Beer is Awesome
Today you're going to learn how to brew an ale. Yes, there are several beer procedures already here; how to brew a blonde, or an IPA or a stout, but this isn't about how to brew one beer. This is how you brew BEER. Like, all of the beer.
Well not all of them, but the (very) broad category of ales brewed from an all-grain start. Extract brews, and brew in a bag follow some of the same procedure but all-grain provides the most versatility and challenge to a home brewer. The beer we are following through is a typical 20L batch size of a very basic one. You could call it a blonde ale, or a cream ale maybe, it's not actually important. Ultimately what I made isn't what gives you the most, and it's not what I want you to know.
But what do you care what I want you to know, I could just be some fool spouting nonsense who is asking you to read a lot and trust him. Well, really I can't do anything about you thinking that I am a fool, that's pure opinion, but from the trust aspect I am a classically trained brewmaster, who has been brewing commercially in Canada for the last 7 years. In that time I have worked in 4 different facilities, produced beer and designed recipes for 10 breweries through contracting, and ran my own brewery for a spell. I'm hoping to take my large scale techniques and theory and have you apply them to your backyards. Better beer is better.
That said, this is an involved process. And there are going to be a lot of steps, and words, and words that don't even sound real but at every step of the way I will be explaining not just the what and how, but the why it is done. Making beer is fun but it is a time and labour intensive hobby that will spend as much money as you give it. My goal is that armed with the knowledge found here your beer will be worth the all that it takes.
What I am not going to be covering here are how to build any of the equipment shown in here, nor am I providing a tool to design new recipes. These are available all over the place and I'll provide some links where appropriate, but it does fall outside the scope of this particular Instructable.
As a further disclaimer, I will be providing extended resources that come from various associations and companies. I am not affiliated with them, I get no money from you clicking on these links, and as far as I know there is no added benefit to any other party by interacting with them. I include them because I consider them to be useful resources and to provide a variety of sources for your further perusal.
So let's get started!
Step 1: The First and Most Important Thing
There are seven major steps that go into making an all grain brew, and each have their own specialized gear, additionally, there are the general tools, and of course, the actual ingredients to discuss. I'll go through them one at a time starting with the most important.
That's right. This is by far the most important step, not only at the beginning but at every step of the way. The entire brewing process is about making an ideal environment for microbiological growth and there are very few little critters that we actually want in the beer, and all it takes is a few invisible invaders to ruin your hard work. So take cleaning seriously, if you want an example of why, let your spent grain sit for a day and give it a whiff.
What you need:
Rubber gloves and goggles at least, cleaning agents are aggressive and can burn your skin and melt your eyes. That said, closed toed shoes and long pants are a good idea too.
Atomizers: Also called spray bottles, fantastic tools for you chemicals that are diluted to a useful concentration. You can pick them up at dollar store, grab a few. A leave-on sanitizer in a spray bottle will save you huge amounts of heartache.
Detergents are the cleaning portion of the hygiene regime. They get rid of visible and invisible soils and oils and any other typically biological crud that builds up on your gear and get thoroughly removed after use so they're alright to be things you wouldn't want to eat. Everything you use should be clean.
There are many to choose from and they can all work. Most home brew shops will have some form of Diversol (the pink stuff) which is a safe choice and doubles as a sanitizer. Bleach is an option, but be careful on porous surfaces because it can absorb and stay flavour active.
My personal favourite is lye or caustic soda, it'll eat through anything (including you), has no flavour and is easily neutralized.
Sanitizers are the sanitizing (surprise!) portion of the hygiene regime. They kill off biological agents, or damage them enough that they cannot reproduce. They do not red rid of soils, so sanitize after you clean. The best bets are those that are instant and leave-on sanitizers; if you have to rinse them off, you really have to trust your water and the hose it came from. Only some pieces of equipment need to be sanitized.
As mentioned previously Diversol can be used as a sanitizer, though most home brew shops also have some form of metabisulfite that can work, but they stink and burn your nose. Star San is a common home brew option, it's quick, and leave on but has some exotic chemicals that make it tick. I like Peracetic Acid. It is great if you can get it, because it works instantly, neutralizes residual cleaning chemicals, and decays quickly into vinegar.
If you have silicone and metal components the best way to sanitize is heat; it may take longer but unlike any of the chemical options it penetrates and can sanitize through soils that may have been missed.
Step 2: The Tools You'll Use
A small collection of tools are also required and will be used at several steps in the process.
You will need a reliable source of water. For cleaning reasons brewing outside is generally preferable, so a garden hose will suffice. You don't need hot and cold water, you can boil your own in the kettle during much of the brew.
Something to protect your hands, you will be handling a pot of boiling sugar water, insulation is a must, and if you can get those silicone dipped mitts you don't have to be as careful to avoid getting wet.
This setup, like most of the inexpensive and entry level setups uses a propane cylinder as it's heat source; you'll want to be able to get that sucker lit.
A piston loaded siphon to be able to transfer liquids from one level to another. Homebrew stores and sites everywhere have these, and they are a fantastic tool. These are easy to use, and easy to clean, and far safer than sucking boiling liquid if you just used a hose. That said, they do get hot so you will need a bit of tubing that will not collapse under the heat. Braided hose is the easiest option, and can be quickly replaced once it starts to break down.
Being able to monitor temperatures is one of the key control elements you need to have a successful brew. You want to be able to take a temperature quickly, so you don't loose heat. A meat thermometer with a probe on a cord works well because it can be inserted while having a vessel closed up. Infra-red thermometers are not a great option, the things we take temperatures of are non-homogeneous, and frequently have steam coming off them, though if you have to, it's better than nothing.
You need a timer, brewing takes a long time even when you are working quickly, and some things, like the hops, rely on their timing to give you what you want. Luckily most of us can just shout at Siri to keep a count.
Another key control element; ingredient weights need to be precise if you want to be able to reproduce a brew; if all you ever do are one-offs then this isn't as needed, but data is good. My scale is pretty worse for wear; the platform has been misplaced at some point at it doesn't have great resolution. Ideally, you are looking for a water resistant scale, that means no sticky-up buttons, and with a resolution of 1g or less, and a capacity up to about 3-5kg.
There are specifically designed paddles that you can purchase in a variety of mediums, and most of them have holes cut in the blade of them. This is all aesthetic. On a commercial scale, if you hate yourself, you can use a mash paddle and those holes do help, but on the homebrew level it's irrelevant. You mash-paddle can be a big spoon, spatula or even a length of doweling. You just need it to not melt, or snap when pushing around something of oat-meal consistency.
A 20L pail:
Get at least one of these, they're cheap and available from hardware stores, home improvement stores and Walmart. They're excellent for mixing batches of sanitizer, holding parts, ingredients and making a moat around your carboy in case things are too active during fermentation. Some people will ferment in the plastic buckets. Try to avoid this, plastic scratches easily and will allow yeast and other unsavoury critters to live in these crevices.
Get at least two measuring cups or pitchers of at least 1L capacity, they help immensely for moving small volumes of liquid around. I used large plastic mugs.
Another tool that is indispensable for reproduction and monitoring, but not actually needed if all you ever want to do is one offs. The hydrometer measures density of a liquid directly based off of how high up it floats in relation to water. This tells us how much we have extracted from our grains, the potential alcohol content, and how far along a fermentation is. They are very temperature dependent so a means to cool a sample, or a calibration chart will be needed for accuracy. Hydrometers, and their cylinders are everywhere at homebrew stores. Other options are refractometers; these measure the refractive index and correlate that to density. They are instant, and take a sample of only a few drops, but they are about an order of magnitude more expensive than a hydrometer, and can't be reliably used to measure something with alcohol in it.
A very useful tool, both for time crunches and troubleshooting. All that is needed is a small bottle of iodine tincture from a pharmacy. When exposed to starches iodine turns black. This means that we can use it to determine whether our mashing is complete; just a few drops in a sample of liquid from your mash is all that you need, though try to draw as little solids as possible as they can skew results. Don't throw this mash back in, iodine tastes awful and is posion.
pH is as critical as temperature for successful brews, but at a homebrew scale is often overlooked. The litmus and universal indicator strips aren't precise enough to be useful. Hydroponic stores, pool stores, and some aquarium stores can provide a low cost digital probe, you want at leas one decimal place precision, but more is better. pH probes need frequent calibration, and adjusting the pH of your brew takes some math; it adds labour for sure, but can save you from having a beer mysteriously at only 1.5% alcohol despite all other numbers being good.
A pasta strainer, or in the case of this instructable, a perforated oven tray is another optional tool. It's primary use is to diffuse any liquid being added to the grain bed so that there is less damage done from dumping a bunch of water onto it. While they make the job easier, pouring over the back of your mash paddle, or just being careful and gentle are equally valid options.
Another needed, not needed item. Grains need to be crushed for them to be useful in a mash. Most sources that you can buy malt from can offer pre-milled or have a mill in their store, so you don't have to front the capital for it yourself. If you want to trick out your home brew there are many two roller options available, but a corn mill will also work. When milling your own grain, you are looking to crack the grains, leaving no intact kernels, not make flour. The hulls of the grain provide a matrix to allow liquid to flow through, and the flavours extracted from them are harsh and astringent, so we want them intact. The white starchy endosperm of the grain is what we're after; the larger the chunks the long your mash will take but the easier it will be to get clearer liquid from it. It's a trade-off.
Step 3: Hardware to Make MacGuyver Proud
You are going to need some specialized hardware to brew, luckily most of it is easy to fabricate, or for a few dollars can be purchased pre-made. Because DIY is such a big part of homebrewing, and because I already said I wasn't covering it, it would be remiss for me to not to provide some links to how to build these items; luckily there are insructables already made for these!
Mash and Lauter Tun: Tuns are just large watertight containers. This tun will be the labour intensive workhorse vessel. The mashing is about creating and dissolving sugars, while the lautering is about drawing off only the liquid portion of your mash. While these are two separate procedures it is convenient to do them in the same vessel.
Whatever vessel you use needs to have a few critical components: It must be able to maintain temperature of its contents for about an hour within 1C, like a cooler. It needs a means to separate liquids from solids, either through a wire mesh, or a copper piping system sent to a spigot on the cooler. It needs to be able to hold the volume of your brew. And, it needs to be able to be cleaned, not sanitized though, that's not so important here.
Fancier systems may have a built in heater, which is awesome, and opens up more means to control your brew, but at the homebrew level, and many craft breweries a temperature controlled mashing vessel is a luxury.
The one I used is a small cooler with a built in spigot to drain from, attached to this is a small network of copper piping that I used a dremel to cut slots in to allow liquid through. The copper isn't glued or soldered together, it just sort of snaps in. No temperature controls on mine.
If you don't like copper piping, another good option are the toilet hoses that have the braided steel around them; clip the ends off, and remove the plastic you've got a flexible strainer hose.
Here are some links fellow Instructablers have provided about the making of Mash/Lauter Tuns
Wort Kettle: Kettles are different than tuns because they have the ability to control temperature. And that is great, because the wort kettle needs to boil, for a while. It also needs to be able to be emptied easily, and usually through gravity. And of course, you want at least a 25L brimful capacity in whatever vessel you choose; you will make foam; super-hot sticky foam, and the less you need to clean this the better.
One of the most accessible wort kettle options is a turkey fryer. These are a propane powered burner with a stainless steel pot (with a lid and thermometer) provided. The pot is typically more than 20L capacity, and the burner kicks out a good amount of steady heat. Though you must do it outdoors, unless carbon monoxide is your thing.
If that's not an option, a large stock pot on a stove top can work. You will typically need to have the kettle on the ground while filling it and then lift it onto the stove top when full. Make sure to have good ventilation indoors; you are going to be making a lot of steam, and other volatile stuff that can lead to an unexpected growth all over your kitchen ceiling.
You might be able to get creative with the elements from electric kettles (like those for tea), but if you choose to go that route, it's on you.
Fermentation: The common choice for small batch fermenting is a carboy. These look like extra large bottles; so wide body, narrow mouth and come in plastic and glass. The glass is a better choice; it's sturdy, chemically inert and super hard, and has a glass-smooth (surprise!) interior to avoid critter crevices. The narrow mouth is important because you are going to be putting an air lock on this sucker. The yeast you add is the only thing that you want living in your beer, and while it's pretty good at protecting itself, you must minimize the routes of entry.
The airlock I used is the "S" shaped thing crammed into the rubber stopper; it maintains a small amount of sanitizer in the "U" portion of it, like those under your sinks. Gas from fermentation build pressure behind this, and it splashes up into the reservoir and it allows it to pass without building pressure. There are a couple of varieties that these come in, from spring loaded pressure relief valves, to a hose dipped into a bucket of water. All do the same thing, all are equally valid.
Wort Chiller: This is one of those pieces of equipment that is both optional an not optional. You can find these as immersion chillers at homebrew shops; they're a copper or stainless steel coil that you can hook up to a garden hose and dip into your kettle. The intent is that the cold water flowing through the length of the hose quickly picks up heat from the boil and drops it down to a temperature that yeast can live at, ideally around 16-18C, or at the very, very least under 40C. If you go on the hot side of things your yeast gets really "messy" and tends to make a good deal more intermediary products in fermentation that can lead to strange and/or unpleasant flavours.
That's a very important thing, if your yeast die then so does the beer. Additionally, we want to do this step as quick as possible, because a lot of critters can live in hot conditions, and they really want to ruin your beer. Immersion chillers accomplish this feat and do it fairly cleanly, but they go through a lot of water and add a fairly significant price tag to your setup. Even when you build it yourself like I did.
Luckily you have many options for this step; you can do a reverse immersion chiller; plunk the kettle into a rubbermaid container that is shorter than it and let a hose run, a little slower but no real equipment. You can do the same in a bathtub too, which might be a better option for indoor brewers.
You can make slightly less total volume that you want your batch to be and add frigid water or ice to the kettle to just plummet that temperature, but sure you trust the water source though, bags of ice are not always free of bacteria.
You can have an extra long hose on the auto-siphon leading out of the kettle and run this hose through a water/ice bath on its way to the fermentor.
Or, if you're desperate, you can rack it off into your carboy at a boil, and loosely apply saran wrap to the mouth and let it cool on it's own. This is a sucky option because your would be beer spends a long and unprotected time in the danger zone, but I've used it with success in the past.
Step 4: The Grass Is Always Greener Before the Kiln
Okay,that covers the stuff that you need to turn the stuff that beer comes from into beer. Here's where your recipe and creativity comes into play!
Traditionally, beer is made of 4 ingredients; malt, hops, water, and yeast. Most commercial applications also add in CO2 for carbonation as well. There are also many accepted styles that add spices to the mix, or other sugars, or even other critters beyond yeast. I haven't have come across a beer that injects a gas other than CO2 but I'd love to try one. When you're home brewing the sky's the limit for what you can and cannot do. Today, we're focusing on just a basic template for beer that you can build on yourself.
What's a malt?
Malts are the seeds of grasses and grains that have been malted (surprise!)
The malt provides the primary source of proteins, sugars, colours, and many aromas and tastes to the finished beer. Though, the raw grain keeps all of this locked inside; it's a seed after all and it needs all of that goodness for it's own life. We have to trick it. The malting process is taking grain kernels that have been allowed to germinate and slightly sprout before being kilned and dried. The germination process triggers the production of enzymes in the grain, and begins to free up the reserves of starch inside as the grain prepares for growth. Drying and kilning stops this process for us to make use of later. Depending on what grain was malted, and the drying/kilning procedure, and their combination in recipe a huge variety of flavors and appearances can be made. In a broad sense, there are three classifications of malts, base malts, specialty malts, and roasted malts.
Base malts make up most of the grains of a recipe, which collectively are known as the grist. Base malts are kilned at a very low temperature, this means that they have very low colour contribution but have most of the contribution of fermentable sugars and enzymes. This is very important, because the kilning process on other kinds of malts destroys their enzymes, making them unable to convert their own starches into sugars so they have to borrow from somewhere. Additionally, having more enzymes makes everything go faster, which means less time sitting and watching a sealed box. The most common base malts include:
2-row: The catch all category for home brewing; big fat kernels full of starch and enzymes and good for essentially anything
6-row: Harder to find, 6 row barley has smaller kernels and a lot more protein than 2-row, this makes it ideal if you are using a lot of syrups, sugars or weird vegetables in your recipe.
Pilsner Malt: Very lightly kilned pilsner malt has slightly less starch contribution than 2-row but a more grainy flavour to the finished product. Great for German styles.
Maris Otter: The pejorative for "Pale Ale Malt," the Maris Otter varietal is the most common. These base malts are a little darker than 2 row, but add more body and a breadier flavour to the finished beer. Great for English styles.
Specialty malts are a very broad category of anything that is neither roasted nor a base malt. They add the primary colour and malt flavour to the finished product, and help decrease the pH in the mash, but typically make up under 30% of the grist. Their colour is measured in degrees Lovibond, or SRM, or EBC, depending on where it comes from, but in all cases the higher the number, the darker the grain.
Because this is such a broad category I can't provide an exhaustive list of your options, however in a general sense, lighter specialty grains add bready, nutty and toffee flavours and golden and orange colours to the finsihed beer. As the malts get darker, the flavour contribution proceeds through butterscotch, biscuits, caramel, toast, chocolate, coffee and char. The colour gets progressively darker from orange through red to brown and black as well.
Additionally, how wet the malt was when it was kilned also affects it's outcome, wetter malts making more "stewed" flavours over toasted flavours. These include a subcategory of crystal malts where the entire inside of the kernel has been turn into a pellet of a caramel that is extremely easy to access for brewing purposes.
When determining your grist bill it is useful to include some specialty malts of intermediary steps of colour compared to your darkest malt to help round out and complexify (unsimplify?) the overall flavour to the finished beer.
Roasted malts have been kilned to the extreme, all of them are visibly black but have varying degrees of darkness. Roast malts are only a fraction of most grain bills almost always coming under 10% of the total. While they provide no enzymes, and not much fermentable anything they are extremely aggressive flavour and colour contributors and a good for pH adjustment, and should be used sparingly. Flavour wise they range from char, coffee, and sour ash. Their roasting makes the kernels fragile, and they tend to shatter in the mill, this means that their aggressive flavour also comes with strong bitterness from the hulls as well. Luckily there is a sub category of roasted malts that have been "de-bittered" that is hulls remove so that they add clean, low-flavoured blackness to a beer.
Weird "Malts" are kinda a secret fourth category, here you'll find acidulated malts, that are base malts with lactic acid added for pH correction, and smoked malts, malts with smoke added (surprize!) but mostly you will find un-malted grains. Because they aren't malted all their goodness is inaccessible and they have no enzymes but they have other processing; roasting, rolling or torrifying. Unmalted roasted grains can be treated as roasted malt, but rolled or torrified can be used as is, they don't even need to be milled. In the real world, quick oats are an example of rolled grain, and Rice Crispies as a torrified. Raw grains can be used in their natural state, but they need to be milled separately and boiled in their own vessel before being used in the mash. This is an advanced technique and is something to play with once you're comfortable with the process.
Okay, but what kind of grain is malted?
Each malt that I have mentioned above assumes barley. By far the most common grain found in beer is barley. It's traditional, and delicious, and beer has grown around it such that it is extremely well suited to the expectation. Most specialty malts are only available in barley too, but there are other options especially for base malts:
Wheat: A second-most common grain, wheat is good for enzymes and starches, but has no hull, this makes it harder to strain through, but well suited for roasting since it doesn't get the same kind of bitterness. Wheat tends to make a more voluminous and sturdy head on finished beer. It's fairly easy to find base malts and a few varieties of specialty and roasted wheat on the market. It gets hard to work with when you have over 50% of your grist as wheat.
Rye: Typically only will be seen as a base malt, rye is a trouble grain. It's shaped weird so the mill needs to be adjusted, and it has a lot of gums in it making it very hard to work with. It does have a unique and delicious taste though, being peppery, spicy, and dry, and it adds a big fat body to finished beer. Rye gets to be trouble over 30% of the grist.
Oats: Rarely will you see oats malted, but you can get quick or instant rolled oats from any supermarket. Oats have a lot of fat and protein. The add tons of body, and haze, but also improve foam stability in finished beer. Most commonly you will see oats added to stouts to make it creamier. A little goes a long way, keeps oats under 10% of grist.
Rice: Suprizingly, there is malted rice, but its very hard to find, luckily par boiled and puffed rice is available at supermarkets. You can also get it as a syrup that can be added as if it was sugar. Rice adds a lot of sugar, but not much else, it makes dry beer but has a slight tropical fruit character to it.
Corn: Mostly seen as corn syrup, adding almost only sugar. As a grain it has a huge amount of oils making it troublesome to work with. Light lagers and Mexican styles make use of corn, but personally, I avoid it.
Gluten Free Alternatives: Sorghum, Buckwheat, Rice, Millet, there are an increasing number of options for gluten free beers; most of these are syrups first, but there are base malt options. Their flavors however tend towards raw and sour and the finished product does not have the expected qualities of beer. If you use them, try to enhance their own merits rather than try to duplicate a style of beer. Because they can't.
Weyermann is a German specialty maltster that has been around over a hundred years. They know their stuff and have a proprietary "cara" process that I prefer.
Briess is a UK based company that also has been around over a century. They know their stuff too.
Step 5: A Hop-bop-a-loo-hop a Hop-bam-boo
What's a hop?
Hops are a kind of flower that grows on vines found all over the planet, and are available in dozens of varieties with wildly different flavours, aromas, and applications depending not only on the variety but where in the world they come from. They owe this to the oils and resins contained within their specialized lupulin glands.
Hops primarily add the bitterness that is characteristic of beer, but also add tons of aromas, tastes, foam stabilty, microbiological stabililty, and shelf-life to beer. They are really surprisingly excellent. Hops have not always been found in beer, bittering agents historically were whatever botanicals were available, but because of their inherent benefits hops dominated the market, It's rare to find a beer that is made without hops today. Actually a beer without hops isn't technically a beer (but it is an ale); we call it a Gruit.
Any package of hops will have something called an alpha acid content printed on it, this is a measure of the alpha acids (surprise!) by weight of the hops. As they are they don't do much, but when they are boiled they isomerize and these are primarily what makes a beer bitter. You can see this one some packages as an IBU rating, which is a theoretical measure of concentration; basically bigger is bitterer.
The higher percentage of alpha acid in a hop the less overall weight of hops you need to attain the same level of bitterness. This is good, because the rest of the % of the hops also adds to the beer, unfortunately most of that % is just vegetable matter, and that doesn't taste good. Over time, when exposed to heat and light and oxygen these decay, reducing the overall bittering potential but adding somewhat cheesy flavours to the beer.
As a bonus note, if you've ever have a beer taste skunky hops are a major reason for that; UV light hits the isomerized alpha acids in the beer and breaks part of them off, which then allows them to react with riboflavin produced by the yeast. This is why brown bottles are preferred, to block the light. Unless you are Corona. Then you embrace your skunkiness.
But back to hops, additionally, the package may have a beta acid content printed on it. Unlike alpha acids, the beta acids don't isomerize, or dissolve in water, like at all. Their major contribution is that when they oxidize and decay they take to water like a fish. These oxidized acids are bitter which helps make up for the loss of oxidized alphas, sure, but they do so in a lingering, harsh, sticky, and unpleasant. If that wasn't enough their oxidized products also add cheese, garlic and vomit smells to beer. There is a saving grace though, beta acids have anti-microbial properties which helps protect the beer, and some Belgian sour beers only want the oxidized beta acid flavours in their beer. It's an acquired taste.
Hop oils are sometimes found printed on packages, but this is somewhat rare. There are many, many, hop oils, and their isomers, and oxidative products, and et cetera. The combination of these defines the aroma and flavour contributions of a hop beyond bitterness. And it is a wide range; most common are citrus and piney notes, but herbacious, spicy, floral, creamy, earthy, berries, vanilla, mints, winey, and tea-like all show up to the party. It's a wide world, and it helps to explore.
The World of Hops
That said, where in the world hops come from has a strong determining factor of their overall flavour, even among the same variety. I know this sounds like the pretentious terrior of the wine world, but it is true. At least as it comes from continent to continent, the side of the hill that the hops were grown on isn't something I claim to be able to notice. The major hop growing regions in the world are the US, Continental Europe, Great Britain, and Australia/New Zealand.
US hops are what has defined the trend of IPAs that you can find at any brewery. US hops are bold and aggressive with high alpha acids and oil contents. Most commonly US hops deliver the orange and grapefruit world of citrus and piney resinous flavours to a beer. Berries and stone fruit are common too, but the more subtle flavours like vanilla and cream are all but absent in US hops.
Continental Europe are the ur-hops, they get their own special name of "noble hops." They have the flavours traditionally associated with lagers and bocks. These hops are spicy, herbaceous, and earthy with generally low alpha acids. Piney flavors are fairly common, but everything else is in low supply, if present at all.
Great Britain makes hops that are similar to the noble hops but they don't get invited to the club. These hops have a stronger focus on floral, woodsy and mushroomy notes than their European sisters. They are traditionally associated with the malty ales from whence they came.
Australia/New Zealand hops are weirdos. Their climate and isolation means that they are free of the pests and diseases of the rest of the world, so the hops grown their don't have to focus on being strong. Tropical fruits, wines, lemons, limes, vanilla, mints, really anything unusual can come out of these hops. They are almost all high alpha and high oil hops that add a unique twist to classic styles of beer.
There are hops from elsewhere in the world too, but they're minor contributors; Japan makes Sorachi Ace (mostly) which is grassy and lemony, and Canada is starting to produce, and from what I have seen minty flavours are common. China and Africa make hops too, but they are almost entirely for domestic consumption.
Hops are available for purchase in a few different options. By far the most common are pelletized hops, these are sealed in an opaque nitrogen flushed vaccum bag that is left cold and unopened can keep for years against the horrors of the world. Pellet hops are good for any application.
Whole-leaf hops go bad extremely fast, fresh picked hops need to be used in 2 days or so. As such they're not commonly available unless you know a grower or have a plant of your own. They generally don't have testing done to them so don't rely on them for bittering, just aromas. They add more vegetable characteristics, and are a general pain to clean up afterwards but are an adventure.
Hop plugs are rare but good fr the authentic English styles, basically just dried and pressed whole hops, they store better but have all the cleaning woes of whole leaf.
Very well equipped brew stores might have hop oils and extracts, these can be added directly so you can ake your own franken-hopesque flavour. Their uses are more geared towards commercial brewing, and will blow away most home setups unless you can measure fractions of ml with precision. Though, if you can find some, taste the extract. Your face will go numb from bitterness. It's cool and good.
So where do you use hops? Primarily in the boiling portion of the brew process. The heat is needed to isomerize the alpha acids, and convert some oils. It also drives off oils, so when in the boil hops are added is very important. The closer to the end of the boil, the less bitter and the more aroma that is needed. As a guide, hops get divided into three broad categories that suggest their best use, but they are by no means hard and fast rules for application.
Bittering hops are best suited for use at the start of the boil, they tend to have low aromas and flavours, and can contribute a clean and crisp bitterness to the brew.
Aroma hops have a high fraction of oils, and pleasant or characteristic flavours and smells. In order to preserve these they can be used late in the boil, or at the end of the boil, or even outside of the boil.
Dual-purpose hops are aroma hops with high alpha contents, go nuts with these.
So I said outside of the boil for the aroma hops, where else can hops go? Well anywhere if you're adventurous enough. The most common application is dry-hopping which are hops added directly to the fermentor. The low-temperature conditions prevent any further bitterness added, but preserves the oils for maximum raw hops flavour. After you're done boiling, you can filter through a hop back, that does a flash extraction of aromas and flavours that the yeast can then change in mysterious ways. Hops can also be added to the mash, or while the kettle is being filled. In theory, this lets oils that would be driven off in the boil oxidize into something less volatile, that is later reduced by the yeast. Does it work? Maybe. I haven't done a rigorous testing on it.
You can find peoples descriptions of hops everywhere, but I like to go from the growers: Yakima Chief Hops are a powerhouse of hop growing, development, testing and distributing in North America, they have a great listing of a good number of varietals
Barth Haas Group is the world's largest distributor of hops, and also have a great listing, but they don't use hops from New Zealand, and Yakima Chief has some proprietary varieties that are quite popular.
Step 6: Yeasty Yeasty Boys Getting Live on the Spot
Adding yeast is called pitching. Yeast is the key, it's what makes beer beer, legally. As soon as yeast hits it goes from being something you can sell to kids to something that you can't. This is because of fermentation. That is, when it's dark and there is no oxygen, yeast eats up sugars, farts out CO2, pees out alcohol, and sweats out sulphurs. These days we know it is a unicellular fungus that converts sugars through it's metabolic processes, but back in the day, before microbiology, fermentation was magic. Prayers were done until the gods saw fit to make a brew "dance" (wild yeast took hold), then all the others pots full of brew were moved nearby it so that they could be taught (spread the yeast through the air). Some time later, brews were done using a magic stick; this was a general purpose tool for stirring and scraping that was thrown into the fermentor to make it go. The stick had all kinds of convenient nooks and crannies for yeast to hide out in between brews and led to a very consistent product. As times continued to pass eventually the argument over whether fermentation was a strictly chemical process or biological came up and the science of microbiology was developed to answer it. That's another major claim for things that exist because of beer. Also on this list is thermometers, refrigeration and agriculture.
What kind of yeast?
Modern brewing yeast is a monster. It's been genetically tweaked and changed so much that it hardly resembles it's wild cousins, and can be wrangled to make a staggering array of flavours and end products. There are hundreds of cultured yeast strains out there that all do slightly different things depending on what you want, but they're sensitive things. Temperature, amount of yeast, types of sugars present, amount of sugars present, alcohol produced, age of yeast, oxygen content, and shape of the fermentors are all things that have an impact on what your yeast does. At home, temperature is probably the biggest factor. So where to start? As before I have some broad categories that are convenient to look at
Ale yeasts are those that thrive in warm-ish environments, typically 16-22C, great for room temperature without any additional equipment. Ale yeasts ferment quickly, but tend to leave sugars behind making a more full bodied beer. Their by products range from no flavour at all, to creamy and fruity characteristics. The cooler the temperature the slower the process which leads to a cleaner product. Haste makes waste, which for these yeasts can taste "hot" and appley but can diminish with age.
Lager yeasts are those that thrive in cooler environments, below 16C. A lot of the lager yeast you can get is not actually lager yeast, it's ale yeast meant to simulate a lager yeast. Real lager yeasts are a different species entirely and are difficult to use at home. Even these pseudo-lager yeasts need special equipment to keep the fermentor cool. They work slowly, eat more sugars that ale yeasts, survive higher alcohol than ales and can make a cleaner tasting beer with a slight sulphury bite. Unless they warm up, they it's an disaster.
Wheat Beer and Saison Yeasts like warm temperatures >20C. These are yeasts that are phenol-active; their fermentation makes phenols (surprise!) which are spicy and astringent. The most typical phenol is a clove flavoured compound, though also very common are bananas, and bubblegum flavors. If fermentation goes too warm, >24C you can also develop smokey, medicinal and plastic flavours that will never leave your beer.
Wine, Cider and Distilling Yeast These do not do what you want them to in beer. They are a bad idea. You can get away with a cider yeast almost. Wine and Champagne yeast, if you're not going to use them as intended are better for meads. The liquid that distilling yeast wallows in is not fit for consumption. That's why it gets distilled.
There are other things that can ferment your beer as well, but they are mostly accidents that kill the finished product. Wild yeast is the catch all term for this, and you'll know if it is present because the fermentor smells and tastes like bandaids and magic markers, that, or poo. It's quicker, stronger and tougher than your store bought yeast, and won;t leave on its own. Clean everything, get new hoses, boil everything else.
How do I buy this yeast?
The cheapest, most durable format of yeast is dry yeast. Similar to that that you would purchase for bread making (don't use this to make beer, you can, but don't). Kept cool and intact a yeast package keeps over a year, which is awesome. A single 11.4g packet is plenty enough to ferment a 20L batch by sprinkling it right into the fermentor. Some people say to re-hydrate. I think this is a mistake. Primarily, the more you handle the yeast the more chances you have to infect it so if you can do it less, do so. Secondly, if you want to re-hydrate well you need some warm wort, not just sugar water, so that the yeast can acclimate to it's home, and doesn't waste it's glycogen reserves without being able to grow. Thirdly, it's way easier.
Dry yeasts major downfall is that there are not many strains available. If you want to get fancy with it, you're going to have to get wet.
Smack packs are a liquid yeast starter with a breakable packet of accelerant inside of them. You smack the pack (surprise!) and let the package balloon outwards while you brew. If it doesn't expand it's dead. There are many more strains of smack packs available compared to dry yeast, but they have a reduced shelf life and must be kept refrigerated. One smack pack has enough in it to easily ferment a 20L batch.
Liquid yeasts come in a test tube, from any strain that a lab may have. Lots of variety, more work, more money. The sample is small, and is intended to be used immediately. Frequently you need to grow it up to have enough volume of yeast to ferment a 20L batch. Which basically means a few days before you brew, you brew a small (1L) batch and pitch your test tube into it.
Too cheap to buy your yeast? That's fine, you can harvest your own. The foam on the top of your ferment is known as the krausen and is made mostly of yeast. You can grab this foam and pitch it directly into the next batch. The downside is you are handling the yeast, and you need to brew batches every 2 days or so to keep the chain going.
You could also harvest your yeast from the bottom of your fermentor. If you do this, take it from the middle of the mass, the stuff on the bottom was unhealthy yeast that died first and crud left over from the brewing process, the stuff on top is yeast that did not flocculate well or small particulate matter. Again, this means more handling, but you only need to brew once a week to keep the chain going.
Harvesting your own yeast does have perks; the collected yeast adapts to your brewing practices and gets better at fermenting it; you get cleaner, drier, quicker beer. If you find something that got weird you can also cultivate to that and do your own genetic engineering.
White Labs are one of the twin giants of yeast banks and pure cultures, you can buy liquid yeast online through them or through re-sale at some homebrew shops
Wyeast is the other twin giant and is responsible for the smack packs
Step 7: The Wet and Wild
Last major ingredient to consider is water, mostly you are going to be using what comes out of your tap. Modifying you water's mineral composition is not generally something that a homebrewer does. But you've invested thousands of words worth of reading into this so far, so I'll give you a peek.
What is important for my water?
Is it clean and drinkable? Great that covers pretty much everything. To do more we have to adjust the dissolved chemicals in the water.
Typically, water adjustments are done to simulate a historical brewing region, stimulate yeast health or adjust the pH of the water. Lots of things can be dissolved in water, but in a city the primary concern is chlorine. Chlorine is bad for yeast. Bad for almost everything, that is why it's in the water. If you can't smell chlorine from the tap you are probably okay, if you do, draw off enough water for your brew and let it sit overnight, the chlorine will gas off to acceptable levels.
Mineral wise the key players are salts especially those containing sulphates, calcium, magnesium and sodium. Hard waters have more of everything, and soft waters have less. Sulphates make a finished beer taste fresher, they also make hops more pronounced, especially in terms of bitterness. Too many sulphates and the hops get harsh and the water gets eggy. Sodium rounds out flavour but gets salty if there is to much. Calcium and magnesium are important for yeast health but can also be added to adjust the pH downwards.
The chemists here might balk at that. "But calcium and magnesium form cations!" I hear you say, "Not only that but they help buffer the solution! Bleh!" And this is true but they go on to react with phosphates, which you have in spades, from the malt, for a net increase of hydrogen ions.
So what can you do with this? Not as much as you'd think. Getting up to date water chemistry readings at home is requires equipment outside of the scope of brewing; your city does provide a water report if you ask though and that can give you and idea of baseline. At the homebrew store you are most likely to find gypsum (Calcium Sulphate), Epsom Salts (Magnesium Sulphate), and Calcium Chloride. The math for using these can be found in the resource section here.
I mostly don't worry about the water chemistry at home, but if you find that you mysteriously aren't able to ferment all the sugars, or if your mash isn't making enough sugar, and can't find any obvious reason why tweaking the water can help. These are two different problems but they have the same solution; more calcium. Gypsum is the safer option, as you can tolerate a lot of sulphate before they have a negative effect. If your yeast still doesn't work properly you are most likely short on zinc. Problem is you need almost no zinc at all, so get some galvanized piping in you mash tun, or a galvanized spoon to stir your stuff with. Seriously, you need that little.
Carbonation; breath some life into it!
As I had mentioned, the typical commercial process injects CO2 directly into the finished beer to achieve a desired level of carbonation. This is not a reasonable option at home. During fermentation lots of CO2 is made, but there are also many other strange smelling gasses that are better off allowed to gas off. Problem is we have flat beer now. Fortunately you can make more!
Priming is a process to add more sugar to finished beer and allow the residual yeast in suspension to turn it into gas in a pressurized environment. At this point your beer is done and you don't want to change it, so the choice of sugar should be something that is 100% fermentable.
Homebrew stores will sell you dextrose, which is glucose sugar, at a hiked price. It works, it's totally fermentable, but it isn't your only option. Glucose syrup is fine too, so is table sugar, a sucrose-fructose sugar, both are more budget minded than the dextrose. You can also buy pre-measured tabs of sugar that you dose directly into a bottle before you fill it. Contrary to many of my attitudes I think that these are a good idea, because it means not adding anything else to the fermentor and having a very consistent priming rate across your packaging day.
If you want to slightly change the nature of your beer, you can prime with plant syrups, like coconut, maple or agave. Malt extracts, syrup or dry are good too. I don't find that honey works particularly well but you can try it. And if you really understand what you're doing, and are confident in your measurements you can add unfermented wort or beer that is in the process of fermenting in a process that is called speise and krausening respectively.
If you prime with tabs add them directly to the bottles before filling, if you use liquid pretend that the entire volume of the fermentor is one big bottle, calculate how much you will need, and dose directly into the fermentor just before you start your packaging run.
There are a few things that you can use to help out your brews, some make it ferment better, some make it less messy. The most common are finings. These are agents that help draw proteins out of solution and suspension to make for a clearer beer.
In the kettle you can and should add a tab of Whirlfloc, a seaweed derived protein that clears up the wort for better fermentation.
If you are looking for a clearer beer and don't want to wait forever for it, there's another kind of fining you can use; typically isinglass, which is derived from the dried swim bladders of sturgeon, beluga and cod (surprise!). There are vegetarian options made from yellow split peas that work just as well. Ultimately this is an aesthetic choice, I say, drink the yeast.
Sugars and Spice and Everything Nice
We had mentioned spices in passing prior, but these can be anything that isn't one of the four basic ingredients of beer. Some styles call for it; Belgian Wits must have orange peel and corriander in them. Some are for flair, vanilla stouts have it because it's a nice combination. You can add a great deal of honey and make a hybrid concoction called a braggot. There is no limit to what you can try to put in your kettle, so long as it is okay cooked. Going into the fermentor, you'll have to be comfortable that you wont infect your beer. My only suggestions are get a brew bag so that you can get stuff out of your kettle and fermentor easily, and try making tinctures for fermenter additions.
Brewing Salts, from How to Brew, a great book, made free online
Carbonation from priming sugars, with an easy calculator and style guidleines
Step 8: Drinking From the Cup of Theory
Ok, that sums up the materials you need to start. Except right now, there is no recipe, only potential. I'm sticking true to my word that I won't give you a specific recipe to make, this is an everything instructable. But I'm also not willing to leave you high and dry. What you'll find here are guidelines for a few of the most popular ale styles so that you can brew something recognizable as such, but the specifics are up to you. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and there's really no wrong way to do it so have fun. As a bonus, I will include a few of my own recipes scaled down for a 20L size at the end of all of this.
In the interest of keeping balanced beers I do have some tips: If you choose to go on the high side of malt, then go on the high side of hops. High malt with low hops becomes sweet, high hops with low malt becomes unashamedly bitter. In general, hop aromas and yeast aromas do not play nicely with each other. Spices and roasted grains are more potent than you think. If you can, ferment colder.
I've assumed that 20L batches will be the standard, and that a fairly low overall efficiency will be found. This is just to err on the side of caution, if you're more efficient, then you get more beer. I've also assumed that all the hops you will use around around 10% alpha acids. This is a big assumption, for end of boil and dry hopping additions it doesn't matter, but mid boil and start of boil, if your hops are a very different percentage just adjust using a straight proportion. There are also a couple of terms in here that I haven't covered yet but I will in the next section.
total weight 3.6-5.3kg
5-8% of specialty malts around 40 lovibond
0-5% of specialty malts around 20 lovibond
remainder base malts
Hopping, any hop works
Start of boil 0.2-0.5g/L of bittering or dual-purpose hops
Mid boil 0.75-1.3g/L of aroma or dual-purpose hops
End of boil 0.8-1.5g/L of aroma hops
Dry hopping 0.0-1.0g/L of aroma hops
Use an ale yeast at around 18C
Single infusion mash at 65-68C
India Pale Ale
total weight 4.5-6.5kg
5-8% of specialty malts around 40 lovibond
0-5% of specialty malts around 20 lovibond
remainder base malts
Hopping, tends to avoid noble hops
Start of boil 0.5-1.3g/L of any hops
Mid Boil 0.75-1.3g/L of any hops
End of boil 1.2-2.0g/L of aroma hops
Dry hopping 0.5-2.0g/L of aroma hops
Use and ale yeast at around 18C
Single infusion mash at 64-68C
total weight 3.3-4.2kg
6-12% of roasted malts
5-10% of specialty malts around 60 lovibond
0-10% of specialty malts around 20 lovibond
0-5% of wheat or oats
remainder base malts
Hopping, tends to avoid Australia/New Zealand
Start of boil 0.6-1.5g/L of bittering or dual purpose hops
Mid boil 0.2-0.8g/L of any hops
End of boil 0.0-1.0g/L of any hops
Use an ale yeast around 20C
Single infusion mash at 67-69C
total weight 3.0-4.3kg
30-60% of wheat malts
0-5% of specialty malts around 20 lovibond
remainder of base malts
Hopping, tends to avoid Australia/New Zealand, and US
Start of boil 0.3-0.5g/L of any hops
Mid boil 0.0-0.6g/L of any hops
End of boil Spices at 0.0-1.0g/L
Use a wheat beer yeast around 21C
Step mash at 50C, 66C, or single infusion 66C
total weight 6.0-8.0kg
5-20% of roasted malts
0-10% of specialty malts around 60 lovibond
0-10% of specialty malts around 40 lovibond
0-10% of specialty malts around 20 lovibond
0-10% of oats or wheat
remainder base malts
Hopping, tends to favour English hops
Start of boil 1.7-3.0g/L of bittering hops
End of boil 0.5-1.5g/L of any hops
Dry hopping 0-0.7g/L of aroma hops
Use ale or wheat beer yeasts around 20C
Single infusion at 67-69C
Brewtoad is one of many websites full of other people's recipes and fancy calculators to crunch the heavy numbers for designing beers. It works in metric and imperial, and has an extensive list of ingredients that you can choose from. The website has a lot going on so sometimes it runs a little slowly, but when I choose to use a tool, I use Brewtoad
The BJCP, the Beer Judge Certification Program, is an organization that aims to allow objective evaluation for comparison and competition of various beers. There are a lot of categories with strict criteria to quality for any given style, this turns some people off but it is good for a starting point. For each style they also offer commercially available examples that they consider to typify the category.
Step 9: What to Expect When You're Extracting
At long last, equipment is gathered, recipes are decided on and ingredients are bought now you can begin.
Are we clean yet?
Time to do some work. The first step is cleaning and housekeeping,
-Make sure all of your equipment is scrubbed and clean.
-Fill your kettle with water and get that heating up on the burner.
-Mix up some santizer in your 20L pail and immerse your autosiphon and bubbler and any hoses that you will be using. Fill a spray bottle with sanitizer, and soak in inside of your now clean fermentor, enough to leave a puddle on the bottom.
-Tip the fermentor and roll it such that all surfaces are covered in sanitizer before righting it again. Allow it to remain with the sanitizer.
-Weigh out the required weights of your malts and mill if applicable
-Prepare your yeast, take it out of the fridge and leave it at room temperature somewhere safe. If you use a smack pack, smack your pack
-Set your mash/lauter tun somewhere elevated with the spigot hanging over the edge such that you can put your pail beneath it
Good, that gets the housework out of the way for now and we can start the more obviously brewing portion of brewing. I have used the term several times all ready but now you will make your mash. This is the slurry of water and grist where you lay the foundation of your beer by extracting extract (surprise!) from your grist.
Welcome to the mash-ine
When I had told you about malts I had mentioned that the germination process creates enzymes and frees up starches in the grain for you to make use of later. This is that later. Ultimately you are trying to make food for the yeast to convert into alcohol. The problem is that the yeast is fairly simple and is only able to consume some simple sugars and small chains of sugars. the starches as they are, are impossible for them to digest.
When you mash, you adjust the conditions of the water to a specific set of pHs and temperatures that mimic conditions in a growing kernel of grain. At each of these specific sets you are able to activate specific enzymes that breakdown targeted components. Your most important enzymes are alpha and beta amylase, it is these enzymes that break down starches, but they do so in different ways and at different windows.
It is important to stress something about enzymes here, they're not living things, they are just very complicated proteins. This means that they can't adapt to changing environments. They're effectively very tiny robots that when their programming triggers perform one and only one task. Conditions that are cooler than their activation points are fine, the enzyme just waits around, but increase the temperature beyond their limits and you start to cook them. Being so complicated and specialized it is very easy to break an enzyme, and like any cooking, once it is cooked you cannot un-cook it. If you are not confident in your temperature measurements aim low.
Now back to the amylases. The first of these to trigger is the beta amylase. As an enzyme it targets the ends of starches and dextrins and breaks them down into maltose, the primary sugar that you get from malt (surprise!) and a favourite of yeast.
It helps to understand a bit about sugars and starches here. A sugar is a specific configuration of carbon oxygen and hydrogen, imagine it as a little hexagon with labeled vertices. One of these vertices has a hook that allows it to attach to other sugars, and depending on which vertex this hook is on the sugar gets a different name. A single hexagon of sugar is called a simple sugar and the ones you deal with most on a day to day basis are glucose and fructose.
These simple sugars link together to form chains, very small numbers of simple sugars are just sugars. Like maltose mentioned above, that is two links of glucose, or sucrose mentioned before, which is one link each of fructose and glucose. These follow a pretty simple naming structure, three units of glucose is maltotriose, four would be maltoquadrose and so on. Eventually you get enough links to stop being a sugar and start being a dextrin and add enough links, hundreds of links, you get a starch. Sometimes a starch or dextrin can link up to the middle of another chain making a branching structure too.
Because theses are long chains or branches they only have a couple of ends, making beta amylase a slow worker. Alpha amylase on the other hand cuts starches and dextrins apart at random, into random sized bits. Given enough time alpha amylase will break down everything into single links of glucose and those branched nexuses where the enzyme just can't fit. The mash doesn't usually go that long, so alpha amylase makes a broad spectrum of fermentable and unfermentable sugars making for a well balanced beer. Working in conjunction with beta amylase you can turn starches into fermentable sugars very quickly.
One pot mashes
Here's the catch. The window for beta amylase is 55-66C with an optimal effectiveness of 64C. Beta amylase is destroyed at 70C and higher. The window for alpha amylase is 66-72C with an optimal effectiveness at 70C. These two don't work optimally together, but don't despair.
The simplest form of mashing is called a single infusion. In this form of mash, you have one rest, that is, you pick a single temperature to remain at for the entire duration of the mash. For best results, this is usually between 64-68C. A single infusion spends a long time resting because in this range you get some activity out of both alpha and beta amylase but not really an ideal performance out of either.
Typically a single infusion mash will use about 2.5-3kg of water for ever 1kg of grist, and rest for 60-90min before you move on.
Step up your mash
You don't have to settle for lackluster performances from your enzymes. So long as you start with the lowest temperature you can step your mash through several ideal enzyme windows using a technique called a step-mash (surprise!). The simplest form of step mashing targets the beta amylase first with a 64C rest followed by an alpha amylase rest at 69C. The trick is how you increase this temperature. If you have a mash kettle, you're golden, turn the heat on and laugh at all of us plebs.
If you've just got a mash tun, you're going to most likely be adding hot water. When I do a step mash I use 2.7kg of water to 1kg of grist for my 20-30min beta amylase rest, and step up by adding about 30% more boiling water to the mash and resting for another 30min. You destroy some enzymes where the boiling water hits, but stir it in and things work out.
The eye of the tiger
You can do more than two steps, you can do a step for every enzyme in the malt if you want, but not all of them are always useful. Here's a brief list of steps that you can take and what they are for. If you choose to do multiple steps, be aware of how much water you will need, if you ratio of water to grist goes much higher than 4:1 things start to not work very well.
Phytase rest, best at 35C. Phytases break off extra phosphorus from the malt to help reduce the overall pH of the mash.
Beta-Glucanase rest, best at 45C. Beta-glucanases break down gums in grain. These are things that act like jello and make it sticky and hard to flow. Rye malts and oat malts will see the best results from including this rest.
Ferrulic Acid rest, best at 45C. This is a weirdo rest, it creates a precursor compound that certain strains of wheat beer yeast can turn into a distinctive clovey flavour. Only some kinds of yeast can benefit from this, but if you want to see it in action drink any beer made by Unibroue.
Peptidase rest, best at 50C. Like starches, proteins are long chains of peptides. Peptidase works on proteins like beta amylase works on starches. Breaking down proteins into smaller bits leads to less hazy beer and more healthy yeast. Lots of protein in your mash makes flow hard, similar to gums. This is mostly a problem when you use wheat malt.
Proteinase, best at 58C. The alpha amylase analogue of protein.
Protein rest, best at 50-55C. This is a combo rest, that like a single infusion, tries to get some action out of both of the protein active enzymes, and is the way that you will most commonly come across it.
Limit dextrinase rest, best at 61C. A relatively newcomer in the world of manipulating enzymes in mash. This enzyme breaks the branches that can happen to starches, making new worlds and chain ends for the other enzymes to explore. Is it needed? Not typically, barley malt doesn't have many branched starches, and the ones that it does have help with mouthfeel. But you know what has a ton of branched straches? Sticky rice. Maybe if you were doing some monster of a sushi beer you can get something good with this.
Beta-amylase rest, best at 64C.
Alpha-amylase rest, best at 70C
Mash off rest, best at 78C. There's no active enzymes here, that's the point of this rest. If you can, when you're happy with the mash, you destroy all enzymes so that nothing changes. If you don't, the alpha-amylase stays active through the rest of the process. Though, for homebrewing, this is a good thing so I tend to ignore this rest.
The power of pH
The pH window is important too for enzymes, though unlike temperature, when you get outside of optimal conditions the enzymes bend instead of breaking. Further, the window for all of them is pretty narrow, everything within 5.0-5.8pH. At the extremes beta amylase favours 5.0pH, and alpha amylase favours 5.7. The typical target for a good mix of everything is a pH of 5.3.
It's not as often that pH is manipulated to anything other than this one step because the complex chemistry of the water and malt makes it time consuming and inconsistent. At home, the malt does most of the work and will get you pretty close to this ideal window on its own. If you have poor extracts, it most likely needs to be brought down through some combination of dark grain, acidulated malts, or brewing salt additions.
Mashing is the process of mixing the grist and water to activate enzymes in the grist and turn starches into sugars. There are many enzymes that could potentially come into play but the two that are most important are alpha and beta amylase. The simplest form of mashing is a single infusion that attempts to find a middle ground between the various enzymes and get a decent extraction from the grist. This window is at a pH of 5.3 and at a temperature somewhere between 64-68C. Let's go put it into practice.
Step 10: Practical Mashing
Okay, when you were reading all of that the water that you put in your kettle has had a chance to come up in temperature. For the first rest, or the only rest of your mash we want this water to be about 5C hotter than the target temperature. So in a single infusion, this water should be near 71C. If it is a cold or windy day, give it maybe 7C, but not much more. If you overshoot you can't go back. For these instructions, lets assume a single infusion at 66C.
Back to the action
-Heat up your mash/lauter tun (MLT) using water from the kettle, then discard the water
-Ensure the spigot of MLT is closed
-Add 71C water from your kettle of an equal weight to the total grist bill to your MLT. Remember, 1L water = 1kg
-Slowly begin to add grist and additional water to the MLT while constantly mixing with your mash paddle
-Monitor your mash temperature with your instant read thermometer
-Continue until all grist is in and thoroughly mixed, you have at least 2.5kg of water to 1kg of grist, and the appropriate temperature of 66C is reached
-If applicable, check the pH of the Mash, and adjust with your salts as needed
-Close the lid of the MLT and start a timer for 30 min
-Rinse your mash paddle, and clean up grist packaging
-Add some more water to your kettle and maintain a temperature of about 80C
-Move the components of your pail to a safe and clean location, empty the pail of sanitizer and situate beneath the MLT
-Once timer concludes draw a small sample from your mash through the spigot. Try to get only liquid in the sample. This liquid has a special name, it is wort and it is beautiful.
-Drip a few drops of iodine into the sample and observe for colour change, repeat with a new sample every 10 mins until the iodine no longer goes black
-Each time you sample, take a temperature reading of the MLT, and adjust upwards as needed
-Once your iodine test comes back as negative add a weight of 80C water from the kettle equal to your total weight of grist to the MLT and mix thoroughly
-Set a timer for 15 mins
But I wanted a step mash!
Okay, easy then, when you first mash in do so with water 5C higher than whatever step you are starting at, but only use so much water as you need to get the grist completely wet and you to hit the needed temperature.
Let this rest for 20 min, then add just enough water to bring you up to your next temperature threshold.
Keep doing this till you are at your last step, either alpha amylase or a combination alpha and beta amylase, then after 20 mins start checking with the iodine, and continue until it no longer goes black.
Then add hot water and set the 15 min timer.
Step 11: Vorlauff, and Lauter, and Sparge, Oh My
While your end of mash timer winds down let's talk about the next phase of brewing. At this point your mash should have converted the starches from the grain into sugars, and dissolved all kinds of other proteins and gums and whatnot. In order to move on we are going to need to separate the solid portion of the mash, the grist, from the liquid portion of the mash, the wort.
The spigot on the MLT and the slots that you put into the mesh or piping are the primary ways you will use to do this separating in a process called lautering.
At this point, if you opened the spigot and drew off a sample you would get a very hazy wort with more than likely a few chunks floating in it. This haze, and these chunks ideally need to be removed, some of them add off flavours during the boil, some of them can get caught up in your equipment and make it difficult to clean later or slow to use now. Some of them just make ugly, sediment filled beer. You are going to need some kind of filter, and you've got everything that you need with you in the mash.
When you milled our grist you were careful to keep large hull bits intact, I had mentioned that they add astringency if they were pulverized, but here's the other reason. When allowed to settle on their own, as you have over the last 15 minuets these form a bed with many large gaps in it that allows wort to easily flow through. This matrix is fragile however, if you draw liquid through it too quickly it gets sucked down and collapses on itself. If you add too much liquid on top it collapses as well. In this phase of brewing slow and steady actions are key.
Also in the milling you get starchy bits of various sizes and some flour and fines too, its these that are the haze and crud in the wort that you will first draw off. If you draw wort from the bottom of the mash and deposit it back on top eventually you form a stratified bed, where the smallest particles are trapped on top, and gradually get larger leaving you with clear wort coming out the spigot. This recirculating is known as the vorlauff.
On the homebrew scale, it's difficult to get a really effective vorlauff; your grain bed is not very deep, and most of the time you are manually recirculating the wort one jug at a time back on top which disrupts the formation of your strata. You can minimize this with the use of a diffuser, like the colander I had mentioned way back in the tools section. I had opted for a more hands free approach this time and got a disposable oven tray that fit nicely in the MLT and filled it full of holes. It worked nicely.
Even with this precaution however, I find it very time consuming to get the same level of clarity I would see at a commercial scale, and realistically I don't see enough improvements at the homebrew level to do more than a coarse vorlauff. It is a matter of personal taste, I don't mind a hazy beer, especially when I have no intent to filter it, feel free to take as long as you wish with your vorlauff so long as you do some to try to get the chunks out. Remember, slow and steady.
Once you are happy with the clarity of your wort, you can begin collecting it in your pail. As you lauter you will notice that you will quickly be able to see the liquid level draining in the MLT and the top of the grain bed being exposed. You will also notice that there isn't anywhere near enough wort collected in the pail to count as a full brew. This is where we sparge.
Essentially the sparging process uses fresh, hot water to rinse your grain bed and pick up any sugars that have remained stuck to the grains. Your sparge water should be between 80-82C when you add it to the MLT for a few reasons. Water this hot makes things less viscous, and thus flow better, and hotter water is better at dissolving things, so you get more extract. Why not just use boiling water then? Well when you get above 80C water gets so good at dissolving things that you start to pull those astringent flavours from the hulls that we have been working to avoid. 82C skirts the line by giving a little bit of buffer for the water to cool down as add it to the mash.
There are two schools of sparging that are useful to the homebrewer; batch and fly. Batch sparging is simple, you let all the wort drain out, close up the MLT, then add more water, mix it up, let it sit, run another vorlauff, and drain it all out again. You do this until your pail is full. Batch sparging is less labour intensive than fly sparging, but less efficient, though if you wished you could collect each batch of water as a separate brew, and get several different beers out of one mash.
Fly sparging is a continuous process where you add the sparge water on top of the grainbed as you are running off into the kettle. You try to match the rate of addition to the rate of runoff so that the pressure across the bed remains about the same and you don't collapse it. At the homebrew level, this means you will be holding the diffuser with one hand and depositing jugs of water in it with the other. Continue doing this until you pail is nearly full, missing 3 or 4 liters, then stop the sparge and let the mash run dry. You get a little more out of your grain this way, which is good for your wallet, and means that your spent grain is a little bit less of a rampant bacterial funhouse when you dispose of it.
Measuring your work
Periodically through the lautering process you will be taking samples of your wort and measuring it with your hydrometer. As I mentioned in tools the hydrometer is a tool that measures the density of your wort using usually two different scales. Specific gravity is the SI measurement of density, it tells you directly the mass in kilograms of one liter of a substance.
The other scale that you will see on the hydrometer is either Brix or Plato, this is the percentage of the wort that is not water. When you use degrees Brix you make the assumption that everything that is not water is sugar where Plato allows it to be anything. When you're brewing beer Plato is the more correct measurement, but I won't rat you out.
Converting between Plato and specific gravity is easy. Multiply your reading of Brix or Plato by 4 and tack that onto the thousanths place after the decimal then add 1. So, a Plato reading of 10, turns into 1.040 in specific gravity. Going backwards, a specific gravity of 1.064 turns into 16 Plato.
Hydrometers are generally used in a small cylinder to reduce the amount of wort that is needed for a given sample. Because of this rinse water left in the cylinder or on the hydrometer will noticeably dilute the sample and skew your reading, before take a reading use some wort to rinse the surface of the hydrometer and the cylinder and discard it. Dissolved gasses are an even bigger source of error, and will show up as bubbles on the surface of the hydrometer throwing it's bouyancy out of whack. For any sample, spin the hydrometer as you would a top while it is floating in the sample to throw these off.
When you take a reading on your hydrometer, you will notice that there is a little hill of wort around the hydrometer glass. This is called a meniscus and is caused by the many quirky physical properties of water; the same properties that make it very good at dissolving things also make it stick to things. It's kind of an over achiever. Either way, take your reading from the surface of the wort, not the meniscus.
Another thing to note is the affect of temperature on the hydrometer; hotter liquids are less viscous so the hydrometer doesn't float as well in them and the reading will be significantly lower than it actually is. Hydrometers are calibrated to a specific temperature, usually 15C or 20C and are only accurate at that temperature. There are tables available to correct for higher temperatures so you don't have to wait until the sample cools completely.
Here's one that does all the work so long as you know your temperature and calibration point
A recent instructable has also come up specifically devoted to using your hydrometer, take a look here
Step 12: Practical Lautering
Now that your 15 minute timer from the end of mashing has expired it's time to do some more work.
-Open your MLT and orient your diffuser in or over it
-Open the spigot of your MLT and collect the resulting wort in one of your jugs
-When the jug is half full switch it out for an empty one and slowly pour the contents of the first jug through the diffuser
-Continue switching jugs until you feel that the wort is acceptably clear, then allow the wort to begin to fill your pail
-Take a sample of this wort for your hydrometer and measure it. This reading is called your first runnings, and if all has gone well, it should be at least 50% higher than your target gravity from your recipe. After your reading you can return this wort to the pail.
-As the liquid level in the MLT drains out slowly add jugs of 80C water from your kettle to the diffuser attempting to match the flow rate into the pail.
-As you do this, you will notice that the draining wort becomes lighter in colour as you remove sugars from the mash. You can take periodic readings with your hydrometer to get a feel of how your sugar levels drop. Keep going until the pail is nearly full, or your draining wort reads 1.008 or 2 Plato. Below this the water will again start to extract astringent flavors from the grain.
-When this level has been reached allow the mash to run dry
-Discard any remaining water in your kettle
-Transfer the wort in your pail into your kettle
-Take a sample of the wort and read it with the hydrometer. This reading is known as your pre-boil gravity, and it should be about 10-15% below your target gravity from your recipe. If it is significantly lower, then something went wrong in your mash, you can either start over, add sugar, boil it down to a small batch or just make a less alcoholic beer at this point. Higher readings mean that you can add additional water to the kettle and get more beer, or just make a stronger one.
-Put your kettle on the burner and turn the heat on
Step 13: It's Getting Hot in Here
Here is where I would dive into some theory, but you are just boiling, so there's only a bit of it this time.
Why should I boil my wort?
When you boil the wort you do a couple of things; first you sterilize it, which is critical for making a consistent product, it also means that as soon as this boil is done you have to start being very careful about keeping your equipment sanitized as well as clean.
Secondly, there are chemicals in the wort that you don't usually want in a finished product, and a vigorous boil in an uncovered pot will drive these off. A very common one of these is DMS, which tastes like canned corn. Now this is not objectively a terrible flavour but it doesn't benefit most beers. If you want to experience it in real life, try some Rolling Rock. Their process just simmers the wort rather than a full boil which maintains a great deal of this flavour and helps make it distinctive in the world of light lagers.
Thirdly you concentrate the wort and develop colour. Colour pickup is usually small, unless you have a very strong flame or are using an electric element. If you find that you are getting smokey flavours in your beer your heat source is likely too hot.
Fourthly you coagulate proteins from the wort, these are the things that cause haze, and thickness and that brownish foam that you can see in my kettle. When you first start boiling there will be a lot of foam that will climb up and probably spill over your kettle if you don't spray it down. This is the hot break, where longer and easily damaged proteins are destroyed by the heat, like the enzymes during mashing. Boil overs are common in the early stages of the boil, so keep an eye on it. There is another break, the cold break, that happens when you finish the boil and the wort cools; to help this along you use a fining agent like the whirlfoc I had suggested back in the tools.
Finally, you can add additional flavours to the beer, most typically hops, but pretty much anything could go in the kettle. When I gave the guidelines for the various beer styles you may have noticed Start of Boil, Mid Boil and End of Boil additions. The convention for hopping is to list hop additions based on how far they are from the end of the boil, not the start of the boil. So in a typical 60min boil, the first hops added at 60min hops, hops added 20mins later are 40min hops, and hops added right at the end are 0min hops.
When you add hops at the start of the boil, around 45min or more, they are primarily for bittering, their aromatic and flavour active oils get blown off by the heat and steam, and more of the alpha acids get a chance to isomerize. Hops that are added between 15-30min left in the boil are known as flavour hops; many of the aromatic compounds are lost, but some are maintained or converted into other ones. In finished beer these hops will rarely contribute a large smell, but a do impart distinctive flavour. Hops added from 15-0min left in the boil are the aroma hops, the flavours they impart are raw and green, and much of the original aroma is maintained.
Depending on the style of your beer you may use any number of hop additions. Sweeter and maltier styles of beer benefit from high bittering additions and a low flavour addition, wheat beers have a low bittering addition only, and hop focused styles tend to have large additions at every stage.
Spice additions are usually done for aroma, and as such should go in near the end of the boil. Spices that impart sensations of heat, like chilies, ginger, cinnamon or pepper can maintain their flavour but loose and temper their heat when added at the start of a boil.
-While you wait for your wort to boil, weigh out and separate each of your hop additions
-At the start of the boil start a timer for the duration of the boil, and to properly time out subsequent additions. Most turkey friers have a timer on their gas regulator for safety reasons. During your boil, do not let this timer run out.
-Add your bittering hops and start the timer. At this point, and at every subsequent addition keep a close eye on the kettle for boil overs, I had a hot mess on my hands after my boil addition in the example brew. If your kettle frequently boils over adjust the flow rate of gas downwards, but maintain a rolling boil.
-While you are boiling empty the spent grain from your MLT and clean it. The spent grain should go into a compost, or be spread out so that they can dry. They are a great environment for bacterial growth, and left in the MLT or a garbage bag they will stink something fierce; think sour milk, socks, and poo.
-Continue adding your hop additions as they come up
-At 5min left in the boil add your Whirlfloc
-Once your timer runs out, turn off the heat
Step 14: Mama Said Knock You Out
You're nearly done, the wort is finished, the last things that need to be done are to cool it down and pitch your yeast in a procedure called knockout.
A reason for everything
Now that the boil is done, we want to spin the wort around for a few minuets to create a whirlpool in a process known as whirlpooling (surprise!). This collects all the bits of hops, grain, and proteins into a mass of sludge known as trub. The proteins here are well and good out of solution, so if they were to continue into the beer they'd just be a mess on the bottom of the fermentor, but the hops and grain still contribute flavours that are not wanted in the finished beer. When you transfer from the kettle to the fermentor try to suck up as little of this as you can. But before you do that, your wort is still very hot, and needs to get chilled.
Ideally, the wort cooling is done as fast as possible; while the wort remains hot the hops inside of it continue to react, things get more bitter and more aromas are driven off. Additionally, those off flavours that you were trying to get rid of with the vigorous boil are not completely gone (they never really are) and your hot wort lets some of these develop, and oxidize such that they will show up in the finished product when the yeast is done with it.
Also, if you have a slow cooling this means that the wort will spend a long time in the danger zone, a familiar place for those in the food service. Once it gets under 60C hearty beer spoilage bacteria can take root and rear its ugly tasting head as the beer ferments. Your yeast is kind of a wimp compared to the wild microbes and simply can't tolerate the heat. At most you can pitch around 35C, but it is better to get the wort as close to fermentation temperature as you can.
Remember, the wort is now sterile, and you want to keep it that way, before you let any tool touch it, give it a spritz of sanitizer from the spray bottle that you prepared earlier. An exception is your immersion chiller, if you use one, the wort is still hot enough that it will do the sanitizing for you, so long as the equipment is clean.
-Using your previously cleaned mash paddle, make a whirlpool in the wort and allow it to sit for about 5 mins
-At this time, add any whirlpool additions of hops, or spices your recipe may require
-Ensure the fermentor is drained of sanitizer and is nearby ready to accept wort
-While you are allowing the whirlpool to rest, prepare your wort cooling method. I had covered several options in the equipment section, the one that I used is a home made immersion chiller. Preparing this involved attaching a garden hose to one side and a drainage hose to another
-Apply your wort cooling method; Insert your immersion chiller and turn the water flow on, or dump in your ice, or if you are cooling the transfer line be careful lifting your kettle, hot wort will burn you badly, and vinyl hoses tend to collapse and deform with the heat and need special support so they don't kink. If you are going to cool a hot liquid mass by running cold water over it, or putting it in a cool bath never do so with a glass container, it can't take the stress and will explode. Glass carboys do this. I know.
-While your wort is cooling take constant temperature readings until you are below 35C, ideally 20C
-Shut off flow to your cooling method and remove from kettle, set aside
-Lift kettle onto an elevated surface with fermentor nearby
-Retrieve auto siphon, attach a length of hose to it that will reach from it while in the kettle to your fermentor, ensure that these are sanitary
-Prime the auto siphon and draw from the edge of kettle elevated slightly from the bottom. Some auto siphons have little feet on them that helps with this
-Discard the first little bit of wort as it is likely contaminated with sanitizer, then fill a sample for measurement with your hydrometer, direct all remaining wort into the fermentor. Do not return this sample to the fermentor
-The reading on your hydrometer is your original gravity record it, as it is a reference point for the overall alcohol content of your beer
-Direct the stream of wort against the side of the fermentor allowing it to splash and fan out. You do this to introduce some oxygen into the wort that the yeast will need for cell growth
-Draw off wort until you have only a thick slurry of trub remaining on the bottom of the kettle and remove the auto siphon. Don't worry that the carboy is not completely full, you will need that extra space.
-Sanitize the package of yeast if using dry or a smack pack
-Open the yeast with a sanitized tool and pitch into fermentor. Congradualtions the wort is now beer. Legally this is the only step that you need to do to make beer, some "make your own beer and wine" stores only let you do this step
-Prepare your bubbler or airlock for the fermentor and attach it
-Clean your kettle, pail and tools. Do this now, the trub and overboiled foam dries very hard and will be a miserable task when you eventually get around to it
Step 15: It's Out of Our Hands Now
After pitching the yeast there is not much more that you will do directly as a brewer, you made a little world where the yeast can be a rockstar; living in darkness, reproducing like mad before eventually dying in it's own toxic waste. You will monitor the process however.
On the outside looking in
You probably won't see anything for the first night, this is the lag phase of fermentation. The yeast is repairing itself, growing and reproducing to get to a critical mass.
Fermentation begins in earnest when you start to see a foamy mass on top of the beer that will fill most of the remaining empty space in the carboy. This is called high krausen and the yeast is extremely active. It's consuming sugars very rapidly, making all kinds of waste products and releasing lots of gas. It is not uncommon for particularly vigorous fermentations to blow the stopper out of the top and make a mess, this is why my carboy is sitting in a pail. At this stage you may get some strange smells from the fermentor; rotten eggs, farts, bandaids, apples this is all normal, its why we have the gas venting, we don't want those smells in the finished beer.
Sometime over the next 3 days the rapid release of gas will subside, and the foam on top will break down into a ring of filth stuck to the carboy wall, again this is normal. The yeast has consumed most of the sugars, and all of the oxygen and is going into survival mode now. If you were to taste the beer now it wouldn't be quite right, it's full of yeast waste products, you might get green apples, or butter, or sulphury tastes. All of these are collectively known as green beer flavours. It needs to age, to lager.
The survival mode yeast during lager starts recycling the waste products that make the green beer flavour, eventually turning them all into alcohol and gas. It also starts bunching itself together into flocs that cause it to fall out of suspension, making a naturally clear beer.
If you are going to add a dry hop addition do so now, because there is still enough yeast activity to provide some protection from microbes and to consume any oxygen introduced with the hops, but it is not active enough to drive off the volatile hop aromas.
On the bottom of the fermentor you will see a small brownish layer sludge that is composed of dead and unhealthy yeast, this layer grows as lagering continues, if you crop your own yeast pull from the middle, this gives the best mix of health, and flocculation for future brews.
Ideally, the larger cycle is done cold, as close to freezing as you can, this stresses the yeast out more and helps it fall out of solution quicker, it also slows it down so that the yeast on the bottom of the fermentor remains in suspended animation rather than outright dying. At home, this is rarely an option, so let your larger phase last about a week before you deicde to bottle. If you wait too long the yeast on the bottom will die and breakdown in a process called autolysis, which leads to soy sauce, meaty and leathery flavours in the beer. Again, not objectively bad tastes but rarely wanted.
Some people transfer the beer to a second fermentor when they start the lager phase so that there is less yeast on the bottom and they have longer before they have to bottle before autolysis sets in. Don't do this, it is unnecessary handling that presents a major infection risk. Your beer might have a little more haze in it, but that is good for the primings that you will put in your bottles
-Lift your fermentor into your pail, cover with a cloth or lid to protect from the light and store in a cool, temperature consistent place
-Take a peek at the fermentation every day to get a feel of it, you can taste it to, use the auto siphon, or a turkey baster or something, so long as it is clean and sterile
-Once the krausen has dropped pull a sample for measurement with your hydrometer, this reading is the final gravity. You can approximate alcohol content by subtracting your final gravity from your original gravity and multiplying by 125
-At this point you can dry hop your beer if you wish, hops are okay to directly go into the beer
-If things start looking strange, like with strands in the beer, or a skin on top it means that there's a wild agent at play. The beer is not going to be what you intended any more, and you don't really know what it is that got in there. It's still worth trying however, the conditions of beer; high alcohol, low sugar, no oxygen, mean that bacteria that can make a person sick cannot live in it
Step 16: The Future of Your Beer
Bottling is not something that I am covering in this instructable. I have previously provided you with a priming sugar calculator and made some suggestions as to what needs to be used so there is not much else that is relevant to cover from a theory point of view.
Bottling is a drag, but most reaping is. Try to wrangle a friend to help you. Bottling is made much easier by buying a bottling wand or having a valve on whatever siphon you choose to use, otherwise it can be a big mess.
Bottles are hard things to clean if you are using recycled glass, if you didn't thoroughly rinse them as soon as you emptied them you'll need a brush to scrub around in there with. This is another place where using caustic soda or lye as a detergent is beneficial as it will dissolve all the biological goodies in the glass.
Sanitizing can be done chemically, or with a hot cycle in a dish washer, or overnight in the over at 60C or so.
You can try packaging into growlers, but they aren't deigned to be gas tight in the long or even mid term, nor are they supposed to withstand much internal pressure. It slashes the amount of time you have to bottle however.
PET bottles are a cheap and quiet alternative to glass, and don't need to have a specialized crowner to seal, and if you over prime they balloon instead of detonating. If you store your beer for a long while however they are a poor choice because gas can seep through the walls over time.
Of course, you could buy a keg and transfer the beer into that to carbonate, but that is a little hardcore even for me.
Step 17: Adieu to You and You and You
Well everyone, thousands of words later you've made it to the end. Thanks for sticking through it, I hope that you have learned something for your next foray into the world of brewing. As promised, I'll leave you with three recipies that I have brewed commercially scaled down. I won't tell you what they were on the market, that would be rude, but one of them is the flagship from the brewery that I owned and the other two have won gold medals in their respective categories at the Ontario Brewing Awards and the Canadian Brewing Awards.
The assumption for all of these is that you are doing a 20L batch size.
An English Style IPA
Single Infusion Mash at 66C for 75min
Original Gravity Target - 1.060
Final Gravity Target - 1.010
ABV - 6.4%
IBU - 60
2.1kg - 2-row
1.0kg - Maris Otter
1.0kg - Munich 1 (light Munich)
0.4kg - Carafoam
35g - Cascade at 7.9% alpha acids at 90min
17g - Cascade at 7.9% alpha acids at 20min
18g - Cascade at 7.9% alpha acids dry hopped
US-05 California Common, ferment at 18C
Two-Step Mash, 1st at 63C for 60min
2nd at 72C for 15min
Original Gravity Target - 1.040
Final Gravity Target - 1.004
ABV - 4.8%
IBU - 25
Add 30% more priming sugar than normal for carbonation
2.2kg - 2-row
0.5kg - Munich 1 (light Munich)
0.3kg - Pale Wheat
12g - Magnum at 12.9% alpha acids at 60min
5g - Sorachi Ace at 10.0% alpha acids at 10min
Danstar Belle Saison, ferment up to 27C
A Belgian Style Wit
Two-Step Mash, 1st at 50C for 20min
2nd at 66C for 60min
Original Gravity - 1.040
Final Gravity - 1.008
ABV - 4.2%
IBU - 15
Contain corainder and orange peel in a nylon bag, or a set of hose, in the boil. Allow them to remain through knockout but don't put in fermentor
Mix ground white pepper corn into a thin paste in a separate vessel before adding to kettle to avoid "doughballs"
Beer will not get clear in fermentor, package cloudy
1.5kg - 2-row
1.5kg - Pale Wheat
30g - Tettnang at 3.5% alpha acid at 60min
20g - Crushed whole coriander seeds at 10min
18g - Dried sweet orange peel at 10min
4.5g - Ground white peppercorn at 0min
Mauri-brew Weiss, ferment at 20C
Runner Up in the
Homebrew Contest 2016