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Brewing in Spring/Summer

With the changing of seasons some parts of brewing get easier while others get harder. Brewing used to be a very seasonal affair, this was mostly due to ingredient availability but there are still some things to consider.

The most obvious is the issue of storage. In winter you may need to keep your fermentation bucket in an airing cupboard or similar warm area. This is not so much a problem as we move into summer, even though we still will get some chilly days the general temperature is high enough that you can store it anywhere. The reverse is true for bottles though, in the summer it is much more important to find a cool area to cellar your ale. You want an area around 10°C so that the yeast will stop.

On the topic of yeast you also want to be more careful of wild yeasts. The yeast you mostly use and we use in our kit has been developed to give the best ale possible. Wild yeasts are much less controlled and you simply have no idea what you will get. Many people enjoy experimenting with this, though you will also have to face the reality that not every batch will be good. If you do not want wild yeast having an effect it is important to have everything you use properly sanitised. The boil should kill off most problems but especially with plastics, stuff you don’t want can easily remain if not washed properly.

Summer also comes with the advantage that you can grow your own ingredients. Having to grow your own grain is too much effort for most but growing your own hops is pretty easy. They are not hard plants to grow, they simply need a pole or trellis to grow up and direct sunlight. A small plant can produce a huge amount of hops so you can easily sustain yourself for some time. You want to pick them once the cones have started to go dry, it is also advisable to dry them yourself and then store them somewhere airtight. This should help them last longer in storage and not be infected by anything nasty.

The warmer seasons offer a lot of new opportunities for brewers but care should always be taken while brewing.

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