So for a couple years before my wife and I decided to uproot our family and move almost halfway across the country, I was brewing with a couple of my friends on a regular basis. We were up to a 5-gallon batch every month, which we split between households, but I always had some home-brew on-tap in my beer fridge. Fast forward a while longer after the great move, and I was itching to brew again. My main impetus was a new reasonably priced plastic conical fermenter. Then I just needed an excuse to get the fine fellows at AdventuresInLunch.org to come out for a visit. That happened, and after a few days of watching my daughters, we got to brewing. This a basic overview of our process, with a few of the pictures I remembered to take.
This is the new fermenter, made by FastFerment. Saw it advertised through the AHA newsletters, and it was as good an excuse as any to get back to brewing and simplify the process. Simple primer on conicals, they allow all the yeast and other trub from hops and such, to settle out to the bottom. This system has a removable collection ball, and they advertise you can easily harvest the yeast for reuse. Cool system, ended up buying it direct from their website, but its available from Amazon as well as many home-brew shops.
Did I mention it was snowing when we were brewing? A couple inches, at around 28ºF, but we were working in my garage and ensured we had adequate ventilation.
Here we are adding the grains to a grain sock for the boil. Basically, we put the milled grains into a muslin sock to contain the solids and reduce trub in the fermenter later.
Putting the grain sock in the brew kettle.
I don’t have all the equipment for an all grain batch, so we used a liquid malt extract to get our fermentables and flavor profile we wanted. We stuck with a fairly basic recipe from the local home brewshop in Boulder, Boulder Fermentation Supply. Some of our other supplies were picked up at Lafayette Homebrew Supply.
Here’s a picture of the setup mid-boil. The water jugs in the background were our water source, I didn’t have a good way to get filtered water to my garage another way. Silly cold climate! We bought the water from the local supermarket, but it was bottle only a few miles uphill at Eldorado Springs.
Well, that it for the brewing process, really. Well, except for the hops and Irish moss. But I don’t have picture of those. We used a copper chiller and ran some nice cold ground water through it, we chilled an entire 5-gallon batch down to yeast pitching temperature in around 8 minutes. I’m gonna make a second post with the fermentation steps and kegging process.