Monday, January 12, 2009

First batch of homebrew for the year

Getting back into homebrewingWoot! It finally happened. I brewed beer again for the first time in over a decade last weekend! And man, I am glad to be back brewing. It was a PERFECT day for brewing outside in Colorado. For an early January day the conditions were prime. It started out just above freezing but it was sunny and hardly any wind at all. I set up my homebrew gear, sanitized my equipment and set the water to boil.

For my first brew, I decided to go with a robust porter extract recipe that I found in Brew Your Own magazine but decided to deviate a bit just to mix things up a bit. Here's the recipe I used:

7.1 lbs Golden Light LME
8 oz Caramel Malt 60L
4 oz Extra Special Malt
4 oz Dark Chocolate Malt
1 tsp Irish Moss
1.25 oz Goldings Pelletized Hops - 60 min.
0.50 oz Goldings Pelletized Hops - 5 min.
1 vial White Labs Bedford British Ale yeast

I steeped the cracked Caramel, ESM and Dark Choc malt in a grain bag in 160 degree water for 20 minutes. Then I brought up the wort to a boil and added the 7.1 pounds of malt extract and threw in the 1.25 oz of Goldings hops for a 60 minute boil. I substituted dry malt extract in place of liquid malt extract and decided to go with a lighter base malt just to mix things up a bit. The original recipe called for Fuggles hops for 60 minutes but the brewshop was out. So I substituted Goldings for that part.

After 45 minutes of boiling, I added 1 teaspoon of Irish Moss to help settle out the wort later. With 5 minutes left in the boil, I added the last of the Goldings hops, 0.5 oz, for aroma. Mmmmm. This recipe was smelling good.

Once the boil was done, I dropped in my wort chiller into the kettle and let some nice 40 degree water cool down the wort. It took roughly 25 minutes to cool down to a 70 degree pitching temperature.

Once cooled I drained the brew into my plastic fermenter tub. I took the wort inside at that point and added my yeast starter that I had made a few days earlier. I wanted to use a starter to help ensure a good active fermentation in just a few hours. Once pitched, I closed up the fermenter and shook it up vigorously for a few minutes to help aerate the wort.

After about 6 hours, the airlock started coming alive with bubbles. The yeast was feasting on the sugars with a passion!

The following is a 9:30 minute video highlighting this inaugural brew day for 2009. If you can't see the video below you can always watch it directly on YouTube.

It's good to be back brewing again! I can't wait to bottle this one up and carbonate it. More on this batch later next week when I plan to rack the beer into a secondary.

Continue reading: Pitching the yeast into your homebrew

Related articles:
- Creating a yeast starter.
- Bottle washing day.
- Testing the Blichmann Boilermaker kettle.
- Putting together the home brewery Part I.

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