Summer is right around the corner and if you’re like me, you’re looking forward to moving your indoor brew house outside. The backyard, patio or driveway is the best place to bask in what little gorgeous brewing weather some of us actually get during the year. But like your lawnmower, motorcycle or sports car, our brew toys benefit from a once-over before firing them up after a hibeernation. Here’s my 8-point inspection to ensure your home brewery runs like a well-oiled machine this summer.
- Be A Hoser – As long as you’re bringing your gear outside, grab your garden hose. You’ll need it for chilling anyways. Rinse off any visible dirt, dust and bugs! Did you leave your mash tun covered all winter? You might be in for a sour surprise...
- Break It Down – Remember the last time you took apart your valves, sight glasses, and thermowells? Me neither. If it comes apart, take it apart. Soak everything in a good brewery cleaner like PBW to break down organic debris. You’ll be surprised what lingers.
- Seal The Deal – Gaskets, o-rings, nylon washers, teflon tape and stoppers tend to dry out, fray and break overtime. Consider replacing them if you notice some wear and tear. Plug up the leak now, little Dutch boy.
- Detox – Pumps and plate chillers need a good inner cleanse. Hook up your electronics, pumps and chillers so that they cycle in a closed loop. Use a good cleaner until things are flowing more…regularly.
- BrewTube – Tubing is cheap. If the goo don’t shoo, it’s time for new. Just in case, replace.
- Get Fresh With Me – Good in = good out. You can’t make great beer with bad ingredients. If you’re hoarding old grain and hops, consider giving them to a farmer. Their cows will love you for it. Freshen up, my friend.
- Be Cool – Spring cleaning is in the air. Keep your eyes peeled for old garage fridges and chest freezers. You might just happen upon your new kegerator or lager fridge. If it runs, better go catch it!
- Have Gas? – Check your propane tanks. Tighten up your orifices. Gas leaks smell bad and can get dangerous. Be you already know that now, don’t you?
Ultimately, it really doesn’t matter if you’re an indoor or outdoor brewer. Great beer is made throughout the world in all types of surroundings. Even if you don’t plan on moving your brew house into the open air, these annual inspections help to ensure your equipment’s efficiency and longevity. 20 minutes today might save you 2 hours on brew day. And let me think, what could you be doing with that extra 2 hours? …oh right! Enjoying another delicious homebrew!