What's your best tip for making brewing easier and better?

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Yooper, Nov 30, 2017.

  1. Yooper

    Yooper Administrator
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    I've been brewing a long time, and I learned most things the hard way.

    What would be the one tip that you would give to a newer brewer to save them from having to learn things the hard way?

    For me, it would be that you can mix up a gallon of star-san sanitizer and store it. Put some in a spray bottle, and instead of dunking/soaking, just spritz items to wet them thoroughly. Plus, you can and use and reuse.

    What is it that you know now that you wished you had known back then?
     
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  2. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    For siphoners, the autosiphon. It sure beats trying to use a water filled hose.
     
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  3. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    To the Starsan idea: Mix it with distilled or RO water and it lasts effectively forever. My tip: Don't start with the high alcohol, high flavor brews, start with something simple like a blonde ale. Brew it exactly the same way until it comes out the same every time. Then you know you have a solid process, and can branch out with confidence that it's your recipe, not process variance, making the changes in your beer.
     
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  4. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    I think what's made my brewing easier is a fermentation chamber with temperature control
     
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  5. thunderwagn

    thunderwagn Well-Known Member

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    That 70 degrees in most cases is not the best temperature to pitch your yeast.
     
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  6. okoncentrerad

    okoncentrerad Active Member

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    Well I AM a new brewer but something I found out that I really prefer is spigots (not 100% if thats the right english word?) on a fermenting bucket for transferring the beer from bucket to bucket, or from bucket to bottles. I did some cider before and I really hated working with the siphon. I've installed a spigot on all my 3 fermenting buckets.
     
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  7. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Skip bottling and go straight to Kegging you'll enjoy the hobby more.
    There is more than one way to skin a cat - or make beer.
     
  8. Mase

    Mase Well-Known Member

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    #8 Mase, Nov 30, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2017
    Use a hop filter between your boil kettle and fermenter. You can save a lot of money and aggrevation trying to do otherwise.
     
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  9. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    What I have found is that better most of the time isn't easier and easier is almost never better.

    1. If you do extract, use 100% RO water to keep the pH right from the original mash.
    2. If you don't use pure O2 to aerate, then stick with re-hydrated dry yeast, it doesn't need as much O2 as liquid yeast.
    3. Get your pitches right and understand why you use the amount of yeast you pitch.
    4. Pitch and ferment at lower temps, it keeps from having bad beer and off flavors.
    5. Avoid taking advice from people that you haven't tasted their beer (I guess that nullifies my advice).
    6. Know the fermentation process like the the back of your hand and nail your extract beers every time BEFORE going all grain.
    7. Keep detailed notes on every beer, it may turn out awesome and you will have no idea why and you won't be able to repeat it.
    8. Aerate, aerate, aerate. You can never underestimate the importance of aeration at the time of pitch. It can make up for a low yeast pitch.
    9. Enjoy your hobby, don't get to worked up if it doesn't turn out perfect. Next time you will make a better beer.
     
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  10. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    I was one for nine on those steps when I started. Extract, tap water, room temp fermentation, dry pitched the included pack of yeast, didn’t take notes, I didn’t know about aerating. I did enjoy it, and I made beer I liked to drink. Others liked it too, including the almighty all grain brewers. This hobby is as easy or difficult as a brewer wants it to be. I’m still on the more casual side of brewing.
     
  11. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    Well, I have to admit I'm a little anal about brewing.

    But he things I listed were the major hurdles I had to overcome. I went all grain thinking that extract was my problem, but in the end it came down to fermentation. Even if your beer is good, you can always make it better and more enjoyable. Most beers I taste from my homebrewing club that have problems are rooted in a fermentation problem. Not because they brewed with extract, not because they don't have the best and most expensive equipment, but because they missed a step or got a little careless in regards to the yeast.

    The hobby should be fun and enjoyable, but just a couple of small changes can make a world difference and make the beer and the hobby even better.
     
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  12. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    Nothing wrong with being anal if you want to be. I’ve heard people give me the “You can brew even better beer” lectures before. There’s nothing I do, brewing or otherwise, that I couldn’t do better. I could have a better marriage, take better care of my house, do my job better, take better care of my car. That list is infinite. I sincerely applaud your quest for a better beer. That’s what you should do if it’s your desire. I’m very happy with “good enough.” The point I’m trying to make is that you don’t have to be anal to brew good beer. It doesn’t have to be a difficult process. If I listened to all of the people who made brewing sound as difficult building a nuclear bomb, I wouldn’t have started. My homebrewing neighbor showed me how easy it can be, way back in the day when I started. And he passed that judge’s test or class or whatever you have to do to be a BJCP judge . I did value his opinion in the beginning, but I learned that most people who know or pretend to know brewing will always find something to criticize, so I stopped asking others for their opinions, and started working solely to please my number one customer. That’s why I never joined my local club. It’s full of people who tell me that the guy I was just talking to is wrong, and what I really need to do is... then the next person told me the same thing, negating the last guy’s advice. I told one guy there (who I didn’t know) that I recently brewed a coffee porter. With no more information than that, he told me what I could’ve done to make it better. Ridiculous. I am not claiming to be an expert homebrewer. But I make a beer I like, and that’s what matters to me. We’re all in this hobby at the level we want to be, or headed to where we want to be. And there’s good beer at every level. I just cringe every time I hear people tell beginners a whole laundry things of what they must do to make their first batch of beer. It’s not that difficult or involved. It can be involved if you want it to be, and there’s nothing wrong with that. It doesn’t have to be difficult.
     
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  13. The Brew Mentor

    The Brew Mentor Well-Known Member

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    I'd say that understanding that Yeast is pretty much everything in brewing and that most home brewers tend to just take for granted the packet given to them will miraculously make good beer.
     
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  14. dfj

    dfj Active Member

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    prepare and plan before you brew.
    clean
    use good yeast and hydrate if dry and never use a kit yeast
    when your done clean
    keep records
     
  15. Head First

    Head First Well-Known Member

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    I would recommend that you join Brewers Friend! This cloud based software is awesome! It has everything from calculators to sound advice on the forum. Helps with inventory,shopping, efficiency etc. It also has a bazillion recipes at your fingertips.

    (I'm due to re up, will this get me a discount?):rolleyes:
     
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  16. ACBEV

    ACBEV Active Member

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    All the above!

    My best tip is to drink 3 or 4 pints of beer before starting, this method solves most problems you might have.
     
  17. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    That definitely helps with the RDWHAHB
     
  18. Group W

    Group W Well-Known Member

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    For gravity systems, clean as you go. That way about all you have to clean after pitching is the BK.
     
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  19. philjohnwilliams

    philjohnwilliams Well-Known Member

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    Like Group W said, clean as you go. There is nothing worse than getting to the end of an all grain brew and seeing the mess you now have to deal with. Empty, clean and put away the mash-tun during the boil, and generally getting stuff out of the way as soon as you are done with it can shave a ton of time off the end of a brew.
     
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  20. BlaineHomebrew

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    I've only done extract kits and it seems like 70 is the suggestion. What do you recommend?
     

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