Brewcraft: Partial Mash Brewing
Here at Ann Arbor
Abbey, we often subscribe to the partial mash method, because we are,
in essence, lazy. Here's our basic method for brewing from malt extract
and partial mash in 35 easy steps.
Step 0: Drink some
beer and sanitize everything...
Drink beer while
cleaning your brewing equipment. It is impossible to overstress the
importance of sanitized equipment and unheard of to clean anything too
well. It means all the difference between having really great beer and
having 55 pounds of fetid crap in a big, heavy bottle. Clean everything.
Twice. And drink beer. Twice.
Step 1: Put water
in a big effing pot...
In a 30 liter stainless
steel brew pot, bring 20 liters cold water to a boil.
Step 2: Put more
water in a somewhat smaller pot...
While the big effing
pot is heating up, add 5 liters cold water to a 20 liter stainless steel
Step 3: Boss... the
grain! the grain! (Here's the "partial mash" part...)
Place your choice
of specialty grains in a muslin or nylon sparging bag and add to the
smaller pot of water. Slowly begin heating the water. When temperature
reaches 170 degrees Fahrenheit, turn off the heat and sparge grains
for an additional 20 minutes. Then, remove the bag and gently squeeze
a bit of the remaining tasty goodness from bag using a collander and
the bottom of a large bowl. Discard grains, or eat them.
Step 4: The extract...
When the big effing
brew pot reaches the boiling point, begin stirring all of that steaming
hot water and add the malt extract. Do this slowly. Stirring will prevent
the malt extract settling to the bottom of the pot and burning. That's
Step 5: Going with
Next, add the liquid
from the partial mash. Stir a few more times for good measure. Inhale. It's
Step 6: Drink some
Step 7: The great
big foaming boil...
Turn on the heat
and bring the mixture in the big effing pot to a boil again. When boiling,
the mixture forms a foam layer which can rise out of the pot and skunk
up your stove. Be careful to avoid this. It is messy and difficult to
clean. Like, really.
Step 8: Drink some
Drink it. Drink
Steps 9-12: Hoppy
hoppy... joy joy...
Boil the wort for
60 minutes, adding ingredients at the following intervals:
- At the start
of the boil, add the bittering hops.
- 45 minutes into
the boil, add the flavoring hops, Irish Moss (for clarity), and yeast
nutrient (to promote vigorous booze).
- 55 minutes into
the boil, add the aroma or finishing hops
- After 60 minutes,
stop boiling the mess (or "wort").
Step 13: Drink some
Woohoo! Lucky 13!
13th time is a charm! Come one 13! 13 skidoo! Papa needs a new pair
of 13s! If I've told ya once, I've told ya 13 times! A bird in the hand
is worth 13 in the bush!
Steps 14-30: Cool
Cool the wort to
85 degrees Farenheit or lower before placing it in the primary fermenter.
Cool the wort as quickly as possible to prevent yeast infections (really).
I do this with a "wort chiller" which is really a long coil
of copper (or stainless steel) tubing attached to a garden hose.
When cool, pour
the wort into the primary fermenter which, around here, means a seven
gallon glass carboy with an airlock on top.
Step 31: Hey batta
batta... suwing batta... pitching the yeast...
Without yeast, you
can't have beer, so this is the big moment. Be certain that the temperature
of the wort is below 85 degrees Farenheit and add --or "pitch"--
the yeast. You can use either dry (inactive) or liquid (active) yeast.
If you really want to start things off with a bang, you can grow a "starter
culture" from the yeast several days ahead of time. We're usually
too lazy around here, but directions on how to do this should be on
the yeast packet.
Step 32: Primary
Leave wort in primary
fermenter until fermentation subsides (usually about a week, depending
on temperature). Make certain that your one-way airlock is firmly in
place, so that gasses can escape the carboy, but can't enter it. It's
also really important to keep the wort in the dark, either by putting
the carboy in a dark closet or by covering the carboy with a crisply
pressed shirt and tuxedo jacket... or a black plastic bag for those
of you that don't know how to show your style.
Step 33: Secondary
has completely subsided, clean the hell out of a five gallon carboy
using your sanitizing solution. Using a sanitized siphon, transfer the
wort into the secondary fermenter. Leave it in there for at least two
or three weeks. Don't leave it too long... the longer you wait to bottle
it, the longer you have to wait to brew your next beer.
Step 34: More cleaning...
wouldn't your mamma be proud...
Clean your bottles
well. Around here, we dip them in santizer and then run them through
the dishwasher *without detergent*. Then, when everything is sanitized,
and I mean everything, you are ready to bottle.
Step 35: Bottling
Bottling is an individual
taste thing. Here we use 20 ounce import bottles made from heavy brown
glass that we have dutifully emptied. They should all be brown, or UV
rays will kill the yeast and make your beer skunky. We also use regular
bottle caps and, surprise, a bottle capper. Then we drink some beer
and label the bottles.
Finally, let the
bottled beer age in a cool, dark place. We recommend an absolute
minimum of two months regardless of the style of beer, but more
for higher gravity and highly hopped concoctions. Ordinarily, we age
even pale ales for four months or more, but again, this is a matter
of patience. However, keep in mind that beer can get old and flaccid,
and that flavors reach a peak, then fall off. So, don't hoard your beer.
Drink it and give it away... like, to us.
To comment, complain
or confess, send email to the
Monks of Ann Arbor Abbey.
1997-2011 Kirk R. Humphries and Sandy Marshall. All rights reserved. Weasel
Breweries, Monks of Ann Arbor Abbey, and Olde Pyehole are trademarks
of Kirk Humphries and Sandy Marshall. And so is a lot of other stuff.
Last update: 29 August