How to Brew: Intermediate

Two Ways of Brewing

Specialty Grains Partial Mash

View the following two tutorials for extract with specialty grains and partial mash brewing to see the step by step processes of brewing beer.

For more detailed information read How-To: Brewing with Specialty Grains and How-To: Partial Mash .

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Extract with Specialty Grains Brew Day

View this tutorial as a slideshow
Step 1

Review

Read through the homebrew recipe and steps of the brewing process entirely before starting your brew day to ensure maximum efficiency.

This tutorial will walk you through the entire brewing process for Victory and Chaos IPA, an English India pale ale. The same steps can be applied to any extract with specialty grains recipe, although instructions for other beer styles and fermentation and packaging processes will vary.

Step 2

Gather supplies

Ensure you have all the brewing equipment and beer ingredients necessary to brew.

For this tutorial we will walk through a porter recipe.

Use the Extract with Specialty Grains Notes Sheet to keep track of your brew day!

Step 3

Clean equipment

Using unscented cleanser, thoroughly clean all brewing equipment.

Debris on equipment can harbor microorganisms that can spoil a batch of beer, even with proper sanitation.

Step 4

Heat water

Put 3 gallons (11.4 L) of water in the boil pot and heat to 160°F (71°C) give or take 10°F.
Step 5

Bag specialty grains

While the water is heating, put the specialty grains into a grain bag and tie off the ends so the grains can’t escape.
Step 6

Steep specialty grains

Once the water has reached 150-170°F (65.6-76.7°C), immerse the grain bag in the water for 30 minutes.

Dunk and swirl the grain bag like you would a large tea bag, ensuring the grains are completely saturated. Cover the pot.

Maintaining exact temperatures during the steeping of specialty grains is not essential.

Step 7

Remove specialty grains

After 30 minutes, remove the grain bag and let it drip until it stops.

Squeezing or wringing of the grain bag is not typically recommended.

Step 8

Add extract

Add half the malt extract called for in the recipe. Stir until fully dissolved, being careful not to allow the malt extract to clump or collect on the bottom of the boil pot.
Step 9

Bring to boil

Return the liquid to a rolling boil.
Step 10

Add hops

As soon as the liquid reaches a rolling boil, add the 60 minute bittering hop addition.

After 45 more minutes, add the 15 minute hop addition.

After 10 more minutes, add the 5 minute hop addition.

Note: hop additions are typically labeled with the time from the end of the boil.

Step 11

Add remaining extract

After the 60 minute boil is complete, turn off the heat and stir in the remaining liquid malt extract until completely dissolved.
Step 12

Sanitize equipment

Everything that comes into contact with the wort after the boil must be sanitized in order to prevent any risk of infection that could spoil a batch of beer.
Step 13

Chill wort

After the 60 minute boil is complete, chill the wort as fast as possible to 70°F (21°C) using an ice water bath.

Be careful not to let any outside water get into the pot which could contaminate the beer.

Visit the Beginner Tips and Intermediate Tips for more information on wort chilling techniques.

Step 14

Transfer wort

Using clean and sanitized equipment, such as an auto-siphon or racking cane, transfer (rack) the wort into a clean and sanitized fermenter.
Step 15

Take hydrometer reading

Using a clean and sanitized cup or wine thief, pull a sample of wort large enough to take a hydrometer reading. This reading is your Original Gravity.

It is not recommended to return the sample to the batch of beer due to risk of contamination. If you must return the sample, make sure the hydrometer and the vessel holding the sample are thoroughly cleaned and sanitized prior to testing.

Step 16

Pitch yeast

Sanitize your yeast container and pitch the yeast into the fermenter.

Note: If using a Wyeast smack pack, it is advised to activate the yeast at least 2-3 hours before pitching into the fermenter.

Step 17

Seal fermenter

Seal the fermenter with a clean and sanitized airlock and bung.

If using a bucket, a carboy bung is not typically needed.

Step 18

Shake fermenter

Once the fermenter is sealed, give it a shake for a minute or two to provide oxygen which is vital to yeast cell growth and quality fermentation. After that, prevent the liquid from splashing as much as possible until the beer is enjoyed.
Step 19

Store fermenter

For the next 1-2 weeks, the yeast will be fermenting the wort into beer.

Store the fermenter in a location that can maintain the desired fermentation temperature (65°F; 18.3°C) with minimal disturbance and protection from light.

Splashing the wort after the initial pitching of the yeast can instill flaws in the final product.

Step 20

Monitor fermentation

Generally speaking, beer is ready to be bottled after 2-4 weeks of fermentation, but homebrewers are encouraged to take hydrometer readings.

Once gravity readings have stabilized over the course of a few days, it is safe to assume the beer can be primed and bottled.

Keep in mind opening a fermenter and taking samples introduces risk of contamination, so practice good cleaning and sanitization.

Step 21

Boil water

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil.
Step 22

Add priming sugar

Once boiling, add 4-5 ounces (113.4-141.7 g) of priming sugar (dextrose), and boil for 10 minutes.

If dealing with less than 5 gallons, you may want to use the Bottle Priming Calculator, or scale down the amount proportionately based on the volume at bottling.

Step 23

Add to bucket

After 10 minutes, remove the priming sugar solution from the heat and add it to your already clean and sanitized bottling bucket.
Step 24

Transfer beer

Using clean and sanitized equipment, such as an auto-siphon, rack the beer from the fermenter into the bottling bucket, trying to avoid splashing.

Get the liquid to whirlpool in the bottling bucket in order to evenly mix the sugar without splashing.

Avoid transferring the solid contents at the bottom of the fermenter (trub) into the bottling bucket.

Step 25

Attach bottle filler

Attach the clean and sanitized bottle filler to the spigot of your clean and sanitized bottling bucket with a small piece of clean and sanitized food-grade tubing.
Step 26

Fill bottles

Fill the clean and sanitized bottles up to the very rim of the bottle neck.

When you remove the bottle filler, the volume should be perfect and consistent from bottle to bottle.

Step 27

Cap bottles

Carefully cap bottles securely with sanitized caps using a clean and sanitized capper.
Step 28

Store bottles

Place bottles in a room-temperature area, around 70°F (21.1°C), and let sit to allow carbonation.
Step 29

Enjoy

After 2-3 weeks, open a bottle and enjoy the fruits of your labor!
Step 30

Progress

Once you are comfortable conducting a partial mash, check out the Intermediate Tips and the Advanced sections to progress your homebrewing skills.


Partial Mash Brew Day

View this tutorial as a slideshow
Step 1

Review

Read through the homebrew recipe and steps of the brewing process entirely before starting your brew day to ensure maximum efficiency.

This tutorial will walk you through the entire brewing process for Belgian Bombshell, a lighter Belgian blonde ale. The same steps can be applied to any partial mash recipe, although instructions for other beer styles and fermentation and packaging processes will vary.

Step 2

Gather supplies

Ensure you have all the brewing equipment and beer ingredients necessary to brew.

Use the Partial Mash Notes Sheet to keep track of your brew day specs, which is crucial in improving your homebrewing skills.

Step 3

Clean equipment

Using unscented cleanser, thoroughly clean all brewing equipment.

Debris on equipment can harbor microorganisms that can spoil a batch of beer, even with proper sanitation.

Step 4

Heat water

The water that the grains will be mashed in is referred to as the strike water.

Heat 1.75 gallons of water in a pot to 160-162°F (71.1-72.2°C).

When the grains are added, the water temperature will typically drop 8-12°F, which will bring you down to the target mash temperature of 152-153°F (66.7-67.2°C).

Step 5

Bag grains

Place the base and specialty malts into a steeping bag. It is ideal for the bag to be draped over the kettle, secured and left open for easy stirring. The bag can also be tied off like you would when steeping specialty grains if this is not possible.
Step 6

Mash

Stir in all of the grains thoroughly, ensuring the mash is completely saturated and free of dry clumps.

When you stabilized your mash temperature around 152-153°F (66.7-67.2°C), cover the pot and let stand for 60 minutes.

Attempt to keep the temperature from rising/falling.

Step 7

Remove grains

After the 60 minute mash period, remove the lid from the pot and stir the grains if possible.

Separate the grain solids from the liquid wort (unfermented beer) by pulling out the mesh bag and allowing it to drain.

The process of separating the liquid from the solids is referred to as lautering.

Step 8

Add extract

Stir in half the extract until fully dissolved, ensuring no clumps collect on the bottom of the boil pot.
Step 9

Top up water

Depending on your target pre-boil volume, top off your boil kettle to the appropriate volume.

For this recipe we will conduct a full boil, meaning no additional water will need to be added to the fermenter.

This recipe assumes a 6 gallon pre-boil volume.

Step 10

Bring to boil

Bring the wort to a rolling boil.
Step 11

Add hops

Once the wort reaches a rolling boil, add the 60 minute addition of hops.

Note: hop additions are typically labeled with the time of the addition from the end of the boil.

Step 12

Add Irish moss

After 45 more minutes, add the amount of Irish moss called for by the product’s instructions.
Step 13

Add remaining extract

After 5 more minutes, add the remaining malt extract to the boil kettle.

Ensure the extract does not clump or collect on the bottom of the boil pot.

Step 14

Add wort chiller

After the extract is completely dissolved, place your wort immersion chiller in the boil kettle as a sanitation measure.

The immersion chiller will be very hot once the boil is complete, so handle with caution.

Step 15

Add hops

With 5 minutes left in the 60 minute boil, add the late hop addition.
Step 16

Chill

After the full 60 minute boil, chill the wort to around 70°F (21.1°C) as quickly as possible, using the wort immersion chiller already in the boil kettle.

Learn more about wort chilling techniques in the Beginner Tips and Intermediate Tips.

Anything that comes in contact with the wort after the boil is complete must be sanitized in order to prevent chances of infection.

Step 17

Sanitize equipment

While the wort is chilling, take this time to sanitize the rest of the already cleaned equipment that will come into contact with the wort post-boil.
Step 18

Transfer

Once the wort has been chilled to around 70°F (21.1°C), transfer the wort into a clean and sanitized fermenter.
Step 19

Take hydrometer reading

Using a clean and sanitized cup or wine thief, pull a sample of wort large enough to take a hydrometer reading. This reading is your Original Gravity.

It is not recommended to return the sample to the batch of beer due to risk of contamination. If you must return the sample, make sure the hydrometer and the vessel holding the sample are thoroughly cleaned and sanitized prior to testing.

Step 20

Pitch yeast

Sanitize the yeast package or yeast starter vessel, and carefully pour (pitch) the yeast into the carboy with the chilled wort.
Step 21

Seal fermenter

After the yeast is pitched, seal the fermenter with a clean and sanitized airlock and bung.

If using a bucket fermenter, a carboy bung may not be necessary.

Step 22

Shake fermenter

Once the fermenter is sealed, give it a shake for a minute or two to provide oxygen which is vital to yeast cell growth and quality fermentation.
Step 23

Store fermenter

For the next 1-2 weeks, the yeast will be fermenting the wort into beer.

Store the fermenter in a location that can maintain a temperature of 65°F (18.3°C) with minimal disturbance and protection from light.

Splashing the wort after the initial pitching of the yeast can instill flaws in the final product.

Allow temperatures to rise into the low 70s°F near the end of fermentation.

Step 24

Monitor fermentation

Signs of fermentation should be visible via a bubbling airlock after 12-72 hours. The bubbling is caused by CO2, a byproduct of fermentation. If the bubbling slows down or stops, it doesn’t necessarily mean fermentation is complete.

Another visible sign of fermentation is the formation of frothy foam on top of the wort called kraeusen.

The sure-fire way to know if fermentation has ceased is to use a hydrometer.

Step 25

Boil water

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil.
Step 26

Weigh priming sugar

Using the Bottle Priming Calculator, determine how much priming sugar you need for the volume you are bottling.
Step 27

Add priming sugar

Once boiling, add the priming sugar (dextrose), and boil for 10 minutes.
Step 28

Transfer to bucket

After 10 minutes, remove from heat and add the priming sugar solution to your already clean and sanitized bottling bucket.
Step 29

Transfer beer

Using clean and sanitized equipment, such as an auto-siphon, rack the beer from the fermenter into the bottling bucket—avoid splashing.

Get the liquid to whirlpool in the bottling bucket in order to evenly mix the sugar without splashing.

Avoid transferring the solid contents at the bottom of the fermenter (trub) into the bottling bucket.

Step 30

Attach bottle filler

Attach the clean and sanitized bottle filler to the spigot of your clean and sanitized bottling bucket with a small piece of clean and sanitized food-grade tubing.
Step 31

Fill bottles

Fill the clean and sanitized bottles up to the very rim of the bottle neck.

When you remove the bottle filler, the volume should be perfect and consistent from bottle to bottle.

Step 32

Cap bottles

Carefully cap bottles with sanitized caps using a clean and sanitized capper.
Step 33

Store bottles

Place bottles in a room-temperature area, around 70°F (21.1°C), and let sit to allow carbonation.
Step 34

Enjoy

After 2-3 weeks, open a bottle and enjoy the fruits of your labor!
Step 35

Progress

Once you are comfortable conducting a partial mash, check out the Intermediate Tips and the Advanced sections to develop your homebrewing skills.

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