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Brewing sounds fun and easy: Brewing overview #1

brewing hammer and hops

Fun, yes but only if you like hard work. Easy, not really. Like a lot of things it can be as complicated as you want but even at its most basic you are still looking at a solid initial three hours to get it into the fermenter, a week or two in the fermenter, an hour or two bottling then two weeks until you can drink it. But the rewards are worth it!

Brewing has the following practical steps:

– Everything before the fermenter (mashing, sparging, boiling)

– Fermenting (sitting in plastic or metal container turning into alcohol)

– Bottling and conditioning (putting in bottle with some sugar and capping)

– Drinking.

If you eventually move to all grain (like the one I did today) your tasks and time are roughly as follows for the first step:

1) Heat 20 litres of water to 50-60  degrees C. Add grain and keep at temp for an hour to an hour and a half. (2 hours plus a bit of prep time)

2) Sparge (wash grain) with 30 odd litres of water at 75 degrees C. (30 min plus an extra 30 carting and heating water. Spent grain to chooks).

3) Boil wort (left over liquid) for 90 minutes. Adding hops at various points throughout. (Hour and a half). Good point to eat cake and maybe have a beer. Also good time to sterilise fermenters and other tools.

4) Chill wort as quickly as possible. You need to get it from 100 degrees C down to the temperature at which you can add yeast (15-24 degrees C) as fast as possible to the stop the risk of infection. With an immersion chiller this takes about 30 minutes.

5) Rack chilled wort to fermenter and add yeast (10-20 minutes).

6) Clean up and have another beer (up to an hour).

At this point your brew is ready to start becoming beer, but it isn’t drinkable for a few weeks. But that is another story…

 

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