Home brewers are always looking for any way to improve their beer. I mean who wants to be serving below par beers to their family and friends??? Before we jump into the list though, I want to set the record straight because I hear this statement far too often and it’s just NOT TRUE!
… “to make better beer, you must brew all grain.”
FALSE! You can make some outstanding beer as a kit or extract brewer.
If you sit here today, still yet to make the leap into all grain brewing, it really is ok! Take these 7 steps on board and you will be well on your way to producing phenomenal beer for your family and friends.
Here we go, in no particular order…
STEP 1: Temperature Control
Ok I know I just said in no particular order but it’s no accident that this in number 1.
In fact this should be number 1, 2 and 3!
I cannot stress enough how important this is if you’re looking to produce high quality beer. Another common statement you will hear far too often is…
“…my temperature control is perfect! My fermenter sits in a room that stays consistently at 20 deg C all year round.”
The ambient room temperature around your fermenter has nothing to do with the temperature inside your fermenter.
For true temperature control you absolutely must be measuring and applying direct cooling to the wort inside your fermenter. I know there’s a bit of an investment involved here, but if you have on old fridge + $50 lying around for temperature control unit then your set!
Trust me this will be the single most important step you can do to improve the quality of your beer.
STEP 2: Use Fresh Ingredients
Simple. But I have a feeling it’s still something that is not given enough attention. With the popularity of homebrew booming, the ability to gain access to fresh ingredients has never been better then it is today as a homebrewer.
Try to use ingredients quickly and don’t have them sit around in poorly stored areas for long periods at a time.
It seems minor, but using the freshest ingredients really does take your beer to another level.
STEP 3: Clean & Sanitize
This is brewing 101!
Cheeky Peak Brewery has a great outline around proper cleaning & sanitising practises within our Homebrew Ambassadors Facebook Group.
Click Here to join and find it in the ‘files’ section within the group.
STEP 4: Taste! Taste! Taste!
This is where the fun begins!
Tasting commercial styles of beers is an extremely valuable component to understand the stylistic differences between beers. Never underestimate the value in this. Gaining a deep knowledge of styles allows yourself to critique your own beer and pinpoint where improvements can be made.
I highly recommend grabbing a copy of Randy Moshers ‘Tasting Beer’ to learn more on the value of tasting beer.
STEP 5: Detailed Record Keeping
Detailed record keeping is very VERY important if you’re looking to produce consistent beer. I’ll be honest though, I am straight up guilty of too many times not recording the finer details of my brew day. The words … “ah l’ll remember that” are far too familiar for me and I’m telling you now those words will come back to bite you 6 weeks down the track!
Not only does detailed record keeping help you repeat beers to a consistent standard, it also helps pinpoint aspects of your brewing process which may have had a negative impact on your beer. This means you won’t repeat the same mistakes next time around.
Take my word for it when I say no detail is too minor!
STEP 6: Join the Local Homebrew Club
The absolute best way to continually improve your brewing is to tap into the knowledge of your fellow homebrewing peers. Local homebrewing clubs are by far the most effective way to tap into this knowledge.
You’re missing out if you’re not taking the opportunity to chat to 58 year old ‘George’ who has already been where you are and made all the mistakes you are about to make. Not only will you learn a lot about brewing, homebrew clubs will provide a great outlet to catch up with mates, relax and chat everything beer.
STEP 7: Patience
Time is your beers best friend! And trust me I’ve been there many times when your down to your last beers of a Your latest batch and you realize … ‘damn this beer is amazing now, if I only I had waited….’
Patience play a huge role in producing quality beer. A patient mindset should be adopted from the time your beer is fermenting to the time it’s conditioning in bottle/keg.
One extra tip…
Once your fermenting beer has reached stable gravity, it’s important to raise the temperature of your beer 3-4c and leave it sit for at least 3 – 5 days before packaging.
The yeast is still sitting quietly in the background cleaning up particualar off-flavours that were produced during the fermentation process.
Time to get brewing…
There you go, that’s it… Did you notice a theme? Thats right, SIMPLICITY!
Each of the 7 steps are all simple steps that any brewer can adopt no matter what level of experience you’re at.
I know it’s cliché to say that the simplest things are always the most important things, but that’s because it’s true.