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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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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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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The Ins & Outs of a Kegerator

Beer is best when served fresh, cold, and on draft. Half the cost of canned and bottled of beer, kegged beer is a cost-efficient way to enjoy your favorite beverage. A kegerator makes this enjoyment possible, and depending on your beer buying frequency, can paying for itself in just a matter of months. It’s kegonomics, really.

Kegerator Anatomy

Let’s take a closer look at the ins and outs of this aptly named beer dispenser.

Components & Tools Used in Assembly

If you purchase a complete kegerator, all components and tools necessary for assembly will be provided for you.

However, if you’re building your own custom kegerator, you’ll need to be sure you have the following components and tools:
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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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The Homebrewer’s Guide to Secondary Fermentation

If you are new to brewing your own beer, it is important that you learn how the process of fermentation works and the steps you should take to make the perfect homebrew. For some beers, you may want to follow a secondary fermentation process. This conditioning process is a little more complicated, but if you understand the phases, you will be a pro-brewer in no time.

Here’s our tips for understanding the process of secondary fermentation, how it works and when you should do it.

Understanding the Phases of Fermentation

In order to make beer, you must allow it to ferment for a short period of time. The first few phases of fermentation occur fairly quickly. In the aerobic phases, or first phase, the yeast cells become accustomed to their environment and begin to multiply. This multiplication happens very quickly, but not a lot of alcohol is produced.

Oxygen is needed during this phase by the yeast for it to work. The first phase lasts a few hours and you will not be able to see what is going on unless you have a microscope. Once this process is complete, it moves into the anaerobic phase, where the yeast will metabolize the sugars into Ethanol and CO2. This reaction causes there to be foam, or krausen, at the top of the beer that is fermenting. This active phase of fermentation will usually last anywhere from a few days to a whole week.

Towards the end of this phase, the foam will subside and the yeast cells will die or go dormant, falling to the bottom of the container. However, not all of the cells will do this. A few of them will ferment slowly for several more weeks in the conditioning phase.
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6 Common CO2 Questions Answered

CO2 Regulator Single Gauge

CO2 is an essential factor to consider when dispensing draft beer and it’s typically the component that has the most questions associated with it. It’s unclear why people are easily intimidated with CO2, but it could be because chemical compounds and subscripts remind them of their high school chemistry class.

Without getting too technical, here are the answers to the most frequently asked CO2 questions:

1. How do I know what pressure my CO2 is set at?

Your regulator, which is the component that connects the tank to the air hose, will have either one or two gauges on it. If it only has one, then that’s the one you’re looking for. If it has two, look for the gauge that shows a range of about 0-60 PSI (pounds per square inch). This will be your regulated pressure gauge. The number the arrow is pointing to on this gauge is how much pressure is being delivered to your keg.
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How to Setup the Perfect In-Home Bar

Thanksgiving is a time to surround yourself with family and friends. If you are entertaining everyone in your home this year, then you are probably searching for a simple way to setup the perfect in-home bar for Thanksgiving Day. With so many people in your home, space is at a premium. Fortunately, there are a variety of space-saving tips that you can use to maximize the little amount of free space you have available.

Choose the Right Kegerator

Every beer geek out there loves a good draft beer. If you really want to impress your guests, then you need a kegerator for your in-home bar. Kegerators are not only a great accessory for Thanksgiving dinner, but they’re great for year-round use. Not only are they perfect for football season, but they offer a simple way to dispense adult beverages without consuming a lot of space. Most people immediately think of full-size kegerators but don’t always have space for them. If you want to add a kegerator to your home bar this Thanksgiving but don’t have the space, then consider these alternatives.

Ice Maker for Home Bar
  • Mini Kegerators

    The easiest way to enjoy all of the perks of a kegerator while also saving space is by using a mini kegerator. Mini kegerators are much smaller your typical kegerator dispenser. You can put them on your countertop or home bar top for convenient use, and then store it away when you’re not using it. While they include all of the functionality of a full-sized kegerator they are designed to dispense beer from mini-kegs. Some can even store and dispense beer from two mini-kegs simultaneously.

  • Undercounter Kegerators

    If you want to use a full-sized keg then consider an undercounter kegerator. Undercounter kegerators are nearly identical to traditional full-size kegerators, but the primary difference being that you can install them directly in your countertop. This is an ideal solution for anyone that has little floor-space for a portable kegerator.

  • Outdoor Kegerators

    The final option is to buy an outdoor kegerator. This is the perfect solution if you spend a lot of time outside or simply have limited space to entertain indoors. The best part about outdoor kegerators is they are designed to maintain a constant internal temperature regardless of what the surrounding temperature is. This means you can safely store and dispense your beer outdoors all year round.

Take Advantage of Beverage Refrigerators

If a kegerator isn’t your style, then consider using a space-saving beverage refrigerator. A mini-fridge is a simple way to keep all of your adult beverages cool without having to make a trip to the kitchen all the time. Beverage refrigerators take up very little space and can even act as an additional countertop as well.

If you have the space in your kitchen, you can install a built-in beverage fridge directly into your countertops. This would allow you to have an extra fridge with a convenient location, but not sacrifice any of your floor space. If you have an old trash compactor, many undercounter fridges are designed to be the same shape for an easy transition.

Don’t Forget to Accessorize

When setting up your in-home bar for a Thanksgiving Day celebration there are a number of important bar accessories which will make entertaining much easier.

Ice Maker for Home Bar
  • Ice Makers

    One of the most important pieces of equipment to have is an icemaker or ice crusher. Icemakers take up very little space and are incredibly convenient. First, they make ice easily accessible to all of your guests. This will allow you to worry about preparing Thanksgiving dinner, entertaining and ensuring there’s enough pumpkin pie leftover for seconds rather than continually getting ice for everyone’s glasses. Second, having an ice maker readily accessible eliminates the risk that you’ll run out of ice.

  • Blenders, Juicers & Cocktail Accessories

    If your guests will primarily be drinking mixed drinks then there are a variety of bar accessories you may want for your in-home bar. The market for drink and cocktail preparation appliances has greatly expanded over the past several years. You can get anything from a margarita mixed drink maker to a premium juicer and blender. When choosing the right appliances for your in-home bar the most important consideration is what types of beverages your guests will be drinking. There is no reason to purchase a professional juicer or blender if your guests will primarily be drinking beer, wine, or beverages on the rocks.

  • Glassware Options

    An overlooked aspect of setting up your in-home bar is choosing the right glassware. While selecting glassware is extremely important if you’re serving wine, it is equally important when serving beer or mixed drinks. Different types of beers will taste best in glasses specifically designed to accentuate their bouquet, clarity, and level of carbonation. This is especially true if you are a home brewer and will be serving your own unique beers during your Thanksgiving Day celebration.

  • Setting up the perfect in-home bar for Thanksgiving Day doesn’t have to be a complicated and overwhelming process. Before choosing what appliances you will use there are two key characteristics to consider. The first is available space. It doesn’t matter what type of appliances you want if you don’t have space to set them up. For example, it would be great to have a full size kegerator but that doesn’t mean you have the space to actually use one. Instead, opting for an outdoor or mini kegerator is a more realistic solution. The second consideration is versatility. While it would be great to purchase bar accessories and appliances solely for Thanksgiving Day, try to purchase equipment which you will likely use throughout the rest of the year as well.

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The Mystery Behind Pouring the Perfect Guinness: Step-by-Step Guide

For some reason Guinness seems more prone to be shrouded in a veil of mystery than any other type of beer out there. It is popular dry Stout which was originally developed in Ireland back in the late 1700s. Three centuries later, it remains one of the most popular beers across the globe. Because it is unique in many ways, it must be treated differently when pouring, kegging and distributing it.

We’ve previously discussed how to pour the perfect draft beer. However, in that article we failed to mention that pouring Guinness takes a slightly different technique. To honor our devoted Guinness drinkers, we’d like to take this opportunity to teach you how to pour the perfect pint of Guinness.

Why Does Guinness Need to be Poured Differently?

The first question many people ask is why Guinness must be poured differently from other beers. There are a number of reasons for this, but the most important is the ratio of nitrogen to carbon dioxide. Guinness relies on a much higher nitrogen ratio than any other type of beer. For the perfect pint, the gas mixture is 75 percent nitrogen and 25 percent carbon dioxide released at a pressure of between 30 and 40 pounds per square inch. Additionally, because the beer is so thick it takes longer for the nitrogen bubbles to release which is essential to pouring it correctly.
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