Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tips for the Time Constrained Brewer: Part 3

The final part in this series is going to discuss the No Boil method. And if you're thinking to yourself that there isn't a beer out there that doesn't require a boil, then think again. And the one I'm going to specifically discuss is the Berliner Weisse.

The Berliner Weisse beer was originally concocted in Germany hundreds of years ago. It's not a very strong beer and only comes in at about 3% or so. Now, being home brewers we don't have to stick to those guidelines if we don't want to. With the Berliner Weisse, you typically add about 25-50% wheat to your grain bill. Now this method can only be done by brewing All Grain. Here's a recipe for a simple Berliner Weisse and how to brew it. Bittering hops are completely optional. Since this beer usually has less than 10 IBUS I sometimes find that you don't even need to add bittering hops.

Also, this is a sour beer. It's not a very sour beer, but it will give you a tart flavor in the finish. And souring all depends on how long you let it sit in order to get the sourness level you desire.

Berliner Weisse 5 gallon batch based on 75% efficiency

4 lbs 2-row pilsner
3 lbs wheat
WLP 011 European Ale yeast

Dough in as usually with 1.25 qts per lb of grain. Hit a mash temp of about 148 and let that rest for an hour or so. Then, stir up the grain so the temp falls to below 110 degrees. Once this is accomplished add a handful of crushed grain to the mash and stir well. By doing this you are naturally adding Lactobacillus to the mash and this is what's going to make it sour. Let it sit over night or for a day or two. WARNING: The mash is really going to smell like rotten trash. Don't be afraid of it, it's just fine. But it will smell rancid; that's just the Lacto doing it's job.

After you've let it sit, sparge as normal with about 200 degree water and get as much sugars out as possible. Collect in your kettle and heat the wort to about 160 degrees and pasteurize it. That's it. Cool it down and add your yeast and you're done.

Proceed with normal fermentation and bottling. And there you have it. Pat yourself on the back for making a sour beer!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Tips for the Time Constrained Brewer: Part 2

The second method in this series is very simple and very easy, however, it's generally applied to hoppy beers like IPA's and Pale Ales. It's simply hop bursting. What is it? Well, hop bursting is adding a shit-ton of hops during a 15 minute boil and that's it. You boil for 15 minutes and go from there. I wouldn't recommend this method for all grain brewers because depending on the grain you're using you may have to boil off the DMS during the boil. I only recommend this for extract brewers.

The tricky part about doing this method is figuring out how many IBU's you're putting in to you beer. I'm not going to get in-depth with calculating alpha acid content and boil time, because, quite frankly, I don't know how to do that. I use software programs that help me with it because technology is great. This is the one I prefer Beersmith.

That's really all there is to it, and remember that with hop bursting you're going to be adding a lot of hop flavor to your beer, not just bitterness, so the beer should just bounce off of your tongue when you drink it.

Have fun with it! And let me know what you think if you try it.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Tips for the Time Constrained Brewer: Part 1

Being a stay at home Father, running a business and taking care of a 2 year old and a 5 year old while my wife is away in Iraq, really doesn't leave me much time to brew beer. So I've come up with a few different ways to cut back on the amount of time it takes to brew beer.

The first method is what I call the No Chill method. It's very simple and can cut out at least a half hour of your time from brew day. And it's a technique that I've been doing for more than a year. The No Chill method is adding the hot wort to your fermenting bucket (being careful not to splash too much) and then adding your cold water to it to top it up to 5 gallons, snapping on the lid and leaving it sit over night to chill down and then in the morning pitching your yeast.

One good thing about this method is that if you don't practice sanitation, then usually the wort gets chilled down to about 160 degrees and that's the temperature for pasteurization. Now I'm not saying that pasteurization kills all bad bugs, because it doesn't but it does kill enough of them to prevent infection of the wort.

A lot of literature out there recommends that you chill as fast as possible and then pitch your yeast. That is an option, however, if you're looking at shaving off some time to your brew day, give the No Chill method a try. You may not get the cold break you normally get when you do a fast chill, but I've found that that doesn't matter because once you bottle and keg, the cold break drops out anyway. If anyone has more questions please feel free to leave them in the comment area.


Homebrew Junkie

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

3 Gallon All Grain Homebrewing Video

In this video I walk everyone through how to brew 3 gallon All grain batches of beer. It's really simple and easy. Check it out. And don't forget, Ben's Homebrew is now selling 3 gallon all grain equipment kits and ingredient kits!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Pre-Orders for 3 Gallon All Grain Equipment kits

Ben's Homebrew is announcing the brand new release of 3 Gallon All-Grain Equipment Kits. We are now accepting Pre-orders for the kits. They'll be available to ship out towards the end of 11/19. These kits are great and here are some reasons why:

* You can brew a variety of beer at very low cost
* You don't need to invest in a lot of bulky equipment
* This kit was made for apartment brewing, stores in a small area and easy clean up
* You have far more control over the flavor and texture of your beer
* It can be done on a stove top - no need for turkey fryers!

These are great kits for beginners or even for brewers who only brew extract and like to make the change to all grain! 3 Gallon Equipment Kits are great for gifts, too, and if your budget is tight then you can always pick up the 1 Gallon Equipment Kits to get your brewing going!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Ben's Homebrew - Relocating

Homebrew Junkie hasn't been very active lately because Ben's Homebrew is currently in the process of relocating. You can get all the info here:

During this transitional period there won't be a lot of posts going on with HB Junkie. But, we'll be back in action before you know it. We appreciate your patience. And if you have any questions in the mean time you can contact us here.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

To the Readers, a question or two.

Ok, so, Homebrew Junkie is in a little bit of a funk right now. I wanted to ask all the readers what it is that you have questions about when it comes to brewing beer? Please leave these questions in the comment area and I'll go through them and begin answering them in the "ass-ton" way that I do! Don't hold back and I won't either.

Can you brew with dirty socks? Hell Yeah!
What about pantyhose? You betcha. You can use them for steeping or for dry hopping in the keg!

What about using fresh rabbit? Uh, I don't know about that one.

Anyway, please feel free to respond.


Homebrew Junkie!

Oh, I'll be doing another video on Smoking malt soon, too.