I am far from an expert when it comes to brewing; so I decided to keep it simple by brewing a pure extract beer. I did create my own recipe, but it is very similar to recipes in a couple of my references below.
I used the following ingredients:
- 3.3 lbs. Cooper's Light Malt Extract
- 2 lbs. Munton's Amber Dry Malt
- 2 tsp. Gypsum
- 1/8 tsp. Kosher Salt (approximate)
- 1 oz. German Northern Brewer Hop Pellets
- 1 oz. UK Kent Golding Hop Pellets
- 1 tsp. Diammonium Phosphate
- 11 g. Nottingham Ale Yeast (I know I'm mixing metric and English, but 0.388 oz seemed like a ridiculous measure)
- 1.5 lbs corn sugar for priming. (Don't follow my mistake. Use 3/4 cup)
I rinsed and sanitized all the equipment. The purpose of rinsing is to clean any debris. I used plenty of water and rinsed the carboy, the boiling pot, and all the equipment. I did not use any soap. Soap leaves a residue that is hard to eliminate and potentially adds a bad flavor to the beer.
|Cleaning the carboy|
|Waiting for water to cool|
Carbon dioxide is a by-product of all respiration. Readers of this blog know that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, but the carbon in all living things ultimately comes from the carbon dioxide that is in the atmosphere. Green plants use the carbon from carbon dioxide to build sugars. All living things that we know about survive by oxidizing carbon back into carbon dioxide. It is a cycle.
More interestingly, perhaps, carbon dioxide will carbonate our beer. The yeast cooled to room temperature while I did the rest of the preparation. Perhaps, it would be better to prepare the yeast later, but the fermentation will occur at room temperature anyway; so it is probably not a big issue.
|Rocky Mountain spring water|
One could, of course, use tap water. It's perfectly safe, especially after boiling. In fact, my tap water a combination of Rocky Mountain spring water and snow melt, but it does pick up a lot of off flavors when processed at the water treatment plant. I decided that it was a good idea to start off good beer with good water.
|Piercing the water so that it will flow|
|Adding dry malt extract|
|Adding liquid malt extract|
|Adding bittering hops|
|Boiling the wort: the hops are floating on top|
|Cooling the wort in an ice-water bath|
Once the wort cooled, I siphoned the wort into the carboy. A siphon operates by a combination of gravity pulling the liquid from the bottom and atmospheric pressure pushing the liquid in the top end. If you do not want to contaminate the worth with mouth suction, it is easy to prime the siphon simply by filling it with water.
|Priming the siphon|
|Siphoning the wort|
|Siphoning the wort into the carboy|
|Adding yeast to the carboy|
|The wort in the fermenter|
|The fermentation lock allows carbon dioxide out, but prevents oxygenated air from getting in|
|After siphoning, fermentation continues|
|Old beer bottles|
|Rinsing bottles with copious amounts of water|
|Rinsing beer caps|
|Preparing priming syrup|
HOCOOH <=> CO2 + H2O
|Siphoning into a container for bottling|
|The first twelve pack|
|One of the few clear bottles I used|
|Ready to ferment again|
I actually ended up with 45 bottle of approximately 12 oz. 5 gallons would be 53 1/3 bottles. The difference arises from a combination of several factors: 1) I lost some volume by siphoning some off to avoid overflow. 2) I gained some volume by adding the priming syrup. 3) I lost some volume with the dregs. 4) I did not precisely measure 12 oz. into each bottle. For 45 bottles the price works out to be $70/45 = $1.56 per bottle.
Of course, I am not including the initial cost of all the equipment, but that can be amortized over all the beer that I ever brew. If we assume that my purchase was typical for sustaining my equipment, the estimate holds.
A week later, I decided to sample the brew.
|Ready to sample|
The beer was carbonated, extremely carbonated.
|Yes, it's carbonated|
In this case, I chose to bottle early, did not measure the density of the beer, and did not carefully calculate the amount of priming sugar. I can improve upon that in the next batch. In the meantime, it's time to taste.
After refrigeration, it is a little better. Gases, including carbon dioxide, are more soluble in cold water than hot water; so it makes sense that refrigeration helps.
|Letting the beer settle|
|The first pours|
I'm looking forward to the next batch. Perhaps next time, I'll try the White House Recipe.
- Burch, Byron, Brewing Quality Beers: The Home Brewer's Essential Guidebook, Joby Books, Fulton, CA 1986
- Palmer, John, How to Brew, http://www.howtobrew.com/
- Solvay Chemicals: Sodium Percarbonate
- Wikipedia: Eukaryote
- Respiration explained at GSU
- Malt products
- Wikipedia: Malt
- Wise Geek: Maltose
- White, Christopher, Yeast Supplements Make Fermentation Better, http://www.silveradohomebrew.com/pdfs/Yeast_nutrition_article.pdf
- Northern Brewer: Over carbonated beer
- Ale to the Chief