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maandag 22 mei 2017

Top 40 Ways to Improve Your Homebrew van Daniel J. Leonard

Hier wat tips om het thuisbrouwen te verbeteren...

1. Sanitation. Sanitation is first on the list for the same reason it’s stressed up front by almost every ‘how to homebrew’ book you’ve ever read; it’s so fundamental to good, consistent, beer that it should really just fall under the assumed/self-evident/axiom category of homebrewing.  Some might not appreciate how vital sanitation is when it comes to brewing until they brew their first ‘sweaty gym sock’ ale and have to watch all their hard work, time, and money literally go down the drain. The most CRITICAL potential infection times are (1) Any time after you’ve cooled your wort to below 140 °F and before you’ve pitched your yeast, and (2) Any time you are making a yeast starter or re-culturing yeast.  Aside from being super vigilant during these two danger zones, carefully cleaning and sanitizing your brewing equipment BEFORE and AFTER every use is the corner stone of any brewer worth his weight in malt. I can tell you that the worst homebrews I’ve ever had came from brewers who didn’t practice proper sanitation procedures; you really just have to wonder if they can’t even get sanitation down, what else are they missing…

2. Fermentation Temperature Control.  Some days I seriously consider putting temperature control above sanitation- it’s that important.  In fact,  I’m familiar with at least one very well-known homebrewer who made only one single change to his recipe, a six degree change in fermentation temperature, which turned his ordinary homebrew into award winning beer.  Fermentation is where our yeastie friends go to work to transform our sweet malt juice into beer.  And being that yeast are highly reactive to temperature especially during active fermentation, temperature control not only helps to avoid many of the common off-flavors you might find in a so-so beer, it can also help you fine tune and showcase the exact flavor/aroma profiles you want in your finished product.  As a general rule of thumb, try not to ferment ales warmer than 68°F, otherwise you run the risk of your beer developing unwanted esters such as banana, banana cream pie, topical fruit, gumball, and potentially fusel alcohols which can impart notes of rubbing alcohol or ammonia into your beer.   Remember that during the first three days of active fermentation, the beer inside your fermentor can be as much as 10°F warmer than the ambient temperature outside of your fermentor which means that if you’re fermenting in your house at 68°F, the temperature inside your fermentor could be fermenting in the upper 70s (bad idea).  Homebrewers use several different methods to try and control their fermentation temperatures.  Many find a place in their house that maintains a relatively steady temperature, like a bathroom or in the cellar, and leave their beer there to ferment.  This approach is better than nothing, but not by much. Others employ the ghetto bucket method, but for my money, hooking up a temperature controller to a spare refrigerator and using it as a dedicated fermentation chamber is the best way to go.

3. Keep a brewing journal… the more detailed, the better.  Ever brew a beer that you and everyone else loved, but try as you might, you haven’t been able to reproduce it?  Sloppy/lazy note taking might be the culprit.  If you haven’t heard it before, beer brewing is largely process driven, meaning that if you follow a precise recipe and a specific plan EVERY time, you will end up with basically the same product (we’ll save the discussion about terroir for another day). Here are a few key things to note: (1) mash schedule [if brewing an all grain batch], (2) boil schedule and ingredients: note the quantity and variety of ALL ingredients used including any malts and hops, when you added them to the boil, boil time and pre-boil water volume, (3) fermentation schedule: note the pitching temperature, fermentation temperature/s, how many days in the primary fermentor, gravity readings (especially the Original Gravity and Final Gravity), tasting notes, how many days in the secondary (if any) and note any dry hopping ingredients, (4) if bottling note the bottling date, amount and type of priming sugar used, and (5) tasting notes: jot down the date and describe the beer as it matures over days, weeks, or months if it lasts that long.

4. Sample AND WRITE about several commercial examples of the style of beer you’re trying to brew.  Better yet, WRITE ABOUT EVERY BEER YOU TASTE!  Buy several commercial examples of the style of beer you’re interested in so you get a clear idea of what’s considered a good example of the style, and what isn’t.  And don’t just drink the beer, TASTE IT and WRITE NOTES!  Write about what you like best from a particular example, what you might want to tweak about it, and how it stacks up to the general descriptions of the style (see the BJCP Style Guideline as a reference).  Writing descriptions of the aroma, color, flavor and body, aftertaste, and overall impression allows you to refine your palate when it comes to beer.  No need to limit yourself to just commercial examples; write about homebrews too!  In little time, you’ll be better able to discern the contributions of various ingredients, pinpoint what you find desirable in a beer in order to recreate it, pick out off-flavors to know what to avoid, and get a better understanding for what is considered a good commercial example of a particular style of beer to use as a benchmark when brewing that style.

12.  Remember the “don’ts” of brewing: Don’t rack your beer off of the yeast during primary fermentation too soon (give it at least a week), or you may end up with popcorn butter beer (diacetyl). Don’t bottle with any color of bottle other than brown; if you do, keep your beer out of the light, or you might “skunk” your beers. Don’t bottle your beer before fermentation is complete, or you may end up with malty sweet beer, or worse yet, bottle bombs. Don’t ferment your beer much higher than that yeast’s ideal fermentation temperature as recommended by the manufacture, or your homebrew could come out with strong fruit and/or rubbing alcohol characteristics.  Don’t steep or mash your grains at temperatures exceeding 170°F, or you may end up with harsh astringent beer. Don’t leave the lid on your brew kettle when when boiling your wort, or your beer may take on noticeable amounts of DMS which is described as cooked vegetables such as creamed corn, tomato or cabbage. Don’t over mill your grains, or you may end up with dry, husky grainy notes in your beer.  Don’t splash or otherwise oxidize your beer after fermentation has begun, unless you’re looking for wet cardboard tasting beer. Don’t keep your beer in the primary fermentor for long periods of time (usually three weeks is ideal), otherwise you could end up with beer that exhibits yeasty and soapy characteristics and a lack of head retention.

 21. Give your beer enough time to age before drinking.  Yes, we’re all anxious to see how our beer turned out, but there are very few examples of beers that are in their prime just after a week in the bottle or keg; German Hefeweizen and possibly a big fresh hopped IPA are the only exceptions I can think of.  A good rule of thumb is allowing your beer three weeks in the bottle in order to drastically reduce many of the off-flavors you might find in newly bottled beer, a.k.a. green beer.  What’s a ‘green flavor’ you ask?  The answer is that green flavors really just refer to a lack of balance, or a particular off-flavor that would be eliminated with some aging, and these off-flavors/off-aromas depend largely on the style of the beer. For example, in higher gravity beers, you might get an overly alcoholic character as its green flavor, while lighter beers usually exhibit an overly yeasty quality, or in the case of some lagers, sulfur.  Some other beers can be overly sweet, overly hoppy, harsh, sharp, grainy, bitter, you name it, and these off-flavors can present themselves in the aroma, flavor and aftertaste.  However, a very common compound found in young beer is acetaldehyde, which is often described as green apples, sometimes apple cider, or fresh pumpkin slices.  Just remember, with a little patience, you too can avoid the Green Giant.

23. Don’t introduce oxygen into your beer once fermentation has begun.  Yes, I know, I added this tip in the “Don’ts of Homebrewing”, but it’s important, so it gets a little more attention.  As with almost everything we eat, exposure to oxygen causes our food to spoil faster.  Ever wonder why the flesh of a sliced apple quickly turns from a juicy milky white to an unappealing rusty brown?  That’s oxygen at work, and it can have negative consequences in your beer too.  Though beer doesn’t exactly spoil in that it won’t make you sick if you drink old beer, it can however become unstable and begin to deteriorate and lose its character given enough time and leave you with what I describe as a semi-sweet, apple juice/apple cider, carbonated drink often with notes of wet paper or cardboard.  These off-flavors are the tell tale signs of oxidized beer and is a problem that effects both commercial brewers and homebrewers alike. Do your best to limit splashing your beer around while it’s fermenting and when bottling in order to reduce the mixing of oxygen in your beer.  Use airlocks when fermenting to prevent oxygen from entering your fermentor, and make sure your fermentor is sealed tight.  If bottling, use a bottling wand and oxygen barrier caps to help increase the stability and self-life of your beer, and reduce the chances of stale oxidized notes appearing in your beer.

 35. Brew more.  Experience trumps theory, and perfect practice makes perfect. So get yourself on a regular brewing schedule and stick to it.

Deze 40 tips zijn wat veel maar als ik er een paar uitpak is het nog wel te overzien:
- veel schoonmaken
- vergisten moet bij een bepaalde bewuste temperatuur
- veel aantekeningen maken bij het brouwen
- ook aantekeningen maken bij het proeven van andere bieren
- vergisten moet voldoende lang doorgaan, maar ook niet te lang
- koken zonder deksel
- voldoende tijd laten rusten/lageren
- wees voorzichtig met zuurstof
- meer brouwen...

Nou dat zijn wat zaken waar ik wat mee kan.

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