Sunday, May 3, 2009

how i make beer

this post is for those people who have expressed their curiosity about making beer and how difficult it is, expensive, etc. it is very easy - if you can follow a recipe - you can make beer. the tricky part for me is the sanitizing (i use iodine by the way) because that is not how my brain thinks. to get started i visited my local homebrew shop and bought a kit - i was told by my husband's uncle to be sure to get the glass carboy because over time plastic can scratch and hide bacteria, which is beer's arch nemesis. It was $119 for the kit, which came with my first ingredients as well. along with my kit i purchased an auto-siphon, which i highly recommend for sanitary purposes. you can also buy them at multitude of online stores...i have used Austin Homebrew Supply, but thats it. there are several online resources as well - like this and this. my kit also came with a book, How to Brew, by John Palmer.

before i begin, please note the title of the post...please note it is NOT how to make beer...because that i am still trying to figure out. it is part science, part art, part cooking, part creating and there are people CRAZY into it and then there are people who just want to make good beer with no extra stuff put into it...that would be me. still before i begin, please also note that just about every step - every ingredient - every technique - every everything in beer making is HIGHLY debated. again, i explain that this is how I do i will truly begin

1. if you have dry yeast you need to activate it in warm water (you can also do this later if you desire - this is how i make bread, so therefore i make beer this way too)- if you have liquid yeast you need to start bringing it to room temperature. This is a Pacific Pale Ale and i am using Nottingham Ale #00394

2. Pour 2.5 gallons (i use distilled water) into your stock pot and get temp to 155 degrees. once there turn heat off and "steep" your grains (like a teabag) - In this recipe i used 1/2 lb Crystal 60L and 1/2 lb 2-Row. Steep for 25 minutes. Remove Grains after the water drains and discard grains and grain bag. Return to heat and bring to a boil.

3. Turn off the heat and move the stockpot to a cool burner. Add the malt extract (i used 7lb Extra Pale Extract). Stir until completely dissolved and return to heat and bring to a boil.

4. now the wort has a lot of sugars and can burn easily, so bring to a nice "rolling boil" and stir to ensure everything is mixing and lower heat to prevent boiling over. Once the wort is to a boil you can add your first set of hops.

5. For my bittering hops i used 1 oz cluster

6. At this time i put in about 1/2 tsp of irish moss (optional) to help everything settle....i am a SUPER lazy brewer and do anything i can to prevent having to use a secondary fermenter...this is a nice way to help the hops and yeast crud settle to the bottom faster.

7. Boil the wort and the bittering hops for 60 minutes. You add the flavoring hops during the last 15 minutes of the boil (mine was 1/2 oz Saaz and 1/2 oz Cluster) At the last 10 minutes of the boil i tried some yeast fuel this time - it is supposed to help fermentation happen faster...we'll see if its any worth it! At the last 5 minutes of the boil you add your aroma hops (i used 1/2 oz Saaz and 1/2 oz Cluster)

8. This is the wort nice and cookin!

9. Once the wort is done you need to bring it down to around 80 degrees as fast as you can (best if within 15-20 min) a nice ice bath with cool water running does the trick. you can also buy a wort chiller, but it definitely isnt a MUST.

10. when the wort cools down you pitch the wort along with the yeast and the remaining 2.5 gallons water to bring it to 5 gallons. you pop on the airlock and put it somewhere cool (room temp for most ales) and watch the MAGIC happen when yeast and sugar get together and make yeast crud babies. its a beautiful thing.

I am excited about my summer brew. I am debating on the name - either Swine Flu Pale Ale or MRSA, MRSA Me! Pale Ale. Anyone have any favorites or other suggestions? i think Pooey Gooey Pale Ale is just a little gross even for me!

In a couple weeks time it will be ready to bottle...which is a bear of a thing to do...i will attempt to post about that when the time comes...not nearly as exciting though, except for the fact that you are one step closer to drinking it! in the meantime, save all your (brown) imported beer bottles (you need to cap them so domestic screw off bottles dont work) and do yourself a favor and clean them before you store them!

1 comment:

Paige said...

I would vote for "mrsa, mrsa me", although, both are pretty grotesque for something you consume!