Sunday, April 7, 2013

First batch of beer: Ahab's Stout + Recipe

Here begins our adventures making beer. My roommate and I agreed to start making beer at the start of spring. So we traveled to the homebrew store to acquire some ingredients to make a stout. We decided to make a stout because that is what we agreed on (we were also told that if we messed up clarifying the beer, it would be harder to detect). The recipe I got from the store seemed better than the one I had gotten from a book, but only because their recipe had everything that we needed in the store.
Tamle Steamer Brew Kettle
We named her "Big Bertha"


6 lbs Pale Malt Extract
1 lb Dry Malt Extract (For bottling)
4 oz Maltodextrine

1 lb Crystal 40
8 oz Roasted Barley
4 oz Black Patent
4 oz Chocolate Malt

1 oz Colombus Hops (60 minutes)
1 oz Cascade (last 5 minutes)

WLP 002 English Ale Yeast

So here are some pictures from the process. We started off by sanitizing/sterilizing everything we used to contact the wort. We had to buy a bunch of new equipment for the job, including our kettle. We found a 32 quart tamale/seafood steamer that was perfect for our needs.

First thing to do was fill it with water (about 6 gallons) and heat it up to 155°F (since our thermometer was in Celsius, 68°C). We then proceeded to add the grain bag and steep it in the water for 30 minutes.
Grains for stout
The wonderful smelling grains
Steeping grains bag
Think of it as a giant teabag
The grains turned the water to a very black color really fast, just what we needed for our stout.
Black steeping
After steeping, we adding in our malt extract and maltodextrine and turned up the heat to boiling.
Dextrines making beer frothy
Turned our wort into frothy goodness 
Once at boiling temperature (about 101 degrees C), we added in the Columbus hops. These add the bitterness to our brew.
Boiling wort 1
Boiling away
Boiling wort and hops
Another teabag!
After 55 minutes of boiling, we added the second hops, Cascade, for aroma. The wort was boiled for an additional 5 minutes.
Boiling wort complete
Volume was lost in the process
After boil, the kettle was transferred to the sink which was filled with water and ice. Since the wort cooled rapidly, water had to be repeatedly cycled into it. Because the kettle blocked our use of the faucet and drain, my roommate and I made runs upstairs to grab more water from the tub to cool down the wort. I rigged up a siphon to draw off warmer water. Think of it as a ghetto heat exchanger!
Sink heat exchanger
Just chillin.
Black Cat
The cat paid us a visit while we were brewing.

Once chilled down to about 30 degrees C, we poured our wort into the fermenter, adding air to the mix (aeration). The starting gravity of our wort was 1.052, which is what the recipe says it should be. It will sit in primary fermentation for 2 weeks, before it is racked to secondary for a week. Once those 3 weeks are up, it will be bottled, using the dry malt extract as a primer, and will age in the bottle for about a week. Cheers!
Stout not meth
Just in case I get raided (unlikely)

UPDATE 4/21/13:

Today marked the 14th day of fermentation. Our ale yeast uncharacteristically clung to the bottom of the fermenter during fermentation (ale yeast is top fermenting). Regardless, I got a hydrometer reading of 1.015, meaning the beer is 4.86% alcohol by volume. The beer will sit in secondary fermentation for a week before being bottled.
Checking after primary fermentation
A stout heart breaks bad luck
Siphoning to secondary
Siphoning to the secondary fermenter.
Bottling the Stout

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