Having a crack at an IPA…362 to go

Precious life giving beer.  You have to love it!  Whether it’s a stout on a cold day or an ale on a hot one.  Beer is always a good choice.  At least, that’s what I tell myself every time I pay 6.50 for a pint.  So my main activity for today was trying to brew an IPA.   I have had a few good recipes, I have an American APA that will melt your icy heart with it’s warm tropical notes; and I have an imperial chocolate stout so surprisingly strong you won’t know what hit you until tomorrow.   But, for some reason I have never made my favorite type of beer!

Well hold on to your pants kids i’ll try to give you an overview of the brewing process!  If you have never brewed before there are very few ingredients that actually go into beer, it is as simple as water, yeast, malt (grain), and hops (bitter… like you ex).  These four simple ingredients combine together  to make an amazing drink that has been around for ages.  But how are they combined you ask?  Simple.  Here is a crash course on brewing

1) Grains are cracked in a mill (or in a food processor) to release all of the sugars and proteins that with be converted into alcohol.

2) The cracked grains are put into a bag and the bag is placed in water (the volume varies by recipe).  This concoction is heated to about 160 Fahrenheit and left with a lid on to steep (like tea) for about 30 minutes with a pot lid on.

3) While this is happening heat up another litre of water to boiling in a separate pot or kettle.

4) After the 30 minutes take  the grains out of your pot and place the grain bag in a large strainer and dump the litre of boiling water over it.  You can now throw out your grains or save them to make bread.  What ever you want to do.

5) now you are going to add a little water and bring everything to a boil.

6) When the water begins to boil set a timer for 60 minutes.  You are going to add some bittering hops.  Bittering hops are exactly what they sound like, hops added to the beer to counter balance the sweetness of the malt (grains).  Hops can also be used for flavor and aroma.  the flavor hops are added with 30-40 minutes left to boil and aroma are added any time from 15-0 left in the boil… now you play the waiting game

7) the only thing left to do is add your yeast into the mix.  Wait until your beer is around room temperature and go ahead and add the yeast to the mix.  Be sure to shake the cooled wort (unfermented beer) to aerate it.  It kick starts fermentation.

8) Wait about ten days and then switch your beer to another fermenter.

9) Wait another 14 and then you are ready to bottle it.

10) To bottle beer you will need some empty pop top bottle, I hope you have been drinking in the last three weeks!  What you are going to do is combine either white sugar OR dextrose to your beer to help carbonate it.  It should be about 3/4 cup of sugar to 2 cups of water.  Then siphon your beer into bottles and cap them.  (to cap you will need a capper  and caps)

Brewing a great hobby! If you get good at it, you never look back to buying in a store again.  it is fun, simple and cheap.  I made 5 gallons of beer today for a cheap 20 dollars, my inner Scotsman was pleased.  Anyway, I hope you found this interesting.  Try to brew and IPA, check.  362 days to go.  goodnight all.  See you tomorrow!

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