Home brewing your own beer? 4 common mistakes to avoid…

Sep 12, 2014, 12:50pm EDT

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Jared Shelly
Jason Harris, owner of Keystone Hombrew Supply in Montgomeryville, Pa.

It’s no secret that Philadelphians have a love affair with craft beer. Not only are bars carrying more and more local craft beer favorites, people are increasingly attempting to make their own beer at home.
And Jason Harris wants to make sure you’re doing it right. He’s the owner of Keystone Homebrew Supply, a 23,000 square foot super store and winery in Montgomeryville, Pa. selling everything from stainless steel wort chillers to grain mills. It’s even got those neon signs you can hang above the bar in your man cave.
Here are his four common pitfalls to brewing your own beer. Follow these rules and take your homebrew to the next level.
1. Keep it Clean: “You have to sanitize your equipment. That’s rule no 1. If you don’t clean, it’s going to get spoiled and taste bad.”
2. Go Big:”Oftentimes, beginning brewers do a concentrated boil on their kitchen stoves. But when you boil stuff, it can make sugars caramelize — giving it that ‘homebrewed flavor.’ Instead, it’s best to dilute it out to 5 or 6 gallons and use a larger pot for boiling. Then the challenge is to chill it, meaning you need a wort chiller. Those two items make a big difference.”
3. Heavy on the Yeast: “If you only add a little bit of yeast, it doesn’t get a good fermentation. It peters out at the end. Add a lot of yeast.”
4. Temperature is Key: If you put it in your garage and it’s warm during the day and cold at night, you can get funny flavors. So you need to put it in a place that gets a constant temperature.

Jared Shelly is the digital producer of the Philadelphia Business Journal.

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