Saturday, February 19, 2011

How we began brewing.

I received a Cooper's Brewery Micro-Brew Kit for Christmas 2010. Becca and I have both always enjoyed good beer. The Cooper's kit comes with a Lager mix, so that was my first homebrew. I enjoyed making it and quickly followed it with a Cooper's IPA.

The bad news is that Cooper's mixes didn't produce very tasty beers, so I decided to give all-grain brewing a try. Using a kit (extract brewing) versus all-grain brewing is kinda like baking a cake from a mix versus from scratch. There's a local store in the area, Homebrew Headquarters, that sells the grains and other ingredients and supplies for all-grain brewing.

I chose a nut-brown ale to start.
Large boil pot, hop sacks, equipment.

Mashing. 152 F degree water extracts sugars from 7.5 lbs pale malt, 1 lb crystal malt, and 0.3 lbs chocolate malt.

Boiling wort with hops added in hop sacks.

Cooling the wort (beer without yeast or fermentation). Cool to 70 degrees F before fermenting.

Hydrometer reading of pre-fermented beer after sealing in fermenter with air lock. 1050 original gravity reading...perfect, water is 1000. So final gravity should be around 1005 to 1015, equating to about 5-6% alcohol.

I put the Nut Brown into a "corny keg," which is a 5 gallon keg that used to be used for soda systems until boxed soda became more popular. They are cheap now due to being obsolete and used mostly for home brewing. We bought a kegerator with a single tap and I changed it out to a triple now we have 3 beer choices on tap.

I force carbonated the Nut Brown to 40 psi for 15 minutes and let it sit over night and chill at 20 psi. The next day, down to 15 psi and left it hooked up to the carbon dioxide tank. We pulled the tap and poured it into a cold glass...not bad. Not amazing but tasted like real beer instead of Cooper's crap. It almost tastes like a beer you'd get at B.J.'s, a local restaurant and microbrewery.

So far I've also made an Irish Red for St. Patty's, which is ready almost a month early, and I just put it into a keg tonight and carbonated it... waiting for it to cool and taste tomorrow! We tried it warm and flat tonight just for fun....Becca said it tastes like cherries. Tomorrow we'll see...

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