A Wishful Wednesday realized! As we wrote in this post, we wanted to brew beer. Shortly thereafter, there was a Groupon for a beginning brewing kit from Midwest Supplies. We scooped that up, and ordered our brewing kit with the oatmeat stout recipe kit. If you order a kit, open it right away! There’s yeast included, which should be refrigerated. I missed that, but fortunately our yeast was still just fine.
Then we got to brewing! The beginning brewing kit came with a helpful DVD that led me through the brewing process. Additionally, the recipe kit came with great instructions tailored to this specific recipe. I was impressed by how good of a job Midwest Supplies did.
The grains steeping in the pot
The first step was to steep the grains with water in a 5 gallon stainless steel pot. After a set amount of time, I took out the grains and took the pot off the heat.
The grains after removed from the pot
Then I added the jug of malt extract, some hops, and brought the solution to a boil.
Here I’m warming the malt extract in hot water so that it’ll pour more easily
The instructions warned about a boilover, and for good reason! I definitely had a boilover as soon as the mixture started boiling. It did make a mess, but it wasn’t terrible to cleanup. It was bad enough that I made sure it didn’t happen again! The mixture then boiled for about an hour. I stayed close by and stirred it frequently to make sure it didn’t boil over again.
The solution on its way to boiling
I also took this time to sterilize the fermenting bucket. Since we’re creating a solution full of sugar, it’s an environment where bacteria would have a field day. It’s very important that everything is sterile so that the yeast we introduce is the only thing eating the sugar and causing the fermentation. The kit came with a no-rinse sterilizing solution which worked great.
Then it was time to cool the solution, transfer it to the fermenting bucket, and add the yeast. To cool the solution I filled the sink with ice water, put the pot in it, and then added ice to the pot itself. I found that these methods cooled the solution very quickly, which according to the instructions is very important. While it was cooling down, I put the yeast in warm water to get it started. Then I transferred the solution to the fermenting bucket, stirred it like crazy to get oxygen in the solution like the instructions said, added water just above the 5 gallon mark, and added the yeast.
Adding water and stirring to add oxygen
George sealed up the bucket with the lid, I filled the airlock with water and put it in the hole on the lid, and George carried the heavy bucket away to be stored for a week. Fair warning: the full bucket of 5+ gallons of “beer” weighs a lot!
Here’s the fermentation bucket, full of soon to be beer. The airlock is in the top.
Next post I’ll discuss transferring the beer to a carboy for its secondary fermentation. Here is the Part 2 post to read on!