Saturday, February 13, 2016

Adventures in Brewin’–True Brew Belgian Ale

Hard to believe it was over 3 months ago since I made my first homebrew, but with the wintry weather outside and no good reason to brave the elements, I took advantage of an empty house, gathered up my gear, and decided to cook me up some True Brew Belgian Ale (fun fact, “Santa” brought this kit for me for Christmas but completely forgot about it, it wasn’t until I was cleaning up after the holidays that I came across an unopened 10 pound box from Amazon.. that’s truly a gift that keeps on givin!).

I started witht he usual tasks, gathered my C-Brite cleaner, measuring cups, airlocks, lids, thermometer and brew bucket, and sanitized the heck out of them.  Placing those items aside, I started a boil of 2.5 gallons of water. While the heat was rising, I first added in my 3 bags of Dyr Malt Extract that comes with the kit, stirring each one in to avoid clumping.  Once done, I took my bag of specialty grains and then soaked that as well.  Water just reached a boil when the bag was in there for 10 minutes, I left the bag in there another 10 minutes to make sure it had a decent time in there during the boil (neat trick: when you pull the grains out, keep the bag above the pot and let the runoff drain back into the wort to get any extra sugar’s, check out this vidfeo from some guy who likely forgot more about brewing beer than what I know -

I removed the pot from the heat and added my liqued malt extract, stirring it in to ensure it melted evenly, and then returned my brewpot back to direct heat.  At this time I also tossed in a few cleaned copper pennies, to help reduce boil overs.  Once I got back to a rolling boil, I added my bittering Northern Brewer hop pellets first (to boil in at 45 minutes total).  After 30 minutes, I added in the Styrian Golding Hops (for 15 minutes total), and 14 minutes after that, my Saaz hop pellets.  After 1-2 minutes I removed all hop pellets (I like to place my hop pellets in a grain bag so theyre easy to strain out).  At this point I turned off my heat and added the candied rock sugar to the wort, stirring extra vigorously to ensure nothing stuck to the bottom.

As I mentioned above, today was a good day to brew some beer, one reason being it was single digit temperatures outside.. perfect for cooling that wort!  I took my brew pot outside and put one bag of ice directly into the wort (a friend of mine said he does this to cool the wort all the time since the ice needs to be sterile when it’s made.  I wasn’t too sure, but he’s brewed much more than me, so what the hell!?).  At this time I also went and boiled 1 cup of water and waited for it to cool down to under 100 degrees. Around the time that cooling had completed, my wort was also around 100 degrees as well, I was able to bring that back inside, place into my brew bucket, and top if of to 5 gallons of water (the remaining water brought down the temperature to roughly 70 degrees.. just perfect!)  Once done I took my packet of dry yeast and re-hyrdrated it into my spare cup of water, waitied 15 minutes and pitched it into my bucker. By bed time, my bucket was just hanging out in my office doing a whole lot of nothin’, but by the following morning?  Well.. it’s burping like crazy, so much so that my airlock spilled some of it’s contents.

So, I’ll let this ferment for 1 to 2 weeks, then I’ll bottle, store, and count down the days until I uncap my first homemade belgian! Stay tuned, I’ll post some pictures for bottling day.

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