Extract Brewing Methodology
There are various ways of achieving good consistent results, here is one:
First, collect your supplies. Ingredients:
Malt Extract, steeping grains, hops, any other ingredients that your recipe might call for, and a package of yeast.
Your basic equipment can be purchased as a starter kit and will include a plastic 25L primary fermenter, a 23L glass carboy, a syphon tube, sediment trap and clip, a big spoon, an airlock and bung and a hydrometer and trial jar.
You will also need a large pot to use as a brew kettle (this should be at least 10L but no more than 19L if you are using an electric stove), a metal strainer or colander, a medium pot for steeping your grains, and a thermometer.
Now you’re ready to start brewing!
1) Start the boil.
- Fill your brew kettle about half full with water and turn up the heat.
- It takes a while to start boiling.
- Meanwhile, if you’re using liquid malt extract, place the unopened container in some hot water. This will soften the extract and make it easier to pour.
2) Steep your grains.
- Bring a separate pot of water to a temperature of 70°C.
- The amount of water will depend on how much steeping grain you’re using.
- You need a litre of water for every 250g of grain.
- Put your grains into a muslin bag and place that into the pot.
- Cover and hold at 70°C for about 30 minutes.
- You now have a grain tea, which can be added to the brew kettle.
- The grains can be disposed of; it’s only the tea that you want.
3) Add malt extract.
- Once your brew kettle starts boiling, remove from the heat and add malt extract, stirring well to keep it from scorching on the bottom.
- You now have a liquid that can be called ‘wort’.
- Bring the wort back to a boil (keep the lid off) and watch carefully so as to avoid a boil-over.
- That is messy and unpleasant scenario.
- Once it’s boiling watch it for a few minutes to ensure it’s stable.
4) Add your hops.
- The first hop addition is for bittering purposes.
- The longer you boil the hops the more bitterness you extract from them.
5) Follow your recipe
- For instructions on when and if to add hops for flavour (late in the boil) and aroma (at the end of the boil) as well as any other adjuncts like herbs, spices, Irish moss etc.
- The wort will boil for at least 60 minutes.
6) Start sterilising.
- Sterilisation is VERY important and it can be mean the difference between 23 litres of great beer and 23 litres down the drain.
- Follow your steriliser’s direction and sterilise the primary fermenter and lid, the airlock and bung and your strainer.
- If you are using a wire mesh strainer, it can be sterilised by placing into the boiling wort for the final 10 minutes of the boil.
7) Chill your wort.
- With the lid on, place your brew kettle into a sink full of cold water.
- Block the drain with a rag so that the water drains slowly and let cold water continue to run from the tap.
- The key here is to chill your wort as quickly as possible.
- Add ice to the water and on top of the lid.
- You want your wort to get down to 25°C but keep in mind you will be topping up your primary fermenter with 8- 13L of cold water which will help bring the temperature down.
8) Strain your wort
- - into your sterilised primary fermenter.
- Make sure your strainer is sterilised too.
- Then you can top up your fermenter to 23 litres with cold water.
9) Measure the original gravity
- - of your wort using the hydrometer and trial jar.
- Note down the reading as it will be necessary in determining the ABV of your final product.
10) Pitch your yeast according to the directions on the package.
- For Wyeast, you have to smack the package to activate it and then let it incubate at room temperature for at least three hours first, so read your labels carefully.
- Then simply pour your yeast in, tighten the lid and attach your airlock.
- The airlock should be half full with water.
- It will begin bubbling, indicating the rate of fermentation.
11) Fermentation (primary).
- Keep an eye on the fermentation.
- It should be bubbling quite fast within the first 12 hours.
- After about 3-4 days, the fermentation will have slowed.
- After a week in the primary fermenter, you can syphon your beer into a secondary fermenter.
12) Fermentation (secondary).
- Sterilise your secondary fermenter (23L glass carboy), syphon tubing and sediment trap.
- Do this by syphoning your steriliser through the hose, into the carboy.
- What you’re syphoning from should always be higher than what you’re syphoning into.
- Suck the liquid through the hose until a flow is obtained.
- If this is unappealing use an auto-syphon.
- Now syphon the beer from the primary fermenter and avoid aeration by running the hose to the bottom of the carboy.
- Aeration would make the beer taste stale long before it otherwise would.
- You will notice after syphoning that a mess of yeast has flocculated (dropped to the bottom and formed a sludge).
- You should be happy that your beer has been removed from that since autolysing yeast can produce some nasty flavours.
- Let your beer sit in the carboy for about 2 weeks before bottling.
13) Measure the final gravity.
- Make sure the beer has finished fermenting before bottling.
- Using your hydrometer and trial jar, measure the specific gravity of the beer, which should be at about 1.010 depending on the recipe and style of beer.
14) Bottle your beer.
- This involves a lot of sterilising.
- Anything that is going to come into contact with your beer must be sterilised.
- Without proper sterilisation your beer could be exposed to micro-organisms which will create all kinds of unpleasant odours and flavours.
- Before you bottle your beer and after sterilising everything you will want to syphon your beer from the carboy back into the primary fermenter ‘quietly’, avoiding aeration.
- As much as possible try to leave the sediment behind.
- Then, gently stir in some bottling sugar (1 cup of dextrose dissolved in 1 cup of boiling water) and you’re ready to syphon into you bottles (try it using a bottle filling stick).
- The dextrose gives the yeast that little bit of extra food needed to naturally and effectively carbonate your beer.
- Once you’ve bottled your beer, let it sit at room temperature.
- After 2 weeks the CO2 should be dissolved into your beer, which means it is ready to drink!
- Your beer will improve with age up to a certain point.
- The shelf life depends on a number of things including alcohol content, amount of hops used and how diligent you were when sterilising.
- 3-6 months is common but much longer is possible with high ABV beers.
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