Sunday, November 27, 2011

Home Brewing - Batch 1 - Part 1 [Matt]

Beer has always been a beverage of interest to me. It's delicious, dynamic, and generally better than a glass of water. I always thought brewing my own batch would be as far out of reach as me passing freshman chemistry. I was wrong, and it feels so right.

Jess and I decided to look into home brew equipment about a month ago and we came across a fantastic shop Eagle Rock Home Brew that offered a $10 class and a hub to buy any and all supplies. We took the class last Sunday and were hooked.

We agreed our first batch should be an IPA, but not just any IPA, a crazy-hybrid-ninja-samari-pirate-dwarf type IPA. I've been obsessing with fennel over the past few months and pondered why I've never tasted the flavor note in any of my favorite hoppy brews.

The steps and images below describe what we did with the first run of our IPA. To get more info and read a full 'How To', go to ERHB's instructions.

7:00p - The Clean & Prep
- We started by sanitizing all equipment including our 6 gallon cook pot.
- I took the liquid yeast container out of the fridge and put into my pocket (as instructed - brings yeast to room temp gradually in order to activate it), used - White Labs WLP001 California Ale.
- Place 2.5 gallons of water into the freezer to help chill the wort at the end of the cook.

7:15p - The Cook
- Filled the 6 gallon pot with ~2.5 gallons of water (filtered Brita). Cranked both burners all the way up to get the pot to start heating up.

- Filled a normal sauce pot with a gallon of water (spring) to bring to 150f.
- Grain mix added for steeping: 8oz Carmel 10L / 4oz Carmel 20L / 4oz Carmel 60L

- Kept steeping pot on stove at 150f for 10 min, then took pot off stove and covered for 20 min.
- Strained out the grain when pouring the steeped liquid into the main cook pot.

- Mixed in 9lbs of Alexander's Pale Malt Extract (looks like carmel sauce, about the same consistency).

8:45p - The Boil
During the class I asked the instructor why Dogfish IPA had 'minute' batches and what that meant. He explained that their technique involved gradually adding in hops throughout the stated amount of time. This process ensures the flavor of the beer will be well-rounded and makes it more hoppy. I decided to diverge from the recipe I was somewhat following and go for an 85 minute total boil time.

- Started adding in the Columbus 14.0% hop pellets, a few per minute, over the next 25 minutes, 1.5oz total.

9:10p - STEP 6
- Started adding in the Cascade hops, a few per minute over 25 minutes, 1.0oz total.

- Started adding in another set of the Columbus hops, a few per minute over 25 minutes, 1.0oz total.

10:00p - Spicing the boil

This is the part of brewing your wort when you add in any additional spices, if that's your thing. If there's a spice of interest that you want to throw into a brew, do research, it is pretty easy to find some reference for what does and doesn't work.

- Added 1.5oz Fennel Seed (the whole container)

10:10p - Cool it. Store it.
Now that the wort has boiled, it is time to cool it down in a hurry. If you have a sink that can fit a 6 gallon pot (psssh luucky), partially submerge it in there. If not, use your bath tub. It's not gross if you're not gross.
- Keep the pot in cold water for 30 minutes. Quickly cooling the wort helps with the beer's clarity.

- Now transfer the wort from the cook pot, through a strainer, to the 5 gallon bucket.
- Add in the cooled water that you have been storing in the freezer to bring the water level to the 5 gallon mark on the side of the bucket. The wort should be between 60 - 70f for some prime-time fermenting to happen.
- Take the vile of yeast that has been hangin out in your pocket, give it a light shake. Dump it into the 6 gallon carboy.

- Use the autosyphon to transfer the wort from the bucket to the 6 gallon carboy. Make sure not to get the last inch of liquid from the bucket. It will cloud your beer and your success.

- Fill the Fermentation Air Lock and Stopper with the cleaning liquid and insert into the top of the carboy.
- Put it in a space that holds an even temperature and doesn't receive any light.

10:50p - Let 'er be.
The beer will begin to ferment over the next 3 to 5 days. Leave it in there up to a week, then transfer to the secondary fermentor. The beer will sit there for another 1 to 2 weeks.
Check back in soon when I bottle and label our fresh brewed IPA!

24 Hours Later
All is well with the brew and it's fermentation. Checkout the bubbles! That means it's working...

((((cook track)))) Trivium - Dusk Dismantled

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