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34

Temp Control for fermentation Hitting the happy-yeast zone prevents high-temperature off-flavors like phenolics and low-temperature under attenuation. There is a separate community wiki post on this subject.


24

Sparge means "sprinkle". The purpose of sparging is to rinse all the sugars out of the mash. In concept, that's really all you are doing - rinsing your grain bed. It also halts enzymatic activity because alpha and beta amylase become denatured around 170° F. The benefit is if you are really good at mashing you know exactly when to stop so your malt ...


20

Patience For me, this mostly applies to fermentation. Allow it to complete then wait a few more days. After packaging chill undisturbed for at least two weeks so suspended particles fall to the bottom. Like a good soup or pasta sauce, give the flavors a chance to mingle and mellow.


14

Yeast Managment Yeast produce different flavors during the phases in their lifecycle. Pitching the right quantity of healthy yeast is in the top two most important things you can do to control fermentation Ester production occurs most strongly during the growth phase, when you first pitch. Yeast uses oxygen to bud (grow). Insufficient aeration leads to ...


13

Using a Wort Chiller This has a few advantages: Better cold break Less chance for unwanted organisms to get a foothold Minimizes the time wort is in the DMS-precursor-producing temperature range Better retention of Hop aromatics and flavor


13

Reading How to Brew By John Palmer. It's available to read online for free, or you can buy a hard copy. How to Brew is an amazing book for beginners to read and experts to reference. No brewer should go without reading it.


10

Full Wort Boils Boiling your full volume of wort — as opposed to boiling a concentrated portion of your wort and then adding water to the fermenter to reach your full volume — will significantly increase your hop utilization rates. Your hops simply cannot perform to their full potential in the high sugar concentration of a partial boil. Your ...


9

Reading Designing Great Beers By Ray Daniels. It's packed full of principles and practicalities. Buy it on Amazon


9

Write down everything you do. Don't kid yourself into thinking "I don't have to write this down, I'll remember", because you won't remember. The better you are about this, the easier it will be to do things repeatably. What temperature did you mash at? (not what temperature did the recipe say to mash at). What was the {pre,post} boil gravity, What was ...


9

Paraphrasing from Fundamentals of Beer and Hop Chemistry (text below), 2/3 of the hop bitterness in wort has a half-life in excess of 5 years, and the remaining 1/3 as a half-life of 1 year. From that, I've made a table showing the amount remaining over time. The total column shows the percentage of bitterness compared to the total at the start: months ...


8

You want a blue flame, and one that is not pushed away from the burner. Propane can burn when the ratio of propane to air is in the range 2.2-9.6%. Within this range lies the ideal ratio where fuel to air are properly balanced and the fuel burns with a blue flame and the flame temperature is at it's hottest - 3600F/1990C. The blue flame is characteristic of ...


8

I am a very big fan of pressurized fermentation. The benefits I see, in rough order of the value I place on them: 1) Pressurized ferments streamline my process tremendously. This is the big one. Once my wort is chilled, I transfer to a regular corny keg (just under 5 gallons). I keep the fermentation at 5 psi until it starts slowing down, and then I cap to ...


7

Repitition, Repitition, Repitition The biggest leap in quality and consistency for myself was setting up an area where the brewing process becomes routine. This has many benifits, the biggest of which is an increase on success rate for a clean, uninfected home brew. Think of it as almost a production line. I'm lucky enough to have a room i can dedicate ...


7

I have half a blog post in my head about the six -ations of the boil. Here's a sample. Also listen to this episode of Brew Strong for a lot of good information. In general, shoot for an 8 — 12% evaporation rate. Evaporation The most obvious one. The more water you drive off, the more concentrated your wort will turn out. This has the effect of ...


7

I would maybe add your hottest pepper to the boil. That way you aren't adding alot of vegetal matter to the boil. Sort if like using a high alpha hop. Then, I'd make a relish or mash of your less intense peppers and add that in secondary. Sort of like dry hopping. I would also consider serving this beer out of some poblanos if you can find some big ...


7

As alcohol levels rise in a beer, eventually you can taste it. There is just no way around that part. However as a brewer you do have control over some of the less desirable tasting higher order (molecularly complex) alcohols. The best way to control the levels of these types of flavors is to pitch plenty of yeast, ferment on the cooler side (that also ...


6

According to this page, it's the very end of the boil. Minute 0.


6

It's fine. It's just sitting there, minding it's own business. I've been busy and left beer in carboys for longer than that, and it turns out fine. I think Brew Your Own (byo.com) did some experiments on this and found no ill effects, as long as it's kept clean.


6

I've always just added chilies straight to the secondary. I've always used roasted anaheim peppers that i just toss into secondary, and never had any problems with infection or anything. They don't add a lot of heat though, if that's what your looking for. Then again, they're really mild. They contributed some incredible flavor though. I did about 5 ...


6

If the only purpose for the pump is draining the boil kettle, it might be wise to avoid the complexity (and one more thing to clean), because gravity will certainly work to transfer your wort to the fermentation vessel. You may find that there is an incomplete transfer of wort. The volume depends on how far the ball valve is from the bottom of the kettle ...


5

Taylor's partial boil answer is a good one, particularly if you are limited to the typical small-sized electric stove found in most apartments. Another issue with boiling wort in an apartment is excessive humidity, and more problematic, the smell drifting into your neighbor's loft. But if you want to do a full boil, there is an alternative: go outside! ...


5

I go back and forth between a 10 gallon rectangular cooler with a bazooka screen and a 5 gallon cylindrical Igloo cooler with a false bottom. The igloo is the way to go if your kitchen is really tiny, in my opinion, as it has a much smaller footprint. I've also heard of people mashing in a pot and putting it in the oven to maintain temperature. Never tried ...


5

It helps to get the wort moving around to cool evenly. You run the risk of introducing contaminates from the air or stirring utensil, but it's pretty low. Use a sanitized or boiled spoon.


5

Session beers, and slight over pitching is how I've made it happen. Keep your gravities to 1.040 or less and pitch two packs of yeast in general. English Ales definately are a good choice because the yeasts tend to flocc out really well, so you get clearly beer sooner. Where are American Ale yeasts tend to take a litte more time to clear out.


5

For the fastest beer, the style choice is the main thing. The beers mentioned before work very well, but if you want to be drinking in one week, how about a Belgian Wit, German Weizen, or American Hefeweizen. All these beers are meant to have yeast still in them, so clarity is not an issue, and the bready flavors and aromas true to the styles are most ...


5

I don't take readings throughout fermentation but some people do. There is an increased risk in collecting samples, but if your sanitation practices are good, the risk is low. I don't recommend dropping the hydrometer in. It will hard to find among the krausen, will be very difficult to read accurately, and the reading will be slightly off due to co2 that ...


5

Dr. Ernie Schyuler, Curator Emeritus of Botany, The Academy of Natural Sciences - does a lecture circuit in Philadelphia entitled: "The Origin and Evolution of Beer"


5

Pectin causes a really strong haze. Of course if you have a lot of pectin you can get some gummy residues or globs, but these settle out. Pectin haze tends to be tough to get rid of even with cold temps and aging. All in all, if you are making a cloudy-style wheat beer that you want to add fruit to, worrying about the pectin haze is a but overkill.


5

A RIMS (Recirculating Infusion Mash System) passes the wort directly over a heating element to achieve temp changes. A HERMS (Heat Exchange Recirculating Mash System) passes the wort through a coll submerged in water to do the same thing. Although temp steps may be a bit slower, you don't have the risk of scorching that you do in a RIMS. Probably 90+% of ...



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