First Real Homebrew – Part 1

We’ve made beer at Brockley Brew School. We’ve made lager from a pack. Now we’re making our own beer from scratch.

To keep things simple we’re making basically the same recipe as we did at Brockley Brew School.

Before anything else we sterilise everything. This seems to be the key to good beer – it’s the contaminants that make homebrew taste bad.

Then the first stage is the mash, where sugars are extracted from the grains.

Grains M/O pale malt 4.5kg
Crystal malt 200g
Black malt 10g
Torrified wheat 100g
Adjuncts Flaked maize 100g
Water Mash 11L

The water is heated in our brewpot to 72-75C.

This gets mixed with the mash roll (all the grains and adjuncts) in our mash tun (insulated box) which should be at 65-68C before being left for an hour.

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While that’s sitting we heat up another 20L of water for the sparge stage. This gets poured on top of the mash, then is drained through the mash, to get the wort that’s used for brewing.

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The wort goes back in the brewpot and brought to a rolling boil before hopes go in.

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Hops Chinook 16g 60min
Centennial 10g 60min
Cascade 5g 30min
Cascade 5g 0min
Extras Irish moss 1 tsp 15min

The times are how long the hops are in for. As the boil is or an hour it means the Chinook hops go in at the start, the Centennial after 30 minutes, and so on.

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The Irish Moss is there to make the beer clearer. In Germany beer is legally only allowed to contain grains, hops, water & yeast, so they’re not allowed to use this, which is why many German beers are cloudy.

After boiling the wort is quickly cooled using a heat exchanger to get it down to 20C, and goes into the primary fermentation vessel (a big bucket).

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At this point we take the gravity using this weird floating thing. There must be a better way to do this. Every time I float it, it gives a wildly different reading. Anyway… it looks to be around 1035… maybe? Anyway it’s in the brown area labelled ‘beer’ on the stick if nothing else!

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Finally, for today, it’s time to pitch (add) the yeast. 11.5g of US-05 yeast is sprinkled on top of the wort.

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Then the fermenting vessel is sealed and an air lock placed on top. This goes on a heat mat under the stairs, which should keep it at 20C during the two weeks of fermenting.

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Now we’re just left with the cleaning up… At least the spent grains will work wonders in the compost!

2 thoughts on “First Real Homebrew – Part 1

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