16
votes
4answers
1k views

What happens in the bottle?

I often drink a bottle 2 or 3 days after bottling, and then often every day or 2 after that, and it's sometimes quite amazing to see those "rough edges" getting smoothed out. Can someone explain what ...
15
votes
5answers
19k views

Why do all my beers taste better after having aged for a couple months?

My impression is that ales are typically best drunk within a couple weeks of brew day. It's my experience that letting them age in the bottles for 2-3 months yields the best beer, both improving body, ...
15
votes
9answers
23k views

Am I required to refrigerate bottles after bottling?

My instructions that came with my kit said that I should let the bottles sit for 3 days, then age in the fridge for 10 days. If I don't refrigerate, will I get bottle bombs? Advice on forums and ...
15
votes
6answers
15k views

What is the secondary fermentation debate?

This question mentions a debate about secondary fermentation. Sort of like the existence of dark matter, everything I have read about homebrewing points to there being some disagreement about ...
15
votes
4answers
44k views

Carbonation Drops vs. Sugar?

I'm brewing my very first batch with an actual kit (I've used Mr. Beer before with decent results and wanted to do it right). I bought a recipe kit from Northern Brewer and I opted for the Cooper's ...
15
votes
8answers
8k views

Are beer kits any good?

I started my first homebrew a few days ago. I used a John Bull India Pale Ale beer kit made by Young's (West Midlands, UK). The airlock is bubbling away merrily and I've taken the lid off the ...
15
votes
4answers
34k views

What does 'Imperial' mean with regards to beer style?

I've seen the adjective "Imperial" tacked on at the beginning of a number of beer styles recently: Imperial Stout, Imperial Brown Ale, Imperial Red Ale, etc. What does it mean exactly, is it just ...
15
votes
4answers
1k views

First Time Homebrewer Setup

There was a request for difficult questions, but having never brewed, this is all I've got: Can you describe the most basic setup (preferably one with a reasonably low difficulty and high success ...
15
votes
8answers
2k views

How would one go about growing their own hops?

Ignoring the downsides (Hops: buy vs. grow), how would one grow hops in their backyard? I know that it grows 30 feet tall and that you cut it to the ground in the winter, but how do you get started ...
15
votes
3answers
1k views

Is it possible to make a beer worthy of a competition with malt extract?

I was wondering if it's possible to make a beer worthy of entering a competition that stands a chance of doing well. I'm still pretty new to brewing but wanted to know if I need to make the jump to ...
15
votes
8answers
10k views

How do you cool a lager on a budget?

What techniques would you suggest for cooling a lager during the lagering phase? Further, how important is the stability of that temperature?
15
votes
3answers
11k views

How long will bottled beer last?

How long will bottled beer last without refrigeration?
15
votes
6answers
6k views

How much water does a wort chiller use?

I am thinking on buying an immersion chiller and from other threads I've thought of using the post-chiller hot water for cleanup, and I've also heard of using the water (after it starts to cool down) ...
15
votes
1answer
2k views

How long can a yeast starter survive in the fridge?

I've made a 2L yeast starter (Wyeast 2633 Octoberfest) and placed in the fridge this morning. My original goal was to brew tonight but I may not be able to. Will the yeast colony still be good for a ...
15
votes
4answers
4k views

Using trub directly vs. yeast rinsing.

Sometimes referred to as "yeast washing," the process of yeast rinsing separates the yeast from the hops and break material in the trub. Most brewers who reuse yeast — and store it for long ...
14
votes
13answers
3k views

Uses for spent grains

What are some uses for spent grains - either a few pounds from a partial mash or the 10+ from an all-grain batch - that don't include just throwing the grains away? If your answer is to include some ...
14
votes
17answers
993 views

What is the best beer to make for a spouse who prefers sauvignon blanc?

I am trying to solve the "wife who loves wine instead of beer" problem. She would normally choose a Sauvignon blanc for herself but that's just no fun for the beer-drinking / making husband. My goal ...
14
votes
3answers
1k views

Why do you aerate wort at first and try to keep oxygen out later?

Why should you aerate the wort before pitching yeast but then try to avoid allowing oxygen into it later in the process? What is going on with the yeast that makes oxygen good at first but bad later?
14
votes
10answers
5k views

Are there tools that can make the bottling process easier?

I found this to be the most difficult part during my first attempt at brewing. All I had was a tube and a racking cane. Is there anything else to simplify the process and prevent me from ending up ...
14
votes
7answers
7k views

Expect the Unexpected: How can I prepare for bottle-bombs?

Just had my first explosion last night. Very disheartening to discover a 22oz bottle spread all over the basement floor with little tiny shards of glass splattered everywhere. I remember overfilling ...
14
votes
4answers
2k views

How can I maximize dry hops aroma?

I recently made an IPA. I put an ounce of Cascade pellets in the secondary (for a 23-litre [6-U.S.-gallon] batch), but there is hardly any hops aroma in the finished product. By the end of the two ...
14
votes
2answers
1k views

Sanitation & Dry Hopping

Is there any risk of wort infection by not sanitizing hops before dry hopping?
14
votes
6answers
4k views

Avoiding excessive soot on brew kettles

Are there any secret tricks to avoiding an exorbitant amount of soot on the brew kettle after the boil? We have been making all grain batches recently using a 20 gallon stock pot and a propane ...
14
votes
4answers
958 views

How do you cool wort?

More specifically, what methods exist to cool your wort after the boil, and what are there respective pros/cons?
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
1answer
6k 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.
14
votes
4answers
6k 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 ...
14
votes
3answers
4k 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 ...
14
votes
4answers
3k 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 ...
14
votes
3answers
2k views

Fruit beer: should I allow it to ferment out completely?

I have a wheat beer in secondary that has been on 5 lbs of strawberries for 6 days. The flavor is phenomenal right now, just perfect. The strawberries continue to ferment actively, and I want to ...
14
votes
3answers
2k views

When should I add a vanilla bean?

My wife just kicked a bottle of vanilla extract. She bakes a lot and buys the good stuff that comes with a bean in it. I think i want to add the bean to my double-chocolate stout that's in the ...
14
votes
3answers
2k views

What are the advantages and disadvantages of transferring to a secondary vs. a long primary?

The conventional wisdom in homebrewing has been challenged in recent years. This wisdom held that a beer should be transferred from the primary fermentation vessel to a secondary one after 7-10 days. ...
14
votes
2answers
293 views

What is “well attenuated maltiness”?

I am studying to become a BJCP judge. I was reading through Style 2a German Pilsner and saw something in the flavor profile that I didn't quite understand thoroughly. It says Moderate to ...
13
votes
10answers
6k 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?
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
7answers
15k views

Is it OK to starting fermentation while wort is still warm?

I'm just getting started, so in my first couple batches I realized I had a problem cooling the wort all the way down to 60°F/16°C recommended by my instructions. I boil all of my water, but I don't ...
13
votes
6answers
12k views

Can Infected beer cause death or major illness?

Basic question. Can you get sick and die from drinking infected brew? I know that it must taste terrible, was just wondering. Can't seem to find any references where people have died from infected ...
13
votes
5answers
3k views

What class of beer is Newcastle, and what do I need to brew my own?

I like Newcastle, and now I would like to brew some. What class / style of beer is Newcastle? Where does it get its brown color? Are there any kits out there that would give pretty close results?
13
votes
9answers
1k views

What are some good online sources for recipes?

What are some good online sources for recipes? Please specify the type of recipes the site has (extract, all-grain, mead, cider, etc.).
13
votes
4answers
6k views

Methods for cleaning and drying tubing

Brewing 5 gallon batches at home. During the transfer from my primary fermenter to the secondary, and when filling bottles from my bottling bucket I constantly need to use plastic tubing to transfer ...
13
votes
6answers
4k views

How do I keep yeast from a strain that I've bought?

I'd like to stop buying yeast all the time, especially when I use the same strain repeatedly. This is especially a problem when it comes to seasonal strains. I'd like to brew with WLP351 Bavarian ...
13
votes
4answers
3k 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. ...
13
votes
3answers
5k views

How to brew less than 5 gallons at a time?

I recently moved into a smaller apartment and no longer have the space for my 6.5 and 5 gallon carboys. Do people sell smaller carboys than this? I know Mr. Beer would be small enough, but I'd ...
13
votes
6answers
7k views

Dry yeast vs wet yeast

I've always thought it to be common knowledge that wet yeast is better than dry yeast for home-brewing. This was confirmed by Sam Calagione at his Authors at Google talk where he suggested that using ...
13
votes
3answers
9k views

What Type and Power of Microscope For Observing Yeast Cells

I'm interested in buying a microscope that I can use to observe yeast cells. Ideally, I'd like to use this to count cells in region and do calculations to get estimated populations (though I don't ...
13
votes
1answer
959 views

Original Gravity: Calculate or measure

I've been told that for extract brewing it's best to simply calculate the original gravity instead of measuring it. Is this correct? What are the pros/cons either way? What about with ...
13
votes
2answers
1k views

Is a taste-test at bottling time indicative of the end result?

If I were to do a taste-test of the beer at racking/bottling time, how indicative of the end result would it be?
13
votes
1answer
7k views

What is a hopback?

How do you use it? What does it do? Do you pass finished wort through it hot or cold?
13
votes
1answer
2k views

Do Oxygen Absorbing Caps Make Any Difference

So, I was looking to refill my supply of bottle caps and ran across "Oxygen Absorbing" bottle caps. The implication is that their absorbency will reduce oxidation in the bottled beer. If you're ...
13
votes
1answer
243 views

Using spent grains to smoke meat

I've read a couple of questions here regarding uses for spent grain, but I'm curious if anyone has ever used it in a meat smoker.

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