I've learned how to brew beer. Woot! now i have a lifetime to waste.
I got a Brooklyn Brew Shop Kit. Their mixes are all grain. Small batches 1 gallon. Most of you already knew that.
After tasting the first batch of three i realized there are some things i would like to change to get this great tasting beer everyone says they've been making. I ordered three more of their mixes and want to continue perfecting this new ability. I want to tickle your brain about a few things that i'm thinking of changing with my brew process.
Wort Aeration - Right now i shake my carboy by hand and on the last batch i brewed i used a milk frother to stir in the yeast after i pitched it. After noticing the difference in fermentation activty bewteen the brews i read up on wort aeration. I'd like to know how the health of yeast during fermentation affects taste. I've read about using aquarium pumps or just straight O2 with a diffusion stone. Do any of you have much experience with this on a gallon batch? I'd like to try it to see if it'll improve the brew but not sure if the investment is worth the result.
Fermenter Temperature control - I've read about the importance of controlling the temp during fermentation. On my first three batches i kept the fermenters in the bath tub and kept the door shut for the most part. AC was at 78 and everyonce in a while i'd drop it down to 75. I've read online about the wet t-shirt and fan method and wanted to know if any South Floridians have any experience with this method of keeping temps down. I don't have the time needed to do rotating ice baths. Maybe Gel packs if they're known to last longer.
Secondary Fermenter - The kit I got came with two carboys. At first i was excited that i could ferment two batches at the same time. With reading online i've noticed that other processes have the brewer transfer the beer (sparge?) to a secondary fermenter after the primary stage of fermenting is complete. After asking BBS about it they say it's not really necessary.For such a small batch do you think this will help clarifying the beer? What will it do for taste? My other concern about trying this was about minimizing the beers exposure to the air and what i need to do that. Is the benefit gained worth the exposure to the air?
Filtration - The mixes i use call for pellet hops. I realized that my strainer isn't fine enough to remove the hops completely from the brew before it goes into the fermenter. I think that may have contributed to the slight green in my first batch. I started lining my funnel with several sheets of cheese cloth. As it would get clogged i'd just toss out a layer and continue poruing. I first tried this with my second batch and after reading up on how EVERYTHING must be sanitized i dipped the cheesecloth in sanitizer. I grew concerned about the amount of sanitizer soaked into the cheese cloth so on the third batch i skipped the sanitizer bath. Should i stay away from cheese cloth alltogether? Maybe use a muslim bag instead?
Let me know your thoughts