13
votes
3answers
10k 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
5answers
7k views

Early vs Late secondary fermentation

When do you start your secondary fermentation? Some people wait until the bubbles of the wort stop completely, others leave the wort in the fist fermenter for 3-4 days and then move on to secondary ...
13
votes
1answer
966 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
266 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.
12
votes
9answers
619 views

Book for beginners

What book would you recommend for a beginner hoping to start with extract recipes or from an extract kit?
12
votes
9answers
10k 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?
12
votes
9answers
12k views

Using a Induction cooktop

I have been brewing in my kitchen using a giant stockpot. My brother (my brewing partner) was thinking about picking up propane top and moving it outside. I think that it would be better to use an ...
12
votes
4answers
16k views

Can OxiClean be used as a sanitizer?

Many batches ago I abandoned the sanitizing solutions sold (at ridiculous markups) from standard homebrew stores in favor of OxiClean Free. My logic at the time (being out of sanitizer, and at a ...
12
votes
8answers
12k views

What is the best brewing log sheet to use?

I'm looking for a log sheet to use to start tracking all the beer and wine I brew to (hopefully) improve the results over time. What's your favorite and what could be improved in it?
12
votes
5answers
1k views

What is a good definition of beer?

My wife asked me what the definition of beer was, and my best response was my understanding of Reinheitsgebot definition (which may or may not be correct). Beer contains: Malted Barley Hops Water ...
12
votes
5answers
17k views

Is it possible to over-ferment?

My first batch started fermenting 8 days ago. The beer is still fresh and very cloudy, but I'm wondering if its possible to over-ferment a beer? If I let it sit for another 2 weeks (or however ...
12
votes
6answers
5k views

Glass Carboy vs. Better Bottle

I recently broke my 6.1 gallon glass carboy that I used for primary fermentation. I need to buy a new one, and I'm considering a "Better Bottle" carboy. Its claims include: **Unbreakable and ...
12
votes
5answers
4k views

How can I learn the distinctive taste of various hops?

There are some very helpful descriptions I've found of people describing the taste of various hops, but I've found that my personal taste can be quite different. I'd like to be able to isolate the ...
12
votes
4answers
15k views

Choosing a good refrigerator/freezer for kegerator conversion

Does anyone have experience and recommendations for a good fridge/freezer for conversion into a kegerator? I'm basically choosing between a full sized fridge, a mini-fridge and a chest freezer. I'll ...
12
votes
6answers
7k views

Alternatives for priming sugar

If you happen to be out of priming sugar, but really want to bottle your beer, what are the alternatives? Let's assume a 5 gallon batch that's fully fermented - call it 1.010-1.014.
12
votes
4answers
1k views

How would you ship your brew?

I've been thinking about shipping my beer to a fellow homebrewer on the opposite coast. I know the post office doesn't exactly condone this, but if you were to mail a bottle or two, how would you do ...
12
votes
4answers
7k views

All my all-grain batches produce a bitter/astringent, dark, almost burnt off flavor that ruins every batch, from light pilsner to dark belgians

I'm scratching my head trying to figure this one out. Here's the story: I started brewing extracts, and they all came out great. I wanted to get into all-grain so a last year I ordered myself the ...
12
votes
5answers
7k views

Can I skip the mash out replacing it by sparging?

I'm a new homebrewer and have a newbie question: can I skip the mash out time just replacing it by sparging since the water temperature is the same? What kind of things can happen doing this? Thanks! ...
12
votes
8answers
9k views

How do I cut my extract brewing cost?

I'm trying to reduce my cost-per-beer, without investing in an all-grain setup. I know I'm pretty limited with what I can tweak (can't get around needing sugar, yeast, and hops), but here in Montana ...
12
votes
4answers
3k views

Is a long boil with extract necessary?

I'm making a late hopped extract beer later tonight. (Jamil's Evil Twin as posted http://www.mrmalty.com/late_hopping.htm) He suggests at 90 minute boil with the first hop addition coming 20 minutes ...
12
votes
3answers
5k views

Will scaling a recipe from 5 gallons to 1 gallon introduce significant differences?

Will scaling a recipe down to 1 gallon (i.e.: dividing the amount of each ingredient by 5) produce a pretty close approximation of the results of a full 5 gallon batch? Are there any additional ...
12
votes
1answer
963 views

How does Irish moss work?

How does it clarify my beer?
12
votes
6answers
21k views

How does lemon juice ferment into hard lemonade?

I'm interested in making a hard lemonade after my cider is done, but I'm having a tough time figuring out how the recipes I've found actually work, and what's the best way to ferment lemon juice. ...
12
votes
6answers
4k views

Using coffee in beer

Last weekend I brewed a super classic, nothing special stout. I plan to add coffee to it in the secondary, and didn't want any craziness from the stout itself so that I could really play with the ...
12
votes
2answers
4k views

How should I add mint to my beer?

I'm making a mint chocolate stout. I've made it before; I added 1.5 ounces of fresh spearmint to the last 10 or 15 minutes of the boil. It turned out alright, but it's not as strong as I'd like. The ...
12
votes
2answers
971 views

Storage of hops pellets

I was wondering if anyone had suggestions on how to store one's hops pellets after having opened the sealed package (... in case one is not using the whole lot at once of course). Also, if you have ...
12
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
5k 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
4k views

When is it necessary to pitch fresh yeast for bottle conditioning?

I've read that you can leave an ale to secondary for months and enough yeast will remain in suspension that you won't need to pitch additional yeast when bottling. But are there times when you do ...
11
votes
12answers
3k views

What are my options for brewing software?

I'm looking for brewing software that helps with record-keeping, calculations, inventory, and/or recipes. Across any platform (Windows/Mac OS X/Linux), what brewing software is available, and what ...
11
votes
3answers
995 views

Is there a way to use my kegging system to carbonate beer for bottling without a beer gun?

The only solutions I've found are expensive, and involved a pricey piece of equipment called a beer gun. Is there a way to carbonate my beer before bottling so I can ensure a good carbonation?
11
votes
6answers
12k views

Should I worry about blow-off?

I brewed a batch of IPA yesterday and when I checked on it today it had started to blow-off. There is so much pressure in the primary that it has spilled up through the airlock and is constantly ...
11
votes
8answers
46k views

Which yeast should I use to make apple cider

I am looking to make some homebrew cider. I intend to use store-bought apple juice, and mix with an appropriate amount of yeast. I am wondering what kind of yeast you would recommend? In the past, I ...
11
votes
6answers
9k views

Reusing twist-off bottles

I've heard it said that twist-off bottles should be avoided when reusing bottles for homebrewing. I've also heard a few people saying they've used plenty of them with no ill effects. Given that (at ...
11
votes
5answers
7k views

How Do You Sanitize Your Carboys?

When sanitizing your carboys, do you fill them all the way up (6+ gallons) with sanitizer or do you put in less and swirl it around? This may depend on what type of sanitizer is being used. I'm using ...
11
votes
6answers
19k views

Bottles didn't carbonate, anything I can do?

Brewed an Oatmeal Stout and it has been in bottles for about 4 weeks now and still the bottles haven't carbonated. Tried the first bottle after 2 weeks and it was very flat. Now I just opened one ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the best way to sanitize vanilla pods?

I Am planning on adding a vanilla pod to secondary in my next brew. What is the best way to sanitize it before it goes in?
11
votes
7answers
5k views

Why is my IPA not hoppy enough?

I am about to start my second attempt at making an IPA. My first did not turn out anything like an IPA. It was much darker than I expected (I may have burnt it a little) and did not really have the ...
11
votes
4answers
5k views

Cork in red wine starting to push itself out. Is it still safe to drink?

A friend gave us a bottle of homemade red wine a year ago. (They're Italian and they make wine every year). It's been sitting in our dining room, stored on its side. We started to notice that the ...
11
votes
3answers
6k views

Do I need to sterilize my top-off water?

I just purchased my first kit and am about to brew it (tonight!). The instructions provided indicate that after cooling the wort and tranfering it to the sanitized carboy I need to top it off with ...
11
votes
5answers
795 views

How do I improve my palate?

I've read descriptions of wines (and lately more beers) where the tasting notes say things like "cherries, floral", etc. I've never tasted any of this when I drink/taste the corresponding beer/wine. ...
11
votes
7answers
2k views

Do you keep your wine/beer making records online?

I've been looking for a suitable way of keeping my wine records online, whereby I can simply tap in recipe details as I brew, SG during the ferment etc, and it logs these all as individual with the ...
11
votes
4answers
327 views

How to improve efficiency of water usage..?

I have just put another beer in the fermentor and I seem to use huge amounts of water during the whole brewing process. I don't have an exact estimate of my water use, but taking into account the ...
11
votes
12answers
12k views

How to brew all-grain indoors

I've been brewing with extracts and specialty grains for two years now, and I want to step up to all-grain brewing. From what I understand, it's important to get a full boil when brewing all-grain and ...
11
votes
6answers
3k views

Small Space & Apartment Brewing: Equipment Storage

Given the limited space of an apartment, what tips do you have for storing your equipment? Do not consider budget to be a factor. This is the first question in a series of discussions about ...
11
votes
6answers
2k views

Does suspended yeast contribute to high SG?

I've got a SMaSH beer (Baird Maris Otter and EKG) finishing in primary. It's been fermenting for just over a week. Starting Gravity was 1.046. I mashed at 154F for 60 minutes. Fermented with WY1335 ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

How long do I need to maintain my fermentation temperature?

Do I need to maintain my desired temperature until bottling or take it out of the "ferm chamber" after initial fermentation is done? What about with long term brews such as sours?

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