Brewing an extract batch of beer can be as easy or as difficult as you want it to be. The key to brewing is to start with the basics and master them before moving on to the next step. Brewing is a learning process that never ends and as long as we keep educating ourselves and paying close attention to sanitation our beers should always turn out just a little better than the last one. Here are some basics to extract brewing that we hope will help the beginner……
Step 1.Start by heating 3 gallons of water (6 if using a larger pot able to handle the full boil) in a clean stainless steel kettle. My recipe called for 154 degree water for a 45 minute grain rest (Will vary by recipe).
Step 2. After you have let your grains rest bring your water to a boil, turn heat off, add your extract and turn heat back on.
Step 3. Boil for 60 minutes and add your first Hop addition (if recipe calls for it). This Hop addition will be for bittering since its is an early addition, it will also increase the beer’s IBUs. You can use a muslin bag like the one below to hold your hops if you are not using a kettle screen.
Step 4. At this point we want to control our boil and keep an eye out for boilover. Since you will have some downtime crack a beer or 2 and let the sanitizing begin. At this point you will need to clean out your fermentation vessel with a product like PBW and then sanitize it. I am using some Iodophor to clean my carboy. Make sure not to rinse out the carboy after draining as this will defeat the purpose of sanitizing.
Step 5. Next we will add hops as they are called for in the recipe we are using. My recipe called for a 5 minute addition of hops which will add aroma to the finished product. I also added irish moss to the boil at 10 minutes to add some clarity.
Step 6. when the 60 minute timer is up shut off the heat and start your cooling process. Rapid cooling is essential at this point to avoid contamination of your wort. Cooling options include submersing the kettle in an ice bath, using a copper wort chiller or using a plate chiller. I will discuss chilling options at another time but for this batch i’ve chosen to use a plate chiller as it can cool 5 gallons of wort down to 68 degrees in less than 10 minutes! Transfer your cooled wort to your fermentation vessel and top off with water to make 5 gallons. ***Caution, do not use ice as a substitute as this will contaminate your batch!***
Step 7. The final step of brew day besides drinking your next beer and cleaning up will be to aerate and pitch your yeast. Aeration can be done by simply shaking your vessel for a while or by using pure oxygen through a diffusion stone. Make sure the wort is cooled to 70 degrees before pitching your yeast.