for Brewing Great Beer
In recent years there have been substantial changes in the way
amateur brewers view intermediate brewing. The old standard (generally
found in any book published before 2002) called for mixing all the
ingredients together in a 1-2 gallon pot, and then aggressively
boiling for 60 minutes. This procedure virtually guarantees that
your beer will come out dark and cloyingly sweet. In the late 1990’s
some brewers began experimenting with different methodology. Eventually
these experiments, and subsequent discussions among the experimenters,
led to publication of an influential article by Steve Bader, “
Boil the Hops, Not the Extract”, in Brew Your Own Magazine
(Vol. 8, no. 6, pg 40). Unfortunately, old habits die hard, and
even today many publications and “experts” continue
to expound on brewing methods that are inappropriate. We at the
Coopers Brewery are far less interested in maintaining orthodoxy,
and far more interested in good beer!
Our instructions here may seem radically different from directions
you get from a book or other source. The basic premise of Steve’s
article is that following old methods cannot help but create beers
that are dark in color and very sweet in flavor. I like the example
of cooking white granulated sugar. Try this out: Take a cup of white
sugar, put it on a cookie sheet and bake it for 5 minutes at 400’F.
The sugar comes out melting, dark, sticky and considerably sweeter.
In short, it is caramelized. Just like what happens when you put
all the ingredients for 5 gallons of beer into 1-2 gallons of water
and boil it for 60 minutes. So, enough with the theory, here’s
our Intermediate Instructions for Brewing Great Beer.
The first thing you will need is a pot capable of holding 1.5-2
gallons. Then you will need some good water. If you generally drink
water from your kitchen tap, you can use it for brewing. If you
don’t, bottled water may be preferable.
If you are using tap water, bring 2 quarts (or liters) of regular
tap water to a boil for 5 minutes to precipitate out any chlorine.
Bottled water may be used to eliminate the pre-boil step.
If your recipe calls for use of specialty grains, cool your water
to <180°F. (about 5-10 minutes). Put your steeping/specialty
grains into an oversized nylon bag, tie off the bag and steep grains
for 15-20 minutes at 150-180°F, then remove bag. You can squeeze
bag to remove any extra color and flavor if you wish.
Bring your brewing water back to a boil and add your first addition
of hops. Your total boiling time will be 30 minutes. Add any other
hops at the times called for in the recipe.
After 30 minutes turn off the heat and remove your pot from the
heating element. Mix in the malt concentrates, additional sugars
and/or Coopers Beer Kit called for in the recipe. Be sure to mix
very well, ensuring that none of the ingredients are lurking, unmixed,
at the bottom of your pot.
After mixing, cool your wort to <120-130°F (cool to the
touch). This can be done effectively by placing your pot in the
kitchen sink and changing the water periodically. Add your wort
to 1 gallon of pre-boiled, cold water already in your fermenter.
Top up fermenter to 5 gallon mark with more pre-boiled, cold water.
Bottled drinking water can be used instead of pre-boiling and chilling
additional water. Mix contents of fermenter well. Using a sanitized
turkey baster, or "wine thief" remove enough wort to take
and record hydrometer reading. When the temperature of your wort
is <75’F, add ("pitch" in brewing parlance) 7-15
grams of Coopers Brewery Beer Yeast, or yeast called for in recipe.
Fermentation should commence within 12-16 hours.
When fermentation is done and you are ready to bottle refer to
our instructions on bottling.
One caveat to using our methodology for beermaking. It only produces
good beer if you start with high quality malt concentrates and beer
kits that are specifically designed for making beer. Do not try
this with bargain basement brand beermaking products! For more in
depth discussions on beer making please feel free to contact us