I’m relatively new to home brewing as I’ve only been doing it for a couple of years. However, as I reflect over these past two years I’ve come to the realization that this hobby is getting increasingly popular, and lots of people have been asking me a lot of questions.
As such, here are a few homebrewing tips that I have come across and/or implemented over the past couple of years. I hope these help the new homebrewer who happens across this page.
This list is always changing and being added to… keep checking back for more!
Invest in a wort chiller. Second only to converting to kegging for my beer instead of bottling, investing in a wort chiller was my biggest return on investment in terms of time saved. I was growing very increasingly frustrated waiting for my wort to cool down to an acceptable temperature to pitch yeast, and a wort chiller solved that.
Pro-Tip: Drop a capful of Starsan into a spare 5 gallon bucket and fill it with water. Place your wort chiller in there prior to using it to cool your wort so as to sanitize it before use. Don’t worry about the little bit of foam and starsan that will inevitably make its way into your beer, its harmless. I’ve read about, and tried, placing my wort chiller in the boiling wort in order to sanitize it, but I’ve found that process a lot more tedious and the logistics of it were not conducive to my brewing environment.
The best sanitizer, IMHO. A capful of this per 5 gallons is all that is needed for sanitization. I keep a 32oz spray bottle with a bit of starsan in it for every day use–not just for brew day use!
I started off bottling beers. I quickly became overwhelmed with the amount of time it took to both sanitize, fill, and cap my beers. I spent some money on a set of kegs and associated line and connectors and never looked back. If you have a keggerator, or are willing to buy or put one together, kegging your beer is well worth it. A capful of starsan + water is enough to sanitize your kegs.
Pro-tip: You can use a bottling wand or special-made attachment to fill bottles out of your keg, should gifting a bottle be your thing.
Invest in a good outdoor propane burner. If you are stuck brewing inside on a gas (or worse yet – electric) stove, spend some money and grab an outdoor propane burner. A good time to score deals on these is during the end of Summer sales when these things go on clearance. I scored a brand new quality burner from Walmart for $20 during the end of summer clearance.
Nothing can put a damper on brewday faster than not having the correct piece of equipment, tubing, or miscellany required to finish your brew. Invest in a few plastic bins from Home Depot and a shelving unit or two and keep your items organized and labeled – this will help greatly.
Don’t be afraid to fail. You will botch batches of beer, and it will suck having to dump it. But don’t let it get you down – try to use each failure as a learning experience. Did you not sanitize enough? Did you expose your beer to air more often than necessary? Log everything.