Sunday, August 31, 2008

Making Beer Batch #2

My first batch of home brew turned out really good. Very pleased with the results. I have a few photo's from my first attempt, but my camera stopped working so I decided to document my next try.

I'm not ready to do beer from scratch, so I bought an ingredients kit from a local home brew place.

I filled my 8 gallon pot with hot water and started heating it on high. We have to bring it to a boil. Notice that I have a large lip to allow the liquid to rise. This is important - you'll see.

Here's what's taped inside the kit.I have a floating thermometer. This is important for the first step of this process. . .

A close up of all the stuff in the kit. This kit's nice because it says when you add each packet to the wort (that's what we're making)
First step is put the specialty grains/grain bag in the hot water.
This kit includes a "tea bag" for the special grains. I put the grains in and knotted the bag.
Then I put the bag in to let it steep until the liquid is 170 degrees.
Then I take out the bag.
The next step is to let the mixture come to a rolling boil, then put in the stuff in the container (which is the malt). Here's what the malt looks like when you lift the lid.
Now you pour the whole contents into the liquid. This is where you are glad you have a lot of room to let the mixture rise. See this photo. This is when your one hour starts.
Boil for 45 minutes. After a while, the mixture will settle down. At 45 minutes, you add the Irish Moss (a clarifying agent). At 50 minutes, I added the Favormatic Hops. At 55 minutes, the Brewery Honey, and at 58 minutes, the Aromatic Hops. At one hour, you're done with cooking the wort. Next step, cooling process. The instructions say that it's important to cool the wort down to 75 degrees as quickly as you can. The pot I use is too large for my sink and the last time I schlepped the hot pot all the way to the garage to use my utility sink. Since the pot is SO hot and full of about 5 gallons of water, it was really tough the last time I did it. So, I bought a galvanized tub that's 24" in diameter. It worked like a charm as all I had to do was to bring the pot off the burner. . .
and into a waiting 10 pounds of ice. . .
I ended up adding over 40 pounds of ice to cool the wort down to 75 degrees. This was done really quickly as I added some salt to the ice 'ala ice cream making. (I also saw on Myth Busters that salt and ice was the quickest way to cool a can of beer - hense, I thought it would translate to cooling wort quickly. I'd say it took about 20 minutes to cool the boiling mixture to 75 degrees. I'm happy with that.
Once cooled, I siphoned the wort off into my primary fermentor. The last time I did this, I had a simple siphon. For some reason, the suction would break and I'd have to try to fill the hose with fluid and get the suction going again. I was really worried that I had introduced "bad" bacteria to the beer batch. So I bought a new type of suction apparatus - and it's worth the $12 I paid for it - it starts the suction with one pump. If making beer is something you're planning on doing, I suggest you spring for this. It's great. Here's a photo of the bottom of the pot after I suctioned the wort into the primary fermentor - there's a lot of junk on the bottom. Suctioning kept me from putting this in the primary fermentor.
The next step is to "pitch" the yeast (sprinkle it on top).
Finally, I capped the primary fermentor and put the airlock on it. Now all I have to do is wait. . .


Knitting Rose said...

You are so daring. I would LOVE to do this... but don't have the time or the guts... I envy you.

Blissfully Teal said...

Cool!! We are making beer today to, good for you!