Some like to keep homebrewing simple, while others like to experiment with different techniques and try everything out there. Upgrading your homebrewing can mean many things. It does not have to be complicated or more advanced. In this article, the suggestions actually help you make homebrewing less complicated and a quicker, more enjoyable hobby. The tips help you have less equipment to clean, ferment faster and gain more control over your fermentations. Lets get to it.
3 Ways to Upgrade Your Homebrewing
Go From Bottling to Kegging
This is a common step in the hobby of homebrewing, just like going from extract brewing to all grain. It is something every homebrewer will have to decide on at some point. Bottling and kegging are the two popular options in packaging homebrewed beer. Choosing between them largely comes down to time vs. money. Bottling is time-consuming but very inexpensive. Kegging costs more in equipment, but saves you time since you do not have to package and clean each beer individually. There is also the question of preference: Do you enjoy drinking beer from tap or bottle? Some might not see the time spent on bottling as a negative thing as it is also a part of the hobby.
When bottling beer, you need to prepare the beer to carbonate in the bottle at the right level. Bottling consists of four steps: cleaning, sanitizing, preparing the beer and filling the bottles. You´ll need relatively simple and inexpensive equipment: a large "spoon", a bottling bucket, a racket cane, a tube for moving beer from the bucket to the bottles, a bottle filler, sugar, bottles, a capper and bottle caps.
The obvious advantage to kegging is the ease of cleaning compared to bottling. There are, however, some drawbacks to kegging your beer. The equipment needed costs more than it does for bottling: A keg, CO2 tank with regulator, hoses, dispenser and fittings. Buying all of this brand new can cost over $200. It is also possible to buy a keg and CO2 tank used in good condition with new hoses, regulator and fittings for $110- $160. You also need a way to cool the keg. It obviously does not fit in a regular fridge. You would need a larger cooler, preferably a dedicated one for the kegs.
Try Voss Kveik Super Yeast
Voss kveik is the Norwegian ancient super yeast. Kveik is a family of yeast that has been around for generations of brewers around Voss in Norway. There is a reason why there is so much recent hype about the rediscovered kveik in the brewing community. Kveik is able to handle rapid fermentations at high temperatures. To understand just how special kveik is, it should be compared to regular yeast. Ale yeast works best between 55 and 75 degreed Farenheit. In these conditions it will take around seven days to fully ferment an ale at 5% ABV. If you increase the temperature, it will ferment faster, however it will most likely produce noticeable off-flavors.
Kveik is much more impressive. It can ferment without producing off flavors at temperatures up to 98 degrees Farenheit. When fermenting at such high temperatures, kveik can ferment a 5% ABV beer in just 48 hours. Much sooner than the typical ale yeast. Some types of kveik can even survive 104 degrees.
Digitally Monitoring Your Fermentations
Monitoring your fermentations will not make your beer better, however, it will make you a better homebrewer. The Plaato Airlock gives you real-time key fermentation data straight to your phone: ABV %, temperature, BPM (bubbles per minute) which is an indication of fermentation activity. Having this data at hand lets you know how your fermentation activity is going without being present to observe the airlock or fermentation directly or taking constant gravity measurements. Having this data available is not only a handy tool, it is also interesting and addictive to follow the fermentation live from wherever you are. In addition, it makes the whole process social since you can share all the data with friends.