9 Ways To Jack Up Your Beer – And Solutions

I hear about customers having bad experiences with their homebrew and really it can be boiled down to handful of different reasons, and by a handful I mean 9.  I was inspired after reading the beertools blog and decided to come up with my very own, 9 ways to jack  up your beer.  Just know depending on your company, another phrase can be used.  

Quick Observation

After reading this post I started to see a trend.

If you revert back to a popular post that was put up a while back about the different types of brewers, I feel that most of these problems unfortunately happen with chilax brewers (8 out of 9).  Normally I could see these mistakes happening because of hitting the sauce hard while brewing and well, the reaction time slows down and mistakes happen.

The homebrewer that these problems never happen too are of course, the elusive narcissist homebrewer.  They can’t make any mistakes and if there was a, “mistake” they meant to do it – it’s not in their genetics to mess up.  Beers fault – not theirs.

With out further delay here is the list of the 9 most common way to completely jack your beer up and some quick solutions to prevent it from happening.

1. Lack Of sanitation Or Sterilizing Of Equipment

If you want bad beer, make sure to invite wild yeast and other bacteria.  Don’t clean and sanitize your equipment, it’s a sure way for your beer to go down the tube pretty quick.   This has to be the most common way to mess up your beer.

Solution: Clean and sanitize everything that is post boil.  For bottles we have a trick on how to save time as well. 

2. Never Using Brewing Software, Keeping Notes or Record Recipes

It’s pretty hard to problem solve or make the same recipe twice if you never keep any records of it. If there is a problem with your beer and you can’t look back to see what you did it starts to become a swag for trouble shooting.

Solution: At the minimum I would keep the recipe, and if you are creating the recipe – use free brewing software to give you estimates on where your beer is supposed to be.  

3. Keeping Your Ingredients In A Warm, Moist, Sunny Place

If you want to make bad beer a great way to do it is keeping all of your ingredients in the wrong place.

If the hops are in hot place (like your car) they will degrade quicker then if kept at room temp or in a refrigerator.  If they are kept in the sun (near you kitchen sink) over time they will be start to smell skunky.  Your screwed before you even started brewing…

Another quick way to mess up your beer is, buy pre-crushed malts – classic.  There is a difference between buying grains and getting them crushed right then and there (freshly crushed) versus buying pre-crushed grains (Already packaged with a sticker on the bag).  It could have been months ago that those malts were crushed and if that is the case, oxidation of your malts will have already set in.

Solution: Buy fresh ingredients, and if you don’t plan on brewing keep your ingredients in a dark cool spot – no moisture. 

4. You Don’t Boil Rather You Just Mix Together

If you are looking for ways to lower the stability of your beer, don’t do a full 60 min boil and just mix everything together.

Solution: Keep track of the time that the boil was started.  Unless the recipe said specifically otherwise assume you are supposed to do a 60 min boil.  

5. Add Low Quality Yeast

Lose track of where your yeast is as far as the expiration. Weak yeast will give a head start to micro organisms taking over your beer.

Solution: This is where the emergency pack comes into play.  You really want to use fresh yeast when possible, if not, there is a chance of contamination and the beer will go bad. 

6. Not Fermenting In A Cold Place Or Fermenting In Too Warm Of  A Place

If you don’t follow the general guidelines for the type of yeast that you are using your beer will taste fruity or like butter.  Simple as that.

Solution: Know if you are using ale yeast or lager yeast and know the temp range for the yeast.  For most brewers you want to start with an ale.  If you are interested in lagers we have a guide on how to make lagers.  Also try brewing with the season and not fighting the temp ranges that are in you house.

7.  Trying To Get Your ABV Up By Adding Lot’s Of Sugar

A great way to make your beer taste like malt liquor is going in with the intention of having a beer that is just high in ABV and that’s it.  So you add a ton of sugar or honey to your beer.  Guess what, it will taste like malt liquor.  Could have just bought a 40 oz and saved yourself the trouble.

Solution: Make a balanced beer.  Some beers will be higher gravity just by nature but, with that said, they are balanced.  If you really do want a high ABV beer, don’t drink it young.  Let your beer stay in the bottle measured in months not weeks.  It will mellow out and taste better with a bit of time. 

8. Bottle Your Beer By Adding Sugar To Each Bottle, And Cane Sugar At That

When adding a sugar to each of your bottles of beer, you are greatly increasing the chances that there will be an inconsistent carbonation to your beer. Adding table sugar to your beer (if it’s not boiled in the wort) will make your beer taste like apple cider every time.  We have a post up about that one.

Solution: When it comes to bottling, heat up about 1 cup of water and add in your corn sugar (3/4 cup) or dry malt extract (1 and 1/4 cups) make a quick mixture (until it is all dissolved), siphon your beer on top of that in your bottling bucket, then give a quick stir with a sterilized spoon.  You are good to go.  Or if you would like use carbonation drops. 

9. Never Take Advice From People That Know What They Are Doing

The worst mistake that you can make as a brewer is to think that you know more than everyone else and that you have nothing to gain from anyone.

Solution: I don’t care how long you have been doing this hobby or how good you think you are you can learn from other homebrewers (books, forums, blogs, people etc.).   Take advice and pointers from people that know what they are talking about.  It’s honestly how I keep learning about the hobby, I just talk to my customers and find out what they do and take it into consideration.  Hense the amount of “Tips and Tricks” that are put up on this blog.


Like I said in the beginning of the post, I think a lot of these problems chilax brewers might be prone to.  #9 though is the narcissist brewer – they take the cake on that one.  All of these problems have solutions and easy ones at.  So good luck with your brewing!

My question for you is what type of brewer do you think is most prone to making mistakes?



Related Post

Fundamentals Of Small Beers

5 Brewing Personalities 

What Is Attenuation 

Importance Of Water For Homebrewing

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