The reason most home brewers take on the best hobby man has created is not to replicate the watered down commercial brew available, but to create the best brew possible (and add extra hops to the brew). Brewing the best is only achieved after trial and error… maybe a few boilovers, fruity or soapy-tasting beers and constant improvement…

When the time comes to be judged, the level of scrutiny you’ll be measured with will make you think your friends have been watching too much “sex and the city” and are in a bickering mood… You may even start questioning their manhood. But it’s the little details and little extra improvements that bring recognition to world class performers in just about any endeavor.

Take the winter x-games for example. We can say that all snowboarders are good, but who was the best?

Well Kelly Clark Beat Hannah Teter by .4 ratings because Hannah needed less than a second longer in the air to land a trick. The Alpine Skiing winner Bode Miller won first place by .33 seconds. That’s less than a third of a second!!

Well, maybe home brewing doesn’t have to be that competitive, but a small change can yield greater sense of accomplishment and bragging rights for having the best brew in town. So here’s a couple of tips that can help you improve the taste of your beer…

Surprisingly, this has nothing to do with ingredients or techniques on brewing. Rather what I’m talking about here is the choice of equipment. If you are using plastic buckets to ferment your beer, you may want to try getting a glass carboy and use it only as your secondary fermenting container. As plastic starts to wear out, it will more or less soak up smells of past fermentations. It’s not very prominent when you are fermenting beer, but it does become more apparent when you are conditioning your beer. Think of your Tupperware… with time they start getting stained and pick up smells. I find that by racking my beer to my secondary (glass carboy), the beer doesn’t pick up any weird aftertastes.

You can ask just about any Chef, what is the best material for storing food and they will almost always say Glass. Well, it makes sense to store our liquid bread in a glass container during the conditioning phase of fermentation.

Another tool that I see can make a difference is your stirring spoon. Many brewers use wood spoons. These aren’t necessarily bad, but remember wood is a porous material. Unless you are planning on using that wood spoon for beer brewing only, then I recommend switching to a stainless steel spoon.

Unless of course you are entering the weirdest tasting beer competition and want to brew a chili and hot dog tasting brew…

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