Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Guest Post: Billy's Easy British-Style Pale Ale

The blog name gives it away, the Braumeister's Wife. I am married to a brewer. Billy loves the process of making beer and it must be in his genes because as we have found out as of late, through his dad's distant relatives, they're related to the Hamm's (as in Hamm's Brewery, St. Paul, MN).

Billy has made about 8 different beer styles and has goals of becoming a Master Brewer through UC Davis. Furthermore, we have goals of owning our own Brewery with a small production restaurant and bakery. Although my personal gifting is in the food aspect of this some-day production, I also love the history and process of all-grain beer. I've always liked science, and more recently have discovered my own love for food and the process therein. I'm excited to learn about this stuff and love seeing Billy learn and grow through each batch of beer.

I have asked Billy to create a tedious post for you, for people who may have not attempted this yet at home. Notice the recipe is written out differently than our standard food recipes. Traditionally beer recipes note the largest quantity ingredients first. If you have any further questions please feel free to ask, we'd love to help with any beer questions. We will be finishing up the beer topic in another post pertaining to bottling and carbonation. Now on to Billy...

I was reading an article on speed brewing and wanted to do a beer that had a quick turn-around and used few ingredients. This is a British-Style session pale ale with a low ABV (alcohol by volume) and crisp finish for plenty of drinkability.

Recipe Follows Including Definitions for Mash, Wort, Sparging, Hops, and Fermentation.


Easy British-Style Pale Ale
Time: 2 - 3 hrs
*Cluster and Cascade Hops were a few months old and had lost some of their potency. I wouldn't have used this large of an amount of fresh hops. If you're using fresh hops, use half of the amount.

3 lbs light dry malt extract
1 lb rolled oats (we used Quaker Oats)
.75 lbs crystal malt 40L
.5 lbs crystal malt 80L
.5 oz UK Fuggles Hops @ 60 min
.5 oz UK Fuggles Hops @ 20 min
1 oz Cluster Hops @ 20 min*
1 oz Cascade Hops @ 5 min*
1 tsp Irish Moss
1 vial White Labs 007 Dry English Ale

Step 1: Mash
The mash is when your grains soak in water at a specific temperature to turn the complex carbohydrates into simple sugars. This is what the yeast will eat to make alcohol. In this instance the Crystal malt barley has enough enzymes to convert its own and the oats' carbohydrates into simple sugars. For every pound of grain use 1.5 qts. of water to mash in. I keep my mash to temp by getting the water about 10°F above temp then add grain to pot. Cover with a lid and place into a lightly warmed oven (below the water temp). To make sure you get all of the sugars out of the grain, you want to rinse them with extra hot water. This is called "Sparging." Often when I mash my grain, I place a paint strainer bag in the pot before adding the grain. That way the grains can easily be removed, while leaving most of the liquid. Then you can pour your sparge water on to the grains through the strainer bag.

1) In a 16-20 quart pot, bring 3.5 quarts of water to 160ºF. Place strainer bag in the pot gripping around all edges of pot.
Place grains (oats and crystal malts) inside of the bag in the water. Temperature will drop about 10º. Mash for 60 minutes. Continually check to make sure temperature is not too hot or too cold (keeping it at 150ºF).
2) Sparge the grains with 3 quarts of water at 170ºF. Dispose of grains (for you gardeners, it's great for mulching!).

Step 2: Boiling the Wort
The Wort is all of the sugary, syrupy liquid that the yeast will eat, which in turn will make beer. However the Wort must be boiled for two reasons: one, a vigorous boil will break down the substances and separate unwanted proteins and other parts from the Wort; two, a vigorous boil also breaks down the Alpha-Acids in the Hops making them soluble in the Wort. A side note on Hops: while the acids from Hops provide aroma and flavor characteristics, Hops are absolutely necessary as an anti-bacterial and a preservative. Beer would spoil quickly and easily without them. Wort usually boils between 60 and 90 minutes.

1) Add water to the Wort leaving about 4 inches to the top. Bring pot to boil. While water is still heating, add the 3 lbs dry malt extract, and stir until dissolved (you don't want any to settle to the bottom because it will scorch). As Wort is boiling, be cautious of the dreaded boil-over, it's a painfully sticky mess.
2) Add .5 oz Fuggles Hops as Wort begins to boil, and set timer or watch for 60 minutes.
3) With 20 minutes left in the boil, add .5 oz Fuggles Hops and Cluster Hops.
4) With 15 minutes left in the boil, add Irish Moss.
5) With 10 minutes left in the boil, add Cascade Hops.

Step 3: Cooling the Wort
The Wort has to be cooled quickly to a temperature range that the yeast can be active in. The more time the Wort spends cooling, the more chance it has of becoming contaminated by wild yeast and bacteria from the air. For those that have the luxury, a copper Wort Chiller is the best and quickest option. We use a sink packed full of ice and cold water. Change water often and add ice when needed. The ideal temp is about 80ºF.

Step 4: Preparing for Fermentation
Ideally, one would ferment their beer in conical fermenters. However at home, a glass carboy or a plastic food-grade fermenter bucket works wonderfully. From this point on sanitation is of the upmost importance. Your local homebrew store should have sanitizer, I use StarSan which is cheap and effective.

1) Sanitize all instruments, including carboy, airlock, funnel (if using), thermometer, and hydrometer.
2) Pour Wort into carboy or into fermenter bucket.
3) Top off with cold water to 5 gallons. Your liquid should be between 65ºF and 75ºF. With 70ºF being just right. If you wish, take a sample for a hydrometer meter. For an accurate, original gravity.
4) Put stopper in or lid over bucket. Shake vigorously for one minute to aerate Wort. Pour in yeast. Yeast should have sat at room temperature for 3 - 6 hours prior. Swirl to incorporate yeast. Place airlock, full of sanitized water or 40 - 80 proof alcohol, in stopper or in lid.

Step 5: Fermentation
Fermentation should start within about 12 hours. You should notice a thick yeast cake forming at the bottom and a foamy, dusty substance forming at the top this is called Krausen, and this is a good thing (if you have a plastic bucket DO NOT OPEN and look in!). Fermentation can finish in as early as 3 - 5 days. Wait until airlock stops bubbling, and then take a hydrometer reading (this beer should have a final gravity around 1.01). 
Look for Part 2: Bottling and Carbonating and of course, Enjoying!

Thanks for reading! -Billy

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