Mastering Your Home Brew Recipe
|When youíve tasted a great tasting beer, you know it right away. Have you ever wondered about certain beer recipes and how people know just what to do to bring out the best taste in the best ingredients they use? A good bit of it is trial and error. But when the brewing is in the hands of an expert, there isnít any more trial and error.|
Timing is one main thing about brewing the perfect beer. Bringing a brew to a boil, but backing it off right before it starts to boil is just what it takes to capture a great taste. Enough time for fermentation is another timing tactic that requires perfect patience. But, different recipes require different timing variations as you will soon learn.
Getting the right taste though is a matter of ingredients and you might have to play with this for awhile to get the perfect taste for you. Itís different for us all. But, I love when I find a taste that surpasses all other beers I have ever tasted. When I finally find the right recipe, I lock it away in a safe so that I will always have it. I now have a handful that I break out throughout the year for various purposes. All you have to do is learn how to master your own home brew recipe.
Letís begin with a basic brew starting with a grain extract so that you donít have to have the exact equipment of a microbrewery or larger brewer. But once you learn the difference between all-grain and grain extract, certainly try a few all-grain recipes to enjoy better control and a greater final brew.
A clean, filtered water is the best. You can use your tap water, but youíll get a really bad beer by which to compare all future recipes. If you want to start off right, youíll get a few, clean gallons of water from the store. Heat a gallon on the stove to about 160 F. Check with a thermometer and turn off the heat when it hits 160.
Add your grain and let it steep for half an hour. In the meantime, bring 3 gallons of water to a temperature of a little over 160. I do this in a 5 gallon pot over the stove. Once youíve hit the temperature, bring your gallon of grain over and pour some of it in to rinse. Then, pour the rest in to rinse again. Discard the grain. Bring to boil.
Remove from heat immediately when it begins to boil and stir in extract. Once the extract is stirred sufficiently, bring to boil. While boiling, you should be timing. Different recipes call for different variations, but youíll be adding hops along the way and you want to get it right.
When the brew has boiled sufficiently, cool the unfermented beer commonly referred to as the wort as quickly as you possibly can. Siphon the wort into the fermenter and add water to make 5 gallons. Record the original gravity with a hydrometer and the temperature to the recipe specifications. Oxygenate and add yeast. Allow to ferment for about a week. Siphon beer in different fermenter and allow to reach final gravity of about 1.011 to 1.015. But again, thatís based on the recipe. Add priming sugar and bottle. Allow to condition for a few weeks, but it will generally taste best a few months down the line.
Here are a few tips to help you make great tasting beer. First of all when you need to get the wort cool as quickly as possible, there is a great way to do it. Purchase about 30 feet of copper pipe and bend in half so that both ends meet. Then, bend into a spiraling coil that sits about one to two feet high. Attach tubing to both ends. One tubing attaches to the sink and the other runs out to the drain. Immerse the coil into the pot just before you begin the cooling process. Run cold water through the copper pipe while removing the pot from the heat source. You can get the wort cool in less than half an hour.
One of the most important tips is to make sure that everything is completely sanitized. The least little bit of bacteria in any fermenter, tube or even the water itself can throw your beer taste off immensely. It could even make a batch completely undrinkable. So, make sure you sanitize everything with bleach and donít allow any of it to come into contact with any other substance until the actual brewing process. Make sure you rinse thoroughly. You donít want bleach beer.
The first beer I ever tried was an Ale I was attempting for Christmas. My plan was to make it for a handful of my closest relatives. But once we gave it a try, I knew I had to make a larger batch for the big family get-together Christmas night. Try crystal malt and chocolate malt with flaked barley. Brown sugar, cinnamon sticks and your choice of hops. Ale yeast and cascade.
If you follow the brewing directions above, add all the grains and malt in the water and then bring to boil. After it boils, add hops, brown sugar and cinnamon. Temperature of ferment should be about 70 F and OG should be 1.045. Primary fermentation should take about a week. Beer should be ready to drink in about a month.
Change recipes for different brews you want to try. For instance, try the various extracts like wheat malt, hopped amber malt, and dark malt. Then change your hops to various types like Amarillo, Chinook or Saaz. Try several different types of hops with several different types of malts. Make fruit beers, coffee beers and even try a chili beer every once in awhile. It will never get old after you make your first good beer. You only get better with age.