This will be a beer brewed without a kit. We have ordered the malt, hops and yeast to follow a recipe for an American-style IPA. We’re using Maris Otter base malt with small amounts of Munich and Crystal malts. The hops are Apollo and Bravo – both a very high in alpha acids – and this is the first time we have brewed with dried hops rather than pellets.
All posts in Home Brewing
- Malted barley measured out according to IPA recipe
- Pouring into mash tun
- Mashing grains
- Measuring hops
- Bloom of hops at the end of boil
The third beer we have made, the grapefruit honey ale brewed a couple of weeks ago, is a triumph. It is clean and crisp and has a strong citrusy finish, without any of the debris and aftertaste that has plague previous homebrews.
- Preparing grapefruit skins for dting
- Dried grapefruit skins to be added to boil
- Fermentation in a demijohn
We have had another try at making beer, again with a kit from the Brooklyn Brewshop. This is a pale ale, with Columbus and Cascade hops, and also calls for the skin of a grapefruit to be dried and added near the end of the boil, along with some Belgian Candi Sugar and honey. The fermentation was over within a few days, and there was a lot of sediment in this brew. It’s now bottled, and put away for a couple of weeks.
- English brown ale
- Violent fizz of a Belgian beer gone wrong
There is quite a difference between the two beers we have so far made using the Brooklyn Brewshop kits. The Bruxelles Blonde seems to have gone wrong somewhere in the fermentation, and each bottle is very cloudy, and will foam up and completely overflow when opened. The beer in each bottle is not that great either – there is a white filmy deposit that seems to have settled into sediment before the bottle is opened, but is remixed into the beer by the violent fizz when it is opened.
The English brown ale is way more successful, a really nice dark craft beer that is close to a porter in its malty taste and dark brown appearance.
This is my second attempt at bottling, and was a whole lot smoother than the first. Preparation is the key – get out everything you’re going to use and sterilise it, and keep calm. The beer in the gallon jar seems to have finished fermenting. There are only very occasion bubbles in the airlock, once every few minutes. The condition of the beer seems much better than last time – the sediment has fallen to the bottom and the beer itself seems quite clear, if very dark. It was relatively easy to syphon off the beer into another demijohn, and from there into bottles. I thought about leaving it in the second demijohn to check that secondary fermentation had started before bottling, but the bottles were ready and waiting and sterilised.
I think it is too early to pass judgement on this first batch of homebrew. The beer overflows from the bottle when opened, and is a very cloudy, with a whitish deposit that sticks to the inside of the glass. I think opening after two weeks (as suggested in the recipe) is a bit optimistic for this beer, and it needs some more time to condition in the bottle, hopefully to settle the cloudiness, which does interfere with the taste. I may move it to the shed, where it can stay out of harm’s way for a few weeks longer.
- Rapidly cooling the wort after the boil
- Rapid fermentation
Making another gallon batch of beer – this time an English-style brown ale. The barley itself is flecked with quite dark grains, and the hops are added mostly towards the beginning of the boil, for a more bitter taste. The fermentation on this one got going quite quickly, and is already fairly vigorous.
- Sterilised bottles drying
- Bottling workspace
- Strangely amber liquid sealed in the bottles
This is the first time I have attempted to bottle beer, and it wasn’t very easy. The beer itself, which perhaps we have left too long, has taken on a strange orange hue, and there was still plenty of activity in the gallon jar, as if it was still vigorously fermenting. I’ve mixed in a little honey and water, and syphoned it off its bed of sediment, and then sterilised the bottles and syphoned the beer into bottles (these are Leffe bottles from Christmas that we have saved especially for this purpose). The caps do not seem to fit quite right in these bottles, however, so I am a little sceptical that they are going to stay on once there is some pressure in the bottles.
To gain some experience brewing beer, we have a kit from the Brooklyn Brewshop – this will make a US gallon of Bruxelles Blonde, a light Belgian-style beer. It is a complex process, keeping the mash at the optimum temperature and then sparging and boiling, and then rapidly cooling to prepare for fermentation. There is a lot to go wrong. Once we have more practice, hopefully we can then move on to more efficient quantities.
The beer is currently fermenting, so we will write again when we’re ready to bottle.