer.

In brewing, it’s very important to create a happy and healthy environment for the yeast. Any bacteria, germs and the like will have adverse affects on your beer and it’s critical that you remove them from anything that will come in contact with the wort/beer at any point in time. This includes but is not limited to brew pots/kettles, brewing spoons and/or mash paddles, fermenters, siphons and tubing, airlocks, wort chillers, etc.
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What You Need to Bottle Your Own Beer

The brew day seems like forever ago and fermentation is finally complete. After all the waiting, your thirst has hit an all-time high. Unfortunately, you’ve got to properly package your product first. When bottling, there are a number of options to consider, you just have to think about what’s right for you and your beer.

Bottles

There are two main sizes of bottles to choose from when storing your homebrew. You know both of them well, the 12 oz. longneck and 22 oz. bomber. Both are equally great options and it really comes down to a matter of personal preference.

Homebrew Bottles

While 12 oz. bottles are great for personal servings, bombers are really handy when sharing with friends. You can even go with a combination of both to bottle your batch. You’ll also want to pay attention to the bottle’s collar which is just below the lip. American breweries typically use a bottle that has a flat collar that works well with cappers but watch out for imported bottles which may have a recessed or rounded collar which can cause the capper to slip.

Twist-off Style Bottles:
Whatever you do, do not use twist-off style bottles. These are the bottles commonly used by the massive breweries that we all know, and feature a threaded lip to allow the bottle cap to screw on. While it may be easy to find these in large quantities in your neighbor’s recycling bin these are not designed for reuse.
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How to Grow Your Own Hops

Growing Hops Right At Home Is Easier than You Think

Home brewing is becoming increasingly popular as more and more beer lovers discover just how easy it can be to a cook up a batch of your very own creation. An integral part of the home brewing process are hops, which infuse beer with its signature flavor. While some home brewers choose to purchase hops for the brewing process, many are choosing to grow hops on there own.

What Are Hops?

Hops are the female flowers of the plant known as humulus lupulus. Hops are used as a means of flavoring beer, as well playing a role in preserving the beverage. Hops offset the sweetness of malt to create a complex flavor profile that beer lovers crave. Depending on how much and what type of hops are used will determine how bitter a beer may be.

Hops were used as a method of flavoring beer as far back as the 11th century. Before then, many brewers imparted flavor to their beer by use of a variety of herbs and flowers. The resulting brews contained far less alcohol content, and were also more susceptible to spoilage. Today, hops are an integral part of the brewing process, with many growers taking a scientific approach to this age’s old traditional preparation.
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Why Healthy Yeast Makes for a Happy Homebrewer

While dogs are widely known as man’s best friend, brewer’s yeast should be just as widely known as the brewer’s best friend. What appears to be nothing more then a mere single-celled organism is in fact alive and fully capable of magic that’d make David Copperfield’s jaw drop. While pulling a rabbit out of a hat may impress the kiddos, yeast can perform a feat that serves a bigger purpose; turning sugar water into delicious beer through the wondrous process of fermentation!

Maintaining Yeast Health

While yeast is capable of such an impressive act, like any performer it puts on the best show when it’s healthy. Regardless of whether you’re using dry or liquid yeast, it’s important to ensure that your yeast is in its best possible condition to properly convert the sugars into alcohol during fermentation.
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The Auto-Siphon: A Must-Have for Every Homebrewer

Transferring liquid from one vessel to another is an unavoidable procedure by today’s methods of homebrewing. At least once during the process you will need to safely move liquid — whether wort and/or beer — from one place to another. In the beermaking world, this is known as racking.

Homebrew Auto-Siphon

There are a few ways to rack beer, but in homebrewing perhaps the easiest, most efficient and most sanitary way is by use of an auto-siphon.

What is an Auto-Siphon?

An auto-siphon is a simple piece of equipment that many would say is worth its weight in gold (for the sake of that, we’ll pretend like the auto-siphon isn’t lightweight). It consists of a racking cane with tubing on one end, with the other end housed within a racking tube. The racking tube will typically have a filter of some kind to block out unwanted particles and the racking cane will have a rubber grommet that allows easy movement within the tube without letting air by — very basic, yet very effective.

The auto-siphon takes the concept of a normal siphon, which utilizes atmospheric pressure and gravity to its advantage, and adds automation by allowing you to start the whole process without having to create a vacuum by “old school” means, like sucking on one end to get things flowing. In fact, that method is a terrible way to go about it as the bacteria in your mouth will undoubtedly contaminate the wort/beer as it flows through. With an auto-siphon, getting things started is even easier and much more sanitary.
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Drying Made Easy: The FastRack and Carboy Dryer

When it comes to choosing a storage vessel for your homebrew, bottles are probably the most obvious option for homebrewers both new and old. Bottling homebrew is a great choice for those starting out because bottles are easily accessible and can be reused time and time again. They’re also great for their versatility in being able to store smaller individual servings in many settings and for ease of transportation.

Homebrew Bottles

Seasoned homebrewers also like using bottles for bottle conditioning which allows the beer to further mature and develop over time in a safe and secure package that can be easily stored for long periods of time. Regardless of why you may choose to use bottles to store your brew, one thing homebrewers can agree on is that a big disadvantage of bottles is the inconvenience they present when it comes to cleaning and drying them.

While most all-inclusive brewing kits come with a bottle brush and sanitizer to clean bottles they almost never include a tool for drying and storing them. To remedy this, many use dish racks, some even roll up paper towels and insert them into the bottle, and others may simply balance them upside down on a cloth or paper towel. However, these are all bad ideas for one reason or another, with the biggest issue being that some part of the bottle is coming in contact with another surface that is most likely unsanitary.
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Comparing Different Types of Water for Homebrewing

Water: Essential Not Only to Life, But Also to Great Beer

Water is perhaps the most overlooked ingredient when homebrewers start out and certainly should not be. After all, more than 95% of beer’s composition is, you guessed it, water. It must be viewed in the same way as any other core ingredients in beer — those being malt, hops, yeast, and of course, water.

Water for Homebrewing

In fact, water is the first ingredient that you should consider when making beer, whether you’re brewing with a prepared ingredient kit or designing your own recipe.

When a brewer chooses the malt for a particular recipe it seems like something one could spend days or even weeks contemplating. With that in mind, it’s important to understand that water merits just as much thought. It serves as the base for your brew, and will have a big impact on how the final product turns out, regardless of whether you did everything else right and used other choice ingredients.

So, what are the main types of water readily available to you for brewing? Chances are you can get your hands on distilled, purified drinking, tap and maybe even rainwater if you have a barrel for a home garden or other purposes. Let’s go through the different types and how they relate to brewing.
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The History of Homebrewing: How Beer-Making Has Evolved Over the Years

As famous philosopher Plato once said:  “He was a wise man who invented beer.”

Homebrewing History

The history of beer and other fermented alcoholic beverages traces back to the earliest civilizations, with some experts claiming that beer was, perhaps, the first alcoholic drink ever created. The practice of using barley, hops, and other ingredients to brew beer has been important to many cultures, and remains so to this day. As a matter of fact, beer is thought to be the third most commonly consumed beverage in the world, ranking behind water and tea.

While mega-sized breweries continue to churn out the majority of the world’s beer, there has been a dramatic rise in homebrewing over the last few years. This time-honored tradition of crafting your own brews is steadily becoming more popular as the months roll by. But it wasn’t always like this. Until Jimmy Carter became president, it was still illegal for you to brew your own beer.

From the beginning of the Dry Movement to becoming one of America’s favorite hobbies, let’s take a look at how homebrewing has evolved over the years.
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How to Use an Immersion Wort Chiller

Brewing your own beer can be a fun and delicious hobby. If you’ve already made a few batches of homebrew, you might be wondering how you can step up your game and create even more distinctive brews. If this is the phase you find yourself in, I would suggest looking into using an immersion wort chiller. This powerful tool will help you effectively manage one of the most critical steps in the brewing process – the cool down. When you learn how to properly use an immersion wort chiller, you will be well on your way to making beer that is consistently crystal clear and flavorful.

Immersion Wort Chiller

Here’s my tips on how you can use an immersion wort chiller during the homebrewing process.

Why Is Wort Chilling Important?

Before getting into the immersion chiller itself, it’s important to understand why it is needed. The beer making process begins by mashing malted grain and then boiling hops within that mixture to create a flavorful extract. This is known as wort.

Once the wort has been prepared, it needs to be brought quickly from boiling temperature (212°F) down to approximately 60–75°F. The danger zone is between these two temperature points.

While the wort is still hot or warm, it can harbor dangerous bacteria and yeasts that may infect the beer or give it an unpleasant aroma and/or flavor. A chilling device helps quickly reduce the temperature of the wort to create the appropriate environment for fermentation to take place.
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