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We are going to use this page to explain the main steps we use in the brewing process.  I am not going  into detail, but rather give a quick overview of the steps involved in brewing beer.  I will try to add more when I have time. Cheers!

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Milling Grain - This step can be done for you when you order your grain from your local home brew shop or one of the online supply stores. If you prefer to do this yourself, which can have benefits if you like your grain crushed exactly to your own liking, you will need a mill.  These are also available from the online supply stores.  The grain is usually crushed as rough as possible, just enough to be able to get to the starches and still have enough chaff intact to use for filtering.

Mashing - Mashing is the process of using the enzymes of the grain for converting the starches from the grain into fermentable sugars.  This is usually done in a mash tun which is basically any vessel for which you can mix your grain with water at a specific temperature or sequence of temperatures without loosing heat for approximately an hour and have the ability to drain the end product (wort).  You can buy stainless steel mash tuns or converted coolers for this purpose or even use a big enough pot as long as you can hold the mixture (usually 1 - 2 quarts of water per pound of grain).

Sparging - This step is used to extract the remaining sugars from the grain.  We use a process called batch sparging which means adding a lump amount of water to the grain at a specific temperature and stirring to help wash the remaining sugars from the grain.  Sparging can also be performed by trickling water slowly at a specific temperature over the grains as you drain the the wort to keep the grain bed covered in water.  In either process it is important to slowly drain the wort from the mash tun to get a better efficiency.

Boiling - Boiling the wort is usually done for about 60 minutes.  In this time you can add different types of hops which will add bittering to your final product.  If hops are added during the boiling process the alpha-acids become more soluble and can produce bittering characteristics in the final product.  Flavor hops are usually added about 15 minutes till the end of the boil, while aroma hops are added in the last 5 minutes.  Be careful! During the beginning of the boil you can get a boil-over which will be messy and hard to clean up.

Chilling - This step is done to rapidly bring the wort down to a temperature that is right for pitching the yeast.  This can be done by using an ice bath or by purchasing/making a immersion chiller which is made of either copper or stainless steel piping that can be immersed into the wort while cold water is run through the tubing. Also available are counter flow chillers.

Fermentation - The fermentation process is what happens after pitching the yeast to the wort.  The yeast will consume the fermentable sugars producing alcohol and CO2 as a byproduct.  This is usually done in one or two steps.  The first step (primary fermentation) is where most of the fermentation takes place and can be done in either a plastic food grade bucket with a vent for the CO2 or a plastic/glass carboy.  The second step (secondary fermentation) is where the remaining fermentation is carried out after transferring to another fermented to help make the beer clearer.

Packaging - Packaging the beer can be done in glass beer bottles (used or new) or you can transfer your beer into a keg.  In either case you will need to carbonate the beer.  This can be done by adding priming sugar to the bottles or keg to let the remaining yeast create enough carbonation before you drink the beer.  This will also give the beer some time to age.  Another way to carbonate your beer is by force carbonation which can be done in a keg.  You will need CO2 canister with CO2 inside and the proper connectors to hook up to your keg. The beer should be ready to drink in about 2 to 4 weeks in either case.

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