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wsmith1625

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I just wanted to start a repository on useful brewing tips. I've come up with a few on my own and would like to hear from others. Hopefully we can keep this post free of opinions and just share ideas that have improved our beer making.

  1. When sanitizing with StarSan, use additional sanitizer to rinse away foam. The foam will sit on top of the liquid sanitzer. Add more liquid sanitizer to your fermenter or keg and give it a swirl and pour. After 1 or 2 fills, you should be able to pour out almost all of the foam.

  2. When soaking single handle kegs, flip them upside down and put them in a bucket. A 5 gallon bucket will work, but a 2 gallon paint bucket fits perfectly and the keg will stand stand upright without tipping.

  3. My grain mill came with a metal base that I sit on a 5 gallon bucket. To easily secure the mill to the bucket, I put the bucket in a square milk crate and use clamps to attach the mill base to the milk crate handles. Then I attach my drill and have no worries of the mill coming off or having it tip over. I can get pictures if anyone is interested.

If you don't like my tips, please don't bother telling me and share one of your tips instead. :mug:
 

davidabcd

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For plastic fermenter, leave airlock empty or don't insert it until its at the final location then insert or fill. Also, take the airlock out before carrying the fermenter (or at least crack the lid) to where packaging will occur. The sides flex and mess with the liquid in the airlock.

Don't use a long, metal spoon in a plastic fermenter.

For extract brewing, have two or three gallons as close to freezing as possible for top off.
 
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wsmith1625

wsmith1625

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For plastic fermenter, leave airlock empty or don't insert it until its at the final location then insert or fill. Also, take the airlock out before carrying the fermenter (or at least crack the lid) to where packaging will occur. The sides flex and mess with the liquid in the airlock.
Always a thorn in my side. Switching to a blowoff tube solved that one for me.
 

Broken Crow

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When you're new to brewing, you'll wake up one morning and find krauzen all over your ceiling and learn for yourself to use a blow-off tube.... it'll probably use the cheap vinyl tube most of us have around and you'll probably drop the end in a jar of star san and then a week or so later, ask on here if the milky coloured tube is still any good:
Get a piece of 1/2" or 5/8" SS tubing long enough to submerge in your jar of sanitizer and stick your blowoff hose to the top of that. (Then you won't panic and run out on a weeknight to unnecessarily buy new vinyl tubing) :p
 

Homebrew Harry

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Besides having a spray bottle for Star San, I also have one made up for bleach water. It's great for sinks, buckets, coolers, or anything that gets brought home that's questionable, ha. Both sprayers are clearly marked !
 

AlexKay

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A Thermapen is great, but it's only great when you've taken it out, unfolded it, and stuck it in the pot. Use a clip-on manual dial thermometer that you leave on the brewpot the whole time, and double-check the temperature at key moments (e.g., mash in) with the thermocouple.
 

mattdee1

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If you struggle to find enough hours in a row to brew because your free time is stretched thin, try out no-chill brewing. I'm a total believer in this now. I can start a brew on a weeknight after the kids go to sleep and once the boil is done I just put the lid on and shut the kettle off and go to bed. I let it cool naturally in the garage and transfer to fermentors the next day. Breaking it up like this opens up way more opportunities to brew, at least for me.
 
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wsmith1625

wsmith1625

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ChefAlarm.
Inkbird Bluetooth thermometer so you can watch your mash temp from your phone. Bluetooth range could be better, but works great
 

Homebrew Harry

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In regards to the OP's #1... don't fear the foam.

My personal #1. No Stress. If something goes wrong or not to plan - let it go. Do what you can to correct it but if you can't... let it go.
Is it still considered fear if one desires to ingest the least amount of chemicals possible ?
 

marc1

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A giant metal whisk is far superior to a mash paddle for mixing grain and mash water.

Sparging with room temp water works great.

Put notches on a wooden spoon calibrated to volumes, so you can easily see how much liquid is in your kettle.
 

doug293cz

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Is it still considered fear if one desires to ingest the least amount of chemicals possible ?
Water is a chemical, ethanol is a chemical (too much of which can kill you), maltose is a chemical. It's way too simplistic to say "avoid chemicals." You need to know which chemicals to avoid, and which are beneficial or benign.

Brew on :mug:
 

seatazzz

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Bugs. There will be BUGS anywhere there is beer; your brewery, sink when you dump a pint, or in spills on the floor. Gnats/fruit flies LOVE beer. Do what you can to mitigate them. A simple trap made of a red solo cup about 1/4 filled with apple cider vinegar, with a few drops of dish soap, works but stinks. For horrible infestations (ask me how I know!), where you want to kill the little a-holes quickly, try Zevo Gnat/Fruit Fly Spray. It's formulated with natural essential oils (no I'm not getting paid for this, and have done some good research on the main ingredient, geraniol; what makes geraniums nasty to eat). And it WORKS; stops the flying b*stards in midflight. I don't like using pyrethrin-based insecticides anywhere in my house (with three cats and two dogs, not smart). In the summertime, when I brew with the garage door open, I get infested with black flies. Can't wait to see how this does on THEM. I will admit the smell is kinda strong (like industrial vanilla mixed with WD-40) but I'll take that over the little sh*ts flying into my face.
 

Broken Crow

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We‘re making beer, not chemotherapy drugs. RDWHAHB.
I actually make most of my beers, optimized as a mild muscle-relaxant, to avoid the worse impact on my liver of pharmaceuticals. I've found Fuggles and EKG's, especially in darks, amber and bitters to be highly effective.
 

Immocles

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If you’re using one of the big mouth bubblers with the horrible lid that pops off, insert the gasket upside down and put the lid on the ferment, THEN add the stopper with the airlock. It won’t pop off again and you’ll save money on duct tape.
 

MHBT

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Number 1 thing that helped me improve over the years is comfort and relaxing, i used to sanitize sanitizer, i used to freak out and worry, i used to always think i ruined it if i didn’t hit exact, point is once I gathered some fundamentals and started to chill out and just work and get it done confidently things got better, in other words have fun for damn sake, thats how i made better beer
 

Homebrew Harry

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Water is a chemical, ethanol is a chemical (too much of which can kill you), maltose is a chemical. It's way too simplistic to say "avoid chemicals." You need to know which chemicals to avoid, and which are beneficial or benign.

Brew on :mug:
With all due respect, I can't really live without water. The other stuff I can live without. And probably longer too ;)
 

geezerpk

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We‘re making beer, not chemotherapy drugs. RDWHAHB.
If I shared some of the shortcuts, workarounds, and hacks I use to make my brews I'd likely get banned from this forum permanently. I have a feeling that KISS tactics won't be tolerated by many regulars, which is okay, too…
 

RM-MN

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like a real man would ever wash his keg! 🤣

:p

My tip would be mash at your usual temp, then bump the temp up to 162f, gives me a 8-10% effec boost....for all-grain anyway....
That says that you are not achieving full conversion during your mash period due to poorly crushed grain and are getting more conversion by pushing the mash temp into the range of the alpha enzyme at the expense of denaturing more quickly the beta enzyme. You could probably get the same efficiency bump by crushing finer, extending the mash period, or both. Try a longer mash to see if that helps.
 

DBhomebrew

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With all due respect, I can't really live without water. The other stuff I can live without. And probably longer too ;)

You have to watch the water, too.


In 2003 a student at my alma mater, Plattsburgh State, was killed during a hazing incident during which he was coerced to drink copious amounts ofw ater. Not alcohol, water.
 
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McMullan

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When cleaning bottles with a bottle brush, get a large sandwich bag, put a small hole in the middle of the bottom and pull the brush handle through, so the brush is inside. When the brush goes in a bottle the bag goes over the bottle. No cleaning solution flicked in your eyes and all up the walls. Reuse the bag.
 

Sam_92

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Keep good notes. Whether it's a brewing software or a homebrew log book or even just a ratty old notebook (my personal favorite). It's easy to forget while you're brewing that you probably won't taste that beer for 3+ weeks. It sucks when you take that first sip and wonder, "what made it taste like that?" and you have no idea because you didn't write anything down.

Another tip:
Brew a lot, and try a lot of different methods, there's no replacement for experience.
 

kevin58

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Is it still considered fear if one desires to ingest the least amount of chemicals possible ?
It has been proven over and over again that the foam left in your vessel after rinsing with properly mixed and applied Starsan will not harm either you or your beer. But if it bothers you do what you must. I just don't like adding extra steps that have no impact or affect.
 

MHBT

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When cleaning bottles with a bottle brush, get a large sandwich bag, put a small hole in the middle of the bottom and pull the brush handle through, so the brush is inside. When the brush goes in a bottle the bag goes over the bottle. No cleaning solution flicked in your eyes and all up the walls. Reuse the bag.
Genius 🤙🏻 Thx
 

MHBT

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SPLIT BREW DAY to break up the 5.5-6 hrs. Mill, mash. sparge n clean the night before. Fire up the kettle the next morning & prep fermenter during the boil
Such a help, i do as much they day before as possible too, get fermenter cleaned, get everything ready to go really helps move things along on brew day
 

doug293cz

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like a real man would ever wash his keg! 🤣

:p

My tip would be mash at your usual temp, then bump the temp up to 162f, gives me a 8-10% effec boost....for all-grain anyway....

That says that you are not achieving full conversion during your mash period due to poorly crushed grain and are getting more conversion by pushing the mash temp into the range of the alpha enzyme at the expense of denaturing more quickly the beta enzyme. You could probably get the same efficiency bump by crushing finer, extending the mash period, or both. Try a longer mash to see if that helps.
Agree that if a temp bump at the "end" of the mash increases your mash efficiency, it is because conversion was not complete at the end of the previoius temp hold, and that more time at the last step will likely have a similar effect to the higher temp.

However, there is a reason that in some cases the higher temp may be more beneficial than just more time at the lower temp, and that is if some of your starch has a significantly higher gelatinization temperature than the rest of the starch. Bimodal gelatinization temp distributions have been documented, and bracc may be more susceptible to this since he is malting the grain himself. Could be a "feature" of the grain itself, or could be due to the malting process.

Brew on :mug:
 

Homebrew Harry

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It has been proven over and over again that the foam left in your vessel after rinsing with properly mixed and applied Starsan will not harm either you or your beer. But if it bothers you do what you must. I just don't like adding extra steps that have no impact or affect.
I'm not saying you are wrong, but I look at it like a life choice. Since I bake bottles to sterilize them vs just sanitizing them I feel like I'm the one who has eliminated a step and eliminated another unnecessary chemical from being ingested. If I do use sanitizer on other things, I'll waste those few seconds and rinse with sterile water. To me it is worth it.
 
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