Sunday, 5 January 2014

Brewing Beer

I got an invite today that I couldn't refuse: an opportunity to help a friend brew some ale. My friend recently did a day long home brewing course at The London Fields Brewery & invested in all the kit needed to make proper home brew beer. Braving the weather I headed into town on my bike to my friends place.
what we are aiming to make :-)
NB: If you have experience at brewing then please accept my apologies if I get any of the terminology incorrect in this post.

Preparation is needed prior to starting each batch: you need to sterilise all the kit - tricky space wise at home, & probably something you really couldn't do if you only had a shower-room.

we'll be needing you in 4hrs time.....

We were making an Amarillo ale from this great book on home brewing by Greg Hughes.

I think it's fair to say this is a home brewing bible

today's brew detail: Amarillo Hop Ale

So first up is making the 'mash' liquor.

the alchemy begins

Intense chocolate aroma from these malted barley grains.

The water for this needs to heat up to exactly 70degrees before you add the blend of pale malt and cara malt in the mash tun.
mission control - the boiler.

preparing for the mash
The water is warming up nicely... 15 litres of water. You need to get this up over 70 degrees so once you add the malt the temperature is as near to 70 degrees as you can get... I can see this takes some practise.

Here's the 'mash'. The lid now goes on the insulated cool box 'tun' and this gets left for an hour: this is getting the fermentable sugars out of the grain. 

The higher the temperature the less sugars are obtained from the mash: this would make for a weaker beer. 

Next up is the 'sparge'..... Rinsing the fermentable sugars from the mash & to run this 'wort' into the boiler. The water should be between 74 & 77 degrees - any higher and tannins from the grains will be dissolved, creating harsh astringent flavours. Any less and fewer sugars will be extracted. 

starting to get rather heady in flavour now

Meanwhile the next requirement of water is put on the heat: again looking to find the sweet spot between 74 & 77 degrees.

Add caption

Here the final volume of wort is brought up to the boil, and then the first qty of the pungent Amarillo hops are added to the boil tank. 
The Wort coming up to boil for the first time

The first hops go into the just-boiling Wort.

This now boils for 1hr and 10mins, and along the way another 2 batches of carefully weighed off hops are added. A final portion of hops is added after this time with this recipe.

Once the wort has cooled to less than 25 degrees you can then add the final ingredient: brewers yeast.

Brewing yeast for American style ale.

The end for today
So the beer container is sealed & now rests in the dark in a cool spot for a week before being bottled, so here my brewing journey for this post ends. I am hoping to join my friend next week to bottle the beer off if I get time. Failing that, I will be assisting in all important tasting of this beer in a further 7 weeks time! Watch this space! 

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