Top things to improve brews

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samale

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I find I am overly critical of my own beer so I have taken to swapping beer to get some feed back. I have started entering the monthly competition as well when I have a style that suits
 

UKSkydiver

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The most fun way to improve your brews is to widen your beer experience beyond what the local supermarket and Wethers' stock. Taste and evaluate everything.
This. As mentioned in one of my other posts - pretty much always drank lager - but now trying out more and more beers at local pubs. I actually get a bit miffed now if they always have the same options on.

I'm just about to pop to the post office to post out one of my first AG brews to one of the guys on here. I guess also tasting other home brews would give me an idea what everyone else is doing.
 

Dutto

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Yes I'd agree with taste and evaluate everything! Who'd a thought it...SOUR beer!
Ditto me! Never tried it until I went over to France last year - where the first taste got me hooked!

Still down on my ever growing "List of Brews I must make!" but if I live long enough .... !
 

Hazelwood Brewery

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Yes I'd agree with taste and evaluate everything! Who'd a thought it...SOUR beer!
I know! I only recently tried it, I enjoyed the first few sips but I think more because of the novelty. I only had one then went back to more familiar territory.
 

chthon

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You are also part of the process. Do you want to be able to brew one single beer, or do you want to brew any beer?

What I recommend to anybody is Charlie Papazian's way: relax, don't worry, have a homebrew.

Why? Because if you got sanitation correct on all levels, then you will almost always brew a good beer. It might not be what you intended, but when brewed well, it will taste well.

And these are certainly the simple things that can be done:
  • Don't overdo it with different malts in your recipes (yes, this is the process of your recipes)
  • Even without electronically controlling temperature, it is possible to keep your temperature more or less stable, just find a room or a closet where the door can be kept closed most of the time. Make sure that your pitch temperature is correct.
  • As for oxidation, just keep splashing to a minimum, but don't get panicky or obsessive about it. I have different brews that I kept for more than a year in bottle, and I have never tasted oxidation.
  • Don't let yourself scare by the oxidation police or the style police
 

Zephyr259

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I am going to start using liquid yeast but I will be over building the starter to keep the cost down so I can get maybe up to 3 brews from one yeast. I think foxy does it like that.
I've been doing this since starting with liquid yeast. I got a pack of Wyeast 1469 West Yorkshire and first used it in October 2017, that culture is still going in my fridge and just recently brewed a batch of bitter, seems I've used it 7 times so far, would have used it a few more times but I accidentally ended up using kveik for almost every brew last year. Still attenuates much the same and ferments well, the batch before last may have had some off flavour but could have been a few things including the hops.

Temperature control was my big one, my house was cold before we got the new boiler last year so maintaining a fermentation temp that something other than a Scottish strain was happy with was difficult.
 

Duxuk

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My top tip would be to have a rapid way to cool your brew to pitching temp. I have a copper coil IC and it makes an enormous difference compared to no chill methods.
 

samale

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My top tip would be to have a rapid way to cool your brew to pitching temp. I have a copper coil IC and it makes an enormous difference compared to no chill methods.
In what way. Clarity or actual quality
 

foxy

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I have just ordered a glass flask to start using liquid yeast and built starters. I plan to make a stir plate this week. Do you get much difference in quality between dried and liquid yeast. I know you get better variety
https://beerandbrewing.com/liquid-vs.-dry-yeast/
This is a blog from 5 years ago, even the last 5 years has seen more variety and improvements for dried yeast. Looking on Pro Brewer forum a lot of the craft brewers use dried yeast, possibly because they can't afford to employ a chemist in looking after the yeast health.
Washing yeast is a way of making the dollar go further but yeast mutates easily, so down the track the possibilities the yeast you started with will be different to the yeast you are using. Not such a bad thing for home brewers but commercial and craft are looking for consistency.
 

foxy

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What are the top things we can do to improve our brews?

I don’t have the answers, but I’m looking for you experienced guys to chip in please.

My ideas, but not based on fact, just what I’ve read here, so please feel free to add to or delete from the list and change the order.

1. Cleaning and sanitising
2. Changing to all grain
3. Fermentation temperature control
4. Water treatment
It all depends what level you wan't to go to, every one can brew beer, if you want to take it further then Sadfield covered quite a bit of it, join a brew club, get advice, have your beers evaluated, go into competitions it is a good learning curve. If you want to take it further there are so many things to learn, its up to you how far you want to take it. How far do you want to take it? That is another question.
 

An Ankoù

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On the subject of yeast, these are my findings. Others my perceive things differently: 1- Liquid yeasts don't necessarily do a better job than dried yeasts, but you get a much bigger choice. Dry yeast keep for years even years beyond the use by date. 2- If using a dried yeast, rehydrate it first. I know perfectly well that the the instructions on the sachet say "sprinkle on the top of the wort", but if you go onto the website you'll see something like "for more professional results rehydrate"- and then the instructions for rehydration.
 

Duxuk

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In what way. Clarity or actual quality
If you don't chill your alpha acids from the hops will continue to isomerise, increasing bitterness. Lighter elements of hop flavour will continue to degrade. You'll never get the best late hopped flavours unless you chill.
 

HarryFlatters

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If you don't chill your alpha acids from the hops will continue to isomerise, increasing bitterness. Lighter elements of hop flavour will continue to degrade. You'll never get the best late hopped flavours unless you chill.
It's maybe a question for another thread, but I have been doing no chill for the last 4 or 5 brews and haven't noticed any difference (not that I'm doing heavily hopped beers).

I pump the still hot wort into a separate vessel, so not on the hops. Will there still be isomerisation happening when you take the hop material out of the equation?
 

Clint

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Is the "chill" referring to not doing no chill? As I understand that hopstand/ whirlpool chill to under 80 is for the same reason ..to extract hop aroma and flavour but not bitterness..
 

samale

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I no chill I just adjust the hops to taste I am not a big fan of overly bitter tasting beers. I keep most of my hops for flameout and dry hop. If I am doing a style that requires a bittering charge I remove the pellets when transferring. Again this is all down to my own personal taste. And at the end of the day I brew for myself and share the odd bottle from each batch to get a bit of feed back.
 

UKSkydiver

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It all depends what level you wan't to go to <snip>
This is kinda the reason why I'm asking the question.

I'd like to go improve and continue, but (and especially since I wasn't that impressed with my first couple of brews) I don't want to blindly continue doing just the basics.

I'm a new brewer - I have already spent modest outlay on kit and don't want to invest in hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds worth of bigger, better, faster, shinier toys.

So if I can glean some information about the the things I can reasonably improve with some small, but significant changes, I can with good fortune, make some better brews.

Fortunately, no one yet has said that I need to buy three quarters of a craft brewery and a bottling line, so I hope I'm able to make decent brews with my big pot and plastic bucket!

:smallcheers:
 

Brew_DD2

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Preventing oxidation by avoiding splashing is an easy one that people should be doing from the beginning.
Absolutely, and it's something that isn't emphasised nearly enough in brew books.
 

Brew_DD2

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It's probably been asked a million times...is liquid yeast better?
I've never tried...
More versatile, in that there are more styles, but I can't say beers I've brewed with M44 or US-05 haven't been as good as ones I've brewed with 1056. Horses for courses.
 

Brew_DD2

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This is kinda the reason why I'm asking the question.

Fortunately, no one yet has said that I need to buy three quarters of a craft brewery and a bottling line, so I hope I'm able to make decent brews with my big pot and plastic bucket!

:smallcheers:
I've found that the simpler I made my process and honed my skills and knowledge., the better my beer became. Equipment can help, but there are plenty of fantastic homebrewers using biab and stovetop methods. It's absolutely not a case of spend more and your beer will get better. Knowledge and good technique is everything.
 
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