Since 2016, homebrewing has seen a dramatic increase in popularity. According to the American Homebrewers Association there are more than a million homebrewers in the U.S., with 40% of them starting in just the past four years. Now take that growth, add the extra time at home “gifted” by the COVID-19 pandemic, and you’ll understand why homebrewing equipment, recipes and ingredients are in high demand–not to mention the growing number of homebrewing questions we see each day. So in response to the inquisitive new homebrewers, and those eagerly awaiting to sample their roommate’s homebrew, we thought we’d offer a few helpful insights.
TIP 1: GATHER THE PRIMARY INGREDIENT FOR SUCCESS
As a producer of premium liquid yeast we know the art of homebrewing can be daunting, and the pressure of being the primary ingredient in your heartfelt, homebrewed, craft beverage means our product MUST be unarguably great. That’s why we packaged the same premium liquid yeast we offer to commercial brewers, in a convenient Smack-Pack Activator System™–ideal for homebrewers. This innovative, one-of-a-kind packaging reduces the guess work in craft brewing by doubling as a yeast viability test and proven quality control.
With the simple smack of our Wyeast Smack-Pack, you kick start the yeast’s metabolism, which in turn generates CO₂ and causes swelling of the package. It’s this swelling that provides the assurance that the 100 billion live yeast cells contained in that packet are viable and ready to be pitched. And before you ever smack the packet, you’ll rest assured that the quality yeast you purchased, was packaged for optimal storage, while maintaining the ability for rapid and complete fermentation. See more details on the Smack-Pack-Activator System.
TIP 2: PERFECT YOUR PITCH
A lot of professional brewers typically use a pitch rate of 6 million cells per milliliter when inoculating wort – conveniently, One Activator™ package is designed to utilize this same pitch rate for a direct inoculation of 5 gallons (19 L) for a standard gravity ale pitch. This will optimize yeast health and growth in your homebrew while avoiding the negative affects of under-or-overpitching your yeast. If you are propagating and pitching your own yeast it is more likely for contamination and the development of undesired off-flavors or smells to occur. For more insight on making a starter to increase your cell count, you can checkout out our making a starter guide.
Need more help with the basics of pitch rate? Check out our Pitch Rate Guide.
TIP 3: CHOOSE YOUR STRAIN WISELY
As we approach the holidays and find ourselves spending more time by the fire, you’ll want to brew something intrinsic to the season. Try crisp, malty, dry flavor profiles with fruity undertones characteristic of pale lagers and dark specialty Begian ales. These are always poplular drafts during the colder months. For ideas on what strains to purchase, consider trying one from our Q4 Private Collection.
TIP 4: FIND A GOOD RECIPE
With the fall months now transitioning to the cold winter days, it’s time to wrap yourself around an appropriately-hearty beer. For this, we are going to turn to John Maier, master brewer of Rogue Ales, who will walk us through a delicious Export Stout. This recipe will utilize our 1581-PC BELGIAN STOUT as it is a wildly versatile yeast strain that will highlight the malty sweetness and notes of caramel one would expect to find in an Export Stout. Stemming from 3 decades of award winning brewing, here is John’s recipe for the Mojo’s Export Stout.
TIP 5: ENSURE YOU HAVE THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT
If you’ve gotten this far, we assume you’ve already purchased the appropriate equipment for the task. But if you haven’t, make sure you have a brewing kettle, fermenter + air lock, funnel, sanitizer, auto-siphone and stir spoon. For those overwhelmed by the thought of having to find and purchase it all individually, try a Northern Brewer Beer Brewing Starter Kit.
We hope this guide kicks starts your next homebrewing session, or perhaps catapults you into your first. Either way, we’re excited to see the enthusiasm growing around homebrewing and look forward to supporting you in your endeavors. For more tips and guidance around home brewing, be sure to browse our website and check our blog and Facebook page for updates. If you have more questions on our Smack-Pack Activator System™, be sure to contact your local dealer. Find your local dealer.
Happy Brewing from the Wyeast family!