Brew Dudes

Homebrewing blog and resource

Homebrewing Time Saving Tips

Time is a tough thing to get these days.  Homebrewing as a hobby has a significant amount of down time built into it: Primary fermentation, Secondary fermentation, bottle conditioning, hangovers…. But it also requires a good block of “investment” time to get a batch going.  Getting your wort made can take upwards of 5-6 hours depending on your techniques and methods.

On this page, John and I will hope to outline several key changes to equipment or process that you can use to shave time off your brew session and still make good beer.  Our hope is to make this page a growing list of suggestions with links to detailed follow-up posts for each technique listed.

We encourage readers to leave comments here about things they’ve done to shorten their process, and we’ll try and include the best one’s in the growing list.  We look forward to developing this content and your suggestions as we add to the list.

What list?  Here it is:

  1. Extract Brewing
  2. Setting Up the Night Before
  3. Cold Steeping Grains
  4. Overnight Mashing
  5. Superior Chilling Practices
  6. Brew In A Bag
  7. Late Extract and Hop Bursting
  8. Shortening the Ramping Time to Boiling
  9. Electric Brewing Tools (inspired by JW)

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7 Comments

  1. I hear ya Mike. I’m always looking for ways to shave time off the brew day without compromising quality. This is a great list.

    One thing I would add is optimize your bottling process. Bottling (for me) is the least fun part of brewing and can be pretty time consuming. I’ve found that if you do it right it makes it much better. Cleaning your bottles out before you go along is a smart move. If on bottling day you’re having to scrub 50+ bottles free of gunk and then sanitize, it will be a nightmare. Clean as you go, sanitize the night before, cover with saran wrap, and you will make bottling day much easier.

  2. JW

    Great post idea. Here are a couple thoughts off the top of my head.

    1. Use a submersible, electric heating element plugged into a timer (i.e. the type that turns your lights on at 6pm, etc). This way you can measure out your water the night before and then have it start heating up an hour before your going to brew. Combine this with a temperature controller, you can have your strike water ready to go waiting for you. Or, if you are doing extract, your full boil kettle can be hot (170-200) when you start so you don’t have to wait for the full volume to come up to temp.

    2. This one is some what simplistic, but get all of your equipment and supplies into a single location (i.e. tool box, tool chest, garage shelves). This way, you don’t spend the first 30-60 minutes of your brew day pulling everything together.

    3. Give Brew-In-A-Bag a try – I’m glad to see it on your list. I have yet to personally try it, but a friend and homebrew club member of mine has fully converted over to it. We did a recent overview of the process over on our blog a week or two ago:

    http://www.lugwrenchbrewing.com/2010/02/brew-in-bag-brewing-something-worth.html

    Keep up the good work – I’m looking forward to this list filling out.

    -JW

  3. running multiple burners with tons of spare water is happy, and sparging into a kettle with the burner on under it has saved me tons of time.

  4. Looking forward to following this list. I’m an exclusive BIABer and I believe it does save some time.

    What about adding No Chill to that list ?

    Also, on a hot summer day, if you leave your mash water out in the hot sun (covered) you will preheat your water pretty good for FREE.

    My homebrew group did a group brew we call “Collaborative Brewing.” Basically a modified partigyle method. We used two mash vessels and got three 5 gallon beers that day and two 5 gallon sour beers the next day. We were the ones on Basic Brewing Radio “Partigyles Gone Wild.” That was a lot of beer for a little time.

  5. What I really want to see is some rundown on tips for cleaning out the mash tun after brewing. I brew indoors and pretty much just scoop the spent grain out into a trash bash when I’m done. It sucks, and takes forever. I’ve started doing it during the boil to keep my total brewing time down, but I’m curious if anybody has a tip for cleaning the mash tun.

  6. setting up the night before, and mashing overnight, has cut about 2 hours off of the brew day itself. Of course, those 2 hours are still being used the night before, but it is alot easier.
    Aaron, I have a 10 gallon Gott, so I just dump it into my 50 gallon mulcher, and spray the tun out with my hose, and it’s good to go. I do use pelletized lime in my mulcher, and it pretty much dissolves 30lbs of grain in about 2 months.

  7. chris

    Ok, this doesn’t shave time off but it seems like it does. I have 2 young kids that need feeding and i brew in the kichen.
    As the boys are up and firing at sunrise I get up and begin brewing then. I’m done and the beer is in the fermenter by midday. Lunch can be served.
    It requires discipline but it frees me up to play with the kids for most of the day.

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