Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Brewing Beer

This Christmas my Dad and stepmom set me up with a complete beer making kit.  I thought about asking for one for Christmas but never did, they know me too well!  I had an American pale ale recipe for my first brew.  The kit had everything I would need already measured out, so it was a good way to start brewing. 

I’m just going to go over the basics to give you an idea of the process, because basically I just followed the recipe in my kit.  It was relatively simple and very rewarding! 

Cooking the Beer

First I poured the grain into a muslin bag and tied it shut, dropping it into 2 gallons of water.  Heat to 150°F, then reduce heat and let simmer for 30 minutes, draining grain bag occasionally to let all the flavors seep out.

Remove grain bag, bring to a boil then remove pot from heat and stir in malt extract syrup. 


Next add the hops, hops are added at different stages of the brew for different flavors. 

The first hops added are for bitterness, and then the beer is boiled for 45 minutes.

The next hops for flavoring, and boil another 15 minutes.

Another batch of hops is added for aroma, the heat is turned off and the brew sits for 10 minutes.

Remove hop bag and sit pot in sink filled with cold water until it cools to 100°F

Siphon or pour brew into primary fermenter and add yeast stirring to aerate mixture.

Cover fermenter and put out of direct sunlight and ideally between 65° and 75° F.

Within the next day the beer should foam up.
After 5 days I added more hops for a dry flavor.

In 6-8 days the foam should disappear, which means the fermenting is done

At this point I transferred my beer into my secondary fermenter (although a secondary fermenter isn’t necessary for lighter beers, it does make the beer more pure by not giving the yeast residue time to taint the flavor. Plus I wanted to learn how to use all my equipment.)


After 12-16 days the beer should be ready to bottle.  A hydrometer reading is taken to be sure fermentation is complete.  Apparently bottles can explode if fermentation is not complete!


Bottling was easy. I siphoned the beer into a priming container with a spout.

Stirred in fermenting sugar, which is what creates carbonation, when the remaining yeast eats the sugar.

 Then siphoned the beer into bottles and capped them with a double lever capper.

Pale Ales are good to go 2 weeks after bottling, but best after 3 weeks. 

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