Put Some Love In Your Beer - Top 5 Brewing Tips. | Great Newsome Brewery
Put Some Love In Your Beer
With valentines day just around the corner (buy our beers online) it got us thinking about putting love into every beer we brew, we don’t just mean sprinkling a bit here and there but through the whole process making the beer the best it can be. So here’s out top 5 tips on how to lovingly make great beer, they can apply to the passionate home brewer or the process brewer in a 24/7 brew plant.
1.Record Every Last Detail.
The brewing process can take the good part of a day and with the best will in the world you won’t be able to remember everything you did. Times, temperatures, whether you added your copper finings or not, it all needs documenting. The solution is simply to record everything on a brew sheet which can be as complex or simple as you like but retained copies of brew sheets are priceless in the future if you have issues or perhaps flavour profiles of a particularly reliable recipe. A quick comparison of previous brew sheets for the same beer could highlight a problem. A brew sheet needs to document everything from raw materials, mashing times and temperatures right through to packaging. At Great Newsome we do just that and over time our brew sheets have evolved to include everything that is required for legislation, quality audits and for us as brewers.
Hve you heard the story of a brewery which had 2 brewers who looked into a fermenter the following day after brewing, puzzled. The beer had not begun to ferment with a usually consistent yeast. The brewers would have been able to get to the bottom of the problem much quicker if they’d recorded the addition of the yeast on the brew sheet. One brewer thought the other had made the yeast addition and vice versa. No yeast had been added.
2.Be A Stickler For Precision.
Although you can get away with reasonable margins of error in brewing and still end up with something that is reasonably good, to be able to brew the same beers over and over again requires consistency. If your recipe requires 10kg of black malt then add 10kg not 10.5kg or 11kg. If you mash in at 65 deg C then stick at that and alter the mashing liquor temperature if you are beginning to deviate. Moving away from the required temperature over time, brew after brew from 65 deg C deviating a little each time will soon result in a very different beer from the original brew. Stick with your targets and as with tip 1, record it.
At Great Newsome, recording and precision go hand in hand. Recording data helps us with being accurate and consistent because it makes each person who brews accountable. This is backed up by recording certain quality parameters which can be as simple as abv, colour or final gravity. What is also a great way to back this up is getting together and tasting the beers as a team which can certainly highlight inconsistencies between brews if they are there.
3.Don’t Over Look The Quality Of Your Ingredients.
Not much needs to be said about this. If you try to brew with inferior ingredients then you can’t expect the finished product to be up to scratch. Take time to source from the best suppliers, new to brewing and not sure which these might be? then ask about. Other brewers are always happy to help. Now you’ve got good ingredients don’t overlook how you store them and remember to use them within date. Your greatest ingredient by volume and more than likely your cheapest is water. Remember it’s chemical composition is key to the beer you are brewing so have it analysed regularly. Even towns water can vary wildly throughout the year.
At Great Newsome we send water off to the laboratory at least biannually and test on a frequent basis with a handy little gadget called an exact iDip which enables us to test for hardness, alkalinity, chloride, sulphate, calcium, pH and magnesium. Well worth investing in one.
4. Cleanliness. You Can Never Have Everything Too Clean.
This probably seems like a statement of the obvious but remember it is such an important factor when trying to make consistently good beer. If you do the occasional home brew it is probably easier to monitor the cleanliness and sterility of your brewing equipment in comparison to breweries brewing multiple times a day. For the home brewer our advice is to be organised. Getting everything ready the day before brewing and place all your clean items in sealed sterile buckets, is a great tip. It means on the brew day itself you can concentrate on the brewing itself.
For commercial craft/micro breweries the key is having a good regimented cleaning schedule which can be adapted should vessels become a little more troublesome to clean. at Great Newsome we are in a hard water area, so scale and beer stone create additional cleaning challenges. For some vessels such as bright beer tanks where beer stone can rapidly become evident we alternate between alkali, caustic and acidic cleaning chemicals. This appears to break the cycle that creates these mineral deposits. Our other top tips are to invest in an ATP tester or a swabbing system. These are devices or kits that allow you to test how clean things are. These systems also help document on your brew sheet that such checks have been carried out.
5. Love What You Do.
In our experience loving the brewing day and everything it involves goes along way to making great beer. Sure it can be hard work, but also very rewarding, creating something so delicious from simple raw ingredients. So how to love what you do? Well although it can be hard work, making the day as easy as possible helps. This starts with the brewery layout so that everything flows reducing unnecessary double handling or repeatedly retracing steps through the brew day. If excessive manual handling can be reduced this also helps.
Giving the brewing team a sense of pride and ownership of the great beers they brew also helps them love what they do. This can as simple as putting a name to a brew sheet or even adding the brewers name to a bottle label. The latter also personalises the product. Also if you are carrying out some PR then be sure to mention the whole team, this certainly filters down through the whole business.