Posted August 5, 2013 by Terrence Green in Articles

The Perfect Pale: Part 2. (Article)

The Perfect Pale

Part 2


week (Click HERE in case you missed it) I gave you the recipe to my favorite pale ale that I brew.  I told you that we would be mashing this week.  There’s just one problem…WE HAVEN’T SANITIZED ANYTHING!!!!  Shame on all of you for not reminding me.  BTW, I have come up with a name for this pale.  I am black (hence, Terrence the Black), and I am married to a white woman…because I’m black.  That’s actually half of every Black man’s fantasy (the other half is to have an NBA contract.)  MY wife, Bekah, is white.  Like really white.  WHITE white.  Henceforth, my pale shall be called “Bekah’s Pale Ale.”  But I digress…

Sanitation is the backbone of brewing.  Why? Because EVERYTHING is worthless if you mess up this step.  I have dumped gallons and gallons of beer because something along the line was not properly sanitized.  Let’s walk through this step by step.


Why Sanitizing Your Equipment is SO Important

Before we start talking about what sanitation is, let’s begin by talking about what it is not.  It is not what you do when you drop your fork on the ground at home.  You know what I mean.  It isn’t good enough to simply run your equipment under lukewarm water or, worst yet, do nothing because “God made dirt and dirt don’t hurt.”  Dirt does hurt when it comes to sanitation.  The off flavors (Diacetyl which has a buttered-popcorn taste and DMS which tastes and smells like cabbage to name a couple) will make your beer undrinkable…unless you already like bad beer.  Like I have stated before; the point of brewing is to make beer that is worthy of enjoying and sharing and sanitation is your first step towards that goal.  Brewing in dirty equipment would be the equivalent of cooking in unwashed pots and pans.  You just wouldn’t do that so make sure that your equipment is as clean as possible.


What You’ll Need

There are a lot of people that choose to use household cleaners and soaps to clean their brewing equipment, but PLEASE allow me to talk you out of doing that.  The residuals from soaps will cling to your equipment instead of leaving them Zestfully Clean.  Those residuals will then begin to have a significant effect on the head retention of your finished beer.  Instead, visit a homebrew shop (I suggest MoreBeer.com or NorthernBrewers.com if you do not have a local shop) and pick up a canister of PBW as well as a bottle of StarSan, which are both made by 5Star Chemicals.  First, the PBW is the best thing that I have ever used for homebrewing.  I had scratched the inside of my converted-cooler mash tun multiple times trying to scrape off the residue left from a brew day that did not end with me cleaning my equipment.  Once I discovered this product, I began to see the results overnight.  It is as simple as mixing 1 or 2 oz. of the chemical per 1 gallon of warm water and letting the equipment soak overnight.  The PBW was able to reach places in-between gaskets that I could never get to before.  Also, you will know that it is on the equipment because it leaves a “silky” feeling to it.  Simply rinse off the equipment until it no longer feels slick and you’re good to go.

Most brewers are ok with using PBW for everything, but I prefer to do a StarSan cycle for all of my houses because it is impossible for me to check the inside of the hoses and make sure that they have been properly rinsed.  I simply do this cycle 1 oz. of StarSan per 5 gallons of water and gravity feed the 5 gallons from my HLT to my mash tun to my boil kettle and out that hose.  There’s not even a need to rinse when you’re done and this system has never failed me.

I will be brewing this week so next week you will have tons of pictures and video of the first 2 steps as long with me mashing in.  Prost!

Stay Thirsty. Stay Foolish.

Terrence Green

Terrence Green
I Like Beer. I Make Beer. I Like Making Beer.