• How to Cool Your Wort

    Why Cool? Firstly, yeast can’t handle temps around 95F and up. So at some point, somehow, you’re going to need to cool your wort to a happy 65-68 degrees (for ales) or cooler (for lagers). There are several ways to accomplish this, some being more hands on than others. The longer your beer sits without alcoholic fermentation, the higher the risk of some level of spoilage. That could be a wild yeast infection or even mold i...

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  • The What’s What of Homebrewing Starter Kits

    What’s in a Home Brew Starter Kit?: The prospect of making your own beer can be an exciting one. You go to your local homebrew store or visit one of the online options, and head over to the starter kit section. There you’ll usually find several selections, each claiming to be the ideal set for beginning home brewing, but how do you choose what’s best for you? In this article, we’ll go over all of the most common compon...

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  • Guide to Cleaners and Sanitizers

    What’s the Difference? Cleaning and sanitizing your equipment is a topic that is stressed over and over in the brewing community. That’s because it is absolutely imperative to successful beer making. There are many ways to go about it, but the important thing is that you do it. Think of cleaning as being done on a visual level. If you can see some form build up, dust, hop matter, crusted on krausen, etc. These things requi...

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  • How to use a refractometer

    A refractometer is used to measure the amount of sugar in a solution. This is done based on the refraction index of the liquid. More sugar in solution will produce a higher refraction index. The scale of the refractometer is calibrated to read the equivalent concentration of sugar for a given refraction index. Using a refractometer sounds and looks complicated, but it is easy once you get the hang of it. Making a measurements ...

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  • Guide to Mashing and Sparging

    Mashing is a process used during all grain brewing to convert the starches in the grain to sugars. Depending mostly on the temperature and time of the mash a variety of sugar compositions can be produced. Brew in a bag (BIAB) is an easy way to go about mashing grain with very little special equipment. In fact, the only thing you’ll probably need to buy is a paint strainer bag. If the crushed grain mixture, or grist, is prima...

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  • Secondary Fermentation

    The term Secondary Fermentation typically refers to the period post-primary fermentation where beer is transferred from the primary fermentation vessel to a “secondary” vessel and given additional conditioning time. However, as the circumstances of brewing and materials available have changed, so have opinions on secondary. Transfer to a secondary vessel is largely considered unnecessary, and some brewers consider it risky...

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  • Dry Yeast vs. Liquid Yeast

    I know quite a few brewers who view liquid yeast as the “next step”. Their initial learn-to-brew kit, like many others, probably came with dry yeast of some sort and so, obviously, it is the inferior cost-effective product. This is, fortunately, not the case, and dry yeast is a viable option for many brewers that can produce a beer just as good as liquid yeast. Now, thanks to advancements in drying and packing yeast, brewe...

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  • Brewing Terms

    For new homebrewers it can be difficult to navigate the sea of brewing terms and acronyms that are used while discussing homebrewing. I’ve been brewing for a while now, and I regularly come across terms that I don’t understand or are used in a different context. Below is a list of some common terms used in brewing, and understanding them will help you enter the conversations being had and will help you identify some key el...

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