Showing posts with label Homebrewing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Homebrewing. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Making Your BEER Crystal Clear

Beer is about a lot more than just a great tasting beverage.   The fact that a culture has grown up around the joy of making and enjoying fine beer testifies how much beer has become part of how our culture works. The drinking of the beverage is only partially about the taste of the brew itself and very much about where you have your beer, what you drink it out of, how the beer looks in the glass and who you are drinking it with.  And while you as a home made beer brewer cannot control many of those factors, you can control the quality and ambiance of the beer you make so it not only tastes great but is visually appealing as well.

English: Glas of german "Würzburger Hofbr...
Glas of German "Würzburger Hofbräu" beer, enjoy cold! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you pour a commercial beer from a bottle or a can, you may not be aware of how much those beer makers put into not just the taste but the affect of other senses have on the beer drinking experience.  The way the beer pours, the aroma as you pour it, the head that wells up in your mug and how the beer looks in the glass all are just as important as the taste itself.  The emphasis the big beer producers put on ascetics is so extreme that they even make the sound the can makes when you "pop a cold one" to be unique because they know that sound alone can prepare you to receive the taste of a great beer drinking experience.

The truth is none of that will change whether the beer itself is of high quality or is good to drink.  But visual appeal matters.  One area of visual appeal that you have some control over when making your own beer at home is clarity.  Clarity simply refers to how the beer looks in the glass.  If you can see through the beer and it is a consistent beige or amber color, that is visually appealing.  But if things are floating around in the beer, even if they are perfectly harmless byproducts of the brewing process, that can diminish how inviting your beer is to enjoy and even diminish how enjoyable the beer is to drink even if the beer itself is of high quality.

A lot of the "stuff" that floats around is beer comes from the yeast that is crucial to the fermentation process that makes beer beer.  Some yeasts are better than others about settling out of the beer during fermentation.  Another source of visible material in the beer comes from what is referred to as non-microbiological particles or NMPs which are a byproduct of the brewing process.  Again, none of these visible materials are harmful to consume nor do they reduce the value of the beer.  They just look bad and hurt the clarity of the beer which is one way beer is measured for quality.



Many of the NMPs are introduced during the initial creation of the wort which is phase one of any brewing operation.  The wort is boiled at a high temperature for a significant enough period of time to cause the proteins in the ingredients to break down and become part of the fluidity of the wort rather than remain in a substance state or a "floc" which remains visible in the finished product.  To avoid this make sure your boil sustains a temperature of 215F for 90 minutes to assure complete processing of the proteins. 

Another important brewing step that you can do to reduce visible agents in your beer is to cool the wort very quickly.  By bringing the temperature down rapidly, the clarity is vastly enhanced as is the flavor and overall quality of the beer.  The best way to accomplish such rapid cooling is to move the wort quickly from the brewing process to a very cool environment or using a specialized wort cooler to quickly bring that temperature down and eliminate many of the flocs that might be there if the cooling goes more slowly.

Seeking beer clarity can become a major passion of yours as a home brewer and there is a whole science to using clarifying agents such as Irish Moss to enhance beer clarity without diminishing beer quality or taste.  Learning good techniques for making your beer clear and appealing is just another step in your ongoing quest to become the best amateur beer making possible.  And that is a quest worth pursuing.



Monday, November 14, 2016

Brewing BEER

Beer drinkers see a pint of beer as a magical golden brew. Many have said that it's surely the Nectar of the Gods. In reality, most beers are based on a basic four-ingredient recipe, and undergo a simple brewing process before bringing joy to the parched bar patrons of the world.

A blend of milled malted barley for beer brewing
A blend of milled malted barley for beer brewing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Beer is created using a basic mixture of water, hops, malted barley and yeast. Depending on the type of beer being brewed, taste enhancements such as flavourings and sugar will be added. Starches are also incorporated into the beer so that sugars will easily ferment during the brewing process. The fermented sugars add body and flavour, while increasing the alcohol content.

Water
Beer is mainly composed of water, so the source of the water and its characteristics has an important effect on the character of the beer. Many beer styles were influenced by the characteristics of water in the region. Some beer makers claim that spring water or mountain water create their unique flavour and body. Understanding the effects of water minerals can be complex, but basically soft water is suited to light brews, where hard water is more suitable for dark beers.

Hops
Since the seventeenth century, hops have been used as a popular bittering agent in beer. Adding hops is important, as the bitterness helps to counteract the sweetness of the malts. Hops also contribute a variety of aromas ranging from herbal to citrus. The bitterness in beer is generally measured using the International Bitterness Units scale. Hops also provide an antibiotic effect that favors the activity of brewer's yeast over less desirable microorganisms.

Malt
Every beer requires malt in its basic recipe. Brew masters can choose to use malted oats, rye, wheat or rice, but malted barley is most commonly used. Malted barley has high amylase content, and a digestive enzyme that helps break the starches down into sugars. The choice of malts depends heavily on what grains are cultivated locally. To create malt the grains are soaked in water, allowed to germinate, then dried in a kilt. As grain is malted, naturally occurring enzymes work to gradually convert starches into fermentable sugars.



Yeast
Yeast is a living microorganism that creates fermentation. The brew master will choose from different strains of yeast, depending on the type of beer produced. Yeast helps metabolize sugars extracted from the grains, and produces alcohol and carbon dioxide as a result. Before the functions of yeast were fully understood, beers were fermented using wild or airborne yeasts. Today there is a variety of yeasts available, with ale yeast and lager yeast being most commonly used.

Clarifying agent
Many brewers prefer to add one or more clarifying agents to beer, but are not required to publish these agents as "ingredients". Isinglas, bentonite, gelatin finings and Irish moss powder are all commonly used as clarification agents. Isinglas is a gelatinous substance obtained from the swim bladders of fish, so if you're concerned about consuming animal products, be sure to ask of detailed content information from the brewer of your preferred beer.

Next time you pour yourself a cold pint, stop to consider the careful choice of ingredients and the lengthy brewing process that were involved in creating your little glass of heaven. Raise a toast to your brew master, and leave your car keys at home.




Friday, April 22, 2016

Process Of HOMEBREWING MICROBREWS

The normal batch of homebrewed beer is five gallons in volume, which is enough for 2 cases, or 48 12 ounce bottle of beer.  

Homebrewing malt extracts: liquid in a can and...
Homebrewing malt extracts: liquid in a can and spray dried.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The typical homebrewed beer is produced by boiling water, malt extract and hops together in a largekettle and then cooling the resulting wort and adding yeast for fermenting.  Experienced homebrewers will make their own extract from crushed malt barley by a more complicated process of mashing the grain in boiling hot water.

With both cases, the wort is boiled for 15 min to an hour, to help remove some impurities, dissolve the character of the hops, then break down some of the sugar.  The wort is then cooled down to apitching temperature.

The cooled wort is then poured into the primary fermenter in a manner of aggression, as to aerate the wort.  Sufficient oxygen is also necessary for the yeast's growth stage.  The yeast is then put into the wort. 

The primary fermentation will take place in a large food bucket or carboy.  Sometimes it is left openbut often stoppered with the carbon dioxide gas that's produced by venting through a fermentation lock. 

The process of making microbrews takes a lot of time indeed, although you can take the necessary short cuts once you learn more about how the process works.  If this is your first time brewing, you should always use common sense and know what you are doing.

One of the best things about making your own homebrews is the fact that you can experiment with ingredients and brew your own creations.  You can brew almost anything, providing you have the right type of equipment - which can easily be found.


Friday, March 4, 2016

Proper Care for Your BEER GLASSES and Steins

Pilsner Glass (Hourglass): An exaggerated shap...
Pilsner Glass (Hourglass)
(Photo credit: 
Wikipedia)
For many beer drinkers, there’s nothing better than hearing that pop that comes with cracking open a fresh beer can. But is there an even better way to enjoy our favorite beers? Of course there is, the use of beer glasses and beer steins. Drinking from beer glasses and steins has a number of advantages over drinking your favorite beer right from the bottle or can, and it seems that people the world over are realizing this more and more. A glass or stein not only improves the taste and aroma of the beer, it improves the entire beer drinking experience. When a brew flows from the beer taps, the right choice of beer glass is essential in bringing out the maximum tastiness of the beer, but how do you continue to have a great drinking experience every time once you’ve selected your ideal container?

There are a few simple things that a caring connoisseur can do to ensure that they get the most out of their beer each and every time:

1. Whatever glass you choose, use them only for beer. Residue from other drinks may stay on or in the glass, affecting the appearance and taste of the next beer. 

2. When washing beer glasses or beer steins, use hot water and a soft cloth and rinse by hand. Avoid using soap; the residue left on the glass can affect the head of the beer and therefore the taste. If you have to use soap, rub the glass with table salt to remove any soap residue and let the beer glasses or beer steins air dry before putting them up for storage.

3. When storing your glasses or steins, avoid putting them in the refrigerator or freezer. Overly chilled beer takes away from the taste by numbing the taste buds and inhibiting the full aroma to be released. A frozen glass adds to this problem by numbing the lips and mouth as the consumer drinks. It can also weaken the strength of your glasses, leading to chipped edges and lips. Then you’ll just have to throw the mugs away and get some more.

4.Avoid beer glasses that are opaque in color. The breweries carefully formulate the color of the beer and it is essential in the overall experience of drinking it. The Samuel Adams recently released a special glass that brings out the full color of their variety of flavors of beer. This is an example of how more and more people and breweries are catching on to the beer drinking experience

5. Use your own judgment and go with what you find to be your own preference. If you’ve got a sweet disposition for German beer steins, who’s to say that you won’t enjoy an American lager from it? Don’t get too caught up in the pomp of beer drinking, it doesn’t require the snobbery of being a wine connoisseur; It’s just good old beer drinking. So tip it up and enjoy a cold one every time.




Thursday, November 26, 2015

Going to the Source to Learn HOME BREWING

The time between when it first dawns on you that you could start learning to brew your own beer at home and when you actually take a stab at it is often a long one.  For one thing, it takes a pretty significant learning curve to even begin to visualize that it possible to make beer at home.  Oh, you may have heard about home breweries but to think of doing it in your own home setting is a leap of understanding that takes some time to get through.

English: A small home-brewing set up of thirty...
A small home-brewing set up of thirty gallons in six 5-gallon containers showing maple wine on the left and apple-beer with overflowing krausen and a blow-off tube on the right 

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The internet is often a source of information that we go to start learning more about a new area of life like home brewing.  Perhaps that is how you found this article and that’s good.  That means you are off on the right foot and using free information from people who have already learned a few things about brewing at home to get your orientation to what it would take for you to learn to brew your own beer at home.

As often happens with any new area of interest, if your fascination with how to brew beer at home starts to get some momentum, it’s a good way to go to log on to the major home brewing web sites and begin to get oriented to the methods, the equipment and the process of brewing beer at home.  Do be aware that some of these sites get very technical and it's easy to get intimidated.

But if you can just get an understanding about the equipment and the ingredients and some basic ideas of how the process would go if you were the one doing the brewing, that is a good start.  Because online articles and web sites mix expert knowledge with newcomers orientation, if you do stumble into a section of those sites that you don’t understand, just surf on to pages that are intended to help you where you are and understand that when you get to that level that that technical sophistication, you can always come back to these pages.  Just build a good bookmark library because it will serve you well.

But to pick up speed on learning the real details of what brewing is all about, you don’t have to depend just on reading or books.  Because brewing beer in your own home is more than just book knowledge, it is handling of equipment and ingredients, the more direct exposure you can get to the brewing process, the better.  But it is also very likely that you developed your interest in home brewing while enjoying a good brew at your local brew pub.  Most towns have brew pubs where home made beers are sold in just about every flavor, color ant texture.  Many times these brew pubs grew up out of a home brewing hobby that just got bigger and bigger until it became an enterprise and a money making business

That is why most brew pub owners are more than happy to give tours and lessons in home brewing.  This is probably some of the most value exposure you can get to how the process of home brewing works.  By walking through a brewery where the beer you make is made, you can step through the process to get a feel for how you will proceed.  You can see the boiling pots, how the strainers are used and the filters and fertilizers and everything that is needed to take beer from raw materials to the finished state of a fine brewed beer.  In fact, with a little charm and by working for free, you may be able to apprentice in the brew pub making beer.  This time will be tremendously valuable to you to help you learn the ropes of making your own beer.



You combine this hands on knowledge with what you are learning on line and from other training sources along with what you can learn by networking with other experienced home brewers and you have a powerful source of knowledge that will pay you well when you start making your home beer yourself.  And that knowledge will result in some great tasting beers from your kitchen so you will be glad you took the time to learn all you can before taking the plunge.