Homebrewing advice from the experts

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From the December 13, 2012 edition

A few of Columbus’ experienced homebrewers, SODZ president Ben Siefker and Jason Kusowski of Spruce Campbells Brewing Co., offered their tips and advice for homebrewing. These may pertain to either beginners or the veteran beer-makers.

• Get an autosiphon. It's only $10 and it makes a night and day difference in racking (transferring) beer from fermenter to keg or bottling bucket. Without one, you will have a huge headache. —Siefker.

• Always have a backup. Nothing is worse than running out of something or something breaking mid brew. Good backups to have on hand at all times are hydrometer, thermometer, yeast, hops and sanitizer. —Kusowski

• Pitch more yeast, and take care of the yeast (gentle temperature changes, yeast nutrient, etc.). Use one of the pitching rate calculators online. The amount of yeast you pitch (and their health) is probably the one variable that affects your beer the most. —Siefker

• Use carboys for fermenting. Ale pails breathe too much oxygen and can lead to spoiled beer if beer is left in too long. Everyone seems to agree that carboys are perfect for the homebrewer, and a good one only costs around $50. —Kusowski

• All brewers (and beer drinkers too) should learn to judge beer. You can find information on getting started or becoming a certified judge at HYPERLINK "http://www.bjcp.org" bjcp.org. Learning to objectively taste beer will help detect and correct any problems and also help matching recipes to a specific style. —Siefker

• Invest in some Cornelius “corny” kegs. They are great secondary vessels that you can age beer in and won’t allow light in. With two, you can filter, carbonate and bottle your beer. —Kusowski