What's the hardest part about brewing beer


"With its amber-colored glow and a scent of wild berries and citrus fruits, it seems almost innocent" - this description of the pale ales, my first self-brewed beer, is quite accurate. Yes, the emotions break through when a man sits in front of his first self-brewed beer and after about 6 weeks sees and tastes: "It worked!". Don't let anyone say we're not romantic.

I wrote down the entire procedure for brewing this beer in a practical and theoretical article. The ode about beer mentioned at the beginning comes from Besserbrauer, who provided me with a complete brewing set for testing.

As you can already guess from the pictures, it worked out wonderfully. After almost 3 weeks of bottle fermentation in the cellar and another 2 days in the refrigerator, I am very pleasantly surprised at how well the first attempt worked. The pale ale has got a wonderfully fine carbonation through the bottle maturation and the head of foam is also impressive.

The bottle should stand as upright as possible in the refrigerator. The cold strongly inhibits the activity of the yeast and it sinks to the bottom of the bottle. The beer is then relatively clear. When drunk from a glass, the last bit of yeast remains in the bottle. Incidentally, the use of a beautiful glass is advisable anyway. After all, it's about a great moment.

Overall, a very convincing brewing set and certainly not my last attempt at brewing beer.

From brewing to building

There is also rapid progress in the Koch location, the Besserbissen blog house. The lamps and lights have been ordered, the music system will be tested soon and a lot has happened again in the rooms and on the small terrace.

The passage from the kitchen to the dining room is now open and has already been roughly plastered. So the biggest act, ordering the kitchen furniture, is inexorably closer. Anyone who has ever bought a kitchen can understand the latent uncertainty that haunts me during the planning. The range of colors, materials and equipment is simply too confusing.

Nevertheless, the concept of the kitchen has become more and more conclusive over time and is now about to be ordered. It has to go on.

The decision as to which appliances should be installed, however, was easier: Everything that is currently (cooking) -technically popular comes in. From the vacuum drawer to the SousVide steam oven, the kitchen from Siemens is equipped with appliances from the new studioLine series.
If you want to try this out because you are currently planning a new kitchen, you can combine this with a small cooking class and test the hob or oven intensively.

So it's going on.

In principle, the toilet is almost finished as well. Some of the wallpaper remains to be removed.

Keywords: construction blog, brewing beer

"That looks stupid, you're holding the bottle like it's a baby."

Women have the gift of destroying great moments in a man's life with just one sentence. Of course I hold the bottle like a baby. Just imagine if I dropped it and four hours of loving brewing would be destroyed!

Today is about the practice of brewing. Jörg von Besserbrauer kindly provided me with an "all-round carefree" package for testing. Exactly this set is used today. The type of beer I chose is a pale ale.

With the exception of two large pots and of course a hob, the brewing set contains everything you need for brewing. From the cleaning agent for the fermentation bottle to the dosing aid for the sugar. This is where the company founders really gave thought.

The process from mashing to ready-to-drink beer is divided into three stages. In the first step, the beer is brewed, that is, the wort is made from barley malt in a rather time-consuming process. This liquid is then mixed with yeast and put into a fermentation vessel for about a week to ferment.

At the beginning, the water must be heated to 72 ° C. For the sake of simplicity, I used my sous vide device for this. The device is also used for "secondary purification", in which the last remainder of the natural sugar is washed out of the spent grains with fresh, 78 ° C hot water. However, this can also be done on the hob with a thermometer.

I made a small video about the brewing process, which shows the individual steps from the instructions for the brewing set.

After a week, the beer is bottled in the second brewing section. Of course, you will also find all the necessary utensils for this.

A little sugar is added to each bottle so that the remaining active yeast can produce carbon dioxide from it. Through this secondary fermentation the carbonic acid gets into the green beer.

By the way, my highlight in the brewing set is the bottle corker. However, you should use it in pairs, as you have to use a little force to close the bottles with the crown cap.
Our son's strength training is finally paying off (my favorite sentence of late: "Half marathon is the new drinking" - there is no better way to describe the attitude of modern youth).

The hardest part follows, because now you have to be patient. The tightly closed bottles should be left to ferment at around 18-20 ° C in a dark place for another three weeks.

It can't hurt to put the bottles in the shipping box and seal it. If wild yeasts crept out of the air during filling, the pressure in the bottle can become quite high and it may burst. In addition, they are also dark.

Only now do the bottles go into the refrigerator in the last and third step and can be drunk after at least two days. During this time, the cold stops fermentation and the remaining yeast settles on the bottom of the bottle.

Before the remaining tasting, a little conclusion about the brewing set:

The extensive equipment, well thought-out instructions and high-quality ingredients - everything was done right here, from the idea to implementation.

If you deal a little with the theory of brewing, your head quickly buzzes with all the possible variations in terms of temperature and the correction of the wort. There is also a large selection of different malts and hops.
It makes perfect sense to limit all variables to a manageable level. Otherwise the attempt to brew your own beer will be nipped in the bud.
A delicious beer can also be brewed with a slightly larger tolerance. "There will always be beer!" as the experienced brewer says.

The reproducibility of the taste and alcohol content is limited without measuring the original wort, but this is not decisive for the occasional home brewing. If the beer tastes a little different every time, all the better. If you prefer the same beer over and over again, you will find it in the supermarket.

In order to keep the fermentation process simple, the selection of Besserbrauer is limited to top-fermented beers. These ferment at room or moderate cellar temperatures and do not have to be stored in large refrigerators.

If you want to be king not only today but also at the next party, you can now brew your own beer. Cheers!

Keywords: brewing beer, hops, malt, barley, spent grains, mash, wort

When looking for new culinary blog topics, there is currently no way around brewing craft beer. That's how I came across the Besserbrauer website. "That's a good name," I thought and after a nice email contact with Jörg, one of the better brewers, he sent me the "all-round carefree package" for testing. The box contains all the ingredients and, apart from two large pots, all the utensils you need to brew around 4 liters of beer.

From the various varieties on offer, I chose the "Pale Ale" brewing set and first read a little bit into the subject. The set and the very detailed brewing instructions give you a good overview of the various steps involved in brewing.

But you can go a little deeper into the subject. After all, it's about the first, home-brewed beer.

1. Malting

The first step on the way to a good beer, malting, has already been taken in the case of the set presented here. A large bag with coarsely ground barley malt is included with the brew box.

The word "malt" comes from an Indo-European word for "soft" and describes very well what it is about: the originally hard cereal grains (mostly barley, less often wheat, oats, corn or millet) become around 18 ° C cold for a few days Soaked in water and allowed to germinate. This activates enzymes in the grain that break down starch and proteins.

By the way, people from all over the world have been using enzymes to convert starch into sugar for a long time. In South America, corn or cassava root is chewed in order to add enzymes to the saliva and to prepare the fermentation process. In Asia, cooked rice porridge is inoculated with mold cultures (Aspergillus oryzae) in order to brew rice wine (actually: rice beer).

2. Darren

The germination process is stopped after about 5-9 days by drying or kilning the grain as soon as the germinating sprout has just emerged from the grain.

You now have the necessary sugar and enzyme content in the malt for brewing and you only have to roughly grind it for the next step, mashing.
Incidentally, a light malt and correspondingly light beer are created when the temperatures around 80 ° C tend to be low when the malted grain is dried. In this way, the enzyme activity is retained. Dark malt and beer are produced in a kiln at around 150 - 180 ° C, so that the enzyme activity is reduced, but the later beer contains more intense roasted aromas.

The different types of malt are mixed if necessary according to taste and use and can be stored for several months.

3. Mashing

Mashing creates the wort, a sweetish, brown brew that is created when the malt is heated in water. The barley malt is soaked in 54 - 78 ° C warm water over a certain period of time. The starch contained in the grain gels and colored substances and aromas are transferred to the aqueous solution.
The warm water also reactivates the enzymes and starts their work: the starch is converted into sugar. This sugar is the later food for the added yeast, which produces alcohol and carbon dioxide from it. Proteins are also broken down into smaller parts, the amino acids. These amino acids later stabilize the beer foam and help with the fermentation process.

The already mentioned different enzymes in the stye work differently depending on the ambient temperature. During the mashing process, the master brewer can also use different temperatures to influence the taste of the later beer.

4. Purification

During the lautering process, the solid components of the malt are removed from the liquid wort. The spent grain, i.e. the solid residues, remains in a sieve when it is poured off and thus forms a natural filter that catches the finer particles. If even more particles are to be removed so that the beer is later less cloudy, a strainer can be used as a filter.

The grain still tastes sweet. In order to rinse out the remaining sugar, a little hot water is poured in. The spent grain should no longer taste sweet, but the spice should taste all the sweeter.

The exact content of original wort, i.e. the content of substances dissolved in the water (sugar, protein, vitamins and aromas), can be measured with a lauter spindle or a refractometer. It is decisive for the later alcohol content of the beer.

5. Hops and wort boiling

At the beginning of brewing history, herbs and spices were often added to beer. The problems of storing and refrigerating food at the time led to inventions in its preparation. The aim was to delay the development of undesirable microorganisms and foreign flavors. This also gave rise to the term "wort", which is still used today to refer to the brew for brewing beer.

As early as 900, people in Bavaria began to use the umbels of real hops (Humulus lupulus) in brewing. Gradually all other spices were replaced by this. Hops (Humulus) belongs to the hemp family and forms small aromatic resin beads, which are crucial for the taste of the beer. Depending on the type of hops, a beer can have bitter, woody and resinous notes or notes of citrus fruits.

After the barley has been filtered out of the water, the brew is boiled and the hops, usually in the form of pressed pellets, are added. In addition to the type of hops, the time of addition is also decisive for the later taste. Most of the time, part of the hops is added to the boiling liquid at certain times, the rest at the end, when the brew has already cooled slightly. Adding some hops after fermentation is complete, known as "re-hopping", is also popular in the production of craft beers.

Boiling the brew is important to sterilize the beer. The yeast added later is not destroyed or even destroyed by other microbes during the subsequent fermentation process. Part of the water also evaporates, so that the flavor of the brew becomes more intense. A final aspect is that cooking clarifies the wort as the proteins contained coagulate and sink to the bottom along with tannins from the barley bran.

Cooking is the first big step on the way to beer. The barley, initially tasteless as a grain, was transformed into a sweet and aromatic liquid. The last suspended matter from the hops is filtered out by stirring in a circular motion with a large spoon so that the particles settle in the center of the pot (experts call this a "whirlpool"). The wort is now carefully scooped through a fine sieve and finally the final wort content is measured again and corrected with a little water if necessary.

6. Fermentation

The second important step in brewing beer is fermentation, or fermentation. You can choose between two methods:

a) For top-fermented beer (e.g. wheat beer, Kölsch or ale): rapid fermentation at high temperatures around 20 ° C
b) for bottom-fermented beer (e.g. export, pilsner or lager): a slow fermentation at low temperatures around 8 ° C

As the name suggests, the yeast either collects on the surface (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) or sinks to the bottom towards the end of the fermentation process (Saccharomyces carlsbergensis). In small craft breweries or when brewing at home, a top-fermented beer is usually brewed. This is much easier to do because of the fermentation temperature alone.

To start the fermentation process, the boiled wort is first cooled as quickly as possible to around 20 ° C and then the yeast is added. The yeast cells now produce alcohol and CO2 from the enzymatically split and gelatinized starch.

The shower set presented here contains a fermentation bung with which the fermentation bottle is closed. This is filled with a little water and thus lets CO2 out of the bottle, but no oxygen. Similar to the production of sauerkraut, you can control the growth of unwanted microbes in this way.

After about a week, the beer is ready to be bottled in kegs or bottles.

7. Bottling, maturing and storage

The top-fermented young beer must mature for at least a week after the fermentation process. Since the carbon dioxide produced so far has escaped through the fermentation bung, the beer contains very little carbonic acid at this point in time. By adding a little sugar to the bottles, the yeast is given some nourishment again. After filling the tightly closed bottles, carbonic acid is created, which cannot escape.

If you want to save yourself the trouble of collecting and cleaning swappable bottles, you can get a set with crown corks and the appropriate sealing pliers as well as 12 dark beer bottles from Besserbrauer.

For storage, the beer should be kept cool and dark, as sunlight can create strong, sulphurous aromas within minutes. Brown glass, on the other hand, absorbs certain (blue-green) wavelengths that are responsible for the reaction in sunlight or neon light. An acid from the hops is responsible for this. So if you absolutely want to fill your beer in clear bottles, you have to modify the hop extract used in such a way that no sulfur aromas are formed later. But why should you also fill your beer in clear bottles? That doesn't make any sense.

So much for the entry into the world of beer brewing. Next comes the practical experience report.

Keywords: brewing beer, hops, malt, barley, spent grains, mash, wort

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