Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Homebrew Batch 2: Brew Day

Since we deemed our first batch of brew a success, and since we felt that we had learned a lot from the experience, we felt comfortable enough trying something new. For our second batch we purchased a Wheat Beer recipe kit from our local homebrewing supply store which contained all the ingredients we would need for a simple wheat beer. Our intentions, however, were not to brew a simple wheat beer.

For the most part, we followed the instructions included with the recipe kit exactly was they were written. However, after the brewing was complete, we added our own ingredients to the beer; Oranges! We started with six whole oranges and grated some peel into a bowl. The idea was to use the orange zest to add some citrus flavor to the beer. Next, we cut up all six oranges into small pieces, adding the pieces and zest to one half gallon of water to steep at around 150 to 160 degrees. Our hope was that the orange pieces would add some additional citrus flavor to be beer while also providing some additional sugar to the mix (hopefully increasing the alcohol content). It's important to note that when cutting the oranges, the white part of the peel is to be avoided. This part of the peel will cause your beer to become quite bitter.

Once the brew and the oranges were cool enough, we added them both into our fermenter and pitched our yeast. This particular recipe calls for a fermentation period of only one week, but we allowed it to ferment for about ten days. We transferred our first batch into a secondary fermenter after one week and allowed it to ferment for another two weeks before bottling. However, with this batch, we decided not to transfer to a secondary and bottled it after the 10-day fermentation period.

When it came time to bottle the beer and we opened the fermenter for the first time, we were greeted with the most awesome aroma of bready malt and citrus. The orange aroma was quite a bit more intense than I had anticipated, but I was in no way disappointed. Bottling went off without a hitch, and we ended up with a total of 50 bottles.

We allowed the beer to carbonate in the bottles for about a week and a half before refrigerating and tasting. I will post our review and final thoughts on this brew later.

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