More brewing protips.

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by SFACRKnight, Jul 5, 2013.

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  1. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,013) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    If you put a powder you brew with in a glass jar, label it.

    I just boiled up my water for priming my bottles and grabbed a jar that I was sure was filled with corn sugar. Well it wasn't, it was dme. Throwing 3oz of dme into boiling water makes a giant mess especially when you are not expecting the boilover.
  2. DrewBeechum

    DrewBeechum Meyvn (1,235) Mar 15, 2003 California
    Supporter Subscriber

    I always kick myself because I store a lot of grains in my brewery. I vacuum pack them and then label them so I know what and how much.

    Sometimes I forget (normally because my sharpie has gone on walkabout) and say "Oh, I'll label this when I find the sharpie, no problem." Then life and me staring at 2 lbs of mystery malt in a vacuum bag. Yeesh.
    inchrisin and ericj551 like this.
  3. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,386) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    The really dark ones are roasted grains. You're welcome. :slight_smile:
    I have a similar labeling system.
    brewsader and vfiend like this.
  4. sarcastro

    sarcastro Disciple (332) Sep 20, 2006 Michigan
    Beer Trader

    This is my problem. I always kick myself later.
  5. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,013) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    Protip #2. From today:
    Don't be overly efficient. If you count out exactly how many caps you will need and put the bag downstairs while priming sugar water is boiling (the second time:slight_smile: ) try not to ruin a cap or else you'll have to go back and get more caps.
    cavedave and tylermains like this.
  6. TNGabe

    TNGabe Initiate (0) Feb 6, 2012 Tennessee

    Here's a tip: corn sugar is a waste of money and granulated doesn't look like DME. :slight_smile:
    OddNotion and Soonami like this.
  7. hara94

    hara94 Initiate (141) Apr 15, 2012 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    make sure your thermometer is accurate, i mashed my last brew at 138 instead of 148, had a bit of an OG problem :slight_smile:
    Ejayz and tripeldubya like this.
  8. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,013) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    I should just pony up the dough and start kegging. My buddy and I went in on a 10 gallon batch together, he's already drinking his, I bottled mine yesterday. Hopefully he doesn't kick his before mine is rready to sample so we can compare the two yeast strains.
    brewsader likes this.
  9. ipas-for-life

    ipas-for-life Disciple (347) Feb 28, 2012 Virginia
    Beer Trader

    Don't try to do to many things at one time. The last thing on brew day I do is fill my kettle with hot water and pbw and let it soak. I went outside to grab the rest of the odds and ends while the kettle was filling up. By the time I got back inside water was all over the counter and got into the drawers and cabinets below. Added another hour of clean up to my brew day.
  10. RendoMike

    RendoMike Initiate (0) Sep 6, 2011 United Kingdom (England)

    Don't think too much. I tend to skip steps or screw up the order of hops because I'm too prepared and always thinking about something 5 steps away when I should be doing x. I do this with everything, especially writing. I always start typing or writing a word before I'm done it the one I'm on. Chess player I am not.
  11. FATC1TY

    FATC1TY Moderator (1,228) Feb 12, 2012 Georgia
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    Ain't that a bitch.. Waiting around while someone else is already reaping the rewards.
  12. inchrisin

    inchrisin Defender (654) Sep 25, 2008 Indiana

    I buy 5 gal batches of grain from my LHBS. I come back to it 3 months later and never wrote the style on it or what yeast to use. I'll get creative and make a split batch with these grains and use two different yeasts. Sometimes these beers aren't so good. :slight_smile: I title them dark beer one, dark beer two, etc. :slight_smile:
  13. IPAdams

    IPAdams Disciple (336) Jun 10, 2013 Illinois

    Buy an auto-siphon. Out of the hundreds and hundreds of dollars I've spent on equipment, I still don't own a $10 auto-siphon. Last batch I got a mouth full of trub and almost spit it into the wort. I'll learn to listen sooner or later.
  14. Danny1217

    Danny1217 Champion (846) Jul 15, 2011 Florida
    Beer Trader

    I can't even imagine not having an auto-siphon.
    TNGabe likes this.
  15. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,013) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    It is. This may be the motivation I need to start piecing what I need together.
  16. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,263) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    I still don't have one after a little more than 20 years at this hobby, and see no need.
    cavedave and JackHorzempa like this.
  17. barfdiggs

    barfdiggs Initiate (0) Mar 22, 2011 California

    Are you sucking to start your siphon?! Not exactly sanitary.
    bgramer likes this.
  18. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Zealot (523) Mar 10, 2006 Vermont

    Same here after 27+ years of homebrewing. There are so many ways to start a siphon that there's no need for another gadget that has to be sanitized, might break, etc.
    cavedave and hopfenunmaltz like this.
  19. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Zealot (523) Mar 10, 2006 Vermont

    DO be overly efficient: prepare 5 more caps than you think you need.
    hopfenunmaltz likes this.
  20. olympuszymurgus

    olympuszymurgus Initiate (0) Nov 24, 2009 California
    Beer Trader

    Always be prepared for a low OG, a dead yeast pack, or a broken autosiphon.
    MLeicht likes this.
  21. bgramer

    bgramer Initiate (167) Feb 10, 2006 Washington

    1) Always have a backup hydrometer (they break!)
    2) Spare DME - helps boost OG if if you miss your targets. Also good in a pinch when making yeast starters in advance.
    3) Cleaning as you go cuts down the time spent cleaning up after brewing. For example I dump the mash and clean out the mashtun while the boil is going.
    4) Use RED duct tape to mark your separate equipment if you also brew sour beers. (plastic/wood - glass is okay if cleaned well with PBW)
    5) Make your own PBW - 3x the volume at 1/2 the price these homebrew stores rip you off with. I use 1 scoop of Oxyclean with 1/2 scoop of TSP.
    6) I brew in my garage's alcove and had water lines and a sink installed - made a HUGE difference and having ready access to water was much easier.
  22. nickfl

    nickfl Poo-Bah (3,428) Mar 7, 2006 Florida
    Beer Trader

    Hydrometers suck, buy a refractometer.

    Glass carboys suck too, buy a better bottle.

    Stainless quick disconnects are money well spent.

    Ebay is a great place to buy pumps and ranco controllers if you can wire a cord (trust me, you can) and would like to pay around half what a homebrew store would charge for the same piece of equipment.
  23. jbakajust1

    jbakajust1 Moderator (1,075) Aug 25, 2009 Oregon

    1) I've had that happen before!
    2) yep
    3) yep
    4) same color for my sour stuffs
    5) I should look into that.
    6) had that at my last place, had to install a new water heater in my new place and put in the T fittings on hot and cold to set up my sink in the new brewhouse. Brewing a few weeks ago was a pain w/o it.
  24. bgramer

    bgramer Initiate (167) Feb 10, 2006 Washington

    I use a refractometer when measuring the wort's gravity, but hydrometers work better for post-fermentation.

    Great tip on ranco and pumps!


  25. nickfl

    nickfl Poo-Bah (3,428) Mar 7, 2006 Florida
    Beer Trader

    I use my refractometer for both pre and post fermentation gravity readings. I use the conversion spreadsheet from Morebeer and every time I have checked it against a hydrometer it is well within the margin of error of a homebrew hydrometer. I have noticed, over the years, that the hydrometers they sell at homebrew stores are not particularly well made and are often off by two or three gravity points.

    In my experience a refractometer and conversion spreadsheet ends up being reliable and very accurate and at this point I trust it more than one of those dinky little hydrometers with a sheet of paper tucked in the stem.

    One of those big, lab grade hydrometers you see in some commercial breweries is, of course, another story entirely in terms of accuracy. Though breaking a $20-40 hydrometer sucks a lot more.
  26. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,386) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    If you like the MoreBeer calculator, you'll love the Sean Terrill calculator. It's MoreBetter.
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