Balticon 46 Wrap-up – Part 10, Home Brewing

by Doc Coleman on April 8, 2013 · 0 comments

in Balticon

Welcome to episode 10 of the Balticon 46 wrap up! Today, we’re going to talk about beer! Specifically, how you can make your own beer in the comfort of your own home. With a little effort and patience, you may be able to make better beer than you can buy in stores for much less. Hosting this panel are John Taylor Williams and Thomas Gideon of the Libation Liberation Front, formerly known as the Living Proof Brew Cast. Filling out our panel of  homebrewers are Scott Roche, of Scott Roche’s Omniverse, and myself. If you’ve ever considered making your own beer, this episode will give you a lot of tips on where to get started. There is a TON of information in this episode and it comes fast and furious. You may want to listen to it more than once.

Show notes below the cut.


Play

Show notes:

  • Welcome
  • Introductions
    • Doc Coleman
    • Thomas Gideon
    • Scott Roche
    • John Williams
  • How many of you have home-brewed?
  • How many of you will be home brewing soon?
  • What is home brewing?
    • Taking sugar and introducing it to yeast.
    • Is beer the product of a process, or a beverage made with particular ingredients?
      • Saki
  • The process of brewing.
    • Staring simple: Extract brewing
      • Malt has already been prepared into syrup or power.
      • Add to boiling water.
      • Add hops or other bittering agents.
      • Cool.
      • Add yeast.
      • Ferment for a couple of weeks.
      • Bottle with a little additional sugar.
      • Condition for a week or two.
      • Enjoy!
  • Key things: Sanitize, sanitize, sanitize!
  • Yeast is temperature sensitive.
  • Cooling enough to let the yeast survive.
  • Yeast
    • Thousands of varietals, but two main types of yeast: Ale and Lager
      • Ale likes warm temps and ferments on top.
      • Lager likes the cold and ferments on bottom.
    • There are always exceptions.
    • Easiest to start with extracts and use Ale yeast.
    • Stouts and porters are examples of Ales.
  • Make sure you have a stable temperature environment.
    • Can ferment in a different place than where you brew, but needs stable temperatures.
  • You can home lager, but it usually requires building special equipment.
  • Lagers have smoother favor profiles, but take longer to ferment and condition.
  • Ales are sharper and more aggressive, but are quicker.
  • Is glass better than plastic?
    • There is a big debate.
    • No real advantage for glass, except for long-term storage.
    • Plastic is easier to clean out.
      • Scratches in plastic can cause infection, but they are cheap enough to replace periodically.
  • Lager will ferment as low as 45 to 40 degrees
    • That is right on the edge of stalling.
  • Want to create conditions that your yeast to thrive, and nothing else.
  • Best material for fermenters: Stainless Steel.
    • Most useful, but expensive.
  • You can start cheaply.
    • Starter kits will cost around $100.
      • May or may not include ingredients.
      • Probably won’t include bottles.
      • Will include all the equipment needed.
      • Makes a 5 gallon batch – 2 cases of beer.
    • Ingredients shouldn’t cost more than $50 per batch.
  • Am I moderating this panel?
    • We were wondering.
  • Best kind of bottles?
    • Brown.
    • Not twist tops.
    • Otherwise depends on you.
    • Can use growlers or swing-top (Grolsch type bottles)
      • Can prevent bottle bombs.
    • Bottle bombs: a horrible waste of beer.
    • Brown bottoms will prevent light from skunking the beer.
      • Brown filters out the light that causes skunking.
    • Imports in green or clear bottles?
      • This country hates us.
  • Can you brew in an apartment?
    • Brew in your kitchen.
    • Typical batches are 5 gallons, but it can be smaller.
    • You don’t have to boil all 5 gallons.
      • Partial boils 2 to 2 1/2 gallons and adds the rest later.
    • Pros and cons of partial boiling
      • Pro: Can hit yeast pitching temperature after adding water to make 5 gallons.
      • Con: Can limit the amount of hop oils that get into your beer.
    • Brew with a friend and split the batch!
    • All you need is a closet with a consistent temperature to store in while fermenting.
  • Can you use tap water?
    • It depends on your tap water.
    • Certain beers prefer certain alkaline water.
    • If you enjoy drinking your tap water, you’ll enjoy drinking your beer.
    • What about Chlorine?
      • Chlorine boils out.
  • What about roommates/housemates?
    • Do they like the smell of boiling wort?
  • Costs less to make and drink your own beer.
    • Everything is re-used except for bottle caps, sanitizing chemicals, and ingredients.
    • You can re-use spent grains.
      • Mulch
      • Spent grain bread.
  • Grains and partial mashing
    • Part from extract, and part from grains you add.
    • Extract lets someone else choose the malt blend.
      • Malting changes starches to sugars
      • Mashing re-starts that process.
    • Partial mashing gives you more control over the malt mix and flavor profile.
    • Different varieties of roasted malts.
    • Yeast will eat some sugars and ignore others.
  • All-Grain
    • Mashing – converts starches to sugars
    • Lautering – washes the sugars out of the grains to create wort.
    • Many techniques and lots of debate on best.
    • More room for experimentation.
  • Hops
    • Lots of variety with different flavors.
    • Typically boil wort for 60 minutes. Get different flavors from adding hops at different times.
      • Or can vary hops for each addition.
  • Can figure out how to replicate someone else’s beer, or start somewhere and design your own beer.
  • Sanitization is key to prevent infections.
    • Clean and sanitary are not necessarily the same thing.
    • Clean the equipment.
    • Clean the area.
    • Sanitize anything the beer will touch after the boil.
    • Most dangerous time  is from when you turn the heat off until you pitch the yeast.
      • Reduce time by adding cold water
      • Or ice
      • Or using a wort chiller.
    • Sanitizers to use?
      • B-Brite
    • Sanitize fermenters
    • Sanitize bottles just before bottling.
    • If using dishwasher to sanitize bottles, do NOT use JetDry.
      • Will coat dishwasher and bottles with JetDry.
      • Will kill the head on your beer.
      • B-Brite may cut through the JetDry.
      • Do not use detergent in dishwasher when sterilizing bottles, or run an extra rinse cycle.
      • B-Brite does not need to be rinsed.
      • Use max heat setting on dishwasher.
  • Why do you use hops?
    • Balance the sweet with the bitterness.
    • Some malts have bittering characteristics.
    • People use to make sweet beer and eat bitter food while drinking it to balance flavors.
    • Treat making beer like cooking food.
    • Gruit: non-hopped beer
      • Doesn’t last as long.
    • IPA: more hops for better preservation of beer in shipping.
  • Drink by dates: Don’t apply to homebrew
    • Yeast is still alive and improving flavors for years.
  • That’s all the time we have.

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