Saturday, February 11, 2012

Small Scale Kitchen Brewing - Pale Ale

One of the main issues I hear from people looking to jump into brewing is that it requires a lot of space, time, money and equipment.  While this can be true, it doesn't have to be.  Most people who brew start on very basic setups, and many of those never move on to more complex systems.  More often than not, great beer is the result.

I want to make something clear here.  There are two main reasons for the outcome of one's homebrew;  the brewer and the quality of ingredients.  I will not name any names, but there is a very popular plastic system one can purchase at many retail locations, but I'd steer clear of this "guy".  I've seen it both first hand and heard it from others, a lot of ingredient kits out there have old, poor ingredients.  Don't assume anything that is a "kit" is bad though.  Just beware pre-hopped extracts, and buy from actual homebrew shops.  If there isn't one in your town (stay local, if for nothing else than freshness), go to a reputable online supply company (see side bar).

So, I have decided I am going to make a 3 gallon extract brew.   You can do a 1 gallon, less than that I don't know if you'd actually end up with much.  This brew is going to be the most basic I can think of, so it may not turn out the most tasty.  It shouldn't be bad, and it may be great, I just haven't tried such a 'simple' beer before [Edit After Brewing: I actually think this brew will be great. I underestimated the process.  This will be a good batch]
Size comparison, a 7 Gallon carboy on the left, a 3 on the right

Terms That Need Explaining:
Normally I'd jot down some terms here, but since this is the most basic, we're going to not worry about  most of them. All you need to know:

Wort - Pre-fermented beer.  Made up of fermentable sugars,  Today, it'll be a combo of extract and water
Pitch\Pitching: The act of pouring yeast cultures into cool wort.

Jameson's All Extract California Pale Ale

Estimated Total Brew Time: 2 Hours
Final OG: 1.050

Total Brew Time:
I started at 10:45 am, and was 100% done and cleaned up by 12:30.  So 1:45 minutes total.  Much of which was just waiting during the cooling period.

Mandatory Equipment:
Stock pot ( I'll be using 1.5 Gallon stock pot)
Extra pots for side boiling (If using a stock pot smaller than your batch size)
3 Gallon fermenter** (they exist! or you could use 1 Gallon jug for a 1 Gallon batch)
Blow Off Tubing/Airlock and Stopper (#7 for a standard 3 Gallon Glass Carboy)
Siphon cane and hose (cane for bottling)
Sanitizer (Iodophor, San Star)
Funnel (you could siphon)
On the left: Liquid Extract, Hops and Grain
Center: Strainer, Liquid Yeast Culture, Fermenter with Airlock
Right: 1.5 Gallon Stock Pot 
Bottling equipment***

Optional Equipment:
Small Grain Bag or Strainer (If using optional grains)

*We need to be able to boil our wort.  If we have 3 Gallons to boil, it's tough in 3 Gallon pot.  But!  We could theoretically boil 2 Gallons of wort, and add 1 Gallon of sanitized water prior to pitching!  Downside here is we might get a lower hop utilization. This could be offset by adding more hops.
**So the real kicker here is the fermenter.  You can use a bucket if it is food grade, you have an airtight lid, and you can somehow attach an airlock or blow off tube (whole drilled in the lid).  But a 3 Gallon glass fermenter runs about $25 online, plus shipping.  They are a bit heavy to ship ($10 at least) so check your local homebrew store.  They may be willing to get you one if they don't have it in stock.
***Will be covered later.  You could theoretically re-use old plast soda bottles with screw on caps(I wouldn't recommend it).

Ingredients for a 3 Gallon Batch:
Ingredients, top down, Malt (grain), Yeast
Hops, and Extract (bag)
4.4# Briess Organic Maltoferm Liquid Malt Extract
1/2 oz Organic California Pellet Ivanhoe @ 20 minute boil
1/2 oz Organic American Pilgrim Pellet Hops @ 20 minute boil
1 oz Kent Golding Whole Hops @ 5 minute boil
White Labs California Ale (I find liquid to be the easiest, activate 1+ hrs prior to brew).

Optional Grains
1/4# CaraMunich Malt

Scaled for a 1 Gallon Batch
1 1/3# Briess Organic Maltoferm Liquid Malt Extract
.2 oz Organic California Ivanhoe Pellet Hops @ 20 minute boil
.4 oz Kent Golding Whole Hops @ 5 minute boil
White Labs California Ale Ale - This will be total overkill for this size batch.  You could pitch dry yeast, preferably re-hydrated, and even better with a starter.

Here's where it is better to design a brew for a volume vs. scale it down, we may end up with some not so easy to measure amounts.

Projected Values from BeerSmith
Original Gravity: 1.055
IBU: 39.8
Color: 5.0 SRM
ABV: 5.6

If Using Grain (Optional):

Original Gravity: 1.056
IBU: 39.8
Color: 7.5 SRM
ABV: 5.6

1. Begin heating a total of 3 Gallons of water, If using grains, move to step 1a.
Left I'm boiling water to sanitize it.  
This will be added to the main wort (right) once both are cooler 
  • I'll be using a 1.5 Gallon stock pot.  I'll start with 1.5 Gallon for wort, and boil two more Gallons on the side in other, smaller pots (3 total).  These will only have water in them, no wort.   
  • Use less if you only have a 3 Gallon or smaller pot.  Give yourself enough room for a rolling boil.  And be aware that while boiling, wort has the tenancy to foam up, so give yourself a little extra room.  BeerSmith claims 2.82 Gallons is the perfect amount for a 3 Gallon brew pot, assuming we are going to add about 1/2 gallon after boil.
1a. If Using Grains (Optional)
  • Put your grains in your small grain bag (Note, I did not have a gran bag, I used a small strainer to soak the grains, careful if using this method.  Don't let those grains escape.  See picture)
  • Place your bag of grains in your water 
  • Begin heating your water, keep your grain bag off the bottom of the pot as much as possible. Use medium-low heat or else your'll burn the bag and the grains on the bottom..
  • Heat the water to about 160°F
  • Remove grain bag
  • Continue heating to boil
Optional: I'm steeping my grains in a strainer.
 Try to get as much grain soaked without it escaping
2. Once boil begins, add 4.4# Briess Organic Maltoferm Liquid Malt Extract (or whatever extract you have) and stir
Adding the MaltoFerm Extract
  • Add it slowly!  And stir constantly.  You probably want to turn off your stove, as the extract will easily burn on the bottom of the pan.  In the future we could use this caramelizing action to our f[l]avor..

3. Once extract is dissolved, return the wort  to a full rolling boil (we now have wort!).
4.  Add our fist addition of hops, 1/2 oz of California Ivanhoe Pellet Hops and Pilgrim Pellet Hops
5. After 15 minutes of boiling add 1 oz Kent Goldings Whole Hops.
6. Boil 5 more minutes.
Fermenter after adding iodine (sanitizer)
  • From here out, 100% of everything must be sterilized. Hands, tubing, spoons, fermenters, anything!!!!  Make yourself a batch of sanitizing solution. Start by santizing your fermenter, then you can dump that solution into something else to use for remaining equipment.
7.  Begin to chill and use a sanitized strainer to remove hops and any particles.  Add the additional boiled volume.  If it does not fit, cool on the side, we can always mix everything together in the fermenter (this is how I am doing it, using a 1.5 Gallon pot).
  • There's a lot of ways to do this.  The key is the faster, the better.  I've know people to just throw a lid on and walk away until morning, just asking for problems.  The easiest way to chill in this situation is to just get a bunch of ice, and place you stock pot (covered!) in an ice bath in your sink.  Plug your sink, add a some water and a good amount of ice.  Place your stock pot w/ cover in the bath.  Make sure no water makes it into your beer (see pic below).  If you need to add water, it needs to be sterilized by boiling first.
After iodine has settled.  
8. Once the wort is chilled to the mid 70's, we aerate the wort by stirring vigorously with a sterilized spoon.
9. Siphon or pour using a funnel into your sanitized fermenter
10. Pitch your activated yeast
11. Pop on your air-lock and store in a dark place.
12. Allow fermentation
13. Bottle****
14. Enjoy****

****Post coming soon

Swirl, nature is beautiful .. Sanitize your carboys
Fermetner and funnel
And the wort boils!

Ice Bath - Once we've finished boiling,
we need to cool ASAP, 
Stove utilization, added pots to lower the chance of boil over

Final Product and a Hydrometer taking a
Gravity Reading
Happy Carboy, Happy Yeast, Happy Me

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