When it comes to homebrewing at some point you’ve probably been told information that may contradict your own findings or what you find to be true. Or maybe you were taught something and you just never questioned why. It’s time to take a closer look at some common myths and misconceptions and see if they hold any weight.
When we first started homebrewing anyone with a bit of brewing experience had a lot of advice to give. For some reason, brewing knowledge can be a bit like a game of telephone. Someone reads the information in a book or is told something by another brewer and they believe it to be the only truth. Thankfully more brewers today have been questioning conventional wisdom and pushing the boundaries of what it takes to brew a beer at home. Today we hope to shed some light on some of these brewing misconceptions.
And if you got most of your information watching video check this article out 10 Homebrewing Mistakes you learned from You Tube channels and let us know what you think in the comments.
Your Homebrew Beer can make you very sick or even be fatal
We cant tell you how many times we heard this phrase. This might be one of the biggest hurdles that cause people not to get into homebrewing. But in reality, is near impossible to make something that will make you ill. There are a couple of reasons for this:
- Beer and many other fermentations are acidic in nature. Their higher acid content or lower PH makes for a hostile environment for harmful pathogens to exist.
- The alcohol that’s created during fermentation also makes for a toxic space that kills wild microorganisms.
If you’ve made a mistake you are more likely to make a beer that tastes bad or has gone sour. Then creating a dangerous beverage. Don’t let the fear stop you from jumping into homebrewing. Youre bound to make some mistakes when you first start. But those mishaps will likely only end up hurting your beer not yourself.
You cant make high quality beer at home
There are thousands of homebrewers out there brewing delicious beer every day. Whether in a basement, garage, or even a closet. Once you’ve developed your skills and honed in on your system there’s nothing holding you back from making brewery quality beer. Some large breweries still use home brewery setups to develop recipes and test new ingredients.
And they scale it up to accommodate their larger system. So just know that your beer can have an award-winning flavor.
Don’t squeeze the Bag
This is one myth we believed when we first started brewing and using the brew in a bag. Allegedly squeezing the bag will extract more tannins and flavors that can leave your beer with a harsh aftertaste.
We are not sure where this notion came from but its something we absorbed along the way.
You have to mash & boil for at least 60 minutes
If you’ve read any brewing book then you’ve probably seen this misconception before. For some reason, every recipe out there has an arbitrary number of 60 minutes for mash and 60 minutes for boil.
For the mash time, we believe the assumption is the longer you steep the grains the more sugars you’ll extract. Thanks to improved modifications of the brewing malt we use today most of the starch to sugar conversions happen in the first 15 minutes or so. That means you really don’t need to go longer than 20 minutes to get a solid wart out of your mash.
For the boil time, it was thought you needed to add hops near 60 minutes mark to extract the bitterness. Then add hops closer to the 30 minutes to 0-minute mark for aroma and flavor. We are still learning a lot about hops and even to this day, we don’t fully know everything. You can get a ton of flavor from a raw hop that is heated up to just below boiling and you’ll get a ton of bitterness as well. It’s true that the longer the boil the more bitterness you’ll get.
You have to use Secondary Fermentation
For years secondary fermentation was believed to be a mandatory process. Homebrewing books and articles talked about how it was important to get your beer off the yeast to prevent yeast autolysis, of off-flavors from stress yeast.
Beer has fast and sets fermentation and it’s usually not aged. These days beer can be ready to drink in as little as few days. There’s no point in racking to another vessel that might be a potential point for contamination or oxidation. Your beer is fine to sit on the yeast for weeks with no negative effects. You should be bottling or kegging way before any adverse reactions happen from stress yeast.
The thing about myths is you don’t know they’re wrong until you test them out for yourself. And when you do, you’ll have peace of mind knowing what works for you. And what makes your beer better. Cheers.