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Wednesday, October 9, 2013


Here's a typical brewing session at home. Some of what I do is because I'm 60, and not as fit as I'd like to be. Some is because I live in a second floor apartment, and I have neighbors and a landlord to keep pleased.

Some of this may work for you, some may not.

I try to line everything up I'll need. I'm not perfect, I do forget things on occasion. But, everything I remember makes the stuff I forget that much easier to fix.

This is a pumpkin ale, so I added one step to my procedure. Is it necessary? I have no idea, but I feel better doing it. I used one 28 oz. can of pumpkin puree, and cooked it with 1/2 gallon of water for about 15 minutes.

I read a bit about using pumpkin as an ingredient, and most agree that you don't really gain anything, flavorwise, by using raw pumpkin. I feel the gain in convenience justifies the expense.

This is a partial mash recipe, so the grains and pumpkin sit for a bit to allow the enzymes to do their work.
I resisted mashing for almost 20 years. Now, I do a partial mash for nearly every beer.
While I wait for the mash, I take this opportunity to sanitize my fermenter. I do take shortcuts in certain areas, but one place I never do is with sanitizing.
I use the brew-in-a-bag method, mostly because it requires almost no additional equipment or expWense. I lack space or money, so both are important to me.
When the time is up for the mash, I simply lift the grain out, rinse , and let it drain.

The standard one-hour boil, that any homebrewer is familiar with.

One thing I do, that I feel saves time and uncertainty, is to make a small start with my yeast. I add a cup of cold water, a cup of wort, and my yeast, to a container. I stir it up, and let it work during the boil.

I find this cuts out most of the lag time waiting for fermentation to start.

I pour two gallons of cold water into my fermenter. And yes, that is a plastic water jug. I've heard for years the cautions against using blue plastic containers. I've seen no effect, except in my bank account.

After boiling, I pour the hot wort into the cold water.

And, after all is finished, there's my beer, happily bubbling away.