The Best Homebrewing Tips from Industry Experts
January 19, 2015
It's a rare opportunity to be able to chat with a variety of industry experts and pick their brains about homebrewing... so we have done it for you! We sought out the best of the best, and asked them, "If you could give one piece of advice to homebrewers, beginner and advanced alike, what would it be?" So here you have it, ladies and gentlemen, learning how to brew from the our industries leading experts.
Jamil Zainasheff, Owner of Heretic Brewing Co. & Yeast Expert Jamil Zainasheff is owner and brewer of Heretic Brewing Co. He is co-author of Brewing Classic Stylesand Yeast: The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation. He writes for Brew Your Own, Zymurgy, and hosts The Jamil Show and Brew Strong on The Brewing Network. His advice for brewers? "I would recommend people focus on two things: yeast health and sanitation.For yeast health, treat the yeast packs carefully. Store them at refrigerator temps. If using dry yeast, rehydrate carefully at the right temperature. Not rehydrating properly will kill about 50% of the yeast. You don't want to add dead yeast to your beer. For sanitation, think of everything that touches your beer as being dirty. Clean and sanitize everything that touches your beer, even if you think it must be clean already."
Trust us, if anyone knows yeast, it's Zainasheff. If you want to learn more advanced information on yeast, check out his book Yeast: The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation on Amazon.com. Chris White, President and CEO of White Labs Inc. Chris White is the President and CEO of White Labs Inc. Chris founded White Labs in 1995 to manufacture yeast cultures and provide fermentation services to the brewing, wine, and distilling industries. Chris has a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of California, San Diego and a B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of California, Davis. His advice for new brewers is fermentation temperature control. "Fermentation temperature is one of the key things to get a great tasting beer from fermentation. Too low a temp and the beer may not finish out and be too sweet. Too high (even a couple of degrees-yeast are small!) and there will be too many fruity apple like esters and higher alcohol flavors." Eric Crigger, Owner and Brewmaster at Rocket Republic Brewing Company As the owner and brewer at Rocket Republic Brewing Company, Eric knows a thing or two about brewing. Even better? He started several years ago with a Mr. Beer kit. Thanks to the foundations Mr. Beer helped him build, he was able to start his own successful brewery in Huntsville, AL. His advice for brewers is very simple and to the point: "Make bold choices…always keep experimenting. Not all batches are going to be winners- they only become winners through trial and error." Simply put, don't give up! Sometimes it can be frustrating, but the best beers come from lots and lots of practice. If you want to learn more about Eric and Rocket Republic, we interviewed him in October 2014 about how he got started in homebrewing (spoiler alert: it was a Mr. Beer kit!) and what it takes to open your own brewery. Check it out here. Shawn Halstead, Sales Manager at Coopers DIY LLC Mr. Beer by Coopers is lucky to have someone as knowledgeable as Shawn on staff. Shawn has been brewing for over 8 years, and was previously the President of the Tucson Homebrew club. His advice for brewers is a point that we here at Mr. Beer try to stress as often as possible: "If you have to choose one thing and one thing only to become obsessive about, as a brewer, choose to the cleanest brewer that you can. This philosophy applies to both new and experienced brewers alike and will serve you well in the future. You may hear complaints from other brewers about: off flavors, bad smells, ruined batches, etc. These sorts of complaints are usually the result of unsanitary practices on the part of the brewer. A complaint you will never here is 'this beer is off, because I was a little too clean' or 'being too sanitary is why this beer tastes funny.' It simply does not happen. As you begin to brew and begin to develop habits, being sanitary is the habit you want and any reputation you earn because of it will be one you can be proud of. " For more great information on homebrewing, check out our blog 4 Homebrewing Tips to Become an Expert. To get advice from brewers of all levels, visit our Mr. Beer Community Forum. It is full of brewers who are just waiting to share their knowledge and experience to help you become a better brewer.