Can you believe this is the first time I've ever attempted to brew beer? I've been in the glass packaging industry for 10 years and I've never given brewing a go! I've certainly drunk enough beer and visited enough breweries. I should be an expert.
All it took for me to finally take the plunge was a Christmas present from my girlfriends Mum. So now I have no excuse do I? I was kindly gifted a Brewdog Punk IPA homebrew kit! And what better way to bottle this beer than with some of our beer bottles!
Like I said, I've never attempted to make beer before but by looking at the instructions on the box I thought it would be fairly simple. Unfortunately I didn't realise that the instructions on the box were a much simplified version of the process and it was a little more complicated than I thought!
The first step to the process was to sanitise everything. As shown in our blog post. Sanitising your equipment is an important step in production. In this kit however they provide you with a mix to make your own sanitising solution. A method we didn't cover in our blog.
Step 1 - Making the Mash
As any serious brewers or home brewers know. The first step to making beer is to make the mash. As advertised on the box "if you can make oatmeal, you can make mash". It turns out I can do both!
I added the provided grain to the water and kept the mixture cooking for an hour. Stirring regularly and taking temperatures to make sure my mash didn't exceed 68°C.
After 60 minutes my mash was ready to go and it was on to the next step!
Step 2 - The Sparge
This is the section where you drain out your mixture and draw out the sugars which you released during the mashing section.
Firstly I strained my mash through a fine strainer and collected the wort (this will eventually turn in to my beer!) in another pot. I then heated more water in another pan to pour through the strained mash to extract more sugars and goodness from them. Until I collected roughly 5 litres of wort in a pan.
I then repeated this step and poured my wort back through the mash to collect any more sugars and goodness.
This was a difficult process! Especially when you don't have all the correct equipment. Let's just say a lot of pans were used. And things got messy.
Step 3 - The Boil
After collecting enough wort to ensure my brewing bottle would be sufficiently filled. The next stage to the home brewing process was to boil the wort.
This last for about 60 minutes and at different intervals several different hops needs to be added. For the Brewdog Punk IPA brew you need Ahtanum Hops, Chinook Hops and Simcoe Hops.
This was a fairly easy stage in the brewing process and less messy than the last one. And a lot less messy than what is about to come!
Step 4 - The fermentation
This is where things got really messy in my kitchen. Unfortunately I didn't have a big enough strainer or funnel to make this job easy. But I persevered and managed to collect enough wort to fill the fermenting bottle.
Firstly the wort had to be cooled down to 21°C. I did this by putting my pot in the sink with lots of cold water. Next came the decanting in to the bottle. Let's just say it got messy.
Before sealing the bottle the yeast needed to be added and the whole mixture needed to be shaken to wake things up!
Lastly the cap and hose were applied and I put the hose in a small bowl of sterilising solution to allow air to escape but for no nasty bugs to get in.
After 2 days of fermenting the next step in the process had to be completed. This involved attaching an airlock to the bottle and leaving to ferment for 2 weeks.
What do you think? How have I done so far? I know I'm not a master brewer yet by I enjoyed my experience so far. And I can't wait to bottle the beer and finally taste it!
Tune in next time for part 2 of this blog which will all be about the bottling and tasting!
Have you tried homebrewing yet? If you are looking at having a go don't forget to stock up with bottles ready for your bottling day. We have the perfect kits for you over in our homebrew section.
Thanks for tuning in to my first homebrew adventure
Paul at Sen5es.co.uk