Beer batch #2

A couple of Emminent colleagues came over today for the second session of the Abrewja Beverage Company’s efforts to raise post morale (not that it really needs it). We went with an English brown ale this time. The kit had some chocolate malted grains and both dry and liquid extract. It looked and smelled good but not quite as good as the American pale ale from last week. There’s just something awesome about the extra hops of the pale ale.

The kit class for about 2-3 gallons of wort with water added in the end but because my water isn’t so clean and I’ve got the equipment to do larger batches, I just go big from the beginning. Last week i started with about 6 gallons of water and ended up with about 4 of beer so I went with 7 gallons to start with today. Didn’t boil as much off so this is a much bigger batch.

My friend took a couple pictures of my set up:


The Basics: Brewpot, Burner, immersion chiller. I tied the grain bag to my wooden stirring paddle during the grains mashing part of the process. They are just sitting there out of the way for now.


The Maestro reflects.


Adding the dry malt extract


The Maestro inspects. The odd stance is due to the heat coming off the burner. Can’t really stand close to it in sandals without sacrificing some body hair.

Because I’m paranoid about infection, especially since this isn’t the most sanitary country, I wasn’t going to do a secondary fermentation on any of these. The plan was just to leave them in primary fermentation for 3 weeks, then bottle for about the same. But due to a lack of equipment (more is on the way), I only have one 6.5 gallon fermenter. The other is full of StarSan sanitizer. I do have a bottling bucket that I can ferment in but I need it for bottle soon than later.

So today I racked the American Pale Ale to a Better Bottle carboy where it will sit for a couple more weeks. I would have just put today’s brew in the carboy but I’m paranoid about blowouts; if I had 6 gallon carboys that would have worked.

The only mistake today was forgetting to get a specific gravity reading before pitching the yeast. This is needed as a baseline measure of the density of your beer before the yeast makes all the alcohol. By comparing before and after readings, you can measure alcohol content. Last week the OG (original gravity) reading was spot on for the kit, very reassuring considering that I was doing it all in one batch. I really did want to know what I got out of today but I’m not going to risk any infection by opening up the fermenter now. If I’d used a bottling bucket for fermentation, I could draw some out from the spigot on the bottom. Alas, this will have to be mystery, but if the final SG reading is in accordance with what the kit is expecting, I think I’ll be okay.

I still don’t fully comprehend the effect of volume on specific gravity and hops utilization. It is supposed to make a difference but last week I used over double the volume of water to make the wort and boil the hops and still landed exactly where I was supposed on the specific gravity side. I’m not really one to stress too much about these things. The ultimate issue is how drinkable it is. I’d be happy to miss my target gravity and alcohol content if it tastes great as opposed to a technically executed beer that just didn’t taste right. Yeah, I know a technically executed beer is pretty much guaranteed to taste good though, right?

I’m finally starting to get excited about having some of my own beer to drink. I’ve got plenty of bottles of my own that I’ve been saving and have acquired a few cases of liter bottles from other people. I hope they are clean, as I really don’t want to have to scrub them.

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  1. Stephanie O

     /  April 24, 2012

    I’ve heard of people brewing their own beer, but I’ve never seen it happen!


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