We were asked by one of our followers to put together a post to discuss ways one could brew better beer. They liked the information that we were putting out there, but they wanted something specific. Since they were just starting their homebrewing hobby, they were hoping to get some advice on how to brew better. We gave it some thought and put together this list of five ways you can level up your beer brewing process. Check out our video where we talk about it in detail:
How to Improve your Homebrew
Here’s a run down of the tips we talked about in our video.
Cleaning and Sanitation
It is important to know that cleaning and sanitizing are two different things. Remember it is a two step process. Make sure you clean your equipment good as you can’t sanitize dirt. When in doubt, throw it out (especially tubing or plastic parts on the cold side)
Learn about the water you are using to brew. Almost all tap water needs to be treated for chlorine so learn how to add a Campden tablet before brewing. Classical city profiles are garbage. The brewers of Burton on Trent are not using their tap water. Get to know your tap water from an analysis from Ward Labs and season with brewing salts to taste. Brew at least one recipe you know with RO, distilled or soft spring water. it might reveal a lot.
You’ll make better beer with great yeast in mediocre wort than you will with mediocre yeast in great wort. Pay attention to what you are pitching – how much yeast and how health the yeast is will make a big difference. Recipe design takes a back seat to better beer if your yeast is no good.
Make a yeast starter in advance, or buy it fresh. Time your yeast purchase with your brew day. Figure out where you are going to ferment and learn what the ambient temperatures are going to be. Tune the recipe/process towards that information (cooler styles, warmer styles). Invest in active temperature control when you are able. Be sure your schedule is clear when you anticipate the fermentation being done. Don’t let the beer sit too long on yeast cake.
We have said it before but it is important to take fastidious notes. Write down all the the items you want to know about your brewing process. Look at your notes when you finally drink the beer. We actually have a post that has homebrewing notetaking tips for you. Review your findings to continue the process to level up your beer.
Some Things That Not As Important
As a bonus, we included these things that you don’t have to worry about as much.
Everyone wants that “killer recipe” but process trumps recipes. Most of the world’s best beer styles get their greatness from the process rather than a complex recipe. Pilsners, wheat beers, and sour beers are examples of beers with simple recipes but are excellent because of careful brewing practices.
Buying lots of “fancy toys” is a fun part of the hobby but if you don’t pay attention to the 5 tips above, it’s not going to help you.
Find your own process in the “brew house”. Create your own muscle memory. Your consistency will result in better beer.
So there you go – 5 tips to level up your beer and some things you don’t have to worry as much about. We hope they serve you well.