Steve Griffin

 

Review: Barbãr Belgian Honey Beer

Barbãr | Brasserie Lefebvre

Honey BeerBelgian beers have always been a bit of a mystery to me. I live in the south of England, and the only Belgian beer you can get locally is Chimay which is priced as if it were unicorn blood*. Earlier this month, my girlfriend and I headed to London on a romantic day trip (pub-crawl-in-disguise) and in the evening we visited The Rake Bar, which I can only describe as beer-heaven. Here, I bought a selection of bottled beers from around the world to try when I got back home. The first of these beers was Barbãr.

*brewing-tips.com does not condone the unlawful killing of unicorns.…


Beer Kit Instructions – How to brew beer from a kit

This tutorial on how to brew beer using a kit was originally written by ‘tubby_shaw’ fromthehomebrewforum.co.uk. It’s a superb guide on brewing beer at home using a kit, and is best suited for premium high quality beer kits.

Beer Kit Instructions – How to brew beer from a kit

Two can or all malt beer kits are the pinnacle of beer kit brewing, these kits are available in a wide range of beer styles and are the best that can be experienced in home brewing before taking up extract or grain brewing.

This kit is Bardon bitter from Matchless Homebrew.

Brewing beer from a kit

Brewing beer from a kit

The kit contains two cans of hopped malt extract, comprehensive instructions and a sachet of yeast.

Brewing Beer kits

Brewing Beer kits

Recommended equipment is two 30l fermentation buckets with lids and taps, your choice of sanitising solution, a kettle, thermometer, hydrometer and trial jar and campden tablets or campden powder.
The first stage of the process is to clean and sanitise the fermentation buckets.
My recommendation before doing anything further is to dechlorinate your brewing water. Using 1/2 a crushed campden tablet or the equivalent of campden powder stirred into 25L of tap water will immediately remove all chlorine and chloramines which can give your finished beer a chemical or medicine taste.
Adding the campden powder to the tap water

Adding Campden to brewing water

Adding Campden to brewing water

Adding Campden to brewing water

Making beer from a kit

Making beer from a kit

Standing the two cans in hot water for 5 minutes prior to opening will soften the contents and make them easier to work with. Make sure to use a clean can opener.

Cans of hopped malt extract

Cans of hopped malt extract

Empty the can contents into the fermenting vessel.

Pouring malt extract

Pouring malt extract

Use some of the boiled treated water to rinse out all of the can contents.

Get the malt extract out of the can

Get the malt extract out of the can

Empty the dissolved contents of the cans into the fermenting vessel.
Warning the can will be very hot, use oven gloves or similar to protect your hands!
Stir to dissolve the bulk of the malt extract in the hot water added from the can.

Stir to disolve the Malt Extract

Stir to disolve the Malt Extract

Using the tap on the bucket containing your treated water, drop your treated water into the dissolved kit contents. This will ensure thorough mixing and also aerate your wort to give the yeast the best possible start.

brewing with a beer kit

brewing with a beer kit

Check that the temperature of your wort is between 20 and 28 Celsius.

The right temperature for fermentation

The right temperature for fermentation

If the temperature is correct add the yeast.

Adding yeast to a beer kit

Adding yeast to a beer kit

Take a gravity reading. In this case 1.040. If you plan to return the sample to the fermenter make sure that the hydrometer and trial jar were sanitised.

Taking a hydrometer reading

Taking a hydrometer reading

Taking a hydrometer reading

Yeast pitched

Yeast pitched

18 hours later at 20C and the yeast crop is beginning to form nicely

Yeast krausen appears

Yeast krausen appears

28 hours in and the yeast head looks like this.

Full yeast head

Full yeast head

7 days later and fermentation is finished
This is how it looks after a week, after another 3 days, it’ll clear down considerably and be ready for kegging.

Fermentation complete

Fermentation complete

OK so it’s been 8 days, gravity is 1.012, but now it’s time to keg.
I will be using a plastic home brew keg for this how to.
The keg was cleaned with Oxyclean, then sanitised with a solution of cheap, thin, unscented bleach. Then rinsed well with cold tap water and finally swilled out with a kettle of boiling water. (Be careful)
50g of sugar (I used demerera, but use what you prefer) was weighed out.

Sugar for carbonating beer

Sugar for carbonating beer

The sugar was added to the keg.
Using a length of hose from the tap on the fermenter, the beer was run into the keg which mixed in the sugar.

Racking beer to keg

Racking beer to keg

Once all the beer was in the keg a burst of gas from an S30 cylinder was added.

S30 co2 cylinder

S30 co2 cylinder

After 5 minutes to allow the CO2 to settle, the lid was cracked to vent the air in the keg and leave a protective blanket of CO2.
This keg has a mechanical pressure relief valve, a further squirt of gas and the indicator can be seen to be OK (Green showing)

Kit beer brewing

Kit beer brewing

40 Pints of Bardon bitter conditioning.

Beer conditioning

Beer conditioning

Give it a couple of weeks before checking for clarity.

 

 

 

 

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Methods of Mashing

What is Mashing?

Mashing is part of the all-grain brewing process. Put simply, it is the act of mixing malted grains with hot water to convert their starch into sugar, it is this sugar which the yeast convert into alcohol giving us beer. Mashing is half science, half art; there are many different ways of mashing grains, and everyone does things slightly differently to eachother. When you are starting all-grain brewing for the first time, it is best to stick to the tried-and-tested methods of mashing, and find one that’s good for you. In this post I will be summarising the four basic mash types, and with a little help from various online sources will try to explain what makes each one different.

Mashing Grains

Mashing Grains

The Four Basic Types of Mashing

1. Single Infusion Mash

The Single Infusion Mash is the the most simple, and arguably the most popular mashing method for homebrewers to use. In an infusion mash, room temperature crushed grains are combined with a premeasured amount of hot water at an exact temperature. By taking the temperature of the grain, amount of water needed, and the mash tun’s properties the homebrewer can determine the exact water temperature needed, to ensure that combined with the grains they will achieve a mash in the 148 to 158 F temperature range. Infusion is typically done at a water to grain ratio of around 1.25 quarts per pound of grain. The easiest way to calculate the proper infusion volume and temperature is with an infusion calculator or brewing software such as BeerSmith orRackers.org. The mash is then held at that temperature, usually by keeping the mash in an insulated cooler for 45-90 minutes. At this temperature, the mash will readily convert starches into sugars. You can test for conversion of sugars using an iodine test. Simply draw a small quantity of mashed grains out, add a few drops of iodine to it. If the iodine does not turn blue, then the conversion is complete.

Types of Mashing

Types of Mashing

2. Temperature Mash

The Temperature Mash is an alternative to the Infusion Mash. Rather than adding a known quantity of hot water, the mixed water and grains are simply raised to the target mashing temperature and held at that temperature until the starch conversion is complete. While this is quite practical for a commercial brewer, temperature mashing presents challenges to home brewers. Most homebrewers use simple pots over a stove or propane burner, and it is difficult to hold a precise mashing temperature for an extended period using just a stove and pot. A popular homebrewing method for acheiving a stable temperature mash is the use of a HERMS (Heat Exchanged recirculating Mash System), or RIMS (Recirculating Infusion Mash System). These systems are expensive, complex, and are usually used by more experienced home brewers. You can find more information about HERMS and RIMS brewing here.

Commercial Copper Mash Tun

Commercial Copper Mash Tun

3. Decoction Mash

Dcoction mashing is a traditional German mashing method. In a decoction mash, some of the mash including both grains and water is moved to a second container where it is brought to a boil. The boiling mixture is then added back to the original mash to raise the temperature of the overall mash. Again, a calculator or brewing software is needed to accurately calculate the correct volume to decoct. Traditional decoctions were typically done at higher water to grain ratios of 2.0 qt/lb or more (a thinner mash). More modern techniques often use water to grain ratios closer to the 1.25-1.5 qt/lb range.

Big Mash Tun

Big Mash Tun

4. Multiple Step Mashes

Multiple step mashes are very complex, and are not suitable for novice brewers. Although a single infusion mash is suitable in 95% of cases where modern well modified malts are used, some precooked adjuncts and undermodified malts require protein rests at lower temperature before the main saccrification (sugar conversion) step. These protein rests help to break down complex starches in preparation for saccrification. Infusion, temperature and decoction steps may be combined to achieve multiple step mashes. For example a complex three step decoction mash might start with an initial infusion step to an acid rest at 105 F, followed by a protein rest at 122 F, and a saccrification step at 155 F. In many mash profiles, a mash out step is used to raise the temperature of the entire grain bed in preparation for sparging. The mash out step helps to halt saccirifcation, and also helps ensure an efficient sparge by extracting sugars at a higher temperature.…


Airlocks & Blow-off Tubes

What is the difference between an Airlock and a blow-off tube?

An airlock is a water-barrier that allows co2 to escape during fermentation, without allowing airborne particles, bacteria or insects to enter the fermentation vessel.

A U-bend Style Airlock

A U-bend Style Airlock

A blow-off tube replaces the airlock in a fermentation vessel. One end attaches to the top of the fermentation vessel and the other end is submersed in a container full of water.

A Blow-off Tube

A Blow-off Tube

Which one should I use?

For most brews, an airlock is fine. The advantage of an airlock is that it is relatively small compared to the blow-off tube, and is much easier to maintain. The problem with airlocks is that a very aggressive fermentation can clog the airlock with Krausen, causing a build up of pressure in the fermentation vessel. When that pressure gets too much, either the airlock or the lid of the fermentation vessel will pop off with great force, causing a big mess. A blow-off tube is much less likely to clog up than an airlock.

If you are brewing a beer using a top-fermenting yeast (most wheat-beers are brewed using this type of yeast), then you should always use a blow-off tube. This is because top-fermenting yeast produce a much higher, thicker krausen than regular ale yeasts and are much more likely to cause problems when using an airlock.

How to make a blow-off tube.

1. Attach a piece of sanitised tubing to the opening of your demijohn (or lid of your fermentation bucket) using a sanitised stopper with a hole in it.
2. Half-fill a small container such as a measuring jug or pint glass with water, and place the other end of the tube inside, below the level of the water. You do NOT need to use bleach or sanitising solution for this!…


Beer Styles: Irish Red Ale

Irish Red Ale is a medium to light bodied ale originating in Ireland. It has very little – if any – hop flavour or aroma. Irish Red Ale has a malty flavour profile with strong caramel notes. The deep red colour is achieved by using a small amount of Roasted Barley which also gives the beer subtle roasted grain flavours.

Examples of commercial Irish Red ales include Murphy’s Irish Red, Caffreys Irish Ale, and Smithwick’s. Despite the name, Irish Red Ale is not widely drunk in Ireland, where Stouts and Ordinary Bitters have become the ale of choice.

Irish Red Ale

Irish Red Ale

Original Gravity Range: 1.044-1.060 SG

Final Gravity Range: 1.010-1.014 SG

Color Range: 9.0-18.0 SRM

Bitterness Range: 17.0-28.0 IBU

Alcohol by Volume Range: 4.0-6.0 %

Carbonation Range: 2.1-2.6 vols

Source: http://brewwiki.com/index.php/Irish_Red_Ale

Irish Red Recommended Homebrew Recipe

Here’s a recipe for homebrewing Irish Red ale – You can find the original recipe atwww.homebrewtalk.com/f65/st-fuads-irish-red-22821/

Brew Name: St Fuad’s Irish Red
Brewer: St Fuad AKA Pumbaa

Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: see below
Batch Size (Gallons): 5.5
Original Gravity: 1.057
Final Gravity: 1.014
IBU: 18.7
Boiling Time (Minutes): 60
Color: 15.9
Primary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp): Until FG is reached
Secondary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp): Optional

Batch Size (Gal): 5.50
Wort Size (Gal): 5.50
Total Grain (Lbs): 12.75
Anticipated OG: 1.057 Plato: 13.98
Anticipated SRM: 15.9
Anticipated IBU: 18.7
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75 %
Wort Boil Time: 60 MinutesGrain/Extract/Sugar
11.00 lbs. Vienna Malt
0.50 lbs. Crystal 30L
0.25 lbs. Roasted Barley
1.00 lbs. Cara-Pils Dextrine Malt

Hops1.00 oz. Fuggle – 5.00%AA – 15IBUs –  40 min.
1.00 oz. East Kent Goldings – 4.75%AA – 3.7IBUs – 8 min

Yeast
Wyeast 1084 / WLP004
-OR-
Wyeast 1728 / WLP028


Speciality Grain Guide

Amber Malt

Speciality grains are used by brewers to alter the flavour, colour, and aroma of beer. Speciality grains can be used in both extract and all-grain brewing. In an extract brew, the grains are steeped (soaked in hot water) and removed before the extract is added and the wort is boiled. In an all-grain brew the speciality grains are mashed with the rest of the grain bill.

Here’s a quick guide to some of the most popular speciality grains.

Amber Malt

Amber Malt

Amber Malt

Amber malt is a lightly roasted chocolate malt. It gives the beer a strong biscuity taste with a coffee and chocolate aroma. Amber malt is often used in English browns, milds and old ales. This malt should only make up 20% or less of the mash when used in an All-grain brew.
Colour: 43 EBC

Potential Gravity: 1.035 SG

 

Black Malt

Black Malt gives the beer a very dark colour, and a dry roasted flavour. Black Malt is commonly used in Porter and Stout style beers. When used in Porters and Stouts, Black Malt is used for flavour as well as colour. When used in lighter beers Black Malt is used mainly for colour.

Colour: 980 EBC
Potential Gravity: 1.025 SG

Caramalt

Caramalt is a very light crystal malt. It has a strong caramel flavour and is sweeter than regular crystal malt. Caramalt is often used to aid head retention and add flavour. We recommend using caramalt as no more than 10% of the grist.

Colour: 20 EBC

Potential Gravity: 1.035 SG

Chocolate Malt

Chocolate Malt is a very dark roasted malt. It is used primarily in Brown Ales, Porters, and some stouts to impart a deep red/brown colour and dark-chocolate flavour.
Colour: 20 EBC

Potential Gravity: 1.035 SG

Crystal Malt

Crystal Malt gives beer a golden amber colour. It is used in many different beer styles and gives beer a toffee and caramel flavour. Crystal malt also gives the beer more body, and improves head retention.
Colour: 120 EBC (Available in different levels of colour)

Potential Gravity: 1.033 – 1.036SG

Crystal Wheat Malt

Crystal Wheat Malt is a wheat malt with a deeper colour and stronger aroma. It is often used in darker wheat beer styles such as Dunkelweizens. Also known as Carawheat.
Colour: 125 EBC

Potential Gravity: 1.035 SG

Flaked Barley

Flaked Barley is used to add body to the beer and aid head retention. It is more commonly used in darker beers, due to the fact that its high protein content causes haze which is undesirable in lighter coloured beers.
Colour: 3 EBC

Potential Gravity: 1.032 SG

Flaked Maize

Flaked Maize is used to raise the specific gravity without adding body to the beer. It produces a better, less harsh taste than simply adding sugar. It is often seen in recipes for Best Bitters and is used to make the beer lighter and more summery.
Colour: 3 EBC

Potential Gravity: 1.035 SG

Roasted Barley

Roasted Barley gives the beer a burnt bitter coffee taste and very dark red to brown colour. It should only be used in small amounts of 10% or less of the total grain bill.
Colour: 1300 EBC

Potential Gravity: 1.025 SG

These are just a few of the many speciality grains used in brewing. Thanks to Barley Bottom Homebrew Supplies for supplying pictures of the different grains. We highly recommend their online store for homebrew ingredients in the UK.www.barleybottom.com.

If you have any questions about this article, or wish to point out any mistakes we have made, please post a comment or email us at info@brewing-tips.com and I will get back to you as soon as possible.…