I brought my brewing equipment over a friends house the other day to brew up an IPA. We get together and brew every couple of months. Our mini brewery uses the same principals and ingredients as the average brew pub or micro brewery. We just do it on a smaller scale. But all the ingredients the micro breweries use are available to home brewers. We’ve done some really good beers in the past.
If anybody is interested in the brewing process, this is how it goes.
We used about 11lbs or grain.
First the grains need to be crushed in a grain mill, this cracks the grain allowing the water to enter when it’s mashed. That’s me crushing the grains while my friends dog looks on.
Once the grains are crushed they go into a “Mash tun”, I use a converted Home Depot cooler. The pot of water on the stove is being heated. The hot water is added to the grain in the HD cooler. Temp will be about 152 degrees. At this temp, the starch in the grain is converted into fermentable sugar. It mashes for about an hour.
Grains mashing at 152.
Hops and years waiting to be used.
Once the mashing is complete. More hot water is added to the mash tun.
The next step is called “Sparging”. Basically the water is drained from the mash tun. This is a sweet liquid called “Wort”. We collect about 6 gallons in the boil kettle.
Now we boil it for about an hour. This is when the hops are added. The longer a hop boils the more bitterness is extracted from them. Hops added at the start are bittering hops, hops added later are more for flavor and aroma.
Once the boiling is done it is quickly brought back down in temp using a wort chiller, basically it’s a copper coil that is attached to a hose, it works as a heat exchanger.
Once the Wort is cooled, it’s put into a fermenting bucket (some people use glass, I just use plastic). Now the yeast is added. It will ferment in about five days, Then it will be transferred to a secondary fermenter to settle and clarify. After that it’s bottled and priming sugar is added to create the carbonation. It will be carbonated and ready to drink in about two to three weeks