What Every Triathlete Needs To Know: The Illustrated Quick Guide to Brewing Beer

Why do we need to know this? Why not is the bigger questions. Today, many of us are taking the day off to be with our families, and thus, this seems like a pretty good time to talk about something other than shaving our legs or racing. Hopefully, after reading this, you will say, “wow, that’s pretty easy!” This is not some technical guide to making beer, there are plenty of other sites on the web for that. This is just an example of how one guy with a pot and a couple of buckets does it in his house.

Okay, first up. Biggest thing to spend time on is sterilizing. Any funky bugs on your stuff, and you’ll end up growing it inside the beer. Definitely going to taste bad. Luckily, they sell ‘No-rinse’ cleaning solutions. You just add a tablespoon to every gallon of water you plan to use to sterilize. So, after washing everything with warm soap water, I rinse, and just drop it in the bucket with the solution:

Okay, after that, I open up my beer kit, which has everything I need to brew a batch. Yep, you can buy your own ingredients, but I’m not there yet. This is a good way to start. About 30 bucks for ingredients to make 5 gallons of beer, or 50ish bottles.

Brewer's Best Red Ale Kit

Okay, get a BIG pot. Doesn’t have to be quite this big. But this recipe called for the low end of initial water volume, 2.5 gallons. The last recipe called for 3-4 gallons. So, you might want something that can handle that range. This happens to be a kettle for jamming. Bed, Bath, And Beyond for 30 bucks.

Great for crabs too!

Time to start brewing. Malt crystals go into a cheese cloth bag and we boil it for 20 minutes between 150-165 degrees f.

Bagged malt.

Boiling away.

After that, we take out the bag, mix in 2 cans of liquid malt extract, add some bittering hops, stir for a bit, and boil for 55 minutes.

Wort boiling away.

After that we add some aroma hops, and boil for another five minutes. After that, we are done cooking! I transfer the solution, or wort, to a bucket in an ice bath to quickly cool it down to 70 degrees.

Cooing off the wort.

Now that it is at 70 degrees, I transfer it to a fermenting carboyl. I add some brewers yeast, and then some clean water to give it a specific gravity of 1.048-1.052 as specified on the instructions.

In the carboyl finally.

Then we seal it up, and put a one way air valve on the top. As the yeast multiply in the wort, they start eating the sugar and converting it into alcohol. This is called the primary fermentation. I know its working, because as the yeast chows down, they burp out CO2, which comes out of the one way air valve in little bubbles.

In the warm closet.

In 4-6 days, this primary fermentation will be done and it will be time to bottle! Part II coming then!

About Ironvan

From couch potato to Ironman triathlete in 2 years.

Posted on May 9, 2010, in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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