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Blog

Houston, we have a blow out!

Posted by Megan Gemmell on

I think we have all experienced a bubble/blow-over brew at some point in our brewing life, all in varying degrees of disaster. I’ve seen chest freezers absolutely covered in worty mess, but sometimes it’s slightly less disastrous, where it has gone only as far as your bubbler. This is why it always a good idea to have one bubbler spare.     The reason for a bubble over is a lack of headspace in your fermenter and the krausen has escaped. Many brewers forget that high gravity brews (anything above 1.060 OG in my opinion) need extra headspace in the...

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Making a yeast starter

Posted by Megan Gemmell on

Growing up your own yeast and maintaining your stocks can be a very daunting concept, but if you follow a few simple steps, you will find that it is not that intimidating. Provided you keep things sanitary, you will soon be benefiting from the rewards (faster fermentations and cleaner beers) of pitching live yeast at the correct pitch levels.   Equipment/consumables: Erlenmeyer flasks (2 liter is a good size)                 Stir plate   Stirrer bar Dry malt extract Yeast nutrient  Hops (your old expired ones will do perfectly) Camping gas stove/Bunsen burner Spray bottle of sanitiser...

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Selecting the “right” yeast

Posted by Megan Gemmell on

Yeast belongs to the fungal kingdom and are unicellular. There are about 1500 different strains of yeast, but brewer’s yeast is very different to those yeasts found in the wild. Many yeast strains can convert sugar to carbon dioxide and alcohol, but this does not necessarily mean they can make good beer. Brewing yeast has, essentially, been domesticated. In other words, we have purposefully selected for characteristics such as the ability to grow and feed off malted grains quickly, and to provide the desired beer flavours and aromas. During fermentation, yeast breaks down simple sugars to harvest energy for its...

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Happy yeast is happy beer: are you pitching correctly?

Posted by Megan Gemmell on

Many brewers are daunted by the idea of yeast starters, but with a few basic tips and a bit of practice, you won’t look back. Over the course of the next few months, I will cover the basics of yeast, from propagation, to its health. The most important lesson I have learnt while brewing, and I cannot stress it enough, is keeping your yeast happy. Happy yeast is happy beer. It is almost like yeast is the afterthought after a long, tiring day of brewing, and few of us realise the importance of choosing the correct yeast, and knowing how...

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It floats! A practical guide to using your hydrometer effectively!

Posted by Info BeerLab on

            Of the two scientific instruments most commonly used by home brewers the hydrometer is certainly the least well understood. We all understand thermometers -temperature degrees are a part of everyday life. But what about relative density, specific gravity or degrees Plato? And then there’s that mysterious meniscus!  Using a hydrometer correctly takes much of the guess work out of brewing and is an indispensible measuring tool. This article will explain how -and also when- to use your hydrometer, to really get the most from it! For brewers the hydrometer achieves three simple tasks. It allows...

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