This Week’s mash comes from the Home Brew Diaries blog. Laith Clark has been making homebrew beer for the past 2 years progressing from a single kit direct to Extract brewing and then to All Grain. In that time he has made some mistakes as well as some great beers. Laith blogs about his experiences in making beer as well as aiming to provide anyone who reads his posts with some inspiration and hopefully some help along the way
In this week’s blog Laith provides his top tips for brewing consistently – something that can be difficult for many homebrewers;
‘If you as a home brewer are anything like me, there are always new beers you want to try and recreate or new recipes you want to design and brew. Experimentation is half the fun of home brewing as we only have to satisfy ourselves, not paying customers. But there are always times when you want to have a beer you can brew and know how well it will turn out even before the first grain hits the mash tun.
On my brew list of just over 30 brews there are only 3 beers I have brewed more than once. Of those 3 I have brewed one 7 times and the others twice. It’s hardly consistent but that one beer has taught me a lot about my equipment, ingredients and my process. In fact it has taught me the value of really understanding those elements and how they combine to create a great beer at the end.
After all when we go to a pub or bar and order a new or regular beer we expect it to be good and that’s because the pro’s have honed their skills and often focus on just a handful of core beers.
So how do you go about creating a consistently good beers at home? These are my thoughts that may help you on your journey, some of the comments are generic but most are focused on repeating the same beers.
Take notes of everything – Always look back at what happened on your previous brews to learn what not to do next time and what to repeat or see what you could test. It’s a pain remembering to take notes but very worthwhile.
Know your kit – It’s going to take you a number of brews to understand how your kit performs whether it is a traditional 3 vessel system or an all in one like the Grain Father. But your kit also extends to cooling, fermentation and serving. Each step has its nuances, which you need to know and work with to optimize them for the best results.
Ingredients – This is one of the elements that changes frequently with recipe changes. However if you can keep some elements the same from one beer to another and vary others you will learn more quickly. For example keep the same malt bill but change the hops or hop schedule or vice versa or brew the same beer but use a different yeast. I have used the same malt base on a number of different beers and it is really helpful when perfecting your brewing process, even down to using the same malt. I have also brewed the same beer with different yeasts. You won’t be disappointed with the results I am sure and it’s a more measured way of brewing a new beer.
Consistent process – Ultimately your process will define how quickly or easily you achieve consistency, from the Mash, the Boil, Chilling, Fermentation, Conditioning and Serving. This is where your notes really come in handy, knowing what happened on the last brew and reapplying the knowledge gained will really help hone your process.’