These improvements cut my brew day by about 3 hours and made my beer brewing process much more enjoyable. I’ve been on a bit of a brewing kick lately. I’ve brewed 3 beers in the 2 months, which is a really good rate given my work schedule and travel. Check my homebrew recipes out here
Since I’ve been brewing a lot lately, I made a number of improvements to my beer brewing process which have both sped up my brew day, made it more enjoyable and resulted in some delicious beers.
All three of these improvements centered around speeding up my brew day. Although I was doing the BIAB process, it was taking me 6 or 7 hours after cleaning was all complete. I wanted to improve the time element of my beer brewing process. The three tips below helped me shave 3 hours off of my brew day, making it much more enjoyable without sacrificing any quality.
1. Water Temperature
I’ll be the first to admit, I like to overcomplicate things. This is a key example of that. I read that using hot tap water can result in more off flavors in your beer from chlorine or chloramines (That’s a five dollar word right there). So I started using the coldest setting of tap water. I’m not too worried about chlorine, since I use Campden Tablets (cheap, but have really improved the taste of my beer) to treat my water by removing chlorine and other things naturally found in tap water. The result of the cold water was that it look very long to heat up my water to mash temperatures (typically around 155F).
Simply switching my tap to a lukewarm temperature, instead of the coldest setting, cut out about 45 minutes of the time I spent waiting for the brewing temperature to get up to speed.
2. Add Some Heating Horsepower
Heating the water to mash temperature and subsequently heating from mash to boiling took over 2 hours on my stove top (I brew in my kitchen, on my electric stove). I wanted to get a little help and explored options from induction heating to electric options. Propane is out of the question for me, as my deck is all wood and it’s forbidden in my apartment complex.
I found this Bucket Water Heater with some good reviews from the reddit homebrewing site. I bought one at a deal of around $25 although it currently is on sale for $40. For me, it was well worth the money.
It’s only 1000W, so not enough power to completely heat up 9 gallons to mash or boiling temperature without waiting a long time. However, with the addition of my electric stove, it gave it enough extra firepower that I could get my water to mash temperature in a whopping 20 MINUTES!
3. Upgrade the Wort Chiller.
My previous wort chiller was a copper beauty, although a bit beaten and bruised, that I bought second hand. It worked well, but not as well as it should. The vinyl tubing connections weren’t secure and it never connected tight enough to my stove. As a result, I couldn’t run it at full speed and because there wasn’t a full blast of cold water in the tubing, the wort took over an hour to cool down.
I finally got fed up with the time spent on this and went out and bought one of these. It’s a stainless steel wort chiller, which is a personal preference because I like shiny things. The stainless steel is said to be more durable and less prone to rust over time.
It also has some really sweet angled outputs, which means no more condensation dripping back into my wort.
This cut down the cooling process from an hour to less than 20 minutes.
Overall, the 3 things cut my beer brewing process by about 3 hours. That’s a success in my book.