I’ve been extract brewing for 1.5 years, and I’ve used the advice I’ve trolled from hbt for the last 5 batches. I’ve learned a lot of things from HBT, and I thought I would share the following list that has made my beer significantly better and easier to make. If you’re new and don’t believe the following, look it up
• A starter is necessary when using liquid yeast (e.g. smack packs), but not with dry yeast. You want to have your beer start fermenting as fast as possible, and I was able to decrease the initial fermentation from 48 hours to 8 hours using a starter.
• Leave your beer in the primary fermenter for 3-4 weeks and only rack to a secondary if you are dry hopping or adding flavors. Let the yeast take it’s time to clean up the beer, and if you’re impatient like me, go out and support your local micro-brew in the meantime.
• Reusing your yeast is as simple as washing your <insert favorite body part>. When your beer has finished fermenting, it has multiplied like God intended- 3+ times the original amount. Wash your yeast and reuse it in subsequent batches as it will improve the quality of your beer and save you money.
• Use a 1:1 ratio between gallons of water and pounds of extract and adjust for hops accordingly. Boil the hops, not the extract – no reason to boil too much of something that’s already been processed and effect your hop utilization.
• Starsan is the shizniggity nig nack of sanitizers, but most importantly don’t fear the foam. I used to wash the foam, and God killed a kitten every time…too many dead kittens…
• Order your hops online. I love to support my lhbs, but they were breaking my wallet when I brewed IPAs. I went from paying $2+ an oz for hops to $0.75 an oz at hops direct. Yakima, WA is close enough that it’s pretty much local, right?
• Support your lhbs and bring them homebrew. These people are passionate about beer, even if their prices are high. You might even be able to get a discount if your beer is good and you bring enough…
• Relax, don't worry, have a homebrew. Brewing beer is an art and you have to enjoy your materials.
Now it's your turn - add the sage advice that you have learned.