Happy brew year! Most of us dabble in new year’s resolutions every so often, but despite our best efforts, they’re normally long forgotten by February. The biggest reason for that is because most resolutions aim to restrict the things we enjoy.
It’s time to start doing new year’s resolutions the right way, by encouraging the things you love. For the homebrewer, this is easy; there’s always more to learn, and many ways to improve your home brew setup and brew better beer.
If the new year’s hangover has you feeling somewhat uninspired, no worries. We’ve come up with 12 brew year’s resolutions, one for each month of the year. And, to make sure you don’t feel jaded in a month’s time, we’ll even tell you how to keep them!
Go All Grain
If you haven’t already, let 2019 be the year that you go all grain. Kits and extract brews are quick and easy, and it’s true that you can create some good beers using these methods, but the control you gain from going all grain is unrivalled. Plus, it’s not so difficult to do it on a budget.
Your all grain home brew setup need only consist of large pot, a fermenting bucket and a brew bag. Of course, you can invest in electric kettles or recirculating mash tuns, but there’s no rush! Brew in a bag makes it easy to create the beer that you want, using whichever ingredients you like.
Learn How to Keg
One of the biggest perks of homebrewing is having a steady supply of great beer in the fridge. However, as your passion for the hobby grows and you wish to brew more and more, bottling becomes extremely tedious. There is a better way!
Adding kegs to your home brew setup is much easier than you might think, and the benefits are huge. Your beer will be ready sooner, it’s quicker to package kegs and there’s a lower risk of oxidation. Worried about finding a co2 canister, or how much space a keg might take up? No worries, iKegger provides the solutions to any woes you might have, from our mini keg packages to simple corny keg setups.
Build a Kegerator
If you’re already kegging, but your beer is taking up too much space in the family fridge, perhaps it’s time to build a kegerator. This will give you more control over how your beer is served. Kegerators come in all shapes and sizes, from mini portable models to take to the beach, to fully sized chest freezers that can help you create your own bar at home. Check out our kegerator build page for more information.
Experiment With Yeast
around with yeast is a good place to start. There are many strains out there that are fairly readily available. As a homebrewer, it’s easy and affordable to experiment until you find the strains you like best.
If you’ve only used dry yeast before, why not look into using wet yeast, making a yeast starter or harvesting and cultivating the dregs of yeast from your favourite commercial beers. Open fermentation and wild yeasts can also be interesting, adding a new dimension to your brewing process.
Start Treating Your Water
Many experienced brewers agree that treating your brewing water is the key to turning good beer into great beer. With a few well-placed additions to your strike water, you will soon find you’re more than able to brew better beer.
Create Your Own Recipes
Following a recipe, perhaps with a few tweaks, is a great way to learn the brewing processes and get to grips with your home brew setup, but there’s nothing like creating your own recipes and striking gold! Many folk are put off, believing there are a lot of complicated calculations to make if you’re going to make your own recipes.
While you can do it that way, there’s no rule saying you have to, and based on your own experiences, you can wing it! Brewing should be fun, so flex your creative muscles and see where a few small batch experiments take you.
Experiment With Pressurised Fermentation
Brewing under pressure is one surefire way to brew better beer. This practice all but eliminates the chances of oxidation, saves on CO2 and streamlines your process. Learn how to do it here.
Brew a Nitro Stout
If your home brew setup allows you to keg your beer, it’s well worth trying something a little different for your next special occasion. Nitro stouts are wonderfully creamy, soft and flavoursome and are great for supping on at home.
Traditionally, tapping a nitro stout would require a few slight modifications to your setup, however, we’ve made it easy to play with the style with our nitro kits. If you’re not sure how to brew a nitro stout, don’t worry, it’s all covered right here.
Brew New Styles
It’s easy to find a style of beer you enjoy drinking and brewing, but there are hundreds of types of beer out there. Take yourself out of your comfort zone, and try brewing up something a little different every now and then. Perhaps try your hand at lagers, or sour beers. Alternatively, why not try to recreate classic styles such as real ale?
Use Adjuncts in Your Beer
Sticking to the reinheitsgebot is all well and good, but you may find you’re depriving yourself of some exceptional taste sensations. Almost any beer style can be experimented on with the addition of adjuncts.
Anything from coffee and chocolate, to fruits and spices can be added to your beers to bring new flavours and characteristics. With a number of small kegs, you can experiment with different adjuncts in the same base beer.
Build a Fermentation Chamber
Gaining mastery over fermentation temperature goes a long way to brewing better beer, and a fermentation chamber is a great addition to any home brew setup. It also allows you to brew lagers, as you can drop the temperature to the correct range.
A kegerator can function as a fermentation chamber, but it does limit you to one beer at a time. Like kegerators, fermentation chambers can come in any shape or size. It’s a fun DIY project, that really can take your brewing to the next level.
Go For Gold
With so many improvements to your home brew setup, why not try your beer out at a local competition? The best advice is always to have fun with brewing and not to take competitions seriously. However, homebrew competitions are a great chance to get honest, unbiased feedback on your beer, plus the element of competition can push you to brew better beer than ever before!