Kick Up Your Kit By Marlon Lang



Kick Up Your Kit By Marlon Lang
Kick Up Your Kit
By Marlon Lang
— anything over 1.5 lbs. (0.68 kg) — you can swap
some or all of the sugar for dried malt extract.
Adding dried malt extract (DME) in place of sugar
TV chef Emeril Legasse likes to take a plain recipe
and soup it up, no pun intended. He will flip a pinch gives the beer a maltier flavor. If you want a very
malty beer, replace all of the sugar with dried malt
of spice into the pot from behind his back while
extract. (You can swap the amounts one for one
mugging: “BAM! Let’s kick it up a notch!” Any kit
and not seriously change the projected strength of
brewer — whether using simple, all-extract kits or
the kit.) If you want a moderately full-bodied beer,
“complete” kits that include malt extract, specialty
grains, hops and a tube of liquid yeast — can “kick reduce the amount of sugar to less than a pound
and replace the rest with dried malt extract. If you’re
it up” by adopting one or more of the following
“pinches of spice” offered here. Oh Boy! Here we go! trying to make a light-bodied beer, keep up to two
pounds of sugar in the formulation
and replace the rest with dried malt
Types of Beer Kits
The most basic beer kit consists
of a 3.3 pound (1.5 kg) can of
liquid extract and a packet of dry
yeast. Often these kits direct you
to combine the extract with a few
pounds of sugar. Many homebrew
shops offer more advanced kits
that contain one or more types of
specialty grain, liquid or dry malt
extract, hops for bittering, flavor
and aroma and priming sugar.
(Sometimes these “kits” are really recipes from
the shop’s recipe book.) There are even beer kits
that emulate wine kits with liquid wort packaged in
large bags. Kits are definitely capable of producing
great beer. Whatever type of kit you have, there are
always enhancements available that will improve
your beer.
Tip 2. Add Specialty Grains. Does
your kit contain a little bag of crushed
grain? If not, you can kick up your
beer flavor a bit by adding some
specialty grains. If you are making a
golden or light-colored beer, try adding
0.25 lb. (0.11 kg) of CaraPils or light
crystal malt (with a color rating of 10–
20 °L) to your recipe. For a red or
amber ale, add 0.5 lb. (0.23 kg) of
moderately dark crystal malt (30–40 °L). For darker
beers, you can add a bit of crystal along with some
darker malts; 0.5 lb. (0.23 kg) of crystal along with
0.25 lb. (0.11 kg) of chocolate malt would improve
any all-extract porter. Likewise, adding 0.25 lb.
(0.11 kg) pound of roasted malt to all-extract stout
can add some roastiness. Adding a small amount of
specialty malt will not drastically alter the character
Tip1. Malty or Dry? Does your kit instruct you to
of your beer. It will just make the beer a little darker
add sugar along with your malt extract? If so, you
may have an opportunity to improve upon the recipe and little stronger — but is that such a bad thing?
More importantly, the flavor of your beer will
formulation. If the kit specifies a lot of sugar
Continued on Page 4
The Tricks of the Trade
See You at Brew School!
Oct, 2003
by Thomas Miller
Dust off your book bag, because
you’re going back to school --- brew school
that is. We’ll show you where you can go
hone your brewing skills, whether it’s for a career in
brewing or just for fun.
The craft brewing industry has changed
since the start-up years of the 80’s and early 90’s.
It has evolved from grass-roots beginnings to full
maturity. Years and sometimes decades have been
dedicated to building successful businesses and
recognized brands. Brewery owners demand trained
professionals manning their brewhouses — very
few will trust their success to someone armed only with passion and promise. This environment makes it
tough for aspiring homebrewers to convert their hobby into a career.
There is a way around this roadblock, however. Go to brewing school! In exchange for a little bit of
time, a chunk of money and lots of hard work, homebrewers can acquire valuable credentials. The results
might translate into anything from a “learning the ropes” job in a brew cellar to getting hired as head
brewer at the brewpub of your dreams.
Of course, hard core homebrewers just looking for some hands-on education might head back to school,
too. Lucky for everyone, brewers of all stripes can pick from plenty of schools, both in the U.S. and
abroad. To help our readers get back to school, Brew Your Own has compiled the following “catalog” of
brewing colleges. Have fun exploring and good luck with your brewing career!
University of California, Davis
UC Davis offers students the opportunity to study
under many instructors, including Michael Lewis,
The American Brewers Guild is headed by Steve
and learn the ropes at Sudwerk Privatbrauerei
Parkes, author of BYO’s Homebrew Science. It offers
Hubsch, observing a fully automated 65-barrel
Internet-based courses coupled with internships at
Steinecker system and an original 15-barrel Caspary
breweries across the United States and hands-on brewery brewhouse.
experience at Otter Creek Brewing in Vermont and
Hoppy Brewing in Sacramento, California.
UC Davis Extension
1333 Research Park Drive
American Brewers Guild
Davis, CA 95616
1001 Maple Street
Email: [email protected]
Salisbury, VT 05769
Phone: (530) 757-8899
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (800) 636-1331
Fax: (802) 352-4641
Tuition and Fees:
Tuition and Fees:
Master Brewers Program: $12,000
CraftBrewers Apprentice (CBA) $7,950
General Certificate in Brewing and Packaging:
Intensive Brewing Science and Engineering (IBS&E)
Professional Brewers Certificate Program: $7,500
American Brewers Guild
What you need to Build
a Kegerator
Make your own kegerator system in an afternoon.
Home Beer Brewing Supplies and Kits
All you need is a drill, screw driver and a 1” holesaw.
Convert a refrigerator into a kegerator. This kit will attach to a
commercial keg or pony keg. The CO2 ships empty so you will
need to visit your local welding supply store to have your tank
Kit includes:
5lb New Aluminum CO2 Tank (1 fill = 4-6 5gal. kegs or 2 15gal. kegs)
(Avg. $10-$15 to fill)
NADS dual gauge regulator
Faucet(SS lever),knob and shank
Stainless steel drip pan
Sanke keg valve tap
All hoses, clamps and instructions
If you have an extra refrigerator and want draft system without
having to drill a hole this is the kit for you.
Kit Includes:
New Aluminum CO2 tank (1 fill = 4-6 5gal. kegs or 2 15gal. kegs)
(Avg. $10-$15 to fill)
NADS dual gauge regulator
Hand held beer line assembly
Sanke keg valve tap
All hoses, clamps and instructions
Want to make a countertop dispensing system, or convert a
chest freezer into a kegerator? Then this is the kit for you.
Kit includes:
New Aluminum CO2 tank (1 fill = 4-6 5gal. kegs or 2 15gal. kegs)
(Avg. $10-$15 to fill)
NADS dual gauge regulator
Sanke keg valve tap
Tower and faucet
All hoses, clamps and instructions
Continued from Page 1
Tip 3. Steep small. Does your kit instruct you to
steep your specialty grains in the full amount of
brewing water? This is a good way to get the most
flavor from the grains, but it’s also a good way to
extract harsh tannins from the grain. For a better
steep, place your crushed grains in a nylon or muslin
steeping bag and add only enough water to your
brewpot to cover the grains. Steep the grains at
temperatures anywhere from 130–170 °F (54–77
°C). When you are done, lift the grain bag out and let
it drip for 15 seconds or so. If you steep the specialty
grains in a separate small pot, you can be heating
the bulk of your brewing water in your big brewpot
during the steep. Just add the “grain tea” from the
little pot to your big pot when it’s ready — in about
30 minutes.
Tip 4. Do a Partial Mash. Think you can handle
a “small steep?” If so, you should consider trying a
partial mash. Here’s one way to do it: Add a small
amount — either 1.0 lb. (0.45 kg) or
an amount equal to the weight of the
specialty grains combined, whichever
is larger — of crushed 2-row pale
malt to your grain bag. (You can also
use pale ale malt or Pilsner malt.)
Now, follow the steeping instructions
above with one small change — keep
the temperature between 148 and
158 °F (64 and 70 °C) and let the
grains “steep” for 45 minutes to 1
hour. That’s it — BAM! You’re partial
mashing. A partial mash beer is going
to have a better grain flavor than
a beer with only steeped specialty
grains. Adding a pound of 2-row malt
will make your beer slightly stronger,
of course. If this worries you, just
subtract 0.66 lbs. (0.29 kg) LME or
0.50 lbs. (0.23 kg) DME from the
recipe. Or, don’t worry about it and enjoy a beer that
not only tastes better, but is slightly stronger.
a couple packages should give you a sufficient cell
Tip 5. Make a Yeast Starter. If you use liquid
yeast from a tube or slap-pack, making a starter
a day or two ahead of brew day will insure that
you have a healthy and plentiful family of yeastybeasties to start chewing up the sugars in your
wort. I did a web search for “yeast starter” and got
2794 hits. Here is one way to do it: Dissolve one
cup of extract in 1 qt. (~1 L) of water and bring
to a boil. Let cool to room temperature then put a
0.5 qt. (0.5 L) of each into two sterile Mason jars.
Shake each vigorously to aerate, then combine
with the yeast back into one Mason jar. Cap, but
leave the lid slightly loose to permit CO2 to escape.
Add your yeast to this starter 2–3 days before
brewing. Add the whole thing to your wort once it’s
cooled. If you use dried yeast, pitching a couple
packages should give you a sufficient cell count.
Tip 8. Filter Your Water. Beer is 97% water — so
use good quality water when you brew.
A simple, faucet-mounted carbon filter
will remove most of the compounds
in treated municipal water that can
negatively impact your beer.
Add the extract late: Even if you’re
saddled with a small brew pot, you can
still tweak some boil variables to get a
better boil. If your kit contains liquid
malt extract, you can add the bulk of
it at or near the end of the boil. To do
this, add one or two pounds of your malt
extract to the kettle at the beginning
of your boil, but withhold the rest.
Add your hops at the times specified
in the recipe. With 15 minutes left in
the boil, turn off the heat and stir in
the remainder of the extract. Resume
heating for the remaining 15 minutes,
but don’t worry if the wort doesn’t return to a boil.
See Steve Bader’s “Boil the Hops, not the Extract,”
(October 2002 BYO) for another variation on this
Tip 5. Make a Yeast Starter. If you use liquid yeast theme, in which you add the liquid malt extract at
from a tube or slap-pack, making a starter a day
or two ahead of brew day will insure that you have
a healthy and plentiful family of yeasty-beasties to
Adding the extract late lets you brew pale ales that
start chewing up the sugars in your wort. I did a web are actually pale, not red. Plus, you don’t have
search for “yeast starter” and got 2794 hits. Here
to add a whole hopper of hops to get the degree
is one way to do it: Dissolve one cup of extract in 1
of bitterness you want. This advice runs counter
qt. (~1 L) of water and bring to a boil. Let cool to
to much homebrew lore, but many liquid malt
room temperature then put a 0.5 qt. (0.5 L) of each
extracts are already boiled during their production.
into two sterile Mason jars. Shake each vigorously to Remember the mantra, “Don’t fix what ain’t
aerate, then combine with the yeast back into one
broke?” In this case, it translates to “Don’t boil
Mason jar. Cap, but leave the lid slightly loose to
what don’t need boiling.”
permit CO2 to escape. Add your yeast to this starter
2–3 days before brewing. Add the whole thing to your Marlon Lang wrote about PID control in the
wort once it’s cooled. If you use dried yeast, pitching November 2003 issue of BYO.
American Pale Ale
8.5# pale malt extract
1# 40L crystal
1/2# carapils
1 1/2 oz Perle (7.2%)60 min
1 oz Cascade 1 min
Ferment with W.L. California Ale Yeast
(you may dry hop with 1 oz cascade in the
Honey Wheat
6# pale
1 oz Cascade (6.2%) 60 min
1 oz Cascade 5 min
ferment with W.L. California Ale Yeast
Sparkling Cider
5 gallons of raw cider
2 pounds of Honey
Champagne Yeast
2 tsp. Yeast Nutrients
Boil honey in 1/2 gallon of water and add to cider
along with yeast and
nutrient. Starting gravity should be about 1.070.
Ferment dry and add
corn sugar to carbonate--about 1 cup will do the
trick. This is a 8-10%
alcohol “light Champagne”. Different, but very
good. Expect this to be
dry. If you want to add a little body to it, try some
Fire Brew! Nov, 2002 by Thom Cannell Four
water, 490 pounds of grain and a 250-gallon
batch and the first annual Fire Brew bash in
clubs, 22 brewers, 320 gallons of
stainless-steel pot. It all adds up to one big
At 10:45 AM, the first five of 235 gallons splashed into our enormous stainless brew kele. Arranged in a confusion only a chaos theorist could appreciate were 22 homebrewers and their brew
systems, plus wives, kids and dogs. What were four mid-Michigan homebrew clubs doing on a sunny Saturday in the summer of 2001? Fire Brew! An ambitious event months in the planning.
Maybe it was because Sean Royston, president of the Red Ledges Homebrewers, has a large brewhouse and lots of room. Maybe it was the 250-gallon, stainless-steel vessel that Karl Glarner rescued
from a commercial bakery eight years ago. Maybe it was growing up 100 miles from Stroh’s Brewery and hearing thousands of “The King of Fire-Brewed Beer” commercials during adolescence. Or maybe
it was just having four homebrew groups in one county. Whatever the confluence of factors, there was only one answer: Fire Brew.
For almost a decade, Karl Glarner, owner of the Red Salamander homebrew shop in Grand Ledge, Michigan, has carried a massive stainless-steel tank as he moved from residence to residence. “It’s so
large we were thinking of using it for a hot tub,” he says. The temptation to brew a commercial-sized batch of beer, 250 gallons or eight barrels, proved stronger than sybaritic comfort. But how could we
bring eight barrels of sweet wort to a full rolling boil? Fire! Leaping flames and red-hot coals was the answer.
Sean and his brother Todd offered the shovels, digging a fire pit in Sean’s backyard and lined it with fire brick. Next was lining up at least twenty all-grain homebrewers to haul in their own equipment.
Their job was to heat 320 gallons of water and lauter 490 pounds of grain.
You do the math: Most homebrewers brew five-gallon batches and lauter ten to fourteen pounds of grain. A few brew ten gallons with twenty to thirty pounds of grain and fewer still have equipment for
fifteen-gallon batches. Fortunately, the Red Ledges Homebrewers, Lansing Brew Crew, Mid Michigan Maltmeisters and Firkin Home Rackers of Williamston have several brewers capable of lautering 30
to 50 pounds. Even with everyone in place, we figured the lautering would take half a day.
A date was set, commied brewers signed a pledge to aend, and the game was afoot. Or rather, aboil. Brew Your Own aided this massive effort, arranging for Chris White of White Labs to contribute
some free yeast. We selected WLP820 (Oktoberfest Lager), plus WLP001 (California Ale) and WLP029 (German Ale/Kölsch) for those without lagering facilities. Briess provided the entire grain bill.
There is a great saying, “Murphy was an optimist.” Maybe true, maybe not. But to gather so many homebrewers with their individual burners and keles, hot liquor tanks, mash paddles, sparge arms,
lauter tuns and general paraphernalia would seem to issue Murphy a personal invitation.
He never appeared. However, such a huge undertaking did help each of us understand some of the difficulties of large-scale brewing — like not requesting crushed grain when talking to Briess.
Fortunately, Gruber thought of that lile detail. And at noon, three hours after the first mash tun was filled, we were still doling out grains. “If Mary Anne hadn’t been smarter than us and sent
precrushed grain, we’d still be crushing,” Glarner said.
Our recipe was the carefully-formulated winner of last year’s Lansing Brew Crew Oktoberfest (see recipe at right.) But how the heck could we mix 490 pounds of grain? So instead of a uniformly mixed,
even proportion of base and specialty grains, some brewers got mostly Briess Bonlander with some Dextrine and Vienna, while others mashed Ashburne and Victory. Every batch of sweet wort was
different, not only because of technique, but due to the variable grist.
According to the database I used to reformulate the recipe from 10 to 200 gallons, mashing-in would require 153 gallons of 161° F water. Mash-out needed 170 gallons of boiling water. So mash-out
and sparge water proved to be the largest problem; brewers were fighting for hot water all day.
At noon we had 110 gallons in the kele with lots of hot break churning in the wort. (Of course, some of us were having a big argument about whether it was hot break or sloppy sparging and chunks of
grain. I think hot break won our nickel bet.) Sprinkled around the grounds were keles, burners and stands, mash tuns, chairs, kids running through sprinklers, coolers, Frisbees and busy brewers. At 1
PM we calculated we’d hit 194.5 gallons of wort, with a mere 25.5 to go.
Someone wondered aloud what the current gravity was. Nobody actually knew (or really cared), but curiosity has a way of winning when homebrewers gather. Interestingly, the recipe software I use said
240 gallons at 80% efficiency would result in a gravity of 1.054. We actually sparged about 235 gallons, had some boilover (very minimal considering the vigor of the boil) and OG was 1.054 at 72° F.
We all agreed that the crush of the grains was a huge contributor to the absolutely amazing utilization we got.
First hops, almost two pounds of Tenanger — all donated by the Red Salamander — went in for 90 minutes. The kele had been boiling since 190 gallons. Thirty minutes later, at 2:30 PM, a second
addition of Tenanger whole hops was added. Saaz at 15 minutes and zero would finish the hop additions. The fire was extinguished — with lots of sparks and steam — at 3.
We failed to place a stainless-steel scrubber into the discharge channel, which meant we could have a significant amount of trub in our runoff. That’s where the ten-foot paddle that Tolin Annis made
came in; a good whirlpool would lessen the trub discharge, as would the use of bagged hops. Our extremely vigorous boil would surely utilize most of the hops.
Tolin built a PhilChill-based counterflow chiller, I built another, and I also brought the original 10-foot BYO all-copper chiller plus another 20-foot copper model. We also decided to use a large immersion
chiller set in a 40-gallon ice bath as a prechiller for the cooling water. By running water through the copper tubing immersed in ice water, we could prechill the water entering the counterflow chiller. After
all, with 200 gallons to cool and two chillers, that still meant at least 100 minutes (one gallon per minute, 212° to 80°) of run-off.
At 3:15, a line of carboys that reached from the kele to the Royston brothers’ brew house awaited filling. As the kele drained and the hop bags became exposed, some threatened to jump into the
kele and foot-squeeze the plump bags like oversized grapes. Luckily, nobody acted on this dangerous idea. Instead, we squeezed the hop bags between two mash paddles. We estimate that the seven
pounds of hops sponged up ten gallons of liquid, more than most folks brew!
Any good thing has to end, and the first Fire Brew shut down at 6 PM. Everyone was satisfied, but completely whipped. The work and fierce sun had done its work. All that remained was to wait
impatiently for a chance to gather and sample our fire-brewed beer ...
...and start making plans for Fire Brew II! (For details, see the November 2002 issue of BYO, page 44.)
Can you tell me the usefulness of beer
Dear Mr. Wizard:
I went out to have a drink last Saturday and had a quarrel
with one of my friends about the usefulness of foam. I
said that the foam helps to retain the cool temperature of
the beer, but no one believed me. I felt like an idiot. Can
you tell me the usefulness of foam? Please reply as soon
as possible, or I will never go out drinking with my friends
Eddie Chan
via e-mail
Mr. Wizard replies:I really like beer foam — in fact, I’m
kind of obsessive when it comes to beer foam. Any
argument about foam is positive in my book, so you
shouldn’t feel like an idiot. In a controlled environment,
you could probably demonstrate an insulating effect at the
surface of beer. But in the hand of the consumer, the beer
will be warmed by the temperature of the drinker’s hand.
The drinking vessel itself has more to do with insulation
than foam. Aluminum cans conduct heat very well and are
good for rapidly chilling beer as well as rapidly warming
it. Heavy glass or clay mugs are good insulators, as is the
wonderfully American “cup cozy.”
Beer foam affects the mouthfeel of beer and increases the
creamy sensation of beer when consumed. It also has a
very appealing appearance on a freshly poured beer. If
it leaves a nice lacy pattern on the glass, it’s considered
truly superior foam. Most brewers like foam for these
reasons; they want to produce a beer that has a nice
foam volume with good stability and lacing. To many
consumers, however, foam occupies space in their glass
that could be filled with beer. This is where the brewer and
the beer consumer often run into arguments. I explain
to people who drink my beer that the foam is a gift from
me. It makes the beer visually appealing and improves
the mouthfeel. I like to use beer glasses with a fill line
to establish the volume where the beer stops and the
foam begins. And the next time I’m in a debate about the
usefulness of foam, I’ll add the bit about preventing heat
loss from the top of the beer. If nothing else, it makes for
a nice story!
Mr. Wizard, BYO’s resident expert, is a leading authority
in homebrewing whose identity, like the identity of all
superheroes, must be kept confidential. To see more of
Mr. Wizard, check out the latest issue of Brew Your Own at
better homebrew stores and newsstand locations.
Home Brew 101
Publisher James Soisson
Associate Publisher
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Frank Fernandez
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Mike Keuchler
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Carrot Top
Mike Myers
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Production Manager Mike Stefani
The Best in Home Brewing
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