Tuesday, November 19, 2013

"First Time Brewing Beer…….."

After attending "Beer Brewing 101" at Bad Teacher Brewing Supply (http://badteacherbrewing.com), Don and I were up for trying to brew some beer.  We bought their brewing kit and one of their beer ingredient kits, brought them home, and let them sit.  :)  We wanted the home brewing setup to be the easiest and most efficient, so we called our plumber to give us an estimate on installing a double tub laundry sink.  That took awhile before we could get it installed, but the day finally arrived and we were ready to brew our first batch of beer.

Here I am checking on the boil.  The beer starts out with 3 gallons of water, with more added later in the process.

This will give you a better view of it.  The boil is timed with different things added in at certain times.

The first thing added before the water is brought to a boil is the grain mixtures.  Since this is one of their beer kits, it came with the correctly proportioned mix of grains.  I took this photo of the grain bag after it had steeped in the water for the correct amount of time……at the correct water temperature, of course.  ;)

There wasn't too much during the process that would be interesting documented with a photo, so this next photo is of us cooling the boiled mixture, now called "Wort", down to the correct temperature so that more water could be added before "pitching" the yeast into it.

This piece of equipment, which hooks up to the water faucet, is called a "Wort Chiller".  Cold water is run through the copper tubing to cool the wort down to about 70 degrees.  The Wort Chiller was a gift to us from Elspeth and Bruce, who came and visited us earlier this Fall.  After they had driven back to their home in Madison, they called Bad teacher Brew Supply and bought the Wort Chiller as a gift, having Brian, the owner of brew shop call us with the wonderful surprise!

This shows the Wort Chiller at work…..

In this photo, I am preparing to siphon the wort from the boil kettle to the 6 1/2 gallon "carboy".

The 6 1/2 gallon carboy (glass bottle) is where the wort will ferment for a week before it is siphoned out of that and into a 5 gallon carboy.  All the pieces of equipment that you see me using during this entire brewing and fermenting process are included in the brewing kit that Bad Teacher Brewing Supply has put together.

After the wort is siphoned into the carboy, another 2 gallons of water is blended into it.

The yeast is then "pitched" into the wort.  That is the last ingredient that is added and now the wort is prepared to "do its thing" during its first week of fermentation.

The last step in the initial process is to plug the top of the carboy with an "airlock", which is half filled with water and allows the CO2 to escape during the fermentation, but doesn't allow anything to get into, or enter the carboy during that time.

Here is a better look at the airlock.

Don and I were really amazed watching the fermentation process.  Watching the wort "work" through the glass of the carboy looked like a tornado or super storm, swirling and whirling around erratically, especially during the first few days.  The airlock was busily "burping" CO2 quite quickly!  After the initial frenzy of the yeast "working", it has slowed down and has been more of a lazy and gentle swirling action.

It has now been a week that the wort has been in the 6 1/2 gallon carboy.  I will transfer the wort into the 5 gallon carboy sometime today and it will then "work" one more week before we transfer it to another vessel where it will have a small amount of sugar water added before we bottle and cap it.  The sugar water adds just enough food for the yeast inside the bottle to make some more CO2.  It needs to mature a few weeks in the bottle before it is ready to share.  Hopefully, it will be worth sharing!  ;)

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