Beer brewed: BrewFerm Furioso (Belgian Tripel)
Type of kit: Malt Extract kit
Date of brew: 21st February 2013
Today I managed to get my second ever extract brew going. I’ve been using the cans for a few years now and they are great; really simple and if you buy wisely they can turn out a great beer. However, I wanted to increase the quality of my beer and experiment with my own recipes. With a small child and a full-time job I didn’t want to jump straight to a full grain mash but hopefully this is a happy medium. For those who don’t know, extract brewing involves boiling lots of malt extract with hops for a couple of hours and is probably on a par with jam making (jelly for our American friends) in terms of difficulty – so not very! I was still concerned that I would make a complete hash of it, so I bought two BrewFerm malt extract kits to get me started: the Gregorius and the above mentioned Furioso. They are probably a bit expensive compared to buying ingredients but they ticked three important boxes for me:
1. They are strong Belgian beers, which is what I like to drink.
2. I’ve made beer from their canned kits before, which was was very good.
3. They take you through step by step in a very reassuring way.
I’ve recently bottled the Gregorius, here goes with the Furioso.
Described as a Dark-blonde full-flavoured tripel with a fruity touch and a slightly bitter aftertaste, the stats that I am aiming for are as follows
Volume made: 10 litres
Orig. gravity: 1.072
Alcohol: 7.2 % ABV
Bitterness/ Hoppiness: 27 EBU
Colour: 23 EBC
Malt extract blond: 8 EBC
Malt extract amber: 18 EBC
These three all come bagged together and add up as 2125g of fermentables.
BrewFerm top fermenting yeast 6g
First I put 11 litres (to account for some boiling off) of luke warm water the hob and dissolved all the fermentables in it, stirring thoroughly. There was then a rather long wait of about half an hour for that amount of liquid to reach boiling point. When the bubbling really started I dropped in the first bag of hops (I suspect these were Challenger), set the countdown timer for 40 minutes and the next 30 minutes were spent regularly stirring to get the most out of the hops whilst adjusting the heat to keep it nicely boiling. 10 minutes before the end, the second bag of hops was added along with the coriander seed. I carried on stirring, and also filled my sinks with cold water.
When the countdown timer reached zero, I switched off the heat, whipped out the hop bags and put the whole pan into the sink. The idea is to cool the liquid (AKA the wort) quickly so that I can pitch the yeast with the least chance of contamination. As the cold water in the sink warmed up, I moved the pan across to the other sink. This was repeated a couple of times, keeping an eye on the temperature.Ideally I wanted the yeast the yeast to go in at 20C so at 22C I moved the wort into the fermenter bucket. From here on, fermenter included, everything that came into contact with the wort needed to be sterilised. I used Boots Baby Steriliser tablets as we always have some in the house. I poured the dried yeast into 50 ml of water to rehydrate it, gave it a good shake and left it for 10 minutes. During this time I vigorously stirred the wort to get in as much air as possible as the yeast needs this, and measured the orginal specific gravity (1.075 at 22C, slightly high so more water must have boiled off than expected) .
Finally, in went the yeast – it was still 21C! Next time I will cool for slightly longer before rehydrating the yeast, although it was not not far off. More vigorous stirring, on went the lid and I took it off to the ‘Brewery’ (the understairs cupboard).I am trying this brew without an airlock in the lid, more dangerous but apparently Belgian yeasts like to have access to oxygen (Westvleteren still uses completely open fermenters).
Fingers crossed in about 10 days I will have something to fill the bottles with!