Sunday, September 3, 2017

Beer

In this post I brew beer! Ok, well, I brewed the beer a few days ago, and wanted to discuss the process here, and then I will get back to talking about mead.

I had the opportunity to pick up a home brewing kit from my father not too long ago, he had purchased it and never got around to using it, but it had all the essentials, bottles, crowns, a capper, nutrient, etc. I even got another carboy and a bucket out of it. Now that I typically have 2-3 things fermenting, I jumped at the opportunity for another carboy. I use buckets for more fruity/ flowery brews and I don't have anything of that nature planned right now, but more on that later.

Also included in this kit was some hops and some grain, but no instructions. So I... OK, it was my Wife, she definitely did me a solid and went down to the homebrew store and got some information for me. She was in the area for something else without the kids, so I asked her to do me a favor. The grain was stale. Boo! The hops most likely was bad too. Boo! But I was going to be home for a while, and why not. Swe had the guys at Homebrew HQ hook us up with some grain, some hops and a recipe.

Got all of it home, read through the instructions and realized their were some terms that were unfamiliar to me. Sparge? WTF is that? Internet to the rescue, or so I thought. This is where I realized I should have gone vs having my Wife go. She did nothing wrong, she just didn't have all of the answers I needed.

All grain brew vs an extract brew... hmm, the recipe has both options listed, but I have no extract, so all grain it is!

Now I had to figure out if they had milled the grain. Hmm, I really didn't know what I was looking at/for, but the internet helped me out there! It was milled all ready.

Ok, sparging. Really, what the hell is that? And who came up with the term? Per Webster's: Etymologists think that "sparge" likely came to English by way of the Middle French word espargier, itself from Latin spargere, meaning "to scatter."

I watched a handful of videos from different master brewers and I think I figured it out. Essentially you add more water after you have drained off your original water from the grain that has been boiling for an hour or so (90 minutes for my recipe), and then drain that into the same kettle you had already drained into.

The next step was to boil your wort (the combination of all the liquid that your grain soaked in and the liquid from your sparging) for another hour or so (again, my recipe was for 90 minutes) and add different ingredients at different times. Luckily, all of mine, sugar, molasses and the hops I was using, went all in for the entire boil and I just kept an eye on it as it reduced. I ended up with maybe 2/3 of my original liquid, probably closer to 1/2 which I then added to a carboy and filled up to a gallon, checked the temperature and the gravity, or sugar content of the must (very important, because yeast devours sugar and turns it into alcohol - over simplification, but you get the point), and pitched (or added) the yeast. Now we're waiting.

Glossary

These are terms I came across that you might not be familiar with.

1. Carboy - A type of vessel us to ferment your desired beverage. Comes in different sizes.
2. Hops - A bittering agent. The flowers of the hops, or Humulus Lupulus plant. Comes in many different varieties.
3. Mash - (or Mashing) is the process of, and result of combining the grains with water.
4. Mash-tun - A vessel, such as a bucket or a cooler, designed to hold the mash and keep it at a desired temperature. Also will have a spigot or way of straining out the liquid.
5. Pitch - To add yeast to a wort.
6. Sparge - To sprinkle or pour hot water over your grain bed to extract the wort.
7. Specific Gravity - The density of your liquid, namely, how much sugar is dissolved in it. Two measurements are usually taken, an Original Gravity, before fermentation, and the final gravity, which is taken after fermentation. These two numbers can be used to approximate an ABV.
8. Wort - The sugar-containing liquid created from your mash that will later be fermented.

If you have any comments, corrections, or points of discussion, leave them below!

1 comment:

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