On a recent trip to New Hampshire, I sat in on a beer brewing session with my father in law (Malted Hops Jedi Master). Here's what we did! (click on images to see bigger)
First we get our "wort" (sort of like the concentrated boiled muck that becomes beer) going by boiling the grains.
Canned malts are warmed up in a pan (for easy pouring) to get added once the wort is a good temperature (just at or a little below boiling).
In it goes!
Powdered malts are next. You have to be pretty careful with this step, lest your wort boils over!
Once our malted wort has a nice rolling boil, we are ready for the first batch of hops. (The hops and grains are boiled in these swell little bags that essentially makes them like big tea bags. That way you can get the "juice" out of them, without the mess.)
A little "Irish moss" (Neither Irish, or moss, technically) is added to help sediments settle.
With about ten minutes left (in about an hour process) the second, and last, batch of hops go in.
That is some good looking wort! :)
After is has been on the heat for about an hour, we try to rapidly cool it off so we can add the yeast. First we stick the kettle with the wort in a sink full of ice to get it down to about 100 degrees F quickly.
We have our thoroughly cleaned and sterilized 5 gallon bucket, and our 5g of water on stand by!
Add the cooled down wort to the bucket, then the water. We want it about 70-75 degrees F so we can add the yeast.
Don't skip this part!!! No yeast, no alcohol! :(
After the yeast is stirred in well, a couple of small samples are taken out to judge colour, flavour, and alcohol content. The vial pictured has a little plunger you drop in, and the highest number showing on the bottom is a close approximation of what the alcohol percentage in the beer will end up being, in this case, 6%.
Finally, the bucket is lidded up tight. There is a small aerator on the top to let the carbon dioxide the yeast creates out, but lets no oxygen (bad for beer!) back in. THis will ahve to sit for a couple of weeks before it can be bottled. Hopefully the Malted Hops Jedi Master will forward me a couple pictures of that process so I can odd to this blog!