Maltsters all have different names for their malts based on colour, barley variety, naming conventions and many other factors. We recommend choosing a grain variety that suits the style of beer you’re making, and the flavour you’re expecting from the grain.
For example, Gladfield American Ale is a great choice for hop-forward styles because it has a clean malt flavour which lets the hops really shine.
Barrett Burston Pale Malt on the other hand is a lighter colour Pilsner malt, which will make a lighter bodied, straw coloured beer.
Be sure to pay attention to colour (EBC), region and tasting notes when choosing grains for your recipe.
For more information, refer to this malt alternative chart
* side note: all the malts we sell are ‘2-row’ barley.
Not all brewing systems are the same, therefore we like to mill grain to the correct spec for your equipment. Achieving the correct crush on your grain will allow for better efficiency, faster lautering, and an easier brew day all round.
We offer 2 options for crush size: COARSE or FINE. We generally recommend a COARSE crush for all-in-one systems such as the Grainfather, Guten, and BrewZilla, to allow for better recirculation and lautering.
Choose FINE if you are Brew-In-A-Bag brewer or use a traditional 3-vessel system.
If you’re not sure which crush to select, leave a comment in the order notes and we will crush to your specifications.
"I've found a recipe that calls for Crystal 20L but I can't find this on your site. Which malt should I use?"
L, or degrees Lovibond, is a colour value for malt that is common overseas. In Australia we generally follow the EBC (European Brewing Convention) colour scale. Thankfully, this is an easy conversion:
1L = 2.3EBC (approximately)
Crystal 20L = ~46EBC
A suitable malt in this case would be Gladfield Light Crystal (typically 50EBC)
"What's the best way to store my hops and grain after opening the packet? I want to keep them as fresh as possible"
We vacuum seal our hops as soon as we pack them to ensure delicate aromatic oils are not oxidised. After opening, we recommend you pack the hops you don’t use into a zip-lock bag with the air squeezed out and store them in the freezer. Better yet, consider investing in a vacuum sealer to bag, seal and store your hops as required.
We don’t always find the time to brew when we want to. For this reason, we offer the option to have your recipes vacuum sealed for maximum shelf life and freshness. Otherwise, we recommend storing your grain in air-tight containers in a cool, dry place. We sell 5L, 10L and 20L pails which are great for storing grain while keeping pests away.
An Airlock isn’t a great tool for monitoring fermentation. Temperature changes, dry hopping, and settling of yeast can all cause an airlock to bubble – none of these are indicators of fermentation. The only way to be sure a fermentation is progressing is to monitor the SPECIFIC GRAVITY with a hydrometer. Not only will this help you to work out the alcohol-by-volume (abv) of your beer, it will also show you definitively that your beer has finished fermenting and is ready to be packaged. Monitor the specific gravity of your brew with a hydrometer and bottle/keg your beer when it is stable (no change) over 24-48hrs
If you are using a hydrometer and you do not notice any yeast activity or change in specific gravity, make sure of the following:
- You’ve fermented within your yeast’s temperature range,
- You’ve used enough yeast (we recommend 2 or more sachets for worts over 1.050 OG)
- Your wort is fermentable. Worts with a very low pH, with excessive adjuncts, a high proportion of dark malts, or mashed too hot may all struggle to ferment.
"My final gravity should be 1.010 but I took a gravity reading today and my beer is only at 1.020. I think my fermentation has stalled"
The Final Gravity of your brew will depend on the fermentability of your wort, yeast viability, and the variety of malts (grist) in your recipe, among other factors.
Most darker malts do not contain starches to convert into fermentable sugars, and therefore will raise the final gravity of your beer. Keep in mind that some brewing software will not take this into account.
All yeasts will have a predicted apparent attenuation level. This refers to the percentage of fermentable sugar the yeast is able to convert into alcohol. For example, English Ale yeasts often have a low attenuation range (often 70-75%) while American ale yeasts often higher attenuating (around 80%). You can use these numbers to help predict the final gravity, and therefore the sweetness/dryness of your beer.
To answer this question fully we need to look at how to best use our hops during the brew day (“Hot Side”) and also during fermentation (“Cold Side” aka “Dry Hopping”)
HOT SIDE HOPPING
If you’re following a recipe you might find that it calls for a late boil hop – for example with 10 minutes left to go – or a whirlpool/hopstand hop addition. Keeping in mind that hops are full of delicate aromatic oils that are easily cooked away in boiling wort, the later you can add hops throughout the boil, the more aroma you’ll retain in your beer. Better yet, consider letting your wort cool to below 90°C after the boil before adding your aroma hops. If you’re brewing hoppy beers, avoid recipes that call for several long hop boils. Many of the most desirable hop oils such as myrcene and citranelol (responsible for citrus fruit aroma) can be “isomerised” at temperatures as low as 60°C, so the cooler we can add them to our wort the better.
After the boil, allow your wort to cool to 85°C. Stir your wort in a circular motion with your mash paddle constantly until you form a whirlpool. Add your hop addition gently to the whirlpool and place the lid on your kettle. Leave for approximately 15 minutes, then continue to chill your wort to fermentation temperature.
COLD SIDE HOPPING
Arguably the best way to give your hops a huge burst of aroma is to add them during fermentation. This is called “dry hopping”. While there are many different ways to do this, there are 2 main things to consider:
- Add while fermentation is active. Oxygen is the enemy of hops, so by adding the hops while your yeast is still producing CO2, you’re ensuring that most of this aroma is retained. It’s for this reason that many of our recipes call for a dry hop addition on day 4 of fermentation.
- Filter your hops before packaging. Nothing tastes worse than grassy bits of hop matter getting into your glass of beer. Put your dry hops into a hop sock or hop tube. If you have temperature control, “cold crash” your beer after fermentation to allow your hops to settle to the bottom of the fermenter.
To bag or not to bag?
If you’re planning to do multiple dry hops, you may want to bag at least your first dry hop so that you can remove it before your 2nd dry hop. You may find you get better hop utilisation from adding the hops loose without a bag. If you do choose to use a hop sock, make sure you leave plenty of room in the bag for your hops to expand
Big beers call for big dry hops. Pay extra attention to your fermentation when adding big dry hop doses (150g or more, for example) as enzymes within hops can cause further fermentation to take place. Unexpected fermentation from dry hopping – aka “hop creep” – can easily lead to packaged beer that is full of unwanted yeast byproducts such as diacetyl (butter) and acetaldehyde (green apple peel). Allow extra time post-dry hop to ensure your fermentation is complete, or consider dry hopping after cold crashing.
Brewing great quality beer at home has never been easier, and there are many options for getting started.
We offer a range of equipment options, so consider which of these is more important to you:
- A simple and quick brew day with fewer parts to assemble/disassemble/clean
- Accuracy, repeatability, and automation
- Maximum volume! Brewing big beers and double batches
- Cheap and cheerful
We recommend that brewers who want to start simple consider going the Brew-In-A-Bag (BIAB) route. This requires only a few parts – namely a BIAB bag and a pot. A 20L Stockpot would allow you to brew half batch (10L) all-grain beers, and also “partial mash” (part grain / part malt extract) 23L recipes. Popular among our BIAB brewers is the 40L Crown Urn, which is a suitable size to brew 23L batches of a range of beer styles, and is very easy to use. Check out what a Crown Urn setup would look like HERE
If you want to be in complete control of your brew day, and want to be able to automate parts of the process, consider an all-in-one system like The Grainfather. At Hoppy Days we brew on the Grainfather all the time and love being able to program our brew days with the in-built Connect Control Box, the precise temperature control, and having connectivity with a phone or iPad.
If you want to brew batches bigger than 25L it would be worth considering a multi-vessel system, with a boil kettle 60L or larger. This would be an advanced setup and require one or more pumps and a chiller. Contact us and we can put together the right system for you.
** Important **
We definitely recommend you have fermentation equipment with temperature control before tackling all-grain brewing. At the very least, source a spare fridge or chest freezer and a temperature controller.
There are many advantages of packaging and serving your beer from kegs. Bottling is far-and-away the least fun part of homebrewing, and the bottling process can add unneccesary time and mucking around to our brewing process, not to mention the added risk of infection from untidy bottles. That said, with enough care and attention there’s no reason your beer can’t taste as good from a bottle as straight out of the keg.
Here are the real reasons why we recommend kegging:
- Preserving better hop aroma in your beer. An oxygen free, cold, stainless steel vessel allows for better long term stability.
- Clearer beer. Force carbonating with CO2 completeley avoids sediment created from bottle priming.
- Convenience. Kegging is dead easy and gives you the added flexibility of easily transporting your beer and serving as much as you want, when you want.
"I have a few recipes I'd like to brew this weekend. How long will it take you guys to mill my grain?"
At Hoppy Days we do everything we can to get your recipes prepped as soon as possible. Because we receive a large volume of orders every day, we mill grain in the order that they’re received through our website. If you have a large order and/or multiple recipes you’d like milled, we encourage you to submit your recipes through our website ASAP and we will notify you when they’re ready for collection.
Just like any other industry, brewing ingredients are subject to seasonable availability. If a certain product is out-of-stock on our website, this is likely only temporary. Our website is LIVE – meaning any product we recieve is added straight away to our inventory. If you are chasing a product that’s not currently on our website, let us know – we’re adding new products every week. If we can source the product, chances are we will be getting it at some stage as we add to our product list.
We require that you complete the ‘Billing Details’ section in the Checkout before a freight quote can be calculated for you. Please ensure the ‘Shipping Address’ field is also complete – including postcode – if this has been ticked.
Please note: you will need to complete the address field/s even for local pickup
If you’ve placed an order for local pickup, we will contact you within business hours as soon as the order is ready. We do have a high rate of orders, so we appreciate your patience while we prepare your recipes. We will contact you via email or sms when the order is ready.
Please contact us if you have a question. We will get back to you ASAP.