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Serious Brewers Need Serious Equipment: Why Home Brewers Are Turning To Lab Equipment

homemade beers

Are you a home brewer with a less than desirable set up?

Want to upgrade from easy bake oven to full on mad scientist?

Lab equipment is the way to go!!

These 8 pieces of lab equipment can take your hobby or small business from a basic basement brew to carefully crafted concoction. Cheers!

1. Iodine and Test Plate- If a mash is a success, all your grain converts to sugar. This handy dandy little test is a surefire way to know if that was achieved.

The iodine test checks for presence of starch and indicates presence by alerting with a black or purple result. This coloration tells the brewer that the mash need more time or the mash temperature is incorrect. Please note the importance of cooling mash prior to testing.

For this test, crucial to rookie brewers, only two things are required: a dropper of iodine and a clear dish for testing. Avoid the starch haze by checking for the purple one!

ph meter2. pH Meter– The pH of your brew directly impacts your flavor profile. Too high of a pH at some stages and too low at others will leave you with a bitter taste in your mouth or even worse, none at all. Don’t steal the flavor of your efforts by not testing the pH at peak times.

The pH of the mash has an optimal range of pH 5.2 to 5.4. Too high of a ph can be adjusted by adding acid or calcium sulfate. You should stop sparging the final runnings before the pH exceeds 6.0.

The pH of the wort should be 5.0 to 5.5. If it’s too high you can adjust with acid. Unless you’re brewing with super hard water, if the mash pH was fine then the wort should be too.

Check the pH of your finished beer too. Generally, a completed beer will have a pH of 4.0 to 4.6.

3. Lab Balance– Precise measurements and the capacity to stop relying on kits? Yes please!

laboratory balanceWith your own balance, you also can cut your costs by purchasing in bulk. No more relying on someone else’s recipe. What are you waiting for? Remember to calibrate your balance however, because over time the variation may become considerable.

microscopes4. Microscope & Hemocytometer- Do you wanna count some yeast cells? Yes! Of course you do!

A lab microscope is indeed powerful enough to count the yeast cells in beer wort. However, we are looking for precision and that is where a hemocytometer comes in handy. A hemocytometer is a microscope slide that can trap an exact amount of liquid under its cover slip. This enables the brewer to check yeast concentration.

Additionally, cells can then be stained and checked for health. Healthy yeast cells will resist the blue dye and dead cells will take on the Smurf-like hue.

bane bio refractometer5. Refractometer – Almost as important as the flavor profile of your beer is its gravity level. With this little tool and a bit of math, you too can announce your ABV.

You may be tempted to think your hydrometer works just as well. However, the beer or wort needs to be corrected to the hydrometer’s calibration temperature whereas the refractometer will read the gravity of boiling wort. Additionally, the refractometer requires a much smaller sample.

6. Stir Plate (stirrer) – Using a stir plate will increase your viable and healthy yeast. When you need to make a starter, a stir plate is invaluable. Many brewers love the ability to “set it and forget it.”
bane bio stir plateBuild your cell count faster and stop shaking your yeast, or forgetting to…

7. Turbidity Meter – The haze observed in your beer is something the chemistry world refers to as “turbidity”. Depending on the type of beer you’re brewing, it can be a desired or undesired effect.

Haze can result from proteins, polyphenols, and even carbohydrates in colloidal form. When beer haze is observed at cold temperatures but then disappears once the beer warms, this is known as “chill haze.” A turbidity meter allows you to quickly and simply measure the haze or “turbidity” in various types of beers.

Ready to step up your brew game? Here at BaneBio we have the brewing equipment you need! We carry a large selection of pH meters, precision lab balances, microscopes, refractometers, stir plates, turbidity meters and more! And, as always everything comes with a 90-day warranty. Contact [email protected] for information on inventory and pricing today!

References: Chris Colby (2000). Homebrew Lab Equipment. Retrieved from Brew Your Own:
Brewing Science – Everything Homebrew Related. Retrieved from Winning-Homebrew:
Beverage Testing Information – Measuring Haze in Beer. Retrieved from Thermo Fisher Scientific: