So you have all your gear and are ready to brew. Get the Kettle, spoon, and ingredients
out. Fill the Kettle with water allowing 4 to 7 inches or more of head space to the
top. During the boil, there will be a hot break of material that will rise rapidly
and will if unattended, flow over the top and make a mess !!.
Start heating the water on high. During this time, get your fermenter ready by washing
with a cleanser such as Powder Brewery Wash or other cleanser to remove any organic
material. One can use a small quantity of bleach in water, but you MUST rinse very
well if doing so. The smallest amount ( in the parts per million - ppm ) will interact
with the wort/beer and form Chorophenols. In essence, the beer will come out smelling
and tasting like cleaned laundry or mediciny.... Just be thorough in rinsing if using
a product with bleach in it. If you can smell bleach in the fermenter, then it probably
will carry over to the finished product.
Then after cleaning the fermenter, you must now sanitize it. Understand that sanitizing
is not the same as sterilizing. You can never achieve sterile which is the lack of
anything alive. We just need to sanitize those things that will come into contact
with the wort/beer. This will kill the bacteria and wild yeast/mold spores that exist
all around us and on our bodies, in our mouth, etc.
For this, I recommend Idophor. It is an iodine based sanitizer used by the dairy
industry and many restaurants for cleaning plates, glass and silverware. Very effective
in just 3 min's of contact time. Follow the instructions for usage.
After applying your sanitizer of choice, let the fermenter sit with it till needed
Get back to your kettle. Are things near a boil? If so, open any cans or pouches
or LME and DME. Near a boil, slowly pour in the malt extract while stirring it so
as not to let it hit the bottom of the kettle and get scorched. ( Of course, if you
are making a smoked stout, you may want this. ) Stir it all in till it is dissolved.
Then let things come to a boil. Do watch as there will be precipitate that forms
and builds on the surface. This is called the hot break. It is an amalgam of peptides,
proteins and starches that bind together but will soon break up under the heat. One
must watch the kettle carefully during the first 10 min's of the boil. After that,
things tend to settle down and the boil becomes clear.
You may add your hops at the beginning of the boil or after the break, whichever
you prefer. Sometimes the addition of the hops will precipitate the hot break, bringing
it on fast and furious as the hops create nucleation sites ( another fancy term for
increased surface area ) in the liquid and allow the long molecules to clump together
quickly. Be ready for it !
Now just stir every several minutes to keep things from burning on the bottom and
let it rip for 45 to 60 mins.