keep it clean. One of the most important things, according to Roth, is making sure all your equipment is sanitized frequently. It's an early mistake he made when brewing at home. "With that first batch," he says, "not knowing too much about home brewing, it got infected." He recommends using Star San sanitizer, especially after boiling and before fermenting. "Since then I haven't had any issues with it," he says. "Just use sanitizer and rinse with boiling water on everything."
hot in here. One of Roth's early attempts was a Russian imperial stout he brewed at his parents' home in Sandusky. Because he wasn't able to keep an eye on the fermenting temperature, it got too hot. "When you are fermenting," he says, "you want to keep it at a temperature based on whatever yeast you're using. And you want to keep a consistent temp. When it gets too hot, it will take on the wrong flavors. I check on it every morning and every night now."
figure out your fizz. You'll find Roth's beer in kegs rather than bottles. But, based on an early experience he had using maple syrup, he does offer carbonation advice to anyone set on using bottles. "I didn't measure it properly. What happens is it over-carbonates and causes bottle-bombs," he says. "One exploded in my basement inside a box." Sugar is used to create carbonation in the bottles, but Roth says there are drops or conditioning tablets that you can buy. "Just make sure that your math is accurate," he says. "Or it could be pretty dangerous."
Find home brewing supplies at these local stops.
The Brew Mentor 7295 Mentor Ave., Mentor, 440-951-2739, thebrewmentor.com
The Cleveland Brew Shop 2681 W. 14th St., Cleveland, 216-574-2271, clevelandbrewshop.com
The Grape and Granary 915 Home Ave., Akron, 330-633-7223 grapeandgranary.com
JW Dover & Black Box Brewing Co. 24945 Detroit Road, Westlake, 440-871-0700, jwdover.com
Leeners 9293 Olde 8 Road, Northfield, 330-467-9870, leeners.com
Rozi's Wine House 14900 Detroit Ave., Lakewood, 216-221-1119, rozis.com
Warehouse Beverage 4364 Mayfield Road, South Euclid, 216-382-2400