BEER MEISTER PRO TIPS

Homebrewing Winemaking   Dispensing
   Sanitizing and Cleaning                     General Winemaking                      General Dispensing                        
   General Brewing    Fermentation   Cleaning and Sanitizing
   Fermentation    Corking and Bottling   Foaming/Flat Beer Issues
   Bottling    Ingredients   Draft Equipment Issues 
   Ingredients     Beer Meister Cooling Issues


Homebrewing
 


Sanitizing and Cleaning

1. Can I use bleach to sanitize my equipment? You can if you want your homebrew to taste like bleach. Use a good quality cleaner designed for home brewing. You will be happier with your finished product in the end.

General Brewing

1. Should I use tap water or bottled water for home brewing? The general rule of thumb is, if your water from the tap taste good, brew with it. If your water is chlorinated or just tastes bad, do not use it. Those nasty flavors will transfer to your beer! It is all about making good beer.

2. How can I make my beer with a stronger kick? Easy, add more sugar. Most brewers prefer a dry malt extract (DME) for their sugar needs. Table sugar is not a good choice, it will give your beer off flavors. Every pound of DME used will raise the alcohol by a half percent. Be careful not to add too much. Too much sugar will shut the yeast down from working. Maple syrup, brown sugar and honey are all good choices for sugar sources. They will add alcohol and flavor to your beer.

3. Can I use aluminum pot to boil my wort? We wouldn’t. Aluminum dissolves in an acidic environment and will enter your beer. Beer Meister recommends stainless steel or copper are the two best choices for your brew pot.

4. What is the best way to add coffee to my beer? The best way I have found is to make a strong pot of coffee and add it to your brew pot to be chilled down. Do not try steeping the coffee right in the beer. This method does not work very well.

5. Is it safe to put a copper wort chiller in a boiling wort? Absolutely! The boiling wort will sanitize your wort chiller. Remember to keep the plastic tubing away from any heat source.

6. I have no control over the temperature in my home, what can I do? Many brewers are faced with this problem. The easiest way to deal with this problem is to brew with the seasons. Some yeast strains do better in warmer temperatures while others work better in colder temperatures. Spring, Fall and Winter are generally the best seasons for brewing.

Fermentation

1. What temperature range do I ferment lagers at? When making a lager, fermentation temperatures range from 35-60 degrees. Most lagers ferment at 40-55 degrees. A spare fridge or a cold basement floor in the winter will work fine.

2. I see no sign of fermentation, is my yeast dead? Probably not. There are a few different ways to troubleshoot this problem. First, make sure your lid is properly snapped down. Even the smallest gap will allow the co2 to escape. That equals to no airlock activity. Another remedy (most common) is that the fermenter is to cold. Move to a warm part of the house and give the fermenter several swirls to help kick start the stuck yeast. Giving your fermenter a gentle swirl will help agitate the dormant yeast into working again. Sometimes the beer finishes fermenting before you see any airlock activity. Dry yeast can finish fermenting under the right condition in 24-48 hours. The best way to know if your beer has fermented is to use a hydrometer. If it has lowered since the original gravity reading, you know fermentation has taken place.

3. What is the difference between fermenting ales and lagers? Ales are fermented in the temperature range of 65-75 degrees for 10-20 days. Whereas lagers are best fermented at 45-55 degrees and will take 3 weeks to several months to finish.

4. When should I bottle my beer? For the most part, you can bottle ales 14-21 days after the brew day when using two- stage fermentation. This allows for 7 days in your primary fermenter and 7-14 days in the secondary. Lagers need 2-3 weeks more for the longer fermenting time. The only for sure way to know when to bottle your beer is using a hydrometer.

Bottling

1. How often do I need to replace rubber gaskets on the swing cap bottles? You can expect to use them 8 times or more. Replace them if you see any cracks, thinning, or failed to seal properly on the previous use.

2. When should I bottle my beer? For the most part, you can bottle ales 14-21 days after the brew day when using two- stage fermentation. This allows for 7 days in your primary fermenter and 7-14 days in the secondary. Lagers need 2-3 weeks more for the longer fermenting time. The only for sure way to know when to bottle your beer is using a hydrometer.

Ingredients

1. Should I use dry yeast or liquid yeast? They both make great beers. There are pros and cons in using each yeast. Dry yeast travels better in the hot summer months. Liquid yeast works great with any style beer, but is most noticeable in light and amber beers, than dark beers. Dry yeast also tends to ferment faster than liquid yeast.

2. How long will the ingredients in my recipe kit last? You can store everything in the kit in the fridge to help increase shelf life. Grains after crushed should be used within a month. They can last longer with proper storage. Uncrushed grain will last even longer. Extract will keep for 3-4 months. But once again with proper storage it will last even longer. The yeast has a shelf life of 6-8 months. Dry yeast will last 1-2 years! Hops will last for a year in the freezer but will start breaking down bitterness after 4-6 months. Just like when you cook, using the freshest ingredients will produce the best tasting beer. So get brewin’!!!

3. Liquid malt extract (LME) or dried malt extract (DME), which is better? Malt extract comes in two forms liquid and dry. Both malts make excellent beer. LME is generally less expensive per pound, and there are more varieties are available. DME on the other hand is easier to measure, and is 20% stronger per pound than LME because it does not contain water.

4. What is lactose used for? Lactose is milk sugar. It is unfermentable, which means it leaves a residual sweetness in the beer. The styles of beer that lactose is most common in are stouts and porters. Lactose effect is making a smoother and more full body


                                                                                 Winemaking 

 


 

General Winemaking

1. Is home winemaking legal?  Thanks to President Jimmy Carter, who made it legal in 1978. Households with a single adult can make up to 100 gallons a year. Two or more adults in a household can make up to 200 gallons a year!

Fermentation

1. My wine finished too dry.  Can I make my wine sweeter? You betcha! All you need to do is add a product called wine conditioner to your wine. It sweetens the wine without any renewed fermentation. You add to taste, so you control the sweetness!

2. There is a sulfur smell coming from my primary fermenter, what is going on? What you are smelling is the yeast converting the sugar to alcohol and carbon dioxide. The smell will disapate in a few days, nothing is wrong with your wine

3. When and why do I top off my wine? Topping off is the process of adding liquid to your carboy to minimize the amount of oxygen in your carboy. This helps prevent spoilage. Once your wine has been stabilized, you need to keep your carboy topped off no more than 2 inches from the bottom of the stopper. We recommend to top off with a similar type wine versus topping off with water see no sign of fermentation, is my yeast dead?

4. How do I add sugar to my fruit wine? The recommended way to add sugar is to boil it in water to dissolve the sugar. After the mixture has cooled add it to your must.

Corking and Bottling

1. I plan on storing my wine longer than 6 months, which cork should I use? Always use the best quality cork if your wine is being stored longer than 6 months.  Sometimes when a cheaper cork is used, wine can seep through the cork when the bottles are laid on their sides.

Ingredients

1. I hate crushing campden tablets, is there a good sub? Campden tablets helps prevent spoilage in your wine. Potassium metabisulphite does the same thing, but it is in powder form. Use 1/8 tsp of potassium metabisulphite in place of a campden tablets.

2. What yeast should I use in my wine?  Options include the following:

Montrachet: Guarantees a quick start of the fermentation. Good alcohol resistance (till 15% vol.), large temperature range.  (59-96 degrees F).  Ideal strain for big volumes of wine when looking for secure fermentation.

Pasteur Champagne: Strong strain with a very high alcohol tolerance (> 16% vol.).  Used to avoid sluggish fermentation and to restart stuck ones with remaining residual sugars.  Recommended for sparkling wines processed by traditional or Charmat methods.

Cote Des Blanc:  Fast fermenting strain that ensures a regular fermentation even at low temperature (53-57 degree F) Alcohol tolerance >14% vol.  Allows an optimum aromatic expression for the production of wines derived from neutral grape cultivars.

Premier Cuve:  The fastest, cleanest and most neutral fermenter.  High tolerance to ethanol (till 18% vol.) and free sulphur dioxides.  Performs well for restarting stuck fermentations.

Pasteur Red:  Good alcohol resistance (till 15% vol.).  Recommended for the vinifications of high quality red wines aged in oak barrels particularly Cabernet, Merlot and Shiraz grape families and to all full bodied wines.

K1V-1116: (12-14% alcohol tolerance) All purpose. For producing wines from grapes and fresh fruit.

RC-212: (12-14% alcohol tolerance) For producing red wines of smooth character and rounded structure.

71B-1122 (14% alcohol tolerance) For producing wines with a fruity aroma. Ideal for concentrates.

ICV D-47 (15% alcohol tolerance) For producing superior quality white wines.  Ideal for dry and fruity white wines.

EC-1118 (18% alcohol tolerance) For producing all white wines, sparkling wines, ciders and to restart stuck fermentations.

 

                                                                                 Dispensing 

 

General Dispensing

1. How long will a keg last?  If a keg is stored at the proper temperature (32-38) degrees and is connected to a co2 system, the keg should last 3-4 months.  If oxygen is introduced into a keg the keg will last a maximum of 48 hours before the beer goes flat and has off flavors

2. What is the ideal temperature to serve beer?  Temperature is a key factor in storing and dispensing draught beer. Beer can freeze at 28°F, so it is important to select and maintain proper operating temperatures inside the refrigerator cabinet. Optimum temperatures for serving cold beer are 32°-38° F (1°-3° C).

3. How many beers are in a half barrel keg? 1/2 Barrel = 15.5 Gallons or 165 12oz beers, 1/4 Barrel = 7.75 Gallons or 83 12oz beers.  There are 128 oz. in 1 gallon.  

Cleaning and Sanitizing

1. How often do I need to clean my system?  After each keg regular cleaning of the faucet, beer hose, and keg coupler is extremely important. If this is not performed, the beer will foam. Additionally, bacteria, yeast, mold, and beer stone will build up and quickly degrade the quality of draft beer. A few minutes spent cleaning on a regular basis will greatly add to your draft beer enjoyment! The simple process of cleaning your draft beer system takes only a few minutes and is easily accomplished by use of either a gravity or hand pumped cleaning kit. 

Foaming/Flat Beer Issues

1. What are the causes of formy beer? Foamy beer is typically caused by: regulator pressure is set too high, improper pour (make sure you are pouring at 45 degrees angle), use of non-insulated beer line, beer runs are too long for proper cooling, unsettled keg (transportation), tapped into a warm keg, temperature set too high, obstructions in line, faucets in bad, dirty or worn condition.

2. What are the causes flat beer?  You can tell you have flat beer when the foamy head disappears quickly and the beer lacks usual brewery fresh flavor. It can be caused by dirty glasses, applied pressure is set too low, CO2 is turned off, contaminated air source, moisture in air system, beer too cold, and /or loose tap or connections.

3. What are the causes of formy beer? Keeping your glassware clean is the key to serving good draff beer. To achieve this:

Do not use regular liquid household dish washing detergents for glassware. They are fat-based and will leave a slight oily film on the glass. This causes beer to go flat quickly. Use a detergent designed specifically for beer glass cleaning. It must be low-suds, odor-free and non-fat.

We recommend that you use beer glassware only for beer. Dairy and other food products leave a residue which can affect the quality/taste of the draft beer.

Draft Equipment Issues

1. What causes a sticky faucet and what do I do? A sticking faucet is usually attributed to the beer drying up at the point of the seal of the faucet valve. Beer has enough residual sugars in it, that when the beer dries, those sugars glue the faucet shut at the point of the seal. If it only sticks on the first use after an extended period of non-use (24+ hours) then that is mostly likely what is happening.  Darker heavier, malty (sugary) or homebrew beers can make this problem worse. To solve this problem, switching to a different style faucet like a ‘forward sealing’ Perlick faucet can help.  To inspect and or clean the faucet, 1st un-tap the keg, then put a glass under the faucet and open the faucet to relieve any pressure.   Use a faucet wrench to remove faucet from tower. Then unscrew the thumb nut that attaches the faucet handle to the faucet body. This will expose the lever and let you can inspect the condition of it.   At this time clean all faucet parts thoroughly with warm water and a safe beer cleaning solution.

2. What pressue should I run my CO2 regulator?  You should monitor the pressure regulators to ensure applied operating pressures remain constant (8-10 psi/lbs).

 

Beer Meister Cooling Issues

1. What should you do when digital display reads EE? The EE code means you have a loose connection or the display ribbon (touch pad) or sensor is faulty. Please contact Beer Meister

2. What should you do when digital display reads LE? The LE code means unit is getting to cold.  This is a thermostat issue leading cause is display ribbon, display board, or main circuit board.  Please contact Beer Meister

3. What should you do when the unit suddenly stops cooling? The most common occurrence is loss of power.  The relay on the compressor will burn out to stop the compressor from hard starting.  If you hear a clicking sound coming from the back of the unit (by compressor) and compressor is warm to the touch, relay is faulty.  Please contact Beer Meister

4. What should you do if the temperature goes up right after you put in a new keg? Tempature likely went up due to keg being warmer than the inside temperature of the cooler.  Temperature will slowly go down as beer in keg cools. 

5. Why does my temperature fluctuate on the digital display after I have set it? The temperature will vary a couple of degrees from set tempature. A liquid line test (measuring temperature of beer after pour) should be very close to set tempature.  A larger temperature variation is due to the auto defrost cycle and tempature should return to setting range post defrost.