Thursday, September 14, 2006
So, your tired of the mass produced swill that you have been drinking. Your ready to make a change and you want to make your "perfect" glass of suds. Well, grab a beer, sit back and for the next few Thursdays, learn how to brew your own beer.
Now, in the old days, making your own beer was a long process and still is for the all-grain brewer. But, thanks to modern technology, you don't have to spend hours making beer. There are 3 basic methods in making beer. You can be an extract brewer and this will also include those who use a kit, a partial masher, or an all grain brewer. If you are a beginner, then you might want to make quite a few extract batches before move up. I will cut down on your frustration factor big time.
The outline for this series is pretty simple. I'll go over the steps of the 3 basic brewing methods, talk about some equipment, and give some helpful hints in brewing. Today we will cover the steps in making an extract beer.
Extract Brewing Steps
1. Fill your brewpot about 2/3 full of clean water and set on the stove. I usually use bottled water since it doesn't have chlorine.
2. Turn burner to medium-high
3. Some people at this stage warm up their extract while waiting for the water in the brewpot to boil. I don't.
4. As the water begins to boil in the brewpot, open your extract and slowly stir it in with a long handled spoon. Don't dump it in and hurry up and stir it. It might clump if you do it that way and scorch on the bottom. I've done it and it is a real pain to clean up.
5. At this point, I take some of the warm wort out and put in the empty extract can. Swirl it around to get as much extract as you can and pour it in the wort. I usually do this several times to each can. Makes for easier cleaning later on.
6. Top off the brewpot to about 2 - 3 inches from the top. Bring the wort to a boil (you might need to turn up the burner) DO NOT, put a lid on the brewpot because it will boil over a create one heck of a mess.
7. Boil the wort for the time of the recipe. During this stage you will be adding hops and for the last 15 - 20 minutes adding Irish moss. The Irish moss helps to clarify the beer by pulling the solid material out.
8. After boiling, you must chill the wort. There are several different ways. I pour cold water into my primary fermenter and then pour the wort into it. Other people fill the sink with cold water or ice and chill down the brewpot.
9. After the wort has chilled below 100 degrees, take a hydrometer reading. Use the chart that comes with the hydrometer to figure out how much more you need to add to your reading. For a reading around 100 degrees, add .007 to your reading.
10. Add the yeast. I usually add my yeast around "blood temperature" (98 degrees), while others will only pitch around 70 degrees.
11. I open ferment for the first 12 hours. I tie a clean grain bag around the top of the fermenter and allow it to "breath". After 12 hours, I put the lid on along with the airlock and allow it to continue fermenting for about a week. If you are not into the open fermentation (most people will tell you that it will become contaminated and bad), then put the lid on and allow the beer to ferment.
12. Keep your fermenter in a cool place during the week and keep it out of direct sunlight.
13. After a week, take another hydrometer reading and either transfer to a secondary fermenter or begin bottling. Your hydrometer reading should be 65 - 75% below your original reading before fermentation. ie. Original reading 1.050 After a week it should be between 1.012 to 1.017.
If you have any questions about this process, please feel free to e-mail me.
Next Thursday: Partial Mashing
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