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!
American Pale Ale (AG)
An American classic. Pleasant light malt base with balanced hop character and a nice floral and citrus nose. An easy drinking session beer for any season. Optional: Add an extra ounce of hops to dry hop or add late in boil. Some nice options include: Amarillo, Cascade, or Simcoe. Kit includes 11.5 pounds of milled malt. Ingredients: Briess 2-row...
English Style extra special bitter. While it is special, it is not particularly bitter. Delicious underlying malt flavors with pleasant English hops atop. A very nice ale. Kit includes 11.31 pounds of milled malt. Ingredients: Maris Otter, Crystal 60, Pale Chocolate, Challenger and East Kent Golding hops, and English Ale yeast.
IPA Ale (AG)
America loves IPA, and this is our answer. A nice flavorful malt backbone holds up the hops, which provide a firm, but not "enamel-removing" bitterness with a dank pine and citrus aroma. Optional: Add an extra ounce of hops to dry hop or add late in boil. Some nice options include: Chinook, Cascade, Amarillo Kit includes 12.5 pounds of milled ma...
Darker than a brown and more mild than a stout, porter strikes a nice balance in the world of dark beer. This easy-drinking porter has a pleasant light roastiness as well as hints of bitter chocolate and some mild nutty coffee notes. Kit includes 11.75 pounds of milled malt. Ingredients: Maris Otter, Chocolate, English Crystal 150, Brown Malt. E...
Rye Pale Ale (AG)
A full-bodied pale ale with a firm bitterness and a tropical citrusy nose courtesy of the Amarillo. Wheat and Rye add body, with the latter also imparting the characteristic spicy slickness that people love from rye. Optional: Add an extra ounce of hops to dry hop or add late in boil. Some nice options include: Cascade, Chinook, or Simcoe. Kit i...
A smooth Irish-style stout with bitter roastiness and a rich mouthfeel. Quite tasty. Kit includes 13.25 pounds of milled malt. Ingredients: Maris Otter, Black Patent, Roasted Barley, Flaked Barley. Galena and Fuggle hops, and Irish Ale yeast.