Microscopy for brewers and Homebrewing
Guide, Homebrewing Equipment

Why Microscopes for homebrewing projects bring benefits to the brewery

One helpful piece of kit for someone engaging with DIY microbiology is the microscope. These machines are extremely useful when trying to count yeast cells, estimate viability counts and detect contaminants. In short, this kit complements your culturing and plating effort perfectly well. Microscopy for homebrewing projects is worth considering as, for example, healthy yeast is critical when you want to make better tasting beer.

Microscopes feature in any microbiology lab, designed to peer at the microbes that reside in your beer; they are invaluable. Depending on your needs, interests and experimental prowess, you can consider the following options described below.

Microscopes that suit the homebrewery

  • Stereo Microscope. These types of microscopes allow you to look at your plates directly and can be quite handy to look at colony morphology. These microscopes do not have high resolution, meaning that we would not advise their use for in depth analyses of your samples (e.g. cell counts).
  • Compound Microscope. The compound microscope is easy to use. Most compound microscopes have 1000x magnification. That resolution is more than adequate to visualise fungal cells. If you look carefully, you might even see bacteria.
  • There is a huge variety of Digital Microscopes out their varying in size and capability. Digital microscopes often need to be connected to a computer in order to capture and save your images. Low resolution microscopes (up to 200X) are cheap (~$50) but not suited for seeing yeast. Suitable microscopes reach the 1,000X magnification range that is required and they can cost at least $150 or more.

There are many microscopes out there, some better suited than others. If you target 400X magnification you will be able to see yeast. 1,000 X magnification will let you see yeast well, along with bacteria. The icing on the cake is the use of microscopes that have phase contrast. Phase contrast is a contrast-enhancing optical technique that produces higher-contrast images. This is particularly important when looking at living cells which tend to be transparent. It will make your cell counting life much easier!

If you were to consider buying a microscope, this 100X to 2,000X magnification (compound) microscope & set would allow you to do the job.

We hope you found our article on microscopes revealing and of any use. We sure did. Please get in touch with us by email or leave a comment if you have any questions.

Brew on!

The BrewingBrowser Team

Get started and see for yourself

Here at BrewingBrowser, we want to eliminate any barriers that stop you from embarking on your brewer journey. If you want to learn more about microbiology, microscopy or brewing in general, please check out our Homebrewing-101Guide or homebrewing equipment sections on our site (brewingbrowser.com).

Visit our partners at The Beerologist to learn even more about the science of brewing.

Image Attribution (Microscopy for Homebrewing projects)

Photo by Pawel Czerwinski on Unsplash

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