My first few brews were of less than ideal quality, but with a few lessons learned the hard way, I am now hopeful of never having to pay for beer again. I thought I might kick start a conversation about what can go wrong and tips that people have found to get the best out this life saving toy.
My first 2 batches got infected. The brew art sanitiser did not dissolve well and sank to the bottom of the fermenter. The cure? Ditch the sodium percarbonate and use stellarsan instead. Way easier. Way more effective. Only takes 2 mins. And it's cheaper in the long run. Any used solution can be poured into a spray pump for spot sanitising. Really useful.
All of my brews with Cooper's yeasts had been taking about 10-12 days. Which is ok. With the last couple of brews, I've used the mangrove jack craft series yeast. They rip into the fermentables unlike anything else. Brew times are now around 7-8 days. When the yeast is at it's peak activity there is so much heat generated that the beer droid takes a holiday for 3 days, where as it had to keep heating up every 4 hours with the Cooper's yeasts.
A couple of times I've tried transferring to a secondary for 2 weeks prior to kegging. Waste of time. It was interesting to see how much sediment had settled after 1-2weeks, but I would go straight to a....
Definitely invest in a beer fridge and keg (or 4). I went with the ikegger set up, which was quick and easy. Didn't cost too much considering the benefits. Way better than bottling. Beer is ready to drink 2-3 weeks after the primary ferment. Total control over levels of carbonation. Minimal risk of oxidation and infection.
Alternatives to brew prints.
The mangrove jacks craft pouches seem quite good and easy to use in a beer droid. Just use half the pouch, seal up with some spring clips, spray with some sanitizer, pop into an air tight container and then into the fridge/freezer until next time (at which you can fiddle with the level of added dextrose vs malt to dial in your preferred level of dryness).
Looking forward to hearing any other words of wisdom.