- 1 Extract Brewing
- 2 All-Grain Brewing
- 3 Fermentation
- 4 Yeast
- 5 Hops
- 6 Styles
- 7 Priming
- 8 Clubs and Organizations
- 9 Food Fermentation Digests
- 10 References
Specialty Grain Steeping
"One of the best things that a new brewer can do to get a feel for using grain is to steep specialty grains in hot water and use this wort for an extract-based recipe. Using specialty grain allows the brewer to increase the complexity of the wort from what is available commercially as extract-alone. Steeping grain also adds "freshness" to an extract brew. So often, the extract you buy may be more than a year old and the resulting beer may have a dull, soapy character due to oxidation. Creating some new wort by steeping crushed grain adds back the fresh malt character that is often missing from all extract recipes."
A note from the same source on tannins from specialty grains:
"The analogy to a tea bag is a good one in that if the grain is left in for too long (hours), astringent tannin compounds (a.k.a. phenols) can be extracted from the grain husks. The compounds give the wort a dry puckering taste, much like a black tea that has been left to steep too long. The extraction of tannins is especially prevalent if the water is too hot - above 170°F. Previous practices regarding the use of specialty grains had the brewer putting the grain in the pot and bringing it to a boil before removal. That method often resulted in tannin extraction."
More on tannins from Brew Your Own:
"All-grain brewers are very careful not to allow wort pH to reach more than about pH 6 during sparging because tannin extraction increases with pH. Temperature also affects tannin extraction. This relationship is pretty simple. If you don’t want to run the risk of getting too much tannin in your wort, keep the temperature just below 170° F."
Full-Wort Boil versus Half-Wort Boil
From a discussion on Homebrewtalk:
"Ideally, all 5 gallons would be boiled at once. But many people have pots that are too small, or stove tops that won't boil 5-6+ gallons of wort. If that is the case, they do a partial boil of all that they can and add water at the end. That's better than not being able to brew at all, and it can still make good beer. Almost always, though, the beer is better with more wort boiled and less top off."
"A partial boil (boiling 2-3 gallons then adding the rest of the H2O in the fermenter) will usually result in darker than intended wort. This is due to the sugars caramelizing during the boil due to a higher concentration. A full boil results in less caramelization and lighter wort.
It's less expensive to do partial boils because of the equipment costs. If you are doing extract brews it is perfectly fine to do a partial boil. If you want to do all grain it becomes necessary to do full boils due to the collection of your wort from the grains."
"Your hop profile will change significantly with a 5 gallon boil. The kits are usually designed for a 2 1/2 gallon boil and have tailored their hop inclusions in the kit to accomodate that. If you are brewing from kit and it calls for 2 1/2, use 2 1/2."
"You can do a full boil on your kit, you just have to adjust hops (usually a reduction) to ensure proper utilization. Here is the calculator that will tell you how to adjust your hopping amounts to acheive proper IBU's for your particular beer."
Early Hop Addition (First Wort Hopping)
"What repeated studies have shown from blind triangle taste tests is that it creates a softer, more rounded bitterness than adding your bittering hops to a rolling boil."
Late Liquid Malt Extract (LME) Addition
"In this comparison the 'extract late' was done by adding 1/2 the extract for the full boil and the remainder at the knockout. The result c/t standard method was more hop utilization and lighter color. LME was used."
"I have always used DME from the get-go for the full boil then have added the LME for the last 15 min or at flameout. For recipes that call for speciality grains, steep at recommended temp, rinse, then add your DME and follow the hop schedule. At the end of the boil cycle add your LME."
Section 3 - Brewing Your First All-Grain Beer
How to Brew Beer Using All Grain Method
Transferring to The Fermenter
Does it matter if you strain the wort before fermenting?:
"I like to secondary my bigger beers for this reason. I don't have a great way of filtering after boiling and chilling the wort, and I know a lot of stuff gets into the primary. It doesn't seem to be a problem if it stays in there until I rack it after a couple of weeks."
"I whirlpool with my pump and kettle and rack clear beer into my fermenter post-chilling. No off flavors associated, plus its easier to determine the volume of wort going into your fermenter since there is no trub."
"I think in breweries the bottleneck is in the fermentation tanks. The reason for leaving as much trub in the kettle is to make room for more beer in the fermenter."
"Have you tried a batch or two where you just throw it all in to the primary, trub and all? I used to try to separate but, as you, got tired of the waste. After I started just dumping the whole kettle in I found hat everything settles in the Primary, the beer is still fantastic, and it cuts a fair amount of labor and time off the brew day. I can still wash the yeast too."
"James Spencer of Basic Brewing Radio did an experiment a while ago, where they brewed beers with and without the trub in the fermenters. The beer with the trub apparently had a better flavor and aroma, but I think the difference was slight. A small amount of trub is beneficial, as it adds some nutrients for the yeast. (At least, that's my understanding) If you can leave some or most behind in the kettle, don't worry about some making it in to the fermenter."
"Therefore I, and Jamil and White Labs and Wyeast Labs, do not recommend racking to a secondary fermenter for ANY ale, except when conducting an actual second fermentation, such as adding fruit or souring. Racking to prevent autolysis is not necessary, and therefore the risk of oxidation is completely avoidable. Even lagers do not require racking to a second fermenter before lagering. With the right pitching rate, using fresh healthy yeast, and proper aeration of the wort prior to pitching, the fermentation of the beer will be complete within 3-8 days (bigger = longer). This time period includes the secondary or conditioning phase of fermentation when the yeast clean up acetaldehyde and diacetyl. The real purpose of lagering a beer is to use the colder temperatures to encourage the yeast to flocculate and promote the precipitation and sedimentation of microparticles and haze."
Brandon's note: yeast starters seem extremely unnecessary to me. Commercial brewers have established a reasonable yeast pitch rate of approximately 1 billion yeast cells per milliliter of wort. A packet of dry yeast contains on the order of 220 billion yeast cells, and this is more than enough to achieve this pitch rate in a 5 gallon (18,930 mL) batch of beer. Additionally, the yeast will grow and multiply simply by virtue of fermenting the wort into beer.
"Directly pitching dry yeast is said to kill a large portion of the viable yeast cells, leaving those that remain stressed from the extra work they have ahead of them. Stressed yeast can create unwanted flavors and aromas during the fermentation process, so it is good practice to rehydrate dry yeast before pitching into the wort."
"You should not aerate when the wort is hot, or even warm. Aeration of hot wort will cause the oxygen to chemically bind to various wort compounds. Over time, these compounds will break down, freeing atomic oxygen back into the beer where it can oxidize the alcohols and hop compounds producing off-flavors and aromas like wet cardboard or sherry-like flavors. The generally accepted temperature cutoff for preventing hot wort oxidation is 80°F."
"Oxygenation of cooled, post-boil wort is essential for proper fermentation by brewing yeast. To be successful, homebrewers must pay heed to this important step in the brewing process by selecting and implementing a successful wort oxygenation technique that fits their equipment and budget. Oxygen is critical for the growth of brewing yeast."
"I always aerate my wort when using liquid yeast. Do I need to aerate the wort before pitching dry yeast?"
"No, there is no need to aerate the wort but it does not harm the yeast either. During its aerobic production, dry yeast accumulates sufficient amounts of unsaturated fatty acids and sterols to produce enough biomass in the first stage of fermentation. The only reason to aerate the wort when using wet yeast is to provide the yeast with oxygen so that it can produce sterols and unsaturated fatty acids which are important parts of the cell membrane and therefore essential for biomass production."
"O2 is not required and will not help the process when using dry yeast..."
A great choice for British-style pale ales and India pale ales.
Popular aroma hop and excellent choice for dry-hopping:
Kegged beer is often force-carbonated with a high-pressure tank of CO₂; while the force-carbonation process is easy and quick for kegged beer, it requires additional equipment—pressure-rated keg and gas lines, CO₂ tank, regulators—and isn't practical for bottled beers.
To carbonate bottle-conditioned beers, the beer is 'primed' for carbonation by the addition of sugar just before bottling. Pure glucose in the form of corn sugar or syrup is the most commonly used, but anything that contains fermentable sugar is a candidate: brown sugar, molasses, honey, maple syrup, &etc.
The sugar content of these substances differs, so a priming sugar calculator to determine how much to add.
- A Primer on Priming
- Sweetness: Brewing Sugars & How To Use Them
- How To Brew: What Sugar Should I Prime With?
- Homebrewing 204: Alternative Sugars
Clubs and Organizations
Find a homebrew club in your area by searching the American Homebrewers Association club database.
Food Fermentation Digests
This email list is ACTIVE. A complete archive of the digest from 1986 to the present is available on the hbd.org FTP server.
This email list is ACTIVE. From talisman.com, home of the Cider Digest:
talisman.com runs the Cider Digest, which is an e-mail forum for cider makers and other folks interested in cider, to discuss all aspects of cider. Most of the day-to-day discussion tends to be about making cider on the small scale, at home. The Digest is a non-commercial, strictly volunteer effort by/for cider folk. It was started in August, 1991, and handled for the first 500+ issues by Jay Hersh. Dick Dunn took over in November, 1994, and continues to maintain it. As of December, 2013, over 1800 issues have appeared. (Archives are available.) There are currently well over 1200 subscribers. Distribution is worldwide.
Mead Lover's Digest
This email list is ARCHIVED. From talisman.com, home of the Mead Lover's Digest:
talisman.com ran the Mead-Lover's Digest, an e-mail forum for mead-makers and mead-lovers to discuss all aspects of mead: recipes, ingredients, techniques, and history. Most of the day-to-day discussion tended to be about making mead at home. As of the end of 2013, the Mead-Lover's Digest shut down, due to lack of submissions and long gaps with no material. The archives of the MLD will remain in place. The Digest was a non-commercial, strictly volunteer effort by/for mead folk. It was started in September, 1992 and handled for the first 200+ issues by John Dilley. Dick Dunn took over in October, 1993, and continued through 2013.