Monday 18 October 2010

Back to Kit Brewing - Briefly

On the homebrewing forum I am a member of, it is often said by the All Grain brewing community that, once you've tried All Grain beer, you'll never go back to kits.

Well, that's not strictly true in my case. As I've said before, All Grain brewing makes excellent beer but it can take hours to do whereas a kit can be knocked up ready to ferment in 30-45 minutes.

It has been more than six months since I last brewed a kit but I am booked to demonstrate the principles of kit brewing at a local homebrew shop, so I wanted to give myself a quick refresher. This kit is an out of date brewbuddy kit which I've brewed with a pack of Windsor yeast, a kilo of beer kit enhancer (50/50 spraymalt and brewing sugar) and a hopped tea made up of Simcoe and Cascade hops.

Adding hopped teas and changing the yeast is referred to as kit tweaking. In order for the yeast to do its best, it meeds to have lots of sugar and oxygen to feed on so one of the other important things to do in kit brewing is to get as much air into the wort as possible. This can be achieved by letting the water drop from a great height or by thrashing with a beer paddle.

The thing is, I'm quite lazy and I've found that, by using a hand blender, you can whip loads of air into the wort. It is worth noting that in the 48 hours since I placed the fermenter into the brew fridge, the wort has fermented down from 1055 to 1012, which is pretty cool.

The reason I've gone for the Simcoe and Cascade hop combo is that I'm beginning to love the West Coast style. I'll be putting a Cascade/Simcoe all grain recipe together pretty soon and it will be nice to see how they effect the Brewbuddy kits. I find, if you have a number of identical kits which you brew with identical yeasts, it gives you a decent test bed for testing hop additions. Of course the only problem with kit beer is that it takes about 5-6 weeks to be ready to drink. Still I've given myself the refresher course I needed and now I'll be ready for my demonstrations in a few weeks' time.

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