As I'm sure you are aware, there are many important factors that go into brewing beautiful beer. It's important when choosing ingredients to make sure they are fresh and from a good supplier. When heating your mash, its important to get it to the perfect temperature within a certain set of time parameters, and when fermenting your beer it is very important to have it in a sealed fermenter away from direct sunlight. But one simple step that can lead to amazing tasting beer and the prevention of a LOT of wasted time is so often over looked, and that is..thoroughly cleaning your equipment.
If you were to talk to any professional brewer or even any decent home brewer, they will tell you exactly the same thing. Clean, clean, clean! There is absolutely nothing worse than spending 4-7 hours of your day focused on brewing the beautiful elixir (not counting hours of research on recipe design, I'm sure) and then waiting a following 3-8 weeks of fermentation/bottle conditioning to discover your beautiful creation has became infected! Sometimes, the beer isn't so bad as to be noticeably infected but instead just has a certain 'off' quality to it. Maybe you've spent hours going over your notes to try and figure out what it is? Was the mash bad? Maybe. Was the boil too vigorous? Could be. Or did you just rush straight into brewing your beer and so half-heartedly cleaned your equipment? If this is you, its time to improve.
There are so many inexpensive cleaners on the market nowadays (my bottle of Starsan has lasted nearly a year, and I brew a lot), some that don't even require you to rinse it off, so there is no longer any excuse to not thoroughly clean your equipment. And besides, wouldn't it be best to eradicate one more variable on why your beers aren't tasting as great as they could? Yeah, I think so too.
So from this day on, clean like you've never cleaned before! The extra hour you spend here will be paid forward to the weeks you my lose dumping infected beer.
By Joshua Hindley