Brewing Beer

Down below the coffee shop is the cellar. Perfect for keeping the home made tipples a bit stronger than coffee or tea :-)

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Brewing Beer

Postby cheshire-cheese » March 31st, 2010, 2:02 pm

FAO Sue (and anyone else new to making beer)

To start with, the simplest way of making beer is from a kit. You can't go far wrong with Brupaks Microbrewers series / Pride of Yorkshire kits
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I normally brew from scratch but brewed a batch of Colne Valley bitter recently and, after patiently leaving it to mature, I am very impressed with the result.
At £19.95 for 40 pints, that works out at around 50p a pint.

You also require a brewbin as a one-off purchase for less than a tenner; tubing to syphon the beer into bottles or a barrel.

The beer kit I used does not require additional sugar, all the fermentable sugars are provided by malt extract in the kit. Some cheaper kits contain less fermentable sugar and require additional sugar to be added. This is where many beers go wrong, adding a hefty whack of household sugar results in an inferior pint with a harsh flavour that gives homebrew a bad name and the drinker a bad head. With these cheaper kits it is advisable to add dried malt extract instead:
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The two cans from this kit were emptied into a brewbin, previously cleaned with a suitable sanitising agent (I used bruclean) Image
then the cans rinsed out with boiling water and the syrupy extract dissolved in the boiling water.

The content of the cans is a reduced down, hopped wort. This means the traditional approach to brewing beer has been followed, extracting the sugars from malted barley into a large volume of water then boiled with hops to extract their flavour and bitterness. Normally this would be cooled and fermented with yeast, but to make the kits, this liquid (known as wort) is reduced down into the syrupy extract and canned. This process results in some loss of delicate flavour, which the makers of this kit try to remedy by supplying a bag of hops and grains to be infused and added to the diluted wort.
The volume is made up with both boiling and cold water in an attempt to get the perfect fermentation temperature for the 40 pint batch.
The yeast provided with the kit is then pitched in and stirred for a few minutes to oxygenate the liquid which helps the yeast at the start of the brew.
After a week or two the fermentation is over (this can be measured with a hydrometer) Image (picture of hydrometer is from a diferent beer)
and the beer can then be bottled or barrelled. In either case the beer is primed with sugar to build up pressure and fiz, in this case the small quantity of sugar used is household sugar and will not detract from the beer's quality.
Image
For bottles use half a teaspoon of sugar per pint
and for a 5 gallon barrel, 100g should do.
Place somewhere warm , same as fermentation temp, for a week then somewhere cooler for at least 4 weeks more.

Very importantly (I forgot to say earlier) do not ferment too warm! The airing cupboard is often too warm, I've successfully fermented from 15 deg C to 23 deg C for an ale (and cooler for a lager). Fermenting at too high a temperature can result an a rather sickly beer.

Hope this helps, more info on other ways of brewing beer later...
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Re: Brewing Beer

Postby sueturnersmith » March 31st, 2010, 2:11 pm

Wow, you are a star! Thank you so much for all of this - I will direct hubbie to this information :D
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Re: Brewing Beer

Postby cheshire-cheese » March 31st, 2010, 2:21 pm

If he's in the Northwest, he could come over for a tutorial / brewday / drink :D
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Re: Brewing Beer

Postby sueturnersmith » March 31st, 2010, 2:29 pm

cheshire-cheese wrote:If he's in the Northwest, he could come over for a tutorial / brewday / drink :D

I wish he was, but we're in the South :(
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Re: Brewing Beer

Postby cheshire-cheese » March 31st, 2010, 2:46 pm

Are you saying that you wish he was at the opposite end of the country than you? :D
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Re: Brewing Beer

Postby sueturnersmith » March 31st, 2010, 4:00 pm

cheshire-cheese wrote:Are you saying that you wish he was at the opposite end of the country than you? :D

:lol: Only occasionally!!!
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Re: Brewing Beer

Postby Riocaz » March 31st, 2010, 4:13 pm

Ahhh

So that what I did wrong.

I didn't prime my barrel (my kit only mentioned priming if you were bottling).

It tasted lovely.

I used a kit that required sugar (and was recommended to use Muscovado sugar instead of plain white) and it had a wonderful treacly background flavour which I assume was from the muscovado.

But it had little to no fizz.
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Re: Brewing Beer

Postby cheshire-cheese » March 31st, 2010, 5:32 pm

Some people prefer it that way, order a real ale in a pub and it won't be fizzing, so it was still a triumph :)
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Re: Brewing Beer

Postby Riocaz » March 31st, 2010, 6:23 pm

Yea it also had no head to speak of which was less of a triumph.

I also discovered I don't like warm beer. So my next batch will be in bottles for the fridge.

I've been watching this on eby for a while: http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll? ... 2759.l1259 but would need about 70 of them (so 2 batches of 48)
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Re: Brewing Beer

Postby cheshire-cheese » March 31st, 2010, 7:58 pm

They certainly seem simpler than crown capping, but I've had problems with (albeit a different make) swingtop bottles: beer escaping, loosing fiz.
Having said that, many homebrewers use them, often ex-grolsch bottles, with great success.
You are right to go for bottles rather than a plastic keg if you like a lot of fizz. Plastic kegs tend to hold 5psi (compared to 100psi for a cornelius keg) and kegs are a beggar to get in the fridge.
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Re: Brewing Beer

Postby cheshire-cheese » April 2nd, 2010, 11:02 am

First Steps in Brewing All Grain
Brewing small batches is a nice idea if you are experimenting with recipes and could be a good introduction to all-grain brewing before you shell out for a large boiler.
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The minimum kit you will need:
A large saucepan or stock pot
Thermometer
Muslin or fine mesh sieve for straining
Brew-bin
Large spoon
Hydrometer
Siphon
Bottles or a small keg

Image
Off we go!
Once you have your ingredients scaled down to the volume dictated by your pot, pour the required volume of water into your pot and heat it up to your strike heat (often around the low 70s Celsius)
Now, gradually stir in the grains to avoid pockets of dry grain. You'll get a thick, porridgy consistency.
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Now, check the temperature and try to maintain it between 62C and 68C. Stirring when you do apply heat to avoid the grain catching on the bottom of the pan. This stage is the mash and carries on for 90 minutes to allow the starch in the grains to be converted to sugars.
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Now, to strain the sugary liquid off the grains you need to firmly tie some muslin, or similar material, over a brew-bin. Carefully pour the contents of the pan onto the muslin and allow the liquid (the wort to collect in the brew-bin. Pouring some water, just off the boil, over the grains to extract more wort in accordance with your scaled down recipe.

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Pour the wort back into the pot, bring to the boil and add the hops.
Boil with the hops for 90 minutes. A gentle boil will be sufficient.
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If you are using Irish Moss or a product like protafloc, to help the clarity of the end product, then add 10 to 15 minutes before the end of the boil.


Clean and sanitise the brew-bin and a large spoon. Everything coming into contact with the wort/beer from now on should be clean and sanitised.
Again, using the muslin over a brew-bin, pour the pan contents through the muslin.
Leave to cool, making up to the final volume with cold water or ice to help speed along cooling.
Once the temperature is in the range specified by your recipe or packet of yeast, vigorously stir the wort to aerate it. Then pitch in the yeast as directed.
Leave to ferment at the required temperature.
Once your hydrometer shows that it is ready to bottle/keg, siphon off into the bottles or keg.
Bottles primed with about half a teaspoon of sugar.
Leave at room temperature for a few weeks then store at your desired serving temperature until thirsty.
Cheers!
Image

Recipe Featured in the Photos: Bitter Sweet Stout
Grains
Flaked Barley__________130 grams
Mild Ale Malt__________1040 grams
Crystal Malt___________300 grams
Carafa Special 3_______79 grams

Hops

Cascade_________90 mins____8 grams
Northern Brewer __90 mins____8 grams
Goldings_________15 mins ____8 grams


Final Volume: 6 Litres
Original Gravity: 1.055
Final Gravity: 1.016
Alcohol Content: 5% ABV
Total Liquor: 11.2 Litres
Mash Liquor: 3.9 Litres
Mash Efficiency: 75 %
Bitterness: 54.2253183111485 EBU
Colour: 174 EBC
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Re: Brewing Beer

Postby sueturnersmith » April 2nd, 2010, 12:13 pm

Thanks Cheshire-cheese.

This is starting to sound as if it might become addictive :D
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Re: Brewing Beer

Postby cheshire-cheese » April 2nd, 2010, 12:52 pm

Funnily enough the brewing becomes addictive but not the drinking, for me. I find I am far more precious about the produce and don't want it to run out too soon if I've got the recipe spot on. I can't remember the last time I bought a bottle of beer made by someone else, they can be a little disappointing now, even if I do say so myself. :D
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Re: Brewing Beer

Postby cheshire-cheese » April 2nd, 2010, 5:33 pm

Here's another brew of mine:
Image
vi Lager
Link to recipe
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Re: Brewing Beer

Postby Breadandwine » July 26th, 2010, 11:25 pm

Snag!
Breadmaking is an easy, everyday activity - not some difficult art form!

http://nobreadisanisland.blogspot.com/
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Re: Brewing Beer

Postby cheshire-cheese » January 18th, 2011, 10:19 pm

here's another approach:
Extract Brewing
It's somewhere between all grain and kit brewing and the only additional equipment you need, above that for kit brewing, is a large saucepan.
It doesn't take all day but you have more control over the flavour of the beer.
You use malt extract (liquid or dry), some speciality grains (if you like) to add more flavour and hops.
Here's a recent video of an extract brew
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