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Home > Home Brew Tips, "How To" Videos > Avoiding Common Pitfalls

Avoiding Common Pitfalls

Quality home brew beers and wines are now easy to make. Instructions provided with modern homebrew kits are excellent and easy to follow. 

However, common pitfalls many homebrew beginners encounter can be avoided as follows
- Make sure you sterilize your equipment properly. VWP is an excellent cleaner/sterilizer.
- Rinse the sterilizing fluid from your equipment with water prior to use (unless you are using the Chemipro sterilizers which do not need to be rinsed).
- Before you add the yeast: make sure the contents of the fermenter are at the correct   temperature, usually somewhere between 18 and 25 oC (higher temperatures can either kill or severely damage the yeast). Coopers kits are remarkably tolerent of temperature variations, but most other kits are not.
- Keep an eye on the temperature, especially during the first 36 hours. Initially, fermentation is quite slow, but within a day or so it can become vigorous and generate quite a bit of heat, raising the temperature of the fermenting brew by a couple of degrees above room temperature. Fermentation then tends to slow down and the danger point is passed. If it gets too hot, it can either kill or severely damage the yeast. This can cause a "stuck" fermentation, and can cause off flavours in your homebrew.
- Use a heating belt (brewbelt) during the colder months to keep your home brew at the correct  temperature, DO NOT put your brew in the hotpress unless your hot water cylinder is insulated as the temperature can get too high and destroy your precious beer or wine.
- If you can get cheap bottled water (some supermarket own water bottles cost about 0.20 per liter), you  should consider using it for the better quality homebrew wine kits. Some tap supplies contain a lot of chlorine and it can hinder the fermentation process if it is present at high levels. Alternatively, leaving tap water in a fermentation vessel overnight (with the lid loosely attached, and stirring occassionally) can significantly reduce chlorine levels.

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