What is the shelf life of Brewer's Best® ingredient kits?
Brewer's Best® kits are made with the freshest ingredients purchased directly from maltsters, hop producers, and yeast manufacturers. With proper storage the kit will perform for up to 1 year. For short-term storage (up to 3 months), keep the entire kit in a dark, cool and dry environment. If storing longer, remove the yeast and all hops and refrigerate them until your brew day. The rest of the ingredients still need to be kept in a dark, cool, dry place.
What if my starting gravity is lower than it should be?
Make sure to thoroughly stir your wort after adding water to achieve the proper volume and gravity. A strong, vigorous stir not only mixes the wort to an even gravity, it will also introduce a small amount of oxygen, which is healthy for the yeast at the beginning of fermentation.
I am not seeing any bubbling in my airlock. What should I do?
A bubbling airlock does indicate that CO2 is being released from the fermenter, but it's also common to have an active fermentation without the visual presence of a bubbling airlock. The only way to accurately measure the fermentation rate is with a hydrometer. Always record a starting gravity prior to pitching your yeast. If you are not sure if your beer is fermenting, simply take a reading with a properly sanitized and calibrated hydrometer. If the gravity is decreasing, then fermentation is taking place. Use your airlock as a guide but never an end-all, be-all tool to tell what’s happening with fermentation.
It has been 3 weeks and my bottled beer is still not carbonated. What do I do?
Factors such as temperature, the beer's gravity and the health of the residual yeast from primary fermentation all play a role in bottle-conditioning. All beers are not the same and will not carbonate at the exact same rate. A warm, consistent environment is necessary to ensure healthy bottle carbonation. The bottles should be stored in the dark and between 70°-74°. Always understand the conditions of the exact environment in which the bottles are being stored. For instance, the thermostat on the wall may read 71° but if the bottles are on the floor of a concrete basement it might actually be 67°. Bottle conditioning near furnaces, clothes dryers and HVAC registers creates an inconsistent environment as well. If you are experiencing a sluggish carbonation stage, give the bottles a slow turn upside down and then right side up again to disperse the yeast back into the beer.
The directions tell me to add only part of the malt that was supplied in the kit. When do I add the rest?
You have a kit that requires a late malt addition. Late malt additions are often useful in achieving a specific color profile and are added toward the end of the boil similar to flavor and aroma hops. The "Brew Day Schedule" box in the lower right hand corner of the instructions will indicate when to add the late malt addition.
If I do not have the equipment for secondary fermentation, how long before I can bottle my beer?
If using primary fermentation only, it is necessary to take daily gravity readings starting on Day 4 of fermentation. When the beer has reached Terminal Gravity (gravity is within target range AND has remained unchanged for two days), wait two more days and proceed to bottling your beer. Do not bottle if gravity is higher than indicated on your directions.
The instructions state to do a 2.5 gallon boil. Do I need to change anything if I boil more than 2.5 gallons?
We suggest doing a 2.5 gallon boil at minimum. If you have the equipment to boil more than 2.5 gallons feel free to do so. There is no need to change the amount of any of the ingredients.
My beer is in the bottle and I notice there is sediment at the bottom of the bottle. What is this sediment and is my beer ruined?
Remember, bottle conditioning is a mini-fermentation. This sediment is a natural product of bottle-conditioned beer. Similar to the yeast that falls to the bottom of your primary fermenter, you will also end up with yeast on the bottom of each freshly carbonated bottle. When serving your tasty homebrew, slowly pour it into a glass. With a little practice you will be able to pour out all of your beer with very little sediment in it.
My kit instructions say "Do Not Rehydrate" the yeast. But yeast sachet says I should?
There are many factors when rehydrating yeast that can actually do more harm than good if you're not familiar with the entire process. The instructions on the yeast sachets are a very basic overview of the process, leaving out many of the most important steps. When we do our test batches here at Brewer’s Best® and pitch dry we have equally great results as same beer fermented using rehydrated yeast. To learn more about the rehydration process consult your local homebrew shop.
I have a pack of hops left over after following the brew day schedule. When do I add them?
Your kit likely includes a step for dry-hopping. Simply check the back of your instruction sheet for section titled "Dry Hop". There you'll find when and how to add the package of hops.
My kit includes a 5 oz. package of priming sugar but the instructions indicate to use a smaller amount. How much should I use?
All Brewer’s Best® kits come with a 5 oz. package of priming sugar and indicates how much priming sugar you should actually dissolve in order to achieve the proper volume of CO2 for the style of beer you're brewing, per the BJCP guidelines. However, adding the entire 5 oz. package will not ruin your beer.
HELP! My airlock is clogged with gunk and/or the lid of my fermenter has blown off. What happened?
Fermentation can sometimes be so vigorous that the kraeusen can be forced up into the airlock. If the airlock becomes plugged, pressure will build in the fermenter and cause it to blow the lid off. To fix this, if you notice brown foam entering the airlock, switch to a blowoff set-up. Simply fit a large diameter hose into the neck of your carboy or the hole in your fermenter lid and run it down into a bowl of sanitizer solution.
I opened a bottle of my beer and it is foaming out like a volcano. What happened?
The first possibility is that your beer never fully finished fermenting. Always be sure to take a final gravity reading and check it against the instructions to be sure you're in the appropriate FG range and your beer holds steady there for 48 hours prior to bottling. Never bottle beer that isn't finished fermenting.
Another possible cause is a gusher infection. These types of infections can happen at any time and are caused by wild yeast or bacteria. To prevent this in the future always be sure that you're sanitizing any tools and bottles that come into contact with your beer with a certified sanitizer like IO Star or Star San. Products like Easy Clean and One Step are not sanitizers, they're cleansers only.
My gravity hasn't moved in days but is not in the final gravity range listed in the instructions. What should I do?
This is known as a stuck fermentation. This can occur if the there is a big swing in temperature where your fermenter is stored. A temperature change of plus or minus 5 degrees can stress the yeast out and cause it to stop working. Always refer to the temperature strip on your fermenter to tell what the actual fermentation temp is. Although ambient room temp may be 70 your fermenters temperature may not be. Never place you fermenter directly on a concrete floor as concrete can draw up to 5 degrees from the actual fermenter temp. Fermenting near furnaces, clothes dryers and HVAC registers creates an inconsistent environment as well.
To fix this, get the fermenter moved into warmer more temperature stable area. Gently stir or swirl your beer a bit to rouse the yeast back up in the fermenter and this will often cure this problem. Check your gravity again in a day or two to see if fermentation has picked back up.