Frequently Asked Questions

Brewmart FAQ

This set of frequently asked questions has been developed to assist our customers in familiarising them with how some of the food preservation and brewing products work when you order from the online shop. This list of FAQ’s is intended to assist particularly novices by consolidating information from the rest of our website in one place. This list has also been updated for COVID-19 lockdown, and our arrangements during the lockdown period.

Is Brewmart open during the COVID-19  lockdown?

Brewmart is open, our physical stores are closed, but our online ordering system is open. If it is listed as available on the online system, you can order it.  No walk in purchases and payments are possible. Only orders via the online ordering system (www.brewmart.co.za) will be accepted at this point. Stock levels are updated regularly, but due to simultaneous placement of orders, we may run out of items that you have ordered.  Should this occur we will contact you when we process your order. Orders can be sent by courier or can be collected from our Villieria branch only (no collections at the Centurion branch). Currently, all orders approximately take 7 days to pack and process before they are ready.  Courier orders will be shipped as soon as they are ready.  For collection orders, you will be notified when the order is ready for collection at the Villieria branch only.  Please wear a mask when collecting your order. As normal, we are closed on Sundays and public holidays.

Can I purchase any products or ask advice at the physical branches during the COVID-19  lockdown?

Brewmart is open, however, our physical stores are closed. if you just arrive at one of our physical branches (Villieria or Centurion), you will be turned away.  We love chatting under normal circumstances, however, in the interests of social distancing, we have closed our physical shops to protect both our staff and our customers.  If you are looking for assistance or advice, please do not hesitate to contact us telephonically, we would be more than happy to assist you during our normal business hours. Please wear a mask when collecting your order. As normal, we are closed on Sundays public holidays.

How can I collect my order at the Villieria branch during the COVID-19  lockdown?

You may only collect your order at the Villieria branch after you have been contacted and a specific collection time has been arranged with you.  Please arrive at the agreed time, alternatively call the branch to make a new arrangement. The branch will contact you to let you know that your order is ready for collection, once we have received your payment and the order has been processed and packed in full.  Please arrive to collect your order on your own (please comply with the current lockdown regulations of social distancing).  Please wash / sanitise your hands before collecting your order.  Please wear a mask when collecting your order.

Why is the malt milled to the size it has been milled in my order?

We have two mills, one at each of our branches. The milling gap between the rollers vary from 2 credit card widths to 4 credit card widths. The milling gap on the mill moves over time as a result of usage.  Twice a year we adjust the gaps depending on the grain types that we have in stock.  Milling is provided free of charge on request from our customers.  The milling service is aimed mostly to novice brewers that do not yet have a mill of their own. Milling of grains for brewing is aimed at breaking the whole grains into parts, and the milled product may vary from cracked grains to shredded the grains, or anything in-between.  When you have advanced to the point of mash efficiency / automated brewing systems, you are requested to invest in a mill of your own to get the grains milled to the precise specifications you desire. We will not entertain complaints about over milling or under milling provided as a free service.  No exchanges or refunds on milled malt.

I found something foreign or moving in my grains, what should I do?

The grains we supply are intended for brewing beer with and come in the form we receive from the maltsters. There may, on occasion, be foreign matter between the grains. The foreign matter includes various seeds, pieces of wood, nuts, bolts and various insects. Malt is fumigated before it departs for South Africa, but occasionally some bugs survive. The best way to sort out the insects is to place the malt in a freezer overnight. Alternatively, just add them all to the mash. They won’t affect the beer.  No exchanges or refunds on milled malt or anything we have to modify e.g. cut pipes etc.

I want to turn a bucket into a fermenter, how do I do that?

Our bcukets are complete buckets without any holes drilled in them.  We recommend that buckets be modified by drilling a side hole to insert a spigot and a top hole for a bubbler, this will turn the buckets into a fermenting vessel.  Undertaking these modifications is risky, and sometimes the hole drilled is the wrong size, or perforates the plastic in a manner not desired.  We can make these modifications for you, but do charge a fee for this as we then carry the risk.  No exchanges or refunds on milled malt or anything we have to modify e.g. cut pipes etc.

Do I need to purchase separate yeast with my pre-hopped malt extracts?

The tins (or sachets) of pre-hopped malt exact are shipped in containers. Depending where the container sits on the ship for the duration of the carriage has a direct influence on the yeast survivability. We are not in control of the temperature at which the containers are shipped or stored during transit.  We strongly recommend that a neutral yeast such as Nottingham is purchased and kept as a backup in the fridge in case the yeast that arrives together with the pre-hopped malt exact does not ferment as it should. It might say lager on the tin, please ferment at ale temperatures.

What part of my pre-hopped malt extract beer should I boil?

None.

A packet of malt enhancer or dry malt extract (DME) should be added to a tin of pre-hopped malt exact when brewing. Boil this dry malt extract powder for 15 minutes in 3 litres water, not the pre-hopped malt extract.

How much yeast should I use?

Beer requires a yeast pitching rate of 1 gram per litre and wine a pitching rate of 0.5 gram a litre. Lagers need 2 grams per litre. Yeast is usually sold in packets that only supply half this theoretical ideal amount. To make a better product you have to either make a starter, pitch the correct amount or ensure that it doubles at the start of the fermentation by giving nutrients and aerating before fermentation.

Why doesn’t my beer taste nice?

Your skill as a brewer has a direct influence on the taste of the beer – on average it takes 20 beers before you have acquired enough skills to make a good product.

If it tastes like an ogres armpit you have either overstressed the yeast or got an infection. The PH is too low for anything nasty to grow. If it tastes like vinegar, you have transformed the beer into malt vinegar by not sanitizing and cleaning enough (use it for cooking and try again…).

How do I know that I have ordered everything that I need to make my next pre-hopped beer?

If you have purchased a beer making kit, you need the following refill ingredients to make another batch (unless you still have enough leftover):

·         Pre-hopped beer extract.

·         Brew enhancer (light for a light beer and dark for a dark beer).

·         Priming sugar.

·         Sanitiser.

·         Yeast.

How should I store my ingredients?

Our ingredients are not easily damaged during the standard courier transit and do not need to be cold couriered due to the short courier times, however, if you are not going to be using the ingredients within a day of receipt we recommend that Yeast should be stored in the fridge. Hops and cheese making cultures should be stored in the freezer.  

Why has my equipment rusted or my tap melted?

Ideally you should use stainless steel for everything.  Please do not mix metals – if you add brass fittings to stainless steel, a galvanic reaction will occur and can cause the steel to rust. You can remove this with citric acid. Do not expose taps to flames. All taps have plastic components and will melt if exposed to high heat, even those made of steel.

I have placed an order for courier, what has happened to it?

We take two to seven days to process all online orders, please be patient with us.  We use third party couriers to deliver your order and, therefore, we don’t know when it will arrive. Once your order has been processed, it order will be appended with a tracking number in the comments at the bottom (please log in to view this detail). Track your parcel at https://www.thecourierguy.co.za/, or by phoning the courier guy with your tracking number. Local orders generally take two to three days to arrive at their destination, orders that are shipped outside of Pretoria / Johannesburg may take longer to arrive.  All parcels are sent uninsured at the buyers risk – if you want to change this please contact us for a quote when the order is placed or place a comment when ordering, We pack orders as best we can for shipping, but damage can occur, especially when glass or other breakable items are purchased.

Can I change my order after it has been finalised?

Orders are processed in order of receipt, and we are not always able to match queries against orders placed.  Please double check your order before finalising it, as we cannot guarantee that changes can always be accommodated before the order is sent out.

Why do my milled grains weigh less than my ordered amount?

During milling some grain is always lost due to various factors associated with milling.  The loss can vary from a few percent (of large volumes) to up to 20% on a small volume of malt.  All malts sold are sold at the pre-milled weight. 

Can I send my own courier to collect my order at Villiera?

We do not currently have the facilities to pack an order for courier at the Villieria branch.  Should you wish to send your own courier to collect, please ensure that they have their own box of an appropriate size for the items you have ordered as well as their own packaging tape and any other packaging materials that may be required (especially to carefully pack delicate items).  Please request that your courier wears a mask for collection.

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