Time is not always on our side, and finding time to brew can be tough, especially with everything else going on in your life.
So, I’ve been on a quest to trim precious hours, minutes, and even seconds off the brewing process to make sure there’s no excuse to fit in a quick brew day or even finish a home brew in time for an upcoming event.
Join along as I show you some tips and tricks to shorten the overall brewing process for the fastest beer possible. I’m Trent Musho, and this is the Bru Sho. Let’s get into these time-saving tips.
Wouldn’t it be great to pause time for a brew day, but time stops for no one. For most, home brewing is just a hobby, so often we’re fitting in brew days or fermentations in short time gaps in our schedule. It can put a lot of stress on you and you can start to feel like maybe home brewing is not possible for you to juggle.
Or maybe you’re the type of person who’s looking to quickly whip together a recipe for an upcoming party or get-together. Whatever your reason is, sometimes life calls for shortcuts or hacks to speed things up just a little bit, and for that, I got you covered.
From brew day to fermentation to carbonation and sipping on that sweet sweet home brew, but the clock is ticking and there’s no time to waste, so let’s jump into the list.
Number one, prep the night before.
For all-grain brewers, there can be a lot of ingredients needed for a brew day, grains, hops, water, yeast, salt adjustments, tools, etc. And if you’re not prepared for the brew day tomorrow, you’ll find yourself scrambling in the morning to get it all together, potentially making mistakes, but also wasting time.
Take some time the night before your brew day to weigh out and crush the grains. Don’t worry, crushing grains beforehand won’t diminish the flavor. Measure out hops and salt adjustments, make a yeast starter, and even put your water into your kettle.
Just like a professional chef always has their mise, it’s incredibly helpful to have everything in its place and ready to go.
Yes, these tests still technically take time away from you, but at least by doing it the night before, you can get that time back on the actual brew day. You can double-check and be sure you’re 100% ready and not missing any crucial components.
If this isn’t possible for you, then at least be prepping all this while your water heats up in the morning. Use multitasking to your advantage.
Number two: Shorten mash and boil time.
If you’ve ever watched any of my videos before, then you probably noticed how I almost always use a shortened mash and boil time. Traditional practice always said to do at least a 60-minute mash and a 60-minute boil, but those numbers are not solidified in stone, and you do have some room here to save time in the mash.
Most conversion of starches to fermentable sugars happens in the first 15 to 20 minutes. I’ve gotten away with 20-minute mashes, and the beer still tastes awesome. Of course, you do take a hit in efficiency if you shorten your mash. You can always make up for it by adding more grain into your grain bill. In the boil, well, technically, you don’t even need a boil.
Raw ales or beers that are only heated to about 185 degrees are becoming more popular. The result will be a different beer than one boiled, but it certainly still makes beer. Boil length is really determined by what you desire to get out of your hops. Longer boils are great for extracting more bitterness, but if you’re only looking for flavor and aroma additions, shorter boils are great.
But you’ll need to add in more hops to hit the right IBU or bitterness needed to balance out the beer. Boiling can also help with DMS or that cooked cabbage, cream corn off-flavor.
Although, in my experience, I’ve done 15-minute boils on light-body lagers and never experienced DMS, probably due to the highly modified malts we have at our disposal these days. But try shortening the boil next time and see for yourself.
Number three: Clean during downtime.
Cleaning sucks, but cleaning at the end of a long brew day sucks even more, so utilize downtime, even if it’s for a 10-minute boil. Clean and put away a few things now so that way, you can wrap up your brew day faster.
It sounds obvious, but if you want to get through everything faster, you gotta utilize downtime to its max.
Number four: Chill fast or don’t.
Chilling can seem like the longest part sometimes. All the hard work of the brew day is over, and now you’re just waiting for temps to get down to pitch yeast. Investing in a quality wort chiller can be that missing puzzle piece to speed up your brew day.
This is one area where I can personally improve, but I have my sights set on some new gear to help. That initial investment cost can be scary, but if you value your time, then making the jump to a good chiller can make a huge difference.
On the flip side of chilling is simply not chilling. No-chill brewers swear by this method, as it saves a massive amount of time by just putting hot wort into a fermenter or container that can handle the heat and then putting that into a fridge or chamber to chill overnight. Just be careful handling hot wort.
Number five, use Kveik.
Ever since Kveik came onto the scene, it’s been praised for its ability to ferment at warm temperatures with minimal negative flavor impact. Other yeasts, like typical ale yeast, can take up to a week to ferment at normal temperatures and lagers can take even longer at their preferred lower temperature range.
But with Kveik, at that warmer temperature comes super-fast fermentations. The yeast is working overtime to convert those sugars into alcohol, and by doing so, you can have a complete fermentation in as little as 24 hours. 24 hours! This was unheard of until recent years.
My mold cranberry cider was done in just about a day and a half, and by using Kveik and pressure fermentation, I also got a little jumpstart on carbonation. Speaking of carbonation,…
Number six, keg over bottling.
Bottling beer is a great way for beginner brewers to package the brew.
It’s basically free if you have the bottles (outside of the caps needed), but bottling takes a lot of time, not only packaging up each bottle individually, but also the near two weeks it takes for bottles to build pressure and get fizzy.
Kegging is light years faster! You just have to fill one container and, even at the slowest setting, you can have your brew carbonated in a week. Of course, there’s much faster ways to carbonate beer. My favorite is to burst carbonate at 50 psi for 12 hours or 30 psi for 24 hours.
They both get pretty close to a fully carbonated beer within a day. Or, you can always do the crank and shake method where you set the pressure to 30 psi and then shake or rock the keg for about 10 minutes. Now that is some serious time savings.
All right, my time is almost up and those are my tips. I hope you found some ways to save time on a future brew. At the very least, maybe you can squeeze in a brew day next time you find yourself with a couple of free hours in the afternoon.
Do you have any ways to save time that I may have missed? Leave a comment down below and let me know. And don’t forget to hit the subscribe button if you’re interested in more simplified homebrewing content like this. Thanks so much for watching. Cheers and happy brewing!
Lead marketer, brewer, dad, and husband. Pretty much an all-round awesome guy.