Brew Day

 

Ingredients
Ingredients

 

Brew day today!  The ingredients above are for a batch of black ale, American style.  I decided to photograph the process, and thankfully got help from my lovely assistant [read: wife].  So here we are, with water, malt extract, hops, yeast, and some adjunct grains.

 

Next, a few shots of the gear involved.  If it looks like a chemistry set, there’s a reason.  There’s a great deal of chem in the process, backed up with a lot of biology in the ingredients (agriculture in growing, genetics in breeding hops and grain, bacteria strains for yeast, etc.

 

Gear I
Gear I

 

Gear II
Gear II

 

Gear III
Gear III

 

Gear IV
Gear IV

 

 

The odd snakelike things is a wort chiller … you’ll see its use in a few moments.  Wort, by the way, is the name of the liquid after boiling, but before the yeast turns it into beer (yeast eats the sugars n wort and turns them into carbon dioxide and alcohol).  So yeah, beer means you’re drinking yeast piss and farts.  Still tasty, though!

 

This next is the truly critical part: cleaning and sanitation!  Dirty gear means shady bacteria, which leads to ruined beer.  As in, not fermented, or stinky (called “skunked” for a reason!) or otherwise just lousy.

 

Cleaning & Sanitation
Cleaning & Sanitation

 

Next, just add water!  OK so there’s a bit more to it than that. I use distilled because I don’t trust the local tap not to bugger up my beer.  I intend to try water modification later on, because different waters make different beer.  Think Guinness vs. Pilsner, for example – Munich and Dublin water are very different animals.

 

Water, Water Everywhere
Water, Water Everywhere

 

Next, crushing and steeping adjunct grains – this is for color, and for some flavor.  This is basically making malted grain tea.

 

Crushing Grains
Crushing Grains

 

"Beer Tea"
“Beer Tea”

 

Once the “tea” is done, the water is brought to a boil, and the malt added off-heat.  This is what the yeast will eat, post-boil.

 

Malty Goodness
Malty Goodness

 

The heat breaks down the starches and sugars into something edible for the yeast, and hops are added at various stages to produce bittering, flavor, and aroma.

 

Next, the chiller is inserted a few minutes before the end of the boil (which is typically about 1 hour long).

 

End of the Boil
End of the Boil

 

Then the whole rig is moved to the sink and the chiller is hooked up to the tap, so cold water can be run through the wort without diluting it, to lower the temperature to about 80 degrees F.  Reason?  Yeast can’t be added to boiling liquid or you’ll kill it, and thus, get no beer.  You can also put the pot in a bath of ice (or snowbank, if you live somewhere with winters like that).

 

Chill Out
Chill Out

 

Now, into the primary fermentation tank!

 

Into the Pit with Ye!
Into the Pit with Ye!

 

And aeration: adding oxygen to the wort.  Yeast needs to breathe, after all!  You can do this with a long-handled spoon, but I cheat and use a pain can stirrer and a power drill.  Faster and less tiring!

 

Adding some Air
Adding some Air

 

And a test – to measure the density of the wort.  This, combined with the density of the final product, can be utilized to give you a rough guesstimate of the ABV.

 

Because Science Makes Beer!
Because Science Makes Beer!

 

Then add the yeast, close it up, and put in an airlock to keep out contaminants but allow carbon dioxide to escape.

 

Under Lock and Key
Under Lock and Key

 

And after a few weeks, and a few more in the bottle to condition, voila!

 

A Proper Pint
A Proper Pint

 

Sit back and enjoy a pint.  This one’s not from the batch photographed above (not black, obviously) – this was from a batch of ESB I did a month ago.

 

A fun process, and fun to enjoy the product!  But set aside 5 or so hours for the process, it’s a long one.  Invite people over and hang out while things boil, and enjoy a beer together.

 

Happy shooting!

 

See more of my work at

Website: http://www.patricklcahalan.co.nf

Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/patricklcahalan

Instagram: patrickcahalanphotography

Facebook: Patrick Cahalan

Pinterest: @cahalan007

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s