The biggest mistake a brewer can make is to spend time and money making a quality beer wort or wine must but fail to take the time to clean and sanitize their equipment. All kinds of surprises await the brewer who uses unclean equipment- bacterial infections, wild yeast ferments, gushing bottles, a plethora of off-flavors and aromas... The first step to consistent and predictable results is employing sanitary procedures.
First, it's important to understand that cleaning and sanitizing are two separate procedures, neither one difficult. Cleaning is the act of removing physical particulate matter from something, such as your fermenter. If you have, for example, dried yeast stuck on the sides of your fermenter after doing a ferment, use an appropriate cleaner such as Oxygen Brewery Wash, PBW, or OneStep to help break up the particulates and scrub the surface with a non-abrasive scrubber, brush, or towel. Dish soap is not recommended as soap residue can produce off-flavors and aromas in your product.
Used bottles often benefit from a cleaning as there may be dried yeast sediment or other material in the bottom. The best way to reduce your time and energy cleaning is to clean as soon as possible; rinse bottles out well immediately after emptying them and don't let dirty fermenters sit for long without cleaning. Once particulates dry, they are much harder to remove from surfaces.
Once your equipment is clean, you must sanitize it before subjecting your beer, wine, or other beverage to it. Sanitizing is killing 99.99% of all microorganisms on a surface. To do this, use a food-grade sanitizer such as IoStar or StarSan; bleach is not recommended as it is not food grade, may be difficult to remove from plastics, and trace amounts can produce off-flavors and aromas. Merely mix sanitizers to the recommended concentrations and make sure that the sanitizing solution thoroughly contacts all surfaces of any equipment that will come in contact with your beer or wine. This includes fermenters, airlocks, siphoning equipment, bottles, etc.
Sanitizing procedures should be done just prior to use. Sanitizing a week, day, or even hours prior to using the equipment does no good as it may become recontaminated by airborne yeasts and bacterias in that time period.
If this sounds complicated or like a lot of work, it really isn't. It is, however, absolutely necessary and should never be dismissed. Happy brewing!
Our most popular all-purpose distilling yeast, one 243g pack can be used for distilling up to 6.6 gallons of premium wash. It makes up to 20% ABV verrry quickly (within one week)! Can produce up to 14.5% ABV in 48 hours. Each pack contains yeast, nutrients, antifoam, vitamins, and minerals; these are UREA-free, so carcinogens are not a concern.
For boosting gravity. Also used in cider production. Buy big and save!
Chapman Univessel (14 Gal)
Plastic scratches. Glass breaks. Stainless reigns supreme, but is expensive- until now! These stainless steel fermentors from Chapman Brewing won't break like glass, scratch like plastic, breath like plastic, or allow damaging UV rays to penetrate into the goodness inside! May also be used as a small brew pot. Available ported or portless. Fea...
6.5 Gallon Plastic Fermentor
Food grade fermenting bucket with graduated markings showing volume. Includes a drilled/grommeted lid.
Briess white wheat gives a malty flavor not obtained with raw wheat. Flavor is less pronounced than red wheat, but maintains better consistency in the mash. Flavor contributions: sweet, malty, wheat, floury, doughy. Typical Color L: 2.5. Full spec sheet here.
Hydrometer Test Cylinder
Used to hold the sample for taking gravity or proof readings. Available in plastic or glass. NOTE: If proofing spirits, you MUST use glass; the plastic can't handle high octane.
Also called an alcoholmeter. This marvelous tool shows the proof of spirits. The presence of sugar will distort readings, so this is only for pure spirits and spirits blended with water (not juice or sugar, etc). Proof scale 0-200.
Chapman Univessel (7 Gal)
Plastic scratches. Glass breaks. Stainless reigns supreme, but is expensive- until now! These stainless steel fermentors from Chapman Brewing won't break like glass, scratch like plastic, breathe like plastic, or allow damaging UV rays to penetrate into the goodness inside! May also be used as a small brew pot. Available ported or portless. Fea...
Adds proteins to increase body and head retention. Great for stouts. Available in 25lb. bulk.
15.5" long, with a solid metal base and easy-to-read 3-scale readout. Packaged, with instructions, in a tube with no hanger cap. Readings idealized at 60°F. Works for beer, wine, cider, mead, and mashes. Scales: Balling: 0-38% Potential ABV: 0-22% Specific Gravity: 0.990 - 1.170
Contributes a spicy rye note and slick mouthfeel. Less spicy than regular malted rye.
Use to ferment all-fruit or fruit-sugar mixes up to 18% ABV. Best results are achieved when at least 50% of the sugar content comes from fruit. Do not use with 100% sugar solution. Please note: when using fruit, treatment with pectinase enzyme may be required to remove haze-causing pectin if the fermented wash is to be consumed without distillat...