As you homebrew more and more you will come across many little tips and tricks to help you along the way, here are a few to get you started.
Before you start homebrewing clear out some space for your equipment and ingredients you will require over time. While if you just do our kits you will not need to make any space at all as you get deeper into homebrewing and start experimenting yourself you will end up with a large range of stuff which needs safe storage. This will also help you keep track of all your ingredients and equipment.
You want to keep a log book of every brew you do for multiple reasons. If you are creating your own recipes or even if you are using our kits as a base it is important to know what you have already done. This will make your future work easier as you are aware what works and what hasn’t. It is also good for writing down information about each of your brews so you know what went right or wrong, which will again help you in the future. Try to follow a format in how you write your recipes and keep it neat
Always properly label your homebrew and bucket, it is important to know the date and name of the brew you are producing. This helps you keep track of the stage your ale is at, so they do not get mixed up and means nicer presentation. Our kits come with a set of stickers so all you need to do is add a date to them. You may also want to put this information in your log book.
A hydrometer is a great piece of equipment to have. It allows you to measure the alcoholic content of your ale by measuring how dense the liquid is (the gravity of it) compared to water. This is useful for multiple reasons. By taking a reading before and after your brew is done you are able to figure out the alcoholic content by using this sum
( OG (Original Gravity) – FG (Final gravity) ) x 131.25 = ABV (Alcohol by Volume)
This again is good to write down in your log book. This is also useful for telling when your ale is ready, starting around 1.05 when the brew contains lots of brewing sugar, dropping to 1.010 means you have lots of nice alcohol and are ready to start bottling.
Another good way to keep track of when your ale is ready is put some in plastic bottles. This way you can tell how carbonated they have become by simply squeezing the bottle. It is surprising how they go from being fairly easy to squeeze when first filled to rock solid when fully carbonated. It is a good idea to open homebrew bottles over the sink or outside as they sometimes fizz up like champagne. Releasing the pressure bit by bit, unscrewing the lid a bit and retightening a few times or flicking the wire back and to on swing tops works well.
On the subject of plastic equipment it is important to sometimes change it round after a lot of use. While most will be good for a year or two even at a minimum, plastic will eventually absorb different parts of your brews for over the years. Thus to get the best outcome you will eventually want to change it.
Then there is sterilising, you can't over sterilise, but you can under do it, what you want is to get rid of all wild yeasts from your brew and just have the yeast you put in yourself working. So if in doubt sterilise it.
This advice will hopefully give you a better experience as a homebrewer.