Now that the weather is finally warming up over here at Northern Brewer HQ, it’s time to invite some friends over for the 3 B’s of summer: Beer, BBQ, Brew Day. Since we will be trying to enjoy the sun and defrost after another Midwest winter, I am looking to looking to emphasize the first two B’s and make my Brew Day as easy as possible. With this in mind, here are a few shortcuts I’ve learned that I’d like to share.
Smash beers are a great way to simplify your Brew Day. They are easy to develop and easy to piece together from your stock at home or when pulling your order together online. Simply find your favorite malt, a hop that you have long been curious about, and get brewing. And yes, you can also create a “smash” beer even if you are brewing from extract; just pick your favorite kind of extract. Try to keep your hop schedule as easy as possible to maximize your down time.
Just buy a kit. Go even easier and just buy one of the hundreds of extract or all-grain kits that Northern Brewer has already assembled for you. I know that some of us have moved to the point where we love to design our own recipes, but nothing beats a kit for ease. Just find the one that sounds like something you would like to try and BOOM, done. You can get back to the creation step next time, but this might be the answer to get you back cleaning off the grill faster this time.
Avoid Pilsner malts. Trust me I love them just as much as the next guy, but they will add another 30 minutes to your boil that you just don’t need. So if you are trying to go easy, go all the way, and just leave the Pils for your next brew day. Now you can get back to your 16oz curls that much faster.
Do as much as you can the night before. I know this isn’t technically creating less work, but it will seem like it when you get up on Sunday morning and your grain is already milled and your additions have already been added to your water, for example. This will leave that much more time for you to already get the ribs on the grill and let them cook slow and low for a few hours before your buddies get there. So, look at your normal process and see if there are things you could move forward to the night before. Can you set up your gear? Could you already fill your sanitizing buckets? Is your yeast starter ...um,started... or the smack pack smacked? Trust me, it feels great to have the little things done when you are ready to brew.
Clean up as you go. I know this sounds like more work but things are so much easier to clean when they are still wet and haven’t caked onto the various surfaces. That bucket of PBW, that you created last night, will come in handy now. Everything that is ready to clean can either be dumped into the bucket for cleaning or get a little PBW rinsed through it to make cleaning up that much easier. A cleaning Pro Tip I can offer is to let the buddy that doesn’t know anything about brewing but always seems to know plenty about drinking be in charge of clean up. That way he gets to “be involved” this time as well. Sorry Bud this job’s for you! I hope that gives you a few ways to speed up your brew day this Sunday. That way you can spend less time Brewing and a little more time Sharing and Enjoying. However you choose to do it this weekend, hope you all remember to: Brew. Share. Enjoy! Prost!