Making a starter culture to increase the quantity of yeast pitched into a particular beer is a great way to assure consistent results. If you are brewing a high gravity beer (greater than 1.065 original gravity) or a lager that will be fermented cold then you need to increase your pitch rate by pitching more packages of yeast or making a starter culture.
Hops can be grown at almost anywhere or in any type of soil; however, they fair better in rich alluvial or sandy loam soil. They are very hardy plants but the hill they are planted in needs to be well cultivated to encourage proper drainage. They need plenty of water and food that will allow them to grow up to 1′ per day, although not typically the first year.
We know that many of you have busy schedules. Some of our regular customers have been emailing us their recipes and setting up times to pick up their ingredients. It works great for both parties. Just let us know the grains (and if you need them milled), hops, yeast, and whatever else you need (muslin bags, priming sugar, bottle caps, etc) and we can get it together for you.
How many times have you heard, “This beer is great. It doesn’t taste like a home brew!”? Many people can make a good home brew by following simple directions and simple recipes. If you want to take your brew to the next level (that beer that could pass for a commercial brew), take a peak at this article about five ways to improve your beer.
I truly believe that incorrect pitch rate is the fatal flaw of homebrewing. Even some brewpubs suffer from this mistake. Proper and complete sanitation is my motto, but even if you keep everything squeaky clean, infections are most definitely not the biggest cause of mediocre beer.