Common Mistakes made by Homebrewers

In this article we will be moving through a list of common mistakes made by homebrewers. All the way through the process from grain to glass. We hope you find them either helpful or reassuring.

And you might want to check 10 Homebrewing Mistakes you learned from You Tube channels for all those who look for inspiration online.

1. Doing Incorrect Dough

This is the process before you start your mash where you add grain to your mash water. For the best results, this should be added gradually and stirred in fully as you go. At the end of this process, you should be stirring the grain from the bottom, middle, and then top. This is known as finalizing the mash.

By following this process you will avoid grain clumping together in what is know as dough balls. You will also maximize the potential of your mash. Failing to do this will result in loss of efficiency and variation in efficiency that will make reaching your recipe impossible.

2. Incorrect Grain Crush

A bowl of whole grains next to a bowl of slightly crushed grains.
Credit: https://learn.kegerator.com/no-sparge-brewing/

Having a correct grain crush is vital. If your grain is milled too fondly it can lead to a stuck mash which will impact your efficiency and lead to further action being required. This can also lead to stuck sparge which has the potential to severely lengthen the process.

If your grain is milled too coarsely then you will see a great drop in efficiency. When your grain is crushed by your supplier of malt this doesn’t mean it is necessarily correct. There’s no one-grain crush to suit all types of grain brewing systems or methods.

3. Bad Equipment

Cheap brewing systems and other equipment can present a bargain but sadly this is not usually the case with many simply not being suitable for brewing. Temperature control and accuracy are the most common areas that they fall down on particularly during the mashing process. Not to mention poor reliability if the temperature on the controller is not fluctuating visibly. This is because the temperature probe was designed with just low temperatures in mind and it’s very inaccurate within the mash range.

These brewing systems are repurposed tea boilers with not enough modifications to make them a viable option. You don’t need to spend a fortune on a brewing system but a decent one will have a price tag higher than super cheap.

Beer brewing tanks in a commercial brewery.
Credit: https://www.rms-pros.com/types-brewing-equipment.php

4. Poor Temperature Control

When using regular yeast, temperature stability and accuracy are vital. Failure could lead to off-flavors in your end beer. Simply adding a fermenter into a centrally heating room is not adequate temperature control for many types of yeast. Temperature fluctuations could also lead to off-flavors.

The same is true of air conditioning. There are various solutions to this out there in the homebrew market. There are also yeast strains that are more than happy under fluctuating temperatures so you have plenty of options.

5. Poor Storage of Ingredients

Hop flowers, a cup of liquid yeast, a glass of water and a bowl of whole grains representing beer ingredients.
Credit: https://rockbottom.com/beer-story/

Brewers make wort but yeast makes beer. Your yeast is called to the process. Always use yeast that has been stored correctly and is in date. Correct storage for liquid yeast is in the fridge. Dry yeast can be stored in a dry cool area or the fridge or freezer without modification. If your yeast is not in date then it can be recaptured easily at home. There is little point in using yeast that may have compromised health. Always use yeast nutrients. It contains the important ingredients that are missing from your wart and your yeast needs for cell growth.

Storage of grains requires a cool dry place and ensure your grain is stored sealed. Preferably in a vacuum and definitely away from the sunlight. If your grains are already crushed then they are more susceptible to moisture, light, and heat than whole grains are. You can store grain in the fridge if you have space.

Hops should be vacuum-sealed and installed in the freezer. When it’s time to use your hops for brewing then there’s no problem in using them straight from your freezer and into a boil. But add them to the fridge at least a day before if using for dry hopping. Otherwise, they will cause a temperature shift in your fermenter.

We hope you have enjoyed our explanations and advice. If you have any problems with your beer maybe you can find a solution in this article. Cheers.

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