Hello and happy new year! It’s been a long couple of weeks and the posts I want to make are starting to fuzz up in my memory so I need to start cranking them out lest I forget what I’ve done for the past month.
First up is documenting my second attempt at homebrewing. As this is only my second attempt, I’m still working from kits. I picked one that seemed a little more complicated than the last one: BrewCraft Heather n Honey Deep Brown Kit:
A variation on an American style of brown ale, this beer is heavier and darker than typical English brown ales. It also has the unusual addition of wild-harvested Scottish Heather tips in place of flavor and aroma hops, for a unique floral/herbal twist. Heather was once used for both medicinal and flavoring purposes in ancient Scottish and English ales before hops were readily available. Nowadays it is used to create a stand-apart brown ale by brewers in both the UK and US. We include rare Meadowfoam honey which has a “caramel-marshmallow” flavor and aroma; we think it’s ideally suited to compliment the flavors and aromas of toasted brown malt and heather in this beer.
I steeped the grains in 3 gallons of filtered tap water at 165* for 10 minutes. Then I removed the grain and added 3 pounds of Breiss dry malt (amber). Dry malt is weird – if you don’t stir vigorously, it chunks up into – looking bits.
You can see some of the malt stuck to the side of my tub. You can also see the pan I used to make scrambled eggs next to that.
I brought the wort to a boil. The instructions warned me that it might boil over, but it never did. It foamed about as much as it is in the above picture. I added 1 ounce of US Northern Brewer Pellet Bittering Hops and boiled for 45 minutes. Then I added 4 ounces of dried heather tips and 2 more pounds of Breiss Dry Malt (amber).
I stirred this for 1 minute and boiled for 12 minutes.
I transferred the wort to the fermenting bucket, making sure to pour vigorously to aerate it properly. I then put it in my sink full of ice until it reached about 70*. I sprinkled dry yeast on top and put the lid on.
It’s been sitting in the primary fermenter since 12/9. I was thinking of doing a secondary fermentation to clarify the beer, as some friends had recommended, but after doing some research on the homebrew forums I decided to just leave it in the primary fermenter for longer than the 2 weeks the instructions recommended.
Tonight I’m going to add the sugar (which is in the form of raspberry honey!) and bottle it. It’ll be a long time before I can taste it (more on why later..) which will help me work on patience for bottle conditioning. I won’t be tempted to open it a week after bottling, like last time, which didn’t end well.