Saturday, December 22, 2007

Brewmaster for a Day

Today I decided to play the part of brewmaster, and make a batch of beer. It's been around 2 years since I last brewed, and homebrew was sounding good to me. So I jotted down the ingredients for an IPA, and yesterday I stopped at a homebrew supply shop in Warren.

First I gathered up some necessary supplies.

I also arranged a few other items that I felt may come in handy.
Equipment was cleaned and sanitized. The sanitizing solution looks eerily similar in color to the beer I'd brew.
I make beer by using malt extracts (the cans and the bag of beige powder in a previous photo). This saves quite a bit of time over brewing all-malt. However, I do use some specialty grains in my brew. This gives beer some of it's flavor.

This particular recipe called for toasted malted barley, and crystal malt. The grains had to be cracked, and put into a cloth "sack" for use in steeping.
The "sack" of crushed grains, ready to go.
I filled the kettle with 6 gallons (5 gallon batch with allowance for some to boil off) of water, and turned on the heat.
The "sack" getting dropped in. This steeps for 15 minutes at 150 degrees F.
The spent "sack".

Bubble bubble toil and trouble...

Add the extract, boil for 50 minutes, adding hops at various points.

A shot of the "brewmaster". It's just about almost noonish... time for another beer!

After the boil, the wort needs to be brought down near room temperature. The faster the better, to avoid haze and lessen the risk of contamination. I use an immersion chiller, essentially 25' of copper tubing coiled up, with cold fresh water flowing through the tube. This will cool the wort in just under a half hour.
Usually I do this outside, but the ho's was froze, so I had to use the basement faucet.

Taking a reading of the initial gravity. This, combined with the final gravity after fermentation, can be used to estimate the alcohol content.

Racking the wort into the carboy for fermentation.
Pitching the yeast.

Airlock in place. The primary fermentation should be started by tomorrow mid morning, and finished in just under a week. Then will come a 1 week long secondary fermentation, then bottling. Stay tuned for progress updates.


Todd Shorkey said...

Mmmmm Beeeeer!

Maverick said...

I sure do miss brewing beer. THat's one of the downfalls of living in an apartment. Well, I hope you have enough and that you will let me help by taking a bottle or two off your hands when it is complete!