The biggest mistake a brewer can make is to spend time and money making a quality beer wort or wine must but fail to take the time to clean and sanitize their equipment. All kinds of surprises await the brewer who uses unclean equipment- bacterial infections, wild yeast ferments, gushing bottles, a plethora of off-flavors and aromas... The first step to consistent and predictable results is employing sanitary procedures.
First, it's important to understand that cleaning and sanitizing are two separate procedures, neither one difficult. Cleaning is the act of removing physical particulate matter from something, such as your fermenter. If you have, for example, dried yeast stuck on the sides of your fermenter after doing a ferment, use an appropriate cleaner such as Oxygen Brewery Wash, PBW, or OneStep to help break up the particulates and scrub the surface with a non-abrasive scrubber, brush, or towel. Dish soap is not recommended as soap residue can produce off-flavors and aromas in your product.
Used bottles often benefit from a cleaning as there may be dried yeast sediment or other material in the bottom. The best way to reduce your time and energy cleaning is to clean as soon as possible; rinse bottles out well immediately after emptying them and don't let dirty fermenters sit for long without cleaning. Once particulates dry, they are much harder to remove from surfaces.
Once your equipment is clean, you must sanitize it before subjecting your beer, wine, or other beverage to it. Sanitizing is killing 99.99% of all microorganisms on a surface. To do this, use a food-grade sanitizer such as IoStar or StarSan; bleach is not recommended as it is not food grade, may be difficult to remove from plastics, and trace amounts can produce off-flavors and aromas. Merely mix sanitizers to the recommended concentrations and make sure that the sanitizing solution thoroughly contacts all surfaces of any equipment that will come in contact with your beer or wine. This includes fermenters, airlocks, siphoning equipment, bottles, etc.
Sanitizing procedures should be done just prior to use. Sanitizing a week, day, or even hours prior to using the equipment does no good as it may become recontaminated by airborne yeasts and bacterias in that time period.
If this sounds complicated or like a lot of work, it really isn't. It is, however, absolutely necessary and should never be dismissed. Happy brewing!
For boosting gravity. Also used in cider production. Buy big and save!
Hydrometer Test Cylinder
Used to hold the sample for taking gravity or proof readings. Available in plastic or glass. NOTE: If proofing spirits, you MUST use glass; the plastic can't handle high octane.
6.5 Gallon Plastic Fermentor
Food grade fermenting bucket with graduated markings showing volume. Includes a drilled/grommeted lid.
Briess white wheat gives a malty flavor not obtained with raw wheat. Flavor is less pronounced than red wheat, but maintains better consistency in the mash. Flavor contributions: sweet, malty, wheat, floury, doughy. Typical Color L: 2.5. Full spec sheet here.
Chapman Univessel (14 Gal)
Plastic scratches. Glass breaks. Stainless reigns supreme, but is expensive- until now! These stainless steel fermentors from Chapman Brewing won't break like glass, scratch like plastic, breath like plastic, or allow damaging UV rays to penetrate into the goodness inside! May also be used as a small brew pot. Available ported or portless. Fea...
18% alcohol tolerance. A very competitive yeast that will inhibit wild yeasts. It will restart stuck fermentations because of good alcohol and sulfite tolerance. This is a very neutral yeast that will have very little effect on the varietal character of the grape. A popular strain that ferments fully and flocculates well producing compact lees. ...
Riverbend Appalachian Wheat
Produced here in Asheville, this is what Riverbend has to say about this regional malt- "This malt uses a new regionally adapted variety of soft red wheat called Oakes. This variety was developed for use in the artisan bread industry, but we’ve found it makes a great malting variety as well! The aroma and flavor are more pronounced than traditi...
Also known as flaked corn, we have it available by the pound or in bulk. Used in certain American lagers, cream ales, and whiskey production.
Adds proteins to increase body and head retention. Great for stouts. Available in 25lb. bulk.
Also called an alcoholmeter. This marvelous tool shows the proof of spirits. The presence of sugar will distort readings, so this is only for pure spirits and spirits blended with water (not juice or sugar, etc). Proof scale 0-200.
Riverbend Carolina Rye
This malt is produced here in Asheville using an heirloom variety called Wrens Abruzzi that has been grown in the south for over 200 years. Look for classic blend herbal spice, black peppercorn, and citrus flavor. Color 5.5L
15.5" long, with a solid metal base and easy-to-read 3-scale readout. Packaged, with instructions, in a tube with no hanger cap. Readings idealized at 60°F. Works for beer, wine, cider, mead, and mashes. Scales: Balling: 0-38% Potential ABV: 0-22% Specific Gravity: 0.990 - 1.170