As all homebrewers. you are probably trying to improve the quality of your beer. So we have prepared a list of 5 top things that will make your beer better. These are things that are very accessible to new brewers. And also some new things that older brewers might not yet have.
For more information on how to build your own yeast starter check our Yeast Starter: How & Why we do them.
1. Get the freshest and best possible ingredients
Having fresh ingredients is way more important than most homebrewers realize. When it comes down to yeast, hops, and even your grains to some extent you need them to be fresh.
Its a good idea with hops to start practicing opening up and smelling them. Giving a good feel for what you are tasting and how pungent they can be. That way you can make sure they have all the flavors you want.
Checking things like lot numbers and date when hops are made. Having them fresh is going to make it easier for you to get exactly what you want out of them. You want to have a recent crop year and also have some knowledge about how they were stored.
Grain freshness is a factor in how they were stored. But also that they are milled up recently. If you’re buying something online we highly recommend buying unmilled grains. You can mill them yourself later. Otherwise always to go your local homebrew shop. Have them mill them up on-site and that is going to make sure you’re grains are as fresh as possible.
Check the expiration date on your yeast or actually the manufacturing date. As yeast ages no matter where it is stored, it’s losing viability constantly. You need to have cells that are most active and healthy fermenting your beer. That way it will help to create a more consistent product.
2. Building up a yeast starter
This is something really easy to do for any homebrewer. All it takes is 4 or 5 oz of dry malt extract per about a liter of water. Build it up a day before you brew and you are good to go. This is going to do a few things.
- Increase your yeast cell count
- Improve the health of your yeast
- End up making a better beer
- Your yeast gets an earlier start on fermenting
- Eliminates any sort of risk of contamination
If you have a really active yeast working on fermenting your beer that yeast will be more competitive and do a better job.
3. Oxygenate your wort
There is no large-scale commercial brewery that makes good beer and doesn’t oxygenate the wort every single batch. It’s a very important thing for the consistency of beer and as soon as you get into doing that no matter if you’re on extract on an all-grain it will make your beer better. If you do nothing else with all these suggestions take care of your yeast.
4. Temperature Control
This is more difficult to do when starting but it can have a large impact on the overall quality of your beer. The primary concern for a homebrewer is getting the beer too warm. If your yeast gets too hot during fermentation it will produce some fruity flavors. Being able to bring it on the cooler side of the temperature range will help your beer be clearer. In case you don’t have temperature control just make sure you are picking a yeast that can do well in whatever conditions you may have.
Also warming a beer up can be essential in wintertime. This is a lot easier than cooling the beer down. Though there are some strains that might not finish fermentation. They will go to sleep if they get too cold.
5. Water Chemistry
This can have a huge impact on the beer flavor. When picking out a style of beer make sure you’re talking to your local homebrew supply store. Or someone you know that is good at water chemistry and ask them what you should be putting in your mash water to create a beer profile that you are looking for.