5 Tips To Improve Your Homebrew Without Breaking the Bank
|July 21, 2012||Posted by 2nobledogs under Basics, How To, Methods|
We all want to brew better beer right? Well, there are plenty of gadgets and tools out there to help you accomplish this task and a lot of it will cost you a significant amount of dough. Now, while I would encourage you to always buy top quality equipment, it is not necessary to tap into your home equity line in order to make great beer. The following list contains a few tips that will help improve your beer without breaking the bank.
I cannot stress this enough. This is probably the single best investment I have made to improve my homebrew. I use BeerSmith Home Brewing Software ( as seen here) but there are others out there that will do the trick. By using this software you take much of the guesswork out of the process. You can build and store your recipes, calculate your bitterness, zero in on color and ABV, and print out step by step instructions for your brew day. Price: $27.95
Join a homebrew club and be active. You’ll meet some great brewers and great people (beer people are good people). I have belonged to the James River Homebrewers Club for several years now. The membership is strong and very talented. You will learn plenty and be brewing better in no time. Plus you’ll make some good friends in the process. Price: $20/year
Listening to the podcasts and the shows on the Brewing Network will teach you all kinds of great things. You will learn style characteristics of different beer styles, how to clone beers, pointers on building recipes, and much more. Price: Free
I know your packet of dry yeast or vile of liquid yeast says you can just pitch into a 5 gallon batch of wort. Well, you can do this but the number of active yeast cells in those containers is nowhere near what you need to ferment your wort properly. For example: a single vile from White Labs contains between 75 and 120 billion viable yeast cells. According to Mr. Malty, for a 5.25 gallon batch at 1.048 OG you will need about 150 billion viable yeast cells. A I liter starter will get you to 150 billion in 12 to 18 hours. Price: $20ish (Flask)
For Dry yeast, there are about 20 Billion viable yeast cells per gram. A Safale packet contains 11.5 grams. So, you have plenty of cells available. You just need to rehydrate it properly before you pitch.
All beer ingredients (except water) have a shelf life. Most homebrew shops turn over their inventory fast enough to keep fresh ingredients on the shelves. If you are buying in bulk or not brewing right away make sure you store everything properly. Keep your grains cool and dry. Keep your yeast in the refrigerator and keep your hops in the freezer. Price: $0
So, there you go. Five easy tips and you still have enough money left over to buy ingredients for your next batch.
I’m always looking for tips that others use to improve their brewing. If you care to share your secrets I’d love to hear them. Please leave comments below.