From knocking over 20L of beer in the final stages of a mash-up to getting down in the dumps over a spoiled brew, there’s so much that can go wrong when homebrewing. Here are 3 homebrewing mistakes I’ve made this year and how YOU can avoid them.
Knocking over 20L of beer at the last hurdle
You know that last bit of your mash up when you’re cooling your wort and transferring it all over to your fermenting bucket? When it’s all really full on? The other day I was getting this done, the end of my 4 hour mash-up and my hose pipe went completely bonkers. Mind of its own; spraying all over the kitchen. In the scrabble to stop it I tripped over the electric cable to my brew kettle and dragged the whole bloody thing down on to the floor. Beer everywhere.
It would have been funny to watch, but I was not best pleased. All that delicious beer wasted (a frisky IPA which I was going to infuse with grapefruit, if you’re interested, ). And 20L of sticky beer to suck up with the mop and squeeze into the bucket. Along with my sweat and tears.
Still there’s no point crying over spilled beer (or so they say). So let’s look at what can be learned from this?
a) Sort your cables out, Mate. Don’t leave them stretched out where you can trip over them. My wife is always going on about health and safety nonsense like that. But she might just be right on this one. (Don’t tell her I said that…)
b) It’s easy to get in a flap during this last stage of your brewing process, regardless of whether your hose pipe is making rogue moves or not, as it’s all go all at once. Make sure you’re fully prepped so everything is ready to go: sterilise your fermenting vessel in advance for example.
Producing amazing beer… but forgetting how you did it
I’ve never been one for recipes and things. In the kitchen I throw in a bit of this and a bit of that and it just somehow works. Brewing is different! I can’t get away with not measuring things.
But I’ve discovered that this is actually a good thing. When you produce an awesome brew you know how to make it again.
IF you remember to write it all down.
Which I didn’t do in the beginning.
So, keep a record of both your ingredients and process, times, temperatures etc so you can replicate that amazing brew or avoid things that didn’t turn out quite so well (see below).
Get yourself a brewing log book or do it online at http://brewgr.com/
Getting discouraged over a bad batch
There’s a certain thrill to be had in the wait for your brew to ferment and prime. You’ve already put in a few hour’s work to get to this stage so there’s a lot invested in your luscious liquid. You’re not alone if you admit to getting a flutter of excitement when it’s time to bring forth your sampling vessel and take the first sip.
If it’s outstanding, or even decent then all is well. But what if it’s not?
It’s one thing if if doesn’t turn out quite as amazing as you hoped but when it tastes like bat’s pee then dark clouds might form overhead for the rest of the day. I know I’m not the only person this happens to, but it doesn’t make the disappointment any less.
1. Keep your bits clean – like a good relationship, beer can spoiled by bacterial infection. We recommend this stuff for sanitising your mini keg and equipment. Not just for people with OCD!
2. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or reach out for help. If you’re not already on The Homebrew Forum then head on over now. They’re a super friendly bunch with, collectively, centuries of experience and wisdom to share.
Well, I hope that helps you stay clear of wasted beer and sticky floors. Leave a comment below if you have any equally face-palm moments to share. Or any tips on how to avoid similar beer disasters.