Archive for the ‘Beer making’ Category

What I did this weekend

November 30, 2009

Went to Dan’s Home Brewing to pick up two new batches of beer. A Red Irish Ale and a Strathcona Pale Ale since your asking.

Took said beer to my friends house and brewed it up. This is where all the magic happens.

Played a little backgammon between brewing steps. James was the grand champion.

My friends have an amazing old heritage home that they are in the midst of renovating. They decided to leave one of the rooms in it’s original state. They call it the David Lynch room, I call it the David Lam Park room for no particular reason.

Lastly I went to see the progress of my friend Dawne-O’s new workplace at the Fairmont. These images are not of the Fairmont but the surrounding buildings including the convention center.

Have a great Monday!


Back to the beer making already!

June 12, 2009

Our beer has been fermenting in our primary (white bucket) for a week now. It’s time to rack our beer from the primary into our secondary or (glass carboy).

Pop off your lid, you should see something like this.



Make sure your syphon hose is clean before beginning the racking process. Your kit should have come with some Diversol a cleaning agent.

If you’ve never syphoned before you may have to give it a few try’s. Your primary must be higher than your secondary, stick the hard plastic end of the syphon into your primary and start sucking on the other end. When the beer is about half way down the hose stick the rubber end into your carboy and watch the magic unfold.


Once the carboy is full you need to fill your bung (the one that came with your kit that is) 3/4 full of tap water and bung it up.


That’s it for this step. You can put your glass carboy aside for another week to allow for the rest of the fermentation process to happen. Next we will bottle.


Fast forward one week. You’ll need some bottles. We use Anchor Steam bottles primarily because they look good. Some people like the Grolsh bottles as they have that reusable snap down cap. We like our beers to look authentic so we cap them ourselves. Scrub off the labels and give them a good wash.


Now that our bottles are clean we can rack our beer from our carboy back to the primary. We do this to filter out any remaining sediment and also because we need to add a cup of Dextrose to our beer. Now would be the time to check the alcohol content of your beer. Your kit comes with a hydrometer, fill your test tube with beer and drop in the hydrometer. Dextrose helps the carbonation of our beer along in the bottle. I don’t have an image of this step but it looks very much like the step where we add our yeast in the first phase. You will need to mix one cup of Dextrose with 1 cup of boiling water and add it to the primary once you have syphoned your beer back over.


I recommend purchasing a bottle washer and tree. It’s a great device thats shoots a no rinse hydrogen peroxide up into the bottles and gives you a place to dry them out.


Once your bottles have been rinsed with the hydrogen peroxide you can begin bottling. We also bought a special bottling tip for our syphon, it allows you to start and stop flow making it easier and quicker to bottle.


The last step is capping. When you finish capping you can put the bottled beer aside for another week.



Fast forward another week, after a few days in the fridge your ready to enjoy your brew. This is a clip of my buddy enjoying the first beers from our second batch. We named it UTB (Uncle Tommy’s Breath) in honour of my late uncle. Cheers!

Welcome! Let’s make some beer.

June 9, 2009


Random enough for you?. My good buddy Mike and I like to try new and exciting things such as making our own beer. It’s interesting how people automatically turn up thier noses when you offer them your home brew. Well let me tell you this is not your Uncle Tommy’s science experiment from the 70’s, It’s really very good!.

Here is a step by step process to brewing your own suds and photo documentation of the birth of “Basement Brewing”.

First and foremost you will need some supplies. I recommend checking out Dans Home Brewing Supplies. You can pick up a starter kit like the one pictured below for around $65.


Heat up 1 litre of water in a small pot to 75 degrees celcius. This will become our sparge water.


As soon as your water is at 75 degrees turn off your heat source add your grain mixture and allow it to steep for 45 mins.


While your sparge water is steeping you can begin to boil 11L of water in a 20L stock pot.


Now is also a good time to put your pure malt extract into hot water to soften it up so that it is easily transferred to your boil pot.


After 45 mins strain your steeped sparge water into another container and pour up to another 1L of hot water over the grains to release all of the flavour. Keep this sparge water to the side, you will be adding it to your boil pot soon.


Here’s the sparging process on video. The clip was taken from our second batch with our fancy new strainer.

So our 11L of water are at a full boil now and it’s time to add our softened pure malt extract. Be sure to stir the pot as you add your pure malt extract, you want to avoid burning any of the malt to the bottom of your boil pot. Do your best to get all of the malt extract out of the container. Once you have all of the malt extract in bring the pot to a rolling boil stirring occasionally.



Here’s a clip of adding the pure malt extract to the boil.

After adding the malt extract and bringing the wort to a boil (the boil is now called your wort) you want to skoop out 1 cup of the wort and cool it off to 30 degrees celcius. Add cool water to bring it to the desired temperature, once you have attained 30 degrees you will add your yeast package and cover loosely with saran.


Ok we now have our yeast activating and our wort pot is at a full boil. Next we want to add that sparge water from our first step to our wort boil.


Once again after adding the sparge water we need to bring the wort to a rolling boil. Once we have our boil rolling along again we will add our initial hops and leave our wort to boil for a full hour.



The wort has been boiling for a full hour so now we want to add our finishing hops for about two minutes before we take the wort off the stove and begin the cooling process. The finishing hops add flavour so if you like your beer extra hoppy you might choose to leave the boil on for a few minutes extra.


Weve removed our wort pot from the stove and now we need to cool the wort off to 40 degrees celcius. Plug your sink with a dish cloth and cycle cold water around the pot until your thermometer reads 40 degrees celcius.



Our wort is cooled to the desired temperature and were ready to strain it into our primary fermenter. Take it slow so you none of the hops accidently fall into your primary.


Next we want to fill our primary up to the 23L mark with cool water. You want the temperature to be around 25 degrees after adding the cool water in preparation of our last step of adding the yeast. Can’t seem to find a photo of this step so here’s a video clip.

The last step is to add our yeast mixture that we made earlier on. No need to stir, just dump it in. Snap your lid on fill your bung 3/4 full of water, bung it up and put it aside for a week. That’s all for this phase, check back soon for stage two.



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