Going to school full time, working and having a social life has forced me to seek out ways to shorten my brew day so I can do everything… and trying to cut down time on a hobby that requires time is not always that easy…
The first mistake I ever made was to think that brewing beer was a short 2 to 3 hours process, and that was the last time I started brewing beer at 8:00 pm… I clearly remember sitting in my kitchen at 1:00 am wrapping up…
Needless to say my very next batch I got on the habit of actually ‘thinking’ about what I was going to do before actually doing it… I like to call it planning…
Planning Your Brew Day
I made a check list of all the steps I go through in the brewing process and a log where I write down my recipe and the brewing process (both are available in my training program). I usually prepare my recipe a few days in advance so I can go get the ingredients and the day before I briefly go over the brewing process…
When I go through the checklist I begin to notice things like whether or not I’ll need a strainer or my scale depending on my hop schedule and if I’m steeping grains or not…
The last thing I need is to be cleaning and sanitizing in the middle of my brewing which can cause some delays… Also, in my case I use water from an RO tank which only holds about 3.5 gallons, which means I need to get water the night before so I don’t have to sit and wait for the tank to refill.
So, you may not run into the same problems I do, but you can sure avoid delays by planning your brew day in advance and going over a checklist… (don’t rely on memory)
Clean Your Home Brew Equipment The Night Before
Cleaning doesn’t necessarily mean you have to scrub and rinse. When using the right cleaners you can let your equipment soak overnight and that works efficiently as wiping and scrubbing.
I usually fill up my bucket with cleaning solution and drop all my tools in there the night before. Then when I go to brew the next day (usually mornings now) I just rinse out and be on my way.
I don’t clean and sanitize my brewing equipment the night before because I use iodophor to sanitize and the acidity that kills bacteria fades away with time. I just clean the night before and sanitize on brew day. Reason is that when I first add iodophor the water has a copper-like color similar to the color you get when you brew a pale ale… but as time goes by it fades away until it is almost as clear as without.
Shorten The Time It Takes To Bring Your Wort To A Boil
When you brew all grain you are essentially steeping 10 lbs of grain and end up with about 6+ gallons of wort at around 160 °F. When you are extracting, most of us will steep grains in one or two gallons of water and then top off with water, but the water we use to top off is usually sitting at room temperature.
This brings the temperature of your wort down which then takes longer to bring to a boil. So as you steep, you should be warming up your top-off water to 160 °F to shorten the time it takes to bring to a boil.
There really isn’t a whole lot more you can do, but if you have any ideas I’d love to hear them… how do you shorten up your brew days?