Every time I share my home brewed beer with my friends and family I always remind them of a few simple rules that they should follow for a better experience. Most people are used to commercially produced beer which goes through more extensive processing than is feasible for most home brewers like myself. I do not yet have facilities to carbonate prior to bottling, nor do I have an expensive filtration system. So, to receive the best taste possible from my beer I submit the following tips:
- Do not drink this beer directly from the bottle. Pour it into a clean, room temperature, glass container. Do not use a container that has previously been used for dairy products. Dairy products leave a residue that prevents the formation of a good head. It takes approximately nine runs through a dish washing machine to remove this residue.
- Pour the beer out of the bottle in one continuous movement. Watch for any sediment at the bottom of the bottle and stop pouring before it comes out. While this mixture of sugars and dormant yeast contains many B vitamins, it does not look pretty, it can cause flatulence in some people, and can be a mild laxative. Commercial beer is artificially carbonated and does not contain this sediment.
- Keep beer cool (below 50° F). In order to naturally carbonate a small quantity of yeast is left in the beer. In warmer temperatures this yeast will continue to consume sugars and produce carbon dioxide. Excess carbon dioxide will cause excessive foaming when beer is poured and will eventually cause bottle explosions. Cool temperatures cause the yeast to go dormant and settle to the bottom of the bottle.
- Keep beer out of direct sunlight. Exposure to sunlight or fluorescent light will cause beer to oxidize faster. Oxidation is what causes beer to get a skunky character. It is the result of a photo-chemical reaction with hop and sulfur compounds.
- Some beer will exhibit chill haze (cloudiness) when cooled. It is caused by proteins left over from the brewing process. As the beer warms, the proteins re-dissolve. Chill haze is only a cosmetic problem. You cannot taste it.
- Unlike wines, most beers should be store upright to minimize oxidation and metal or plastic contamination from the cap.