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Related Equipment

Bohemian Lager

What's a Bohemian? A touch of chocolate give this light bodied lager that extra flavor. If you are able to lager, try the Bohemian lager Wyeast, you won't be disappointed.
* From www.homebrewing.org

Double Pedestal - 10 Faucets - PVD Brass - Air Cooled

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* From www.micromatic.com

Brew Day

  • Large metal spoon
  • Strainer
  • Fermentation bucket and lid
  • Airlock

First, add water to your brew kettle. You want to leave enough room for your malt extract so you shouldn't fill the kettle all the way up. When you boil the wort (this is what your non-alcoholic sugar-water mixture is called), it can boil pretty vigorously and boiling over is a definite possibility. This is another good reason not to fill your kettle to the top. In a 20qt. (5 gallon) kettle, 2.5 gallons of H2O works pretty well.

If you're brewing with specialty grains, which most kits have and most recipes call for, you'll want to heat the water to 160°F - 170°F and hold there. Put your specialty grains in the cheesecloth or mesh grain bag, and steep in the hot water for 15 - 20 minutes. Just pretend you are making a large cup of tea. The exact temperature is not too important as long as its not too high. Temperatures in excess of ~190°F can cause unpleasantly smelling and tasting compounds to be released from the grains. After the time is up, throw the grains away (if you have a dog, I've heard of making these spent grains into some sort of doggie candy bar).

Add your malt extract, probably two 3.3 lb. cans. This stuff is pretty sticky, so it helps to soak the cans in hot water for a few minutes to lower the viscosity enough to coerce the malt to leave its home.

Bring the mixture to a boil. Be careful because it will boil over easier than you might think. Watch your wort very closely at this point. Set a timer for 60 minutes when the boiling begins, and keep it stirred fairly well so that it won�t burn to the bottom of the pot.

Add your hops. The style of beer youre brewing and the desired effect of the hops will determine how long to boil them. Boiling hops for the full 60 minutes will volatilize and boil off nearly all of their flavor, but will get most of the bitterness from them. Shorter boil times of 15 - 30 minutes will contribute bitterness, flavor and aroma to the brew. If not a lot of bitterness is desired, but you still want to get the most of the hop flavor and citrusy aroma, hops can be added with 1-2 minutes left in the boil, or after the heat is turned off. Another technique that gives a really fresh hop taste to the beer is called dry-hopping. This happens on transfer day. The recipe or kit you choose will tell you when to add the hops, and there are certain �rules� for hop additions to follow if you�re trying to make a beer in a certain style category. I personally think this is one of the times where your creativity and artistic license are the only rules. It's your beer, so do what you want. You cant really screw this part up, short of adding way too many hops (which some people do anyway, and like it).

When the time is up, turn the heat off. You want to try and cool the wort down as quickly as possible. This is called the cold break. By cooling the wort quickly, you are able to precipitate out most of the proteins and things that will make the beer cloudy if you cool slowly and theyre allowed to stay in the beer. Contamination is also much more likely at elevated temperatures so the faster it cools the better. The easiest way to cool the wort is to place the brew kettle in the sink filled with ice water (if youre lucky enough to live in a place that snows, and its winter, just put the kettle outside). Keep an eye on the temperature.

While the wort is cooling, pour 2.5 gallons of cool, filtered water into your sanitized fermentation bucket. When the wort reaches about 100F, pour it slooooooowly and carefullyyyyyy through your strainer into the fermentation bucket. This is the ONLY time you want to expose your beer to oxygen so dont be afraid to splash it around a little bit. The yeast need oxygen so they can reproduce to the optimum concentration in the wort before they start fermenting.

Now, your witches brew should be around 80°F. This is about the right temperature to add the yeast. Read the directions on the yeast packet though, I could be just picking numbers from the air. If youre using dry yeast, youll want to prep it for the beer by gently pouring it in one cup of luke warm (80F - 100F) water per yeast packet and letting it mix for 15 minutes. I sometimes use two packets in a five gallon batch just to make sure one of them is lively. You cant overdo it, they are only going to reproduce to a certain concentration anyway.

Now pour the yeast in the wort and gently agitate for a couple seconds. Before you put the lid on and make beer sweet beer, check the initial gravity of your wort with the hydrometer. Most hydrometers have several calibrated scales on them. I use the specific gravity scale, where 1.000 is water. Your wort should start somewhere near 1.040 - 1.050 assuming your recipe called for two normal sized cans of extract. Just put it in the middle of the bucket and read the bottom of the meniscus where it is floating. Write this value down; youll need to compare it with the final specific gravity to tell whether your beer is done or not, and how much alcohol is in it.

Finally, put the lid tightly on your fermentation bucket. Now you need to attach an airlock so that the CO2 produced by the yeast can escape, but oxygen cannot get in. The airlock provided in your kit or sold at any homebrew store should be fine. I dont use these though. If your yeast is really active, fermentation can be pretty vigorous and might come out the airlock. The only problem with this is it's messy. I just take a hose and run it from the hole in the fermentation lid to a sanitized pitcher half full of clean water. Its not an elegant solution, but I have carpet, and I like dark beers.

Now, sit back and wait a week.

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