Thursday, February 22, 2007

Brewing Quality Beers by Byron Burch

So, I've recently begun to read as much as I can about brewing beers, as Todd and I are on our third batch of homebrew.

So, I thought I'd blog some of my book review notes for personal use and quick referencing...

I. Procedure for Ales and Stouts
A. Cooking
1. For recipes containing Lager, Pale, Mild Ale, Munich, Crystal, or Wheat Malt, make a tisane by heating water in a pot to 150 degrees F, turning off the heat, and placing the cracked or ground grain in the pot. Cover and let stand for 45 minutes to an hour.
2. Strain your grain tisane through a colander into your boiling pot and rinse through with hot water (130-170 degrees F) until the water runs clear. Disgard the grains (Compost them!).
3. Warm at least 2 gallons (preferably more; as many as your pot can hold, remembering that you'll need some room at the top of the pot to prevent boiling over) and dissolve any of the following ingredients that your recipe may call for:
a. Malt Extract
b. Dry Malt
c. Sugar (except for Priming Sugar)
d. Rice Syrup
e. Dextrin Powder
f. Gypsum Salt
g. Epsom Salts
h. Irish Moss
i. Yeast Nutrient
4. Begin to heat the water to a rolling boil.
5. Stir in the Bittering Hops, as well as any Roasted Barley, Black Patent Malt, or Chocolate Malt that is in your recipe.
6. Boil for 30 more minutes, adding the Aromatic Hops during the last two minutes.
7. At the end of the boil, cool the wort as quickly as possible to between 70-85 degrees F.
II. Fermentation
A. Siphon the cooled wort into a sanitized 5 or 6 gallon bucket.
B. Add the yeast.
C. Attach a fermentation lock to prevent bacteria from entering your brew.
D. In 5-7 days, when the fermentation lock is not bubbling and yeast activity appears to have ended, check the sugar levels with a hydrometer (technically for testing the specific gravity). When the sugar level tests to near where it should be and the sample tastes like dry, flat beer, it is ready to bottle (or place into a keg).
III. Bottling (but it's much easier to put in a keg!)
A. Siphon your beer into another sanitized bucket, taking care not to disturb the sediment at the bottom of the first bucket.
B. Boil the Priming Sugar Syrup and add it to the bucket, stirring well.
C. Siphon the primed beer into your sanitized bottles and cap them.

[Carrie's note: That last part about bottling seems straightforward and simple, but believe me, taking the time to boil your bottles and caps for sanitizing, and adding the priming sugar to the beer, then bottling it is much more labor-intensive than the keg method. For Kegging your beer: After fermentation, siphon your beer from the bucket to a sanitized 5 gallon keg, taking care not to disturb the sediment at the bottom of the keg. Add CO2, and enjoy. If you let your keg sit for a few days, you will allow any extra sediment to settle. Tap out a glass or two and water your garden with them, then enjoy the rest of your beer!]

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