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!
Avangard Pale Malt
Outstanding German pale base malt. Typical color is 2L. Clean, sweet flavor with nice body, suitable as a base for most beer styles. For full malt specs, click here.
Avangard Pilsner Malt
Excellent base malt for pilsners as well as many German and Belgian beers. Very clean and delicious, providing a balanced, yet full and flavorful malt backbone. This is our go-to pilsner malt. Typical Color: 1.5L. Malt spec sheet here.
Avangard Vienna malt is kilned to about 5L, giving more fullness and color to otherwise pale beers. The flavor is a sweet maltiness, less bready than munich. Can be used as a base for styles such as Oktoberfest or Vienna lager, or incorporated into a recipe for added malt and color complexity. Full malt spec sheet here.
Beechwood Smoked Malt
This smoked malt from Swaen is a traditional "rauchmalt" as used in German smoked beers. Smoke character is smooth and woody, without being earthy or ashy. May be used up to 100% Color 2.8L. Full spec sheet here.
Briess 2-row American brewers malt. Typical color 1.8L. Mildly malty sweet, less grainy, slightly grassy base malt suitable for most beer styles, especially North American styles.-DP 140. For full malt analysis, click here.
Briess Special Roast
Flavor contributions: toasty, biscuity, sourdough, tangy. Briess special roast provides a deep golden to brown color for ales. Typical Color L: 50 Not to be confused with Special B. Full spec sheet here.
Briess Two-Row Malt (USA) (50 lb)
1.8L Base malt suitable for most beer styles. NOTE: In-store purchase price on a sack is $55. Milling is available for $0.20/lb.
Carafa Special II
Debittered black malt from Weyermann. Dehusked malt adds dark roasted flavor and color without imparting bitter astringency. Great in schwarzbier, dunkels, and black ipas. Color: 400 L.
Cherry Smoked Malt
Briess cherry-smoked "rauchmalt" has intense but smooth sweet smoked flavor and aroma reminiscent of summer backyard barbeques. It's delish! Color 5L. Full spec sheet here.
Contributes color and roasty flavors, as well as adds some body and mouthfeel. Can be a good substitute for regular chocolate malt. Color: 300 L.
Swaen carahell is a 10L crystal malt that imparts some golden hues and light pleasant candy-like sweetness. Adds some mouthfeel. Full spec sheet here.
A Briess crystal malt that gives flavors of pronounced caramel, burnt sugar, raisiny, prunes. Deep red color. Color is 120L. Full spec sheet here.