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Monday, July 16, 2012

Brew Day - Australian IPA


It was a sweltering 90 degrees on this particular Sunday, so we decided to do what any old Chicagoan does to beat the heat... brew a beer. Shane took a trip over to the local home brew store, and was sold on a kit for a IPA using a rare Australian galaxy hop known for its citrus and passionfruit aroma. Opening one of the hop packets for a sampling got us very excited about this beer.

The process, by far, went more smoothly than it ever has before.

Since this is my first post, I'm going to go through the general process for brew day:

  • Steeping the grains: Heating the fresh malts to between 155 - 165 degrees. The purpose is to release the sugars from the malts.
  • The Boil: We add more water to the steeped grains, as well as malt extract. We also added hops in 3 stages:
    • Beginning of boil. This batch of hops will cook the longest, bringing out bitter flavors from the flowers, which is meant to balance out of the sweetness that comes from the malts.
    • Middle of the boil. This is meant to add flavor to the beer (known as wort during the boil).
    • End of the boil. The hops doesn't get cooked much at all, and adds the fresh citrus aroma
  • Cooling: Before the wort can be transferred into the fermenting bucket and yeast gets pitched, the wort must be cooled down from boiling to around 70 degrees (so the yeast can survive). In the past we used an ice bath around the pot. This took a very long time (several hours). Not only does this make things take longer, it also gives a larger window for bacteria to accumulate in the beer. This time around, we used a wort chiller Shane bought at a garage sale, and got the wort cooled in less than 30 minutes.
  • Transfer and pitch yeast: Once cooled, we siphoned the wort from the pot into a fermenting vessel. Ours is a plastic, seal-able bucket with a temperature indicator on the side. We then pitched the yeast, stirred, and sealed the container.
Three weeks later, we bottled the beer after mixing in some priming sugar, indented to feed the yeast and get it working again, which creates the carbonation in the beer. Now that's left is to sit and wait for it to condition. It should be ready to try in a few weeks!

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