Ways of using tools and tricks to accomplish a task. May refer to any portion of work during any stage in the brewing or fermenting process.

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32
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16answers
3k views

Improving Your Brewing Significantly

I made this wiki to allow folks to post what upgrades in process or equipement really take one's beer brewing to the next level. The bottle-necks to better and better brewing if you will. (This was ...
26
votes
16answers
11k views

Are there any tricks for removing labels from bottles?

Some labels can be a pain to remove. I've tried soaking bottles in water with a little bit of dish soap but it doesn't really do much to break down the adhesive. What methods do you have for easily ...
24
votes
2answers
778 views

How to clean yeast

I like reusing yeast to save money, and I like having my own "house" yeast. However sooner or later my yeast eventually dies and becomes unusable. I have a feeling that each time I repitch, I'm ...
21
votes
12answers
39k views

Too long in Primary Fermentation?

What's the maximum amount of time for primary fermentation, assuming the beer is going straight to bottles next? Will it over ferment and then fail to carbonate, if left too long in a carboy?
21
votes
4answers
668 views

Open-Fermented or Native Yeast Beers

I've always been very careful about control and sanitation with beer. But with my wine I do some native yeast Pinots, and some friends of mine are into the same with beers- they like funky, ...
18
votes
7answers
1k views

About going all-grain

I have made 7 or 8 extract brews over the past year and am interested in moving up to all-grain. What equipment is needed, and what steps are added to the process.
18
votes
1answer
1k views

Partial vs. Full Voume Wort Boil

The starting postion for most new extract brewers is to use a partial boil set up. Defined as using a pot smaller than the intended batch size, all the ingredients are boiled in a smaller volume. ...
17
votes
6answers
12k views

How to add fruit to beer

What is the best way to add fruit to a beer? I'm afraid boiling it will break down the fruit too much (a muslin bag could fix this I guess), but I'm not sure how to add it to the fermenter without ...
17
votes
8answers
437 views

Brewing with a deadline

Occasionally I need to brew beer for an event, and I procrastinate. One time, I brewed a pretty hefty IPA, and went from boil to bottle (keg, actually) in about 10 days. It was pretty malty, ...
16
votes
4answers
2k views

Reusing yeast at home

Reusing yeast at home is something I'm incredibly interested in, but haven't found the time to learn enough about it just yet. What are the basic steps for harvesting, cultivating, or whatever other ...
15
votes
6answers
9k views

What's the difference between primary & secondary fermentation?

Over here PJ asked "How do you differentiate primary to secondary if you keep it in the same bucket?"
14
votes
4answers
5k views

How to Properly Oxygenate Wort

How much oxygen do I need to put into my wort? I've heard that homebrewers need to aerate with an oxygen stone and either aquarium pumps or oxygen. Is this true, or is shaking my carboy enough to ...
14
votes
3answers
1k views

My keg is empty. Now what?

So I kicked my first Corny keg and need to get the keg and the system cleaned and ready for another batch, which might not be ready for some time. What's my process here?
14
votes
4answers
4k views

How can I avoid a lot of foam in the first pint from the keg?

Whenever I go to get a pint from the keg, the first pint is always foamy. I have to fill the glass up about 1/3 of the way and dump it out, just to the pour actual beer. I usually carbonate by ...
13
votes
5answers
5k views

How do I culture yeast from a commercial beer? Is it legal?

If I like the flavor profile of a yeast in a commercial beer, how would I go about culturing it? I have some very basic lab equipment, but I can buy anything that's reasonably priced. Also, would it ...
13
votes
4answers
21k views

How to grow yeast?

I have read that it is possible to grow your own yeast, but I have not been able to find exact instructions. I would like to grow my own yeast so that I don't have to spend money on those small ...
13
votes
3answers
3k views

What's the best method to catch a strain of wild yeast for homebrewing?

I'm interested in learning about brewing using wild yeast, but I wonder what is the best method to catch a strain that would produce good results in homebrewing. And of course how to ensure that it ...
12
votes
4answers
2k views

How fast should I run water through my wort chiller?

My father-in-law got me a wort chiller for my birthday, one of those copper coil immersion jobs and I'm now putting it to the test. This is only my second batch of beer, so I'm pretty new at this. ...
12
votes
3answers
3k views

What is the point of mashing out?

I know it stops the enzymes from breaking down any more sugar, but is there any other point to it? Will I notice any difference in the final product if I just got straight to sparging? Also, if my ...
12
votes
1answer
5k views

What is a hopback?

How do you use it? What does it do? Do you pass finished wort through it hot or cold?
12
votes
3answers
2k views

Should I ferment a new batch directly on the yeast cake generated by the previous batch?

I'm going to re-use the yeast cake from a low-gravity batch to ferment a high-gravity batch. Can I just put the wort directly on it? Does it then need to be agitated? Is it worth the risk of ...
11
votes
9answers
4k views

Is it important to weigh down a hop bag for dry-hopping?

If so, what kind of weight should I use? Should it be enough to sink the bag to the bottom of the carboy?
11
votes
9answers
6k views

Sanitizing oak chips

Going to try using dry oak chips in my secondary fermenter. How do you recommend sanitizing the chips before adding them?
11
votes
2answers
15k views

What is wet hopping and how does it differ from dry?

Specifically what types of beer would you use wet hopping for and how does it affect the flavor/process differently than dry hopping a beer?
11
votes
1answer
4k views

Why is it bad to pitch too much yeast?

What are the effects of over-pitching? Where is the line for, say, a 1.050 beer? There is also a question for to under-pitching.
11
votes
2answers
890 views

How do I make a Yeast Starter?

I know I should be using a Yeast Starter so that I can make sure I have enough, healthy yeast, but I've never managed to go around to it. How would I start a yeast starter? How long before brewday ...
11
votes
1answer
1k views

How do you pitch additional yeast for bottling?

This is a follow on to my other question about when you would need to pitch additional yeast for bottle conditioning. Assuming you know that you need to pitch more yeast before bottling to ensure ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

Using Multiple Strains of Yeast in the Same Batch?

I've been thinking about this recently, so I figured I'd ask it here. Is there any reason you couldn't use two strains of yeast in the same batch of beer? For a particularly high gravity amber ale, ...
10
votes
4answers
1k views

Should you rehydrate dry yeast?

I've read conflicting opinions on whether or not to re-hydrate dried yeast. I've had successful fermentation with dried yeast in the past but have not tried re-hydrating. Has anyone had better/worse ...
10
votes
2answers
148 views

Should the late addition portion of a recipe be altered based on immersion, counterflow, whirlpooling techiques?

When it comes to late addition hops (or other late aeromatics), it seems to me that there might be significant differences in aroma extraction / utilization as the brewer executes different chilling ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

Whirlfloc versus irish moss - pros and cons?

What are the pros and cons of using irish moss versus whirlfloc tablets for clarifying beer?
10
votes
3answers
337 views

Is aeration necessary if you overpitch?

We all know that aeration is necessary for yeast growth. Does it facilitate more than that? If you massively overpitch, on a previous yeast-cake for example, do you need the same amount of dissolved ...
9
votes
5answers
861 views

Shorter Brew Day

For all grain brewers, what part of the brew session lends itself best to shortening the total brew session. Time is tight for me these days and shortening up the brew session a bit will certainly ...
9
votes
4answers
818 views

Fruit for fruit beers

What are the best fruits for brewing fruit beers? Some fruits appear to be classics like cherries raspberries. Some fruits you rarely hear about like kiwi and papya. Which fruits have flavor ...
9
votes
5answers
541 views

Dry malting - a crazy idea?

A lot of talk is about dry-hopping in order to bring out the aroma of hops lost during the boiling process. Could a similar approach be used for malt? That is, could the addition of crushed grains to ...
9
votes
2answers
4k views

Proper Way to Store Yeast

What is the proper way and temperature to store yeast?
9
votes
4answers
10k views

What malt should I use to get a red beer?

So, I want to make a red beer, what is the best malt to get this color?
9
votes
2answers
1k views

Steeping Specialty Grains

What is the proper procedure for steeping specialty grains while extract brewing? Temp, time, grain bags or not.
9
votes
1answer
324 views

Adding Oak Flavor/character to beer

Short of buying an oak barrel, what forms of oak are available to the homebrewer for getting oak into yuor beer? Are they available with different levels of toast? Are some forms easier to sanitize ...
8
votes
4answers
7k views

Can fermenting temperatures affect a beer's taste?

I'm putting together an "all glass" kit with two carboys and want to brew a DIPA but I'm a little concerned about temperature ranges where I'll be fermenting. I'm looking at somewhere between 15-18 ...
8
votes
6answers
8k views

How to strain wort before primary fermentation

I recently made a big beer (Dogfish Head 90 minute clone) with an OG around 1.11. I had never tried to strain wort before moving to a primary fermenter but thought it would be a good idea since this ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

Is there a more durable alternative to a plastic auto-siphon?

Right now I am using the standard fermtech plastic auto siphon, but it already broke and it's a pretty flimsy and poorly designed way to siphon beer (the plastic piece in the tip broke and it can't ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

Effects of different boil intensities

What are the effects of having a super rapid crazy boil vs. a very slow, slightly rolling boil, and the different stages in between? If you're boiling 6 gallons on an electric stove or trying to do ...
8
votes
2answers
249 views

Fly Sparging: Can I start boiling straight away

I fly sparge directly into my boil kettle and in general I have the heat on while I'm doing this. When this was on my stove it wasn't powerful enough to get the water boiling before finishing the ...
8
votes
5answers
2k views

How can I fill bottles from a keg and maintain pressure

I've been kegging for awhile now, but I still haven't managed to successfully fill bottles from my kegs without losing all pressure. I don't have a counter pressure beer filler or a Blichmann Beer ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

How do you get the bag of hops into the carboy and then remove it?

I always have a difficult time getting the hops in the carboy and then removing it when dry-hopping. What's the trick?
8
votes
4answers
1k views

Steeping grain time

We are steeping 5# of grain. Is the time the grains should steep based on the weight? We were just going to do 30 mins. Is this the correct amount of time or should it be more or less? This is for an ...
8
votes
2answers
360 views

Starter and smack-packs

Is making a starter a good idea when using a larger activator pack from Wyeast? Should you smack the packet and add it to the starter, or add it after it swells?
8
votes
3answers
945 views

Is There A Way To Get Root Beer Taste/Smell Out Of Kegging Equipment?

I've since learned better, but when I first got my kegging setup, I put root beer on one of the lines. After that keg was empty, I decided to put soda water in instead. Unfortunately, the root beer ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

Should I purge my carboy with CO2 before racking to secondary?

I'm thinking this might help prevent oxidation.