Feb 242012

Welcome to the wizard’s Blog

I thought it was about time to start a blog and tell you what i am up to and what we have in store for the homebrew wizard. I started this site in August after i decided to teach myself how to make a website. I decided on a homebrew site as i have been a homebrewer for a while and have made a large amount of beer, wine and cider. I learnt the art of homebrew from many different sources including the internet, you tube and trial and error. I wanted to make a site that channels alot of information for the home brewer into one place. To be honest most of my mistakes have resulted in pleasant suprises and good results, you have to really mess up to spoil a batch of beer. So i decided to make this site, as i do have a knowledge of computers but have never made a site. Using wordpress i made this site over a week or so and have been adding to it ever since.

At the moment i have around a gallon of chocolate porter left which i have really enjoyed you can find the recipe and review here. I have to finish the last eight pints to empty my keg as ive got 40 pints of guinness clone in my fermenter which should be ready in around a week. This beer is my own recipe which has a nice twist of using soured guinness in the recipe so keep an eye out for that.

I have also just bottled some youngs carbernet sauvagion which i will be writing a review for shortly, so keep an eye out for that one as well.

Going all grain

As stated above I have made numerous batches of beer, cider and wine. The method I have used has been brewing from kits and extract and steeping grains. I will shortly be going AG, taking the final step to the holy grail of beer making. I intend to publish my journey on this site, showing how to choose and make the additional equipment needed, how my first batch is made and what the resulting beer comes out like.

I will be making a plastic boiler which will be a bucket fitted with kettle elements, a mash tun from a cooler box(hopefully) and other stuff including a wort chiller. In true wizard style I will be making this equipment using the cheapest parts possible to make quaility equipment that will last for years of all grain brewing. I think i might be a bit busy over the next few weeks, keep your eyes peeled for the results.

Feb 232012

 Brupaks Czech pilsner.

To give the kit its full title brewers choice from Brupaks continental Czech Pilsner.

The brupaks blurb describes this kit as “A beautiful golden lager with a full-bodied, malty backround and a pronounced hop character derived from genuine Czech Saaz hops.
Brews 23 litres (40 pints). Colour; golden. Bitterness; high (EBU 38 – 42) . A.b.v. 4.5 – 4.8%.

Brupaks Brewer’s Choice are unique in that they are the first dried ingredient kits that don’t require boiling. The kits are comprised of first-grade, spray-dried malt extract, freshly crushed grains, pre isomerised hop pellets and genuine brewer’s yeast. As the hops have already been isomerised (alpha acids, the bittering substances in hops, are insoluble until they have been boiled in wort for at least 20 minutes) all that is neccessary to release their biterness and flavour is to steep them in hot water for a few minutes.

This kit is the next step to extract and all grain brewing. The kit is a “dry” kit and is made up of a bag of dry malt extract, grains, hops and brewferm lager yeast. The kit costs £19.75 but further ingredients are required. This is the beauty of this kit.
There are three choices of further ingredients that can be used which alter the type of beer produced, these are:-

1. Sugar 1kg. This will produce a light bodied beer with a pronounced hop character.
2. Dried malt extract 1kg. This will produce a beer with more body and a maltier profile, hops are still in evidence.
3. Light liquid malt extract 1.5kg. This method produces a truly commercial beer with a fuller body and a higher alcohol content, although this choice will slightly darken the beer.

Would you care to hazard a guess which method was used? You got it option 3 was used to make my beer. The can of extract cost £11.00, so the total was £30.75 which works out at 76 pence a pint.

Brewing method.

This kit is slightly more involved to make than just mixing the kit and sugar as there is an element of hop and grain additions, but more about that later.

The first thing to do as always is to sterilise everything that comes into contact with the beer, further details can be found on the sterilise page. The next step is steep the hop and grains. This is the clever bit as this kit uses “tea bag technology”. The grains and hops are in large “tea bags”. The tea bags are placed into a clean pan and are then covered in 2 litres (one kettle) of boiling water. This is then left for twenty mins to steep. the liquid is then poured out into the sterilised fermenter. This step is repeated a second and third time and the tea bags are then discarded. The malt extract is then added to the fermenter and mixed in. The next step is to add your own chosen ingredient. I used option 3 the 1.5kg of liquid malt extract. The can was heated in a hot pan of water for 15 mins to soften the contents and added to the fermenter. The can was rinsed out with boiling water to get all the extract out of the tin. While this is done the yeast should be rehydrated (as per the instructions on the packet). This is basicaly adding the dry yeast to cooled boiled water and leaving it for about 15 mins to rehydrate.

The fermenter is then topped up to the required 23 litres at a temperature of between 18-22 degrees C and the lid and air lock fitted. The beer should be left to ferment for around 5-7 days. Once the fermentation has stopped the beer should be syphoned into bottles which have been primed with dextrose or batch primed and bottled. The beer will be ready to drink in a further 7 days or so.

Conclusion and taste.

This beer is a little bit more complicated to make than a standard kit but is well worth the effort. I like the fact that the kit is flexible and can be changed to taste. I used the liquid malt extract option and it did make the beer slightly darker. The taste of this beer is quality and I would liken it to Holsten Pils. The carbonation and head retention were good. The taste was more malty than hoppy but you could taste the Saaz hops in the background. I drank this batch over christmas and enjoyed every drop. Next time I make this (because there will be more batches made) I will try the extra dry malt extract option to see if the beer is “lighter”. Conclusion – A flexible kit that is very good quality and great to drink.


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