Have you taken your first steps in homebrewing? Drinking a cup of beer that you have put all your hard work and effort in is a completely different experience. It’s one we recommend for all beer enthusiasts.
Even if you’ve got the entire process of homebrewing explained and you followed all the instructions to a T, you may worry about missing out on a step or having done the wrong thing. Here are three of the most common questions on homebrewing problems we receive to help you with your homebrewed beer.
Why Isn’t My Beer Fermenting?
Problems with fermenting are one of the most common homebrewing problems. The solution? Give it some time. Fermentation takes awhile and it can happen anywhere between six and 72 hours to show any visible signs. However, if it still does not ferment even after you have waited for more than 72 hours, then there are some steps you can take to troubleshoot this issue.
The first thing you should do is check the fermenting vessel. It’s a little tricky, but it’s important that you check this before anything else. Your brew will not ferment if the carbon dioxide produced in the process is escaping from a lid that hasn’t been put on right, a bucket with poor sealing, or a faulty bung.
If everything in the fermenting vessel is in place, check your beer’s temperature. It may not be in the right range for the yeast you are using. Yeast can only work in a certain range. If it is too cold, then it will hibernate and sink to the bottom.
Relocate your set-up to a place that 17 to 24 degrees Celsius (or check the package for exact numbers) and then wait one day for the beer to warm.
Finally, you could try adding more yeast. If you have an airtight set-up and the temperature is good, then the yeast could be the culprit. It could have been a bad batch, or it did not have enough viable yeast cells for the amount of beer you wanted to ferment.
Why Is My Beer Flat?
Nobody enjoys a flat beer. So, it’s not surprising that a lack of carbonation makes the list of common homebrewing problems. Your beer may not be carbonated because not enough time has passed between bottling and opening. Beer brews need at least three to four weeks before they are properly conditioned and carbonated.
But if you have waited that long, then the temperature may be the culprit once more. Sugar plays an important role in bottle conditioning. It is similar to the role of yeast in fermentation. Store the bottles at room temperature for a week or two before giving it another go.
If your beer is still flat after trying these two solutions, you did not use enough priming sugar for carbonation.
Why Does My Beer Look Weird?
The third issue on the list of common homebrewing problems is your beer having an odd appearance. Don’t worry! Fermentation can look super gnarly to first-time brewers. Your brews will be covered with sludge and icky blobs. This is called crud and it’s a sign that things are on the right track.
If you are worried about having some kind of infection growing in your beer, looks are not the best indicator. It may not have any visible difference to uninfected brews. When checking your beer, try to evaluate its status using smell and taste.
Throughout the fermentation and immediately after, you may encounter some weird smells. However, it is only a cause for concern if the smells are eggy, vinegary, or bad in general.
Next, taste your beer and see if it’s drinkable. A part of the brewing process involves taking samples for hydrometer readings, so it is recommended that you make the most out of that by tasting it after. Infected beer will have a sour, buttery, or soy sauce flavor to it.
Young beers may not have the full flavor profile that you are expecting. However, as long as it tastes alright, then you can proceed to bottle the beer.
A bad batch of beer is not the end of your homebrewing journey. In fact, your failures are just as important as your successes. Brewing is a long and complex journey. Keep an open mind, remember these solutions to some common homebrewing problems, and be prepared to start over in your quest to find your perfect home brew.