Brewing beer consists of carefully following these 11 steps:
Crushing the malt
Filtering and rinsing
Boiling and adding the hops
Cooling the wort
Preparing yeast starter and siphoning
Adding yeast and fermentation
Checking fermentation



1. Crushing the malt
A malt mill must be used to crush the malt. Crushing clearly does not mean grinding. The grain must only be broken, and the skin (the chaff) of the grain must remain intact. At the start check the set up of the crusher. This is important for filtration after the mashing process. Already fill your brewing kettle with the mash water (see brewing sheet). The mash water can have a temperature approx. 2°C higher than the first mashing temperature. Add the crushed malt and stir everything thoroughly until there is no dry malt left. This is your mash.



2. Mashing
Mashing means the saccharification of the starches. Starch is present in the malt grains, and we are now going to convert this into single sugars. These sugars are required for subsequent fermentation. As you know, yeast converts sugars into alcohol, but it also determines the taste of your beer. Check the temperature of the mash by using a thermometer. This temperature must now reach the temperature of the first mash (see brewing sheet). Heat the mash briefly if necessary. Make sure the mash is constantly stirred to prevent burning.
When the first temperature has been reached, this temperature must be kept during the indicated time. Once this time has passed you must heat to the following temperature. Heating is done at approximately +1°C/minute. During the mashing process, keep the pH at 5.5. The mash is best acidified (some ml in the mash) with lactic acid (lactol). Then respect the other temperatures and times. When the last resting time has passed (5 minutes at 75°C), the next steps are filtering and rinsing.


brouwketel en maischthermometer

3. Filtering and rinsing
Ultimately we only need a sugar solution, so we must separate the solid parts from the solution. The Brewferm filter bucket is fitted with a perforated filtering plate and a tap. Pour your mash in this bucket on the filter bottom. Allow the solution to rest for a few minutes. Make sure that the indicated quantity of rinsing water is heated to 78°C, and pour a few litres of it in the grain mixture. Now put the cleaned kettle under the tap of the bucket and slightly open the tap. To avoid oxygen absorption, fit a silicon hose to the tap of the filter bucket. The liquid obtained now runs into the kettle. Little by little, pour the rest of the warm rinsing water on the malt and allow further rinsing until the water has been fully added and filtered. Continue rinsing until you have approximately 24 litres of wort in the kettle (19 litres for the Barley Wine kits).
In this way, we have taken a large part of the sugars from the malt. What remains in the filter bucket is called draff, and is used as animal feed or compost. Remove this draff and clean everything.



4. Boiling
By boiling the obtained liquid (wort), it becomes fully sterile and an important chemical process (the isomerisation of the alpha-acids of the hops) will take place and the proteins will settle. This takes place optimally at a pH of 5.2. Acidify if necessary with lactic acid.
Heat the wort to boiling point. Make sure that when boiling point is reached, the wort does not boil over. Turn the heat down a little if necessary. Depending on the recipe used, you must now add hops and possibly herbs (see brewing sheet) at specific times. These are already packed inside a hop bag and then vacuum packed. Put the hop bag in the boiling wort. Regularly stirring the wort is required to have the hops add as much as possible of their taste. After the hops have been added, the wort will foam less because of the hop oils. Switch the heat off after the boiling time. You will soon see that clouds are formed in the wort. These are the proteins that settle. These proteins were present in the malt and we do not require them all. In a short time these proteins settle in the liquid. Immediately after boiling, take the hop bag out of the hot wort.



5. Cooling the wort
A very important aspect now is having the wort cool down as quickly as possible. This is important because any form of infection must be avoided. When you remember that infections can most easily originate at temperatures of 15° to 40°C, and that we must now go to this temperature, you will soon understand that we need to use very clean materials. So, once more: before using any material it must always be cleaned using the CHEMIPRO® OXI cleaner supplied. Read the instructions for using this product.
It is a stainless steel plate heat exchanger with 4 connecting points : in/out water and in/out wort. Connect the tube of the exit (lower left side) on the cold water tap. This is the “coolwater in”. The tube of the exit on the upper left side will become the “coolwater out”. Put this tube in a big water tub or a sink. Now attach the tube of the exit on the upper right side on tap of the kettle, this is the “wort in” and the tube on the exit on the lower right side “wort out”. You can put this last one in the fermentation tank. The cooling starts when you open the cold water tap and the tap of the kettle. The rapidity of the incoming cold water and wort influences the exit temperature of the wort. Let the wort flow slowly and settle the output of the water in such way you become an optimal cooling. The out coming wort will have a temperature of +/- 25°C.

If you use an immersion wort chiller (spiral) : Place the spiral in the hot wort. This may already be done 15 minutes before the end of boiling. This also makes sure the spiral is sterile. Connect one end to a cold water tap and place the other in a large receptacle or in the sink. Now open the cold water tap and keep an eye on the temperature of the wort. This must reach a temperature of approx. 25°C to 28°C. Stir gently to mix the cooled part with the part that is still warm.

While the cooling process is happening you can proceed with the following point.


wortkoeler koper

6. Preparing the yeast starter and siphoning
You require a yeast type depending on the type of beer you want to obtain. If you are to use a WYEAST yeast, for a quantity of 20 litres of wort you do not have to make a special starter (with the WYEAST package XL you start up to 40 litres of wort). Follow the instructions for use for this yeast type (it may be the case that you have to start this earlier). If however you use the yeast grain (dry yeast) you must create a starter beforehand. This is because fermentation must start quickly, again to reduce the likelihood of infection. During the first days of fermentation carbon dioxide gas forms, as does alcohol little by little, and it is this abundance of carbon dioxide that can prevent an infection. You can best make the starter the day previous to or on the morning of brewing. To do this boil a sugar solution for 15 minutes (about a smoothed tablespoon of sugar in 250ml water) so it is sterile. When this solution has cooled to 25°C, pour it into a glass or fermentation bottle and add the dry yeast. Make sure that all yeast is dissolved. Cover the glass with some foil, or the fermentation bottle with the cap, and put at room temperature. After several hours the fermentation will normally already start. You can see this by the rising air bubbles in the solution and the formation of foam.
After the wort is cooled by the plate heat exchanger till about 25°C, you can measure the density for the first time : fill the measuring glass with wort. A correct density measurement is carried out at a temperature of 20°C. Carefully place the densimeter (hydrometer and densimeter are synonyms) in the measuring glass and read off the density (for beer this normally lies between approximately 1050 and 1100, but can sometimes differ slightly). Write this figure down together with the date of measuring. This is your initial density.


hevel en hydrometer

7. Adding yeast and fermentation
Once the wort has been siphoned, you can add the starter. Stir this thoroughly into the wort and shut the receptacle with the cover. Fill the outer ring of the airlock with approximately 2 cm of water. Put the complete airlock on the cover. When ready, the fermentation starts within several hours and the excess of carbon dioxide will escape through the airlock.


waterslot duplex

8. Checking fermentation
Keep a close eye on the fermentation. Make sure that the ambient temperature does not drop too much at night. After approximately ten days of fermentation measure the density, and depending on the type of beer (for strong beers approximately 1010-1015, for light beers 1000-1005) you can start bottling the beer. Do this as quickly as possible to prevent oxidation. Now you have measured the final density of your beer. If you determine the difference between the original and final density and convert this figure in a conversion table, you can see how much alcohol your beer contains.



9. Ripening
It is recommended to let the beer ripen. The beer is transferred to another barrel for this purpose, and it is stored in a cool place. This is how excessive yeast in the beer is removed. Due to the cooler temperature, a larger amount of carbonic acid is dissolved in the beer, but, more importantly, a number of undesirable flavouring substances are removed, such as for instance diacetyl, a buttery flavour. The foam stability of the beer also improves and it will become clearer.
Ripening takes longer at low temperatures. You can count on about 10 days at cellar temperatures and approximately three weeks at a temperature of 7°C.


9. Bottling
Siphon the beer over into the cleaned kettle, but make sure that the dregs at the bottom in the fermentation tank are not siphoned. Dissolve the indicated quantity of sugar per litre of beer (see brewing schedule) needed for secondary fermentation in a small quantity of boiled and cooled water and add it to your beer. Therefore, you must approximately know how much beer you have. Do not add too much sugar!

Obviously, you must first clean the bottles. After this, you can fill them. Immediately close the bottles, and if everything has taken place properly after 6 to 8 weeks you will have a tasty beer. In the first week, put the bottles in a warm room (above 20°C) for secondary fermentation. Then move the bottles to a cellar or other cool place where the beer can continue to mature in the bottle. Now the bottles can get a nice label.

You can use a minikeg of 5 litres or a soda keg. Important notice: you’ll have to use less sugar for refermenting. You don’t need to follow the brewing schedule. Use 3 g of sugar per litre of beer. Also put the kegs in a warm place first.


10. Tasting
The most important part: tasting your beer. When pouring, do not allow the bottom to be disturbed to prevent the unnecessary clouding of the beer (with the exception of white beers).
It also has to look nice: is the beer clear and does it have an attractive and firm head?
Then the aroma: can you distinguish different aromas (wort, hops, herbs...) and does it smell ok? Does it have a good taste and do you like it?
If all this is satisfactory, you have perfectly followed the procedure.