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Showing posts from November, 2016

My Brewing Process, Part 6 - Bottling

In the previous installments, we covered recipe adjustment and ingredient prep, mashing, boiling, fermentation, and cleanup.

Continuing on in the series about my brewing process, today we'll talk about bottling the finished beer. Below is what I do to get my beer out of the fermenter, into bottles, and ready to drink.

Getting the Bottles Ready
Before you can bottle a batch of beer, you need enough bottles. I use recycled bottles almost exclusively. I use bottles from beer I purchase, from samples I receive from other home brewers, bottles friends bring me, or from previous batches of my own beer. I remove the labels from the bottles, typically by soaking them in hot water and generic, unscented Oxy Clean.

After the bottles are de-labeled, I run them through our dishwasher with detergent. This ensures that the bottles are clean and ready to use.

I typically do the above steps days or weeks before bottling.

Sanitizing Everything
Before I bottle my beer, I want to ensure that I have ve…

My Brewing Process - Part 5, Cleanup

In the previous installments of this series of posts, we've looked at recipe creation and prep, mashing, boiling, and fermenting.  Now it's time to look at cleanup.

The more batches of beer I've done, the more I refine my cleaning process and activities.

I try to do cleaning when I'm not actively working on brewing the beer. For example, during the mash there are long stretches of time where you can clean or sanitize equipment. The same is true during some parts of the boil process. If you use your time effectively, you can get most of your cleanup done by the time you pump the wort into the fermenter. This will reduce your overall elapsed brewing time.

After the sparge process is finished, I lift the grain basket off the kettle and place it inside a 5-gallon stainless kettle that it fits comfortably inside.

As the wort heats to boiling in The Grainfather, I begin scooping the grain out of the basket and into a plastic bag or trash can for disposal.  (If you have cats …

My Brewing Process, Part 4 - Fermentation

Up to this point, I've selected a recipe, milled the grains, mashed them, completed the boil and transferred the wort to a fermenter.
Fermenter Choice
For primary fermentation, and often for secondary, I use an SS Brewing Technologies Brewmaster Bucket.
I started out with plastic bucket fermenters, which I liked because of their inability to be broken, relative lightness, and ease of cleaning relative to a glass carboy.
Then, I migrated to a plastic Better Bottle 6.5 gallon fermenter. This worked fine but had the downside of being difficult to transfer the wort to a bottling bucket. Recently, I retrofitted the Better Bottle with a spigot so that I could get wort out of it without the need for a siphon. A friend of mine had a bad experience with contamination from a siphon, and I've vowed to eliminate them from my own setup if at all possible.
Finally, I invested in the SS Brewing Technologies Brewmaster Bucket. I also invested in a Chapman SteelTank stainless fermenter.
The Ch…

Adventures in Homebrewing Shades of Gourd Kit

Today I brewed the "Shades of Gourd" pumpkin spice ale kit from Adventures in Homebrewing. They describe the beer as a light and elegant pumpkin ale.

The kit arrives with all the grain in a plastic bag. The hops and spices are in other bags, combined with priming sugar and/or yeast depending on how you order the kit.

The Recipe
The kit contains the following:

7 pounds of 2-row Pale Malt1 pound of Honey Malt12 ounces of Crystal 60L Malt12 ounces of Crystal 10L Malt8 ounces of Carafoam Malt1 ounce of Tettnang hops pellets (marked as 2% AA in my kit)20 grams of Pumpkin Pie Spice I added the following: 1 packet of Safale US-05 yeast1/4 teaspoon of Super Irish Moss, rehydrated in water1/2 teaspoon of Wyeast Yeast NutrientCampden tablet added to mash and sparge water to remove chlorine and chloramine The yeast matches with the Adventures in Homebrewing options, but I already had it on hand. The other two items were designed to clarify the beer and ensure yeast health during fermentat…