It has been awhile since I wrote here and unfortunately the same applies to my homebrewing – modified St.Peters IPA was brewed approximately the same time as my last post. There were different reasons for this – from lack of time to my fermenting room being too hot in summer. But now I’ve beaten the obstackles – time is a matter of planning, summer is over – and I’m back! To refresh my almost nonexistent skills I decided to start with a remake of my last homebrew – St.Peters IPA with Muntons enhancer and dryhopping, before I go back to my original plan – minimash. Brewing from kit was as I remembered – easy and fun, with help from my brewing diary, it felt like there was no 6 month cap between my homebrews. Yes – the brewing diary – a very handy tool, to develop both – your skills and recipes. Since I found my notes so useful, I decided to share them. Below I will show step-by-step how to brew the simplest good homebrew from St.Peters IPA beerkit.
Besides the St.Peters IPA beerkit you need:
- Better (or newbie safe) yeast – I used Safale US-05;
- Beerkit enhancer (a blend of spray dried dextrose and spray dried malt extract) – I used Muntons.
- Hop pellets, for dryhopping.
- Later, when bottling, you’ll need sugar.
- Of course – the equipment:
- PBW and SaniClean (or something else) for cleaning and sanitizing.
- You will also need boiled water. I add this to “needed” list, because it’s wise to boil water a day before, then you don’t have to put it into the snow, desperately waiting for cooling as I had to with my very first homebrew.
Cleaning and sanitizing
I never tire of repeating – cleaning and sanitizing is important! You may do everything great, you mix together the best wort, add the tastiest blend of hops, ferment at the most suitable temperatures and get the timings perfect – but one small, insignificant bacterium can make it all worth nothing. So wash your equipment properly with a good cleaner (like PBW) and use a good sanitizer (like SaniClean).
Wash everything with PBW (or soak some or all tools in it, if needed) and carefully sanitize with SaniClean. To avoid high costs spraying large surfaces with sanitizer is okay also. Dont’t clean after sanitizing – SaniClean IS the cleaner, it will not harm the beer even if some small amount doesn’t vaporize before. Don’t forget to protect yourself – both are chemicals, read the instructions and warnings before using!
Mixing St.Peters IPA kit with the rest
First boil some water:
- For heating the cans – St.Peters IPA kit consist of 2 cans, that need to stand in hot water for 5 minutes before using.
- 3 litres – for adding to mixture.
Then open the cans and pour the content into fermenter, add Muntons enhancer and 3 litres of boiled, hot water, stir well until the ingredients are completely mixed.
When all ingredients have nicely dissolved, top up with cold water (the one you boiled yesterday and kept at room temperature or a bit colder) to 19.5 litres. This is the last time your brew likes (even needs) the air, so letting the water flow from higher and continue stirring is a good idea.
After filling the fermenter up to 19.5 litres (+/- 0.5 isn’t a problem), check the temperature of the mixture – it should be around 20 degrees Celsius (minimum 18, maximum 25) for the yeast to start. If it’s not then either cool it or wait for it to warm up (and make a note for next time: don’t put the boiled water in fridge :), it should be at room temperature or slightly lower).
Add the hop sachet, included in the St.Peters IPA kit and throw away the yeast next to it. If you have the hydrometer, measure the original gravity (should be around 1062 – 1068) and write it down, if you’d like to calculate the alcohol level at the end.
When the temperature is right (between 18 to 20 (max 25) degrees of Celsius), add the Safale US-05 yeast (if you don’t have one, go pick up the original yeast from trash), cover the fermenter, attach the airlock and let it ferment at around 18-20 degrees celsius for 4 to 28 days…
4 to 28 days? What the … ?
The St.Peters IPA kit instructions say 4-6 days, I have never had any fermentations under 13 days and this last brew of mine fermented for 28 days, so yes – 4 to 28 days. Luckily there are better ways to determine if the beer is ready, than counting days. First and simplest is to look at the airlock, when bubbling is over, then it is most likely ready. Don’t be hasty though, let it stay for few more days after the last bubble, it will not hurt the beer. Even better is to use a hydrometer – as the kit instructions say – when gravity remains constant below 1014, the beer is ready.
Whatever way you use, try to determine the time when you have 4 days left until bottling, because we need to do one more thing – dryhopping.
Dryhopping the St.Peters IPA kit
Dryhopping can be done in various ways and since there are smarter people out there, I suggest you use Google to find out other ways – I just add the hop pellets to the fermenter and that’s it. I was worried about possible additional residue in the beer, but when you use second bucket for bottling and are careful enough, it will not be a problem nor did I detect any “grassy” taste in beer, some people have mentioned.
Like I said – dryhopping should be done around 4 days before bottling. Easier said than done – first time it took me 6 days and now it was 10 days after adding the hop pellets, before I had free time to bottle the beer. 6 days was completely okay, no problem in taste, 10 days – I will find out soon 🙂
What hop pellets (or hops) to use is up to you and your taste, but I suggest something that is marked as “great for dryhopping”.
And don’t forget to put the lid back on and the airlock.
Finally the beer is ready for bottling – airlock has stopped, hydrometer shows 1010 or similar (probably slightly higher) and you can almost feel the great taste in your mouth. I don’t want to spoil it, but I have to say this:
Now you need to clean and sanitize all the equipment needed for bottling and the bottles also.
Now its time to make syrup. Since I use second bucket for bottling, I like to add the sugar (for carbonation) as a syrup into the bucket before transfering the beer from fermenter. If you do not have a second bucket, you can add sugar directly into bottles (see St.Peters IPA instructions). For syrup I used this time 114 grams of unrefined organic sugar and 400 ml of water, boiled it for 16 minutes and cooled down.
When syrup has reached the room temperature, pour it into the second bucket, attach a silicone hose to fermenters tap and carefully transfer the beer to bottling bucket. Now the air is not your friend anymore, avoid bubbling and unnecessary stirring!
Finally the beer is ready for bottling. I advise using a siphon to make it easier, but you can do without it, just be careful and avoid bubbling (remember – air is not good anymore).
Seal the bottles and let them stay at room temperature for approximately 3 – 7 days, then store them in fridge or cellar. Taste the beer when you want, but I suggest to open the first bottle not earlier than after 1-2 days after being stored in colder place. Enjoy!
There are much more things, than described in this article, that can infulence the final result, so take this post as a suggestion only. What worked for me, might not work for you. The best way to find out, is to test it yourself. Happy brewing!