Every brewmaster knows that you should always plan ahead to make sure that you have everything you need for your brew day, so ordering online and making sure you get everything you need before you begin brewing makes sense. Making a checklist of the equipment and ingredients that you need is always a good idea, especially if you are trying something new, such as all grain brewing or kegging and dispensing your homebrew.
In this post I will mention a few areas that are often forgotten when planning to brew that next batch of beer. Once you have made your list, it is time to order, but before you finish processing and paying for you order check to make sure that you have the following on hand:
- Carbonation Drops, Clearing Agent, Defoamer
- Replacement Washers, O-rings, Nuts and Clamps
- Bottles, Caps or Corks
Consider keeping a logbook of all your brewing endeavors, that way you can refer back to it to see what did and didn't work for that particular beer. You can also keep a maintenance logbook to record every piece of equipment you bought, when it was last disassembled and cleaned, plus when replacement parts were used. By keeping accurate records you will know what broke or needs to be replaced before you begin your next batch of homebrew.
While brewers clean their brew pots and other equipment after use, did you know that it is also important to clean and sanitize any other piece of brewing equipment immediately before its use. One of the main reasons for homemade beer failing is contamination. Many sanitizers on the market today are food grade and they do not even need to be rinsed off prior to whatever they were used on being used.
If you are trying a new recipe make sure to read it thoroughly 2 or 3 times so that you are not missing any ingredients or special pieces of equipment you may need in order to brew that new beer.
If you are new to home brewing we do stock some very good starter equipment kits. Did you check your maintenance log book to see if anything needs to be replaced or perhaps it is time to add that new accessory to your brew pot? Maybe it is time to get rid of that old bucket and invest in a fermenter.
Grains - Take a look at your grains before using them to make sure that they are fresh and show no signs of mold or insect infestation. If you have purchased your grains in sealed 1 pound bags and stored them in a cool, dry, dark place they should still be good to use. If you are using grains that were not stored properly or are from an opened bag, inspect them before use. The grains used in brewing do not cost a lot of money, so why take a chance on spoiling your brew due to old, improperly sealed grains. Whole grains will hold up much better then milled grains as they do have a protective husk, so they have less chance of being exposed to the light and moisture.
Yeasts - If you are using packaged yeast check the expiry date to make sure that it is still fresh. If you are using or making a yeast starter make sure that you have everything you need. If you are using a stir plate, check your flask to make sure that it has no cracks in it. If you lost your magnetic stir bar that last time you used it, remember to order a new one.
Hops - Depending on how you stored your hops, they do have a very good shelf life, and hop pellets may be used up to 3 years after having been stored in refrigerated conditions.
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