2. Keeping of Records
In order for you to know where you are going, you need to have good records on where you have been. Keeping a record of what you did is often missed and a rookie mistake. Even for the easiest and simplistic recipes you still need to keep good notes. Record keeping is very important in brewing and often overlooked. Keeping good notes enables you to have more control and improve on your recipe over time. This allows you to intimately get to know your ingredients and how it changes the taste of your beer.
Master Brewer Peter Kruger from Bear Republic Brewing Company adds this advice: “Great beers start by bending style guidelines and eventually end up defining them. As an ‘all grown up’ home brewer myself I always like to start with a good solid and safe recipe and add one or two tweaks that make a beer stand out from the crowd.”
3. Don’t Make Newbie Mistakes
A big mistake for new homebrewers being heavy handed with specialty and crystal malts. More does not equal better and not adding enough often times will give you better results. If you are using caramel malts you should try not to exceed 5% of the grist. It is easier to modify a beer than to try to undo one. Use your senses of smell and taste rather than beer making software. Don’t start with trying out complicated and advanced brews like Lagers. To start it is better for you to get a handle on the fermentation process and your yeasts ingredients.
Ken Weaver Editor All About Beer magazine and author of the Northern California Craft Beer Guide (potentially a judge in this years competition) “I’d encourage brewers to pay special attention to making their yeast happy and healthy, and avoid overdoing it on the crystal malt.”
See our recent interview with Ken Weaver “I Drink Beer For A Living”: An Interview with Petaluma’s Ken Weaver”
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