If you are going to be starting on homebrewing for the first time it is really important that you avoid some of the common mistakes that many people make on their first homebrew experience.
Some of these mistakes could potentially ruin your beer for the future and turn you off from homebrew entirely.
If you want to have a successful first batch of beer be sure to avoid some of these top mistakes that are commonly made by many new home brew enthusiasts.
1) Poor sanitation
Sanitation is one of the primary elements of brewing a good beer.
Without the help of proper sanitation at every stage of your homebrew, you could end up with a really poor quality product.
Sanitation means that you will be sanitizing all of your workstation, the pots involved with making the brew, the carboy for fermentation as well as the tubing that is required for your brew as well.
Sanitation of your bottles is also essential.
Basically anything that’s going to be touching your beer or even in remote contact with your beer while it is in the process of aging, storage or fermenting needs sanitizing.
People that neglect sanitization can often have fungus and bacteria creep its way into the homebrew. When this happens it often leads to a product that tastes off and can actually make you sick.
Avoid this happening at all costs and make sure that you sanitize every surface during your process.
2) Not picking the right type of beer
Be sure to sample a few different types of beer and determine the type of beer that you would like to make yourself at home.
It can be easy to settle on a particular price for an extract kit because it seems like a good deal.
If a particular extract kit isn’t going to produce a good quality beer that you will enjoy drinking however, it may not be a good idea to invest in it.
Know the types of beer that you enjoy and seek out a extract kit that is going to make a variety of beer that you like drinking.
3) Trusting only the airlock
The airlock is usually a tool that’s used to see if the fermentation process is going well. Just because the bubbling in your airlock may have stopped after a few days, this doesn’t mean that fermenting in your beer is done.
The only way that you can truly know for sure if your beer is ready to be bottled is to check it with a hydrometer. If the gravity is no longer dropping, then the fermentation process is completed.
Even if the bubbling has stopped in your airlock be sure to leave your beer for at least a full week and a half during the fermentation process to make sure that it has completed if you don’t want to invest in a hydrometer.
4) Not waiting long enough
It can be extremely tempting to drink your beer as soon as it is bottled or when it starts to show up the slightest hint of carbonation.
Remember that any good beer is going to take time to taste great.
Be sure to give the yeast enough time to do its work in the early fermentation stages or you could end up with exploding bottles.
It usually takes 1 to 2 weeks to see carbonation in the bottle and most recommend waiting at least a full month after you have bottled your beer before trying it for the first time.
Although it can be really tough to actually wait a full six weeks or more to try your beer, the results are well worth it if you have done all of the steps correctly leading up to the tasting of your beer.
Opening your beer or changing process outside of the directions could result in a bad batch. Be sure to avoid a 10 station to rush your beer and work of producing a high quality product with patience.
5) Using old ingredients
It can sometimes take time to build up the purged actually try making your first beer.
If ingredients are allowed to sit for a while or you buy discount ingredients from a local homebrew shop that have been sitting for a long time, it can result in a poor quality product.
The best beers are ones that are made relatively freshly.
If a brewing kit has been sitting over a long time, it can often lead to a quality of beer that tastes old and doesn’t offer the same quality as a fresher batch.
If you get an extract is a gift or purchase homebrewing supplies, remember that the sooner you act on actually making the beer, the better the results will be.
6) Not removing your pot to add the extract
When many people are adding the malt extract and flavors to a brew pot, they neglect to take it off of the hot burner as they are adding the extract.
Taking the pot off of the burner can reduce the chances that the extract and get stuck on the bottom of the pot or even worse potentially get burnt in the process of boiling.
When a malt extract becomes burnt through the process of heating it up, it can often lead to a burnt taste in the beer as well.
Be sure to be very careful with the temperature especially when you are mixing together your malt extract for the first time. Because this is one of the most crucial elements of any beer, do what you can to control flavors and to avoid burning it.
Also remember that you should not keep the pot lid on as this can lead to fluctuations in temperature as well as change the overall flavor of your beer.
Keep any brew pot open to control the temperature and to make sure that you can constantly stir it through the early processes.
7) Storing at the wrong temperature
The temperature of your beer needs to be regulated throughout the process of fermentation, aging and more.
There are reports of people homebrewing for the first time in garages, basements and more. Unless there is a way that you can store beers in a fairly controlled temperature, you could end up with a poor batch of beer.
Trying to ferment beer at the wrong cold temperature could take extra time and doing a batch of beer in the middle of the summer could potentially change the tastes or encourage bacteria growth through each stage of the brewing process.
8) Not keeping a record
Records are extremely important to making sure that no mistakes are being made in the process of your homebrew.
If you are able to record exactly what you are doing you can start to catalog some of the mistakes that you might be making in the process of your home brewing.
Another nice thing about cataloging your process is that it makes repeating the same fantastic results much easier.
If you have developed a process for creating the ideal beer for you or your friends, always be sure to record your process. This will give you an indication of which days you should be expecting to bottle your beer, when the beer tastes the best for sampling and more.
Keeping these records will really help you to expand your hobby as well as improve some of the types of beer that you will be able to brew in the future.
Always be sure to keep a tally especially when you’re trying a new malt kit, new equipment or changing the recipe slightly. Many home brewers now keep these catalogs and instructions to help guide them through the process of brewing their favorite batches.
To start with, here is a Homebrew log PDF to print out.
No mistakes for your first batch it’s possible
Keep these top mistakes in mind if you want to improve the process of homebrewing and have a successful first batch of beer.
Here is an other very interesting and in depth article on the topic : 10 Worst Homebrewing Mistakes