Author : Jarrod Granda

Problem you might face with your home brew

Jarrod Granda

Flat homebrew is a common problem, luckily it is very easy to fix!

Home brew gets its fizz through the process of carbonation. Carbonation happens when the yeast consumes the sugars in your brew producing alcohol and carbon dioxide. It is the carbon dioxide which makes your home brew fizzy.

The reason your home brew is flat is because of a lack of carbon dioxide in your home brew. There are a couple of reasons why this could happen.

The caps on your bottles are slightly loose allowing the gas to escape.You have not primed your home brew before bottling.
Your home brew contains very little yeast sediment. This is usually caused by a long secondary fermentation or excessive filtration.To fix any of these problems you will have to repeat the priming process. I would recommend adding a very small amount of hydrated yeast too. This will help speed up the carbonation process and ensure that there is enough active yeast left in your home brew to properly carbonate your home brew.

Sometimes if you have a long secondary fermentation your home brew will still ferment although it usually takes at least a month before the carbonation levels are correct. As I said previously it’s all down to a lack of yeast rich sediment to produce carbon dioxide when the priming sugar is added, noting to worry about!

Over carbonated home brew beer

Over carbonated home brew beer

Discovering your home brew beer is over carbonated after waiting months before opening your first bottle of the batch can be disappointing, to say the least.

Have you ever made a batch of home brew only to discover that once you popped open the bottle your brew is exploding out uncontrollably and all over the floor? Well, it’s happened to me! Ruining an entire 40 pint batch of beer!

This usually happens because your home brew hadn’t properly fermented by the time you primed and bottled it, creating excess carbonation.

This can also be quite dangerous along with spoiling your batch. Over carbonating your home brew can cause your bottles to explode, sometimes referred to as “bottle bombs”. Once you home brew has been bottled the gases created during carbonation have nowhere to escape so the pressure inside the bottles builds up until BOOOOOOM.. bottle bombs!

So how can this be avoided?

You can avoid the dreaded bottle bomb and excess carbonation by giving your brew enough time to properly ferment. If the kit instruction say to ferment for 4 – 6 days it’s always best to leave your brew to ferment for 6 days, sometimes 7. Avoid the temptation to bottle your homebrew early. Leaving your brew in the fermentation bucket for 2 weeks would still be fine!

If you feel your home brew may be over carbonating while bottled open the caps to vent the gasses inside. Plastic bottles are great for this sort of thing as you can just give them a squeeze to feel the pressure inside. Glass bottles have no warning sings, so be careful if you have little experience in home brewing. A plastic bottle bomb is bad enough, never mind glass bottles exploding!

My home brew is cloudy

My home brew is cloudy

My first few batches of home brew where very cloudy, you could hardly see through them! Cloudy home brew beer is perfectly fine to drink though. Although I prefer to have my home brew beers clear and sediment free.

The reason you home brew is cloudy is because of the sediment left over from fermentation. All of the unfermented sugar and dead yeast are now floating around in your brew. If you leave your bottles undisturbed and in an upright position for a few days you will notice that your home brew will start to clear slightly as the sediment sinks to the bottom of the bottle.

Most commercial brewers run their fermented brews through filtration systems to remove the sediment giving you a perfectly clear beer. The average home brewer won’t have the luxury of a commercial filtration system so it’s best to improvise this!

I’ve found that transferring your fermented home brew to a secondary fermenting bucket for 3-4 days before bottling works great for sediment reduction. Fermentation should be completed before you transfer your home brew to the secondary fermenting bucket so that the sediment in your beer can settle to the bottom. After 3-4 days when the brew is starting to look clearer I syphon the brew back into the original (cleaned!) fermenting vessel. While syphoning I also filter the brew by getting a clean cloth and placing it inside a sieve. Just like this

This will greatly reduce any sediment in your home brew leaving you with a nice clear brew!

Remember when you are syphoning your home brew to try not to disturb the sediment at the bottom of the container while getting as much of the brew as possible.

Homebrew ginger beer recipe

Jarrod Granda

Ginger beer recipes date back as far as the 18th century and it remains a popular beverage to this day. Ginger beer is essentially a carbonated drink flavoured with fresh ginger root. Although it is not really beer, the brewing process is similar to that of beer which explains how the name originated.

It’s a good idea to start with one of the basic ginger beer recipes until you are comfortable with the home brewing process. The beauty of ginger beer recipes is that you can experiment with flavours and ultimately make the recipe your own. To make ginger beer at home, try this recipe which involves just a few simple steps. You will need a 2 litre bottle of water, 15-20 mL of freshly grated ginger, 225 grams of sugar, 1 lemon, 1 gram of dried yeast and a plastic funnel.

Pour the water into a different container (you will be adding it back into the bottle later). Then pour the sugar into the bottle using the funnel. Next, add the yeast into the bottle with the sugar. Squeeze the juice of the lemon into a cup and mix in the grated ginger, then add into the bottle using the funnel. Finally, add the water into the bottle making sure you fill it only ¾ of the way full. Replace the lid on the bottle and shake until the sugar is dissolved. Then add the rest of the water, leaving approximately 2.5 centimetres of space from the top. This is necessary to allow for expansion and prevent the bottle from exploding. Make sure the lid is on tightly and put the bottle in a warm place to allow the yeast to ferment. Allow to sit for 1 to 2 days and once the bottle is very hard, the ginger beer is ready.

Homebrew ginger beer recipe

Home brew: ginger beer recipes vary

There are variations to ginger beer recipes such as increasing the amount of ginger used if you prefer a spicier brew. You can also add other ingredients such as the following recipe: 1 whole ginger root, 2.46 mL of yeast, 177.44 mL of sugar, 15 cloves and 1.23 mL of anise. Peel the ginger root and cut into small pieces. Dissolve the sugar in 120 mL of warm water and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit while you boil 2 litres of water. Then add the ginger root, cloves and anise to the boiling water. Continue boiling for 30 minutes, then remove the ginger and cloves. Next, dissolve 150 – 200 grams of sugar into the brew and allow to cool until lukewarm. Then add the yeast mixture to the brew and pour into a sterilised plastic 2 litre bottle. Top up with water, making sure to leave 5-8 centimetres of space from the top. Store in a warm place for 24 hours and then refrigerate for at least two days or up to 2 weeks. Note that chilling the ginger beer stops any further fermentation so be sure you are satisfied with the level of carbonation before refrigerating.

Home brewing has never been easier! With so many ginger beer recipes to choose from, making your own ginger beer is a fun and easy way to create a delicious beverage in the comfort of your own home

Brewers Yeast

Jarrod Granda

Yeast is a micro-organism produces asexually and is grouped into the fungus family. Yeast is an essential part of the production of many different foods and drinks, as yeast has the ability to convert carbohydrates to carbon dioxide and alcohols. Yeast is used in the brewing of beer, root beer, the making of wine, and to bake bread. Yeast is also able to ferment sugars. Without yeast, the aforementioned foods would not be what they are. However, there was a time when yeast was not considered an ingredient in food. It took the discovers of Louis Pasteur to get yeast classified as an official ingredient of beer. To this very day, that information is utilised in the home brewing of beer. Brewer’s yeast is the essential ingredient in brewing all beer today.

Brewer’s yeast is scientifically known as Saccharomyces cervisiae

Brewer’s yeast is scientifically known as Saccharomyces cervisiae. This brewer’s yeast ferments carbohydrates, which cause the foam to form on top of fermenting beer. Brewer’s yeast is classified into two different categories, top cropping and bottom cropping. Top cropping brewing yeast causes the foam to form at the top of the beer, and bottom cropping yeast causes the foam to form at the bottom. The top fermenting brewing yeasts are more suited for ale type beers while bottom fermenting are suited for lager type beers. In the brewing process, the yeast is added to malt and hops to ferment the mixture. Over a period of time, the beer is fermented at different temperatures. Some brewers use different types of brewing yeast to brew specialty beers. At one point in time, only malt, hops and water were legally considered ingredients of beer. Louis Pasteur researched the properties of yeast, and did experiments that managed to get yeast classified as an ingredient.

Yeast is also used in the winemaking process. The yeast converts sugar in grape juice to ethanol, thus giving it its alcoholic properties. A type of yeast naturally grows on grapes, but many times brewing yeast is added to the grape juice to cause proper fermentation. Brewer’s yeast is also used in the brewing of hard apple cider. The yeast is added to the juice of apples to begin the fermentation process, resulting in apple cider. Yeast is available in dry and wet form. Typically, dry yeasts are subject to more processing. Wet yeasts are usually fresher and produce better results.

Brewers Yeast
Brewers Yeast

Yeast is good nutrients

Outside of brewing beer, wine and cider amongst others, yeast is used for baking bread, and is also used a nutritional supplement. Yeast also not only ferments the beer, but it contributes to the aroma and flavour of the beer. It is important to not confuse the yeast for baking bread with brewer’s yeast. If baking yeast is used in place of brewing yeast, the resulting product will have the flavour of raw bread dough. The temperature of the beer that is being brewed is also important. Some yeast will not ferment below certain temperatures. Before beginning to brew any beer, it is best to determine what type of beer is being made. The type of yeast chosen greatly affects this. Otherwise, choosing prime ingredients and following the brewing process properly will ensure a great tasting beer.