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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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Has my beer stopped fermenting?

Posted by Info BeerLab on

        This is a common question that crops up amongst new brewers waiting expectantly on their first or second batch of beer. Fortunately it’s an easy question to answer -and a good opportunity to learn what happens during fermentation as well as a bit about using hydrometers. Read on!   Firstly it’s a good idea to know what to expect of a fermenting batch of beer. Most of us know that there should be some vigorous bubbling from the airlock (much to the amusement of family members), and a thick head of yeast on top of the...

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