The First Brew

The First Brew:

Early Summer 2013.

Beer making! First off let me say, I am pretty new to this. I have over the past two and a bit years made a few beers from kits, with the results varying from good to great. In a similar time frame Kim’s dad, Graham, has also been making beer from kits. Being retired he has a bit more time than me to take things a little bit further, as evidenced by the fact that he now has two hand pumps fitted in his kitchen which are fed from barrels in their cellar.

As we have both thoroughly enjoyed the results of our kit brews we decided that it’d be a good idea to try a brew `from scratch’. Now, Graham being a man who likes to get the right equipment for a job has over a few months acquired a mash tun, an electric boiler, a gas ring and stainless steel boiler and other requisite items for brewing from scratch. All we needed to do was pick a recipe and get brewing… and that we did!

The Ingredients

The Ingredients

Following a recipe provided to us by the very helpful owner of Morley Home Brew Centre (a great shop) we proceeded to make an IPA. I shan’t give the recipe as it is not ours… Anyway…

The steps were as follows:

1) Heat up enough water for the mash (11.5L), then mash. Basically soaking the malt in hot/warm water for 90 mins to get the sugars out.

Mashing in the mash tun

Mashing in the mash tun

2) After pouring the wort (the name of the sugary water from the mash) into the boiler the next step is the Sparge. Rinsing the drained mash grains with hot water to get more sugars out of the malt and into your boiler.

3) The Boil, for 5 gallons we boiled for 90 minutes adding the various hops at designated time intervals to achieve different the flavours and aromas to be present in the final beer. To be honest this ‘when in a boil to add different hops’ is the bit of brewing magic I am yet to get my head around.

During the boil, hops just added

During the boil, hops just added

4) Cool. Really this should be done with some sort of cooling device but we didn’t have one so we left it overnight. (Be sure to take out the hops and any irish moss used! See below).

5) Add the yeast and ferment.

6) Barrel for second ferment and allow to settle.

7) Drink!

This being the first brew we made perhaps a few mistakes. I think we used too hot water for the sparge and not sparging enough meaning the expected ABV was a bit low (3.8% instead of 4.1%) and as at the time we didn’t have a cooler for after the boil we left the hops and Irish moss in a bit too as if cooled down, this gave the beer a bit of a funny taste on first mouthful. But other than that I’d deem the first foray into full mash brewing a great success.

Here’s what the end product looked like. I’d drunk a bit before I remembered I needed a photo of it!

The end product, with my co-brewer reclining in the background

The end product, with my co-brewer reclining in the background

Suffice to say, we were happy with the product and it didn’t put us off the idea of brewing from scratch!


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