A Solid Silver at the British Guild of Beer Writers Awards 2016

Very excitingly, the We Made a Beer podcast was shortlisted for the Best Beer Broadcaster award at the 2016 British Guild of Beer Writers Awards

We had a great time at the awards 'do last night and we're dead chuffed to have won SILVER! Very happy with that result, and not at all ashamed to come runner up to BBC Radio 4's The Food Programme.

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Thanks to all who have listened to/contributed to the podcast, this result was down to you. 

We've already started planning series two and this has got us extra excited to share it with you next year. 

Cheers, and Happy Christmas :)

Louise & Lucy

WE MADE A CHOCOLATE BISCUIT MILK STOUT - RECIPE

 
 

BLOG ARCHIVE

BREW METHOD: All Grain
STYLE: Sweet Stout
BOIL TIME: 60 minutes
BOIL SIZE: 25 litres

ORIGINAL GRAVITY: 1.063
FINAL GRAVITY: 1.027
ABV: 4.73%


FERMENTABLES
4 kg – United Kingdom – Maris Otter Pale (69.6%)
500 g – United Kingdom – Chocolate (8.7%)
50 g – United Kingdom – Dark Crystal 80L (0.9%)
500 g – Belgian – Biscuit (8.7%)
250 g – Flaked Oats (4.3%)
450 g – Lactose (Milk Sugar) (7.8%)


HOPS
40 g - Fuggles, Type: Leaf/Whole, AA: 4.5
Boil for 60 minutes, IBU: 19.79
20 g - Fuggles, Type: Leaf/Whole, AA: 4.5
Boil for 30 minutes, IBU: 7.6


OTHER INGREDIENTS
250 g Cocoa nibs, added three days into fermentation
3 Vanilla pods, added three days into fermentation

YEAST
Wyeast – British Ale 1098

Download a printable version here. 

WE MADE A GOOSEBERRY SAISON - RECIPE

 
 

BLOG ARCHIVE

BREW METHOD: All Grain
STYLE: Experimental Beer
BOIL TIME: 60 minutes
BOIL SIZE: 30 litres

ORIGINAL GRAVITY: 1.064
FINAL GRAVITY: 1.002
ABV: 8.14%

FERMENTABLES
4 kg – German – Pilsner (55.6%)
2.5 kg – German – Vienna (34.7%)
450 g – Belgian – Wheat (6.3%)
250 g – Flaked Oats (3.5%)


HOPS
25 g - Saaz, Type: Leaf/Whole, AA: 3.5
Boil for 60 minutes, IBU: 7.63
25 g - Simcoe, Type: Leaf/Whole, AA: 3.5
Boil for 5 minutes, IBU: 5.52


OTHER INGREDIENTS
800 g tinned gooseberries, added five days into fermentation

YEAST
White Labs – Belgian Saison I Yeast WLP565

Download a printable version here.

WE MADE A WHEAT BEER- RECIPE

 
 

BLOG ARCHIVE

BREW METHOD: All Grain
STYLE: Weissbier
BOIL TIME: 60 minutes

ORIGINAL GRAVITY: 1.058
FINAL GRAVITY: 1.018
ABV: 5.52%

FERMENTABLES:
4 kg - United Kingdom - Wheat (64%)
2 kg - United Kingdom - Maris Otter Pale (32%)
250 g - Flaked Oats (4%)


HOPS:
20 g - Saaz, Type: Leaf/Whole, AA: 3.5,
Boil for 60 minutes, IBU: 6.55
15 g - Saaz, Type: Leaf/Whole, AA: 3.5
Boil for 15 minutes, IBU: 2.44


YEAST:
Wyeast - Bavarian Wheat 3056

Download a printable version here

WE MADE A PORTER - RECIPE

 

BLOG ARCHIVE

BREW METHOD: All Grain
STYLE: Porter
BOIL TIME: 60 minutes
BOIL SIZE: 25 litres

ORIGINAL GRAVITY: 1.057
FINAL GRAVITY: 1.015
ABV: 5.51%

FERMENTABLES
5 kg - United Kingdom - Maris Otter Pale (80%)
500 g - United Kingdom - Black Patent (8%)
500 g - United Kingdom - Chocolate (8%)
250 g - Flaked Oats (4%)


HOPS
20 g - Whitbread Golding, Type: Leaf/Whole, AA: 6
Boil for 60 minutes, IBU: 14.28

15 g - Bramling Cross, Type: Leaf/Whole, AA: 6.5
Boil for 15 minutes, IBU: 3.1
15 g - Bramling Cross, Type: Leaf/Whole, AA: 6.5
Boil for 5 minutes, IBU: 1.88


YEAST
Wyeast – London ESB Ale 1968

Download a printable version here

 

WE MADE A LAGER - RECIPE

 

BLOG ARCHIVE

BREW METHOD: All Grain
STYLE: Lager
BOIL TIME: 60 minutes
BOIL SIZE: 25 litres

ORIGINAL GRAVITY: 1.048
FINAL GRAVITY: 1.009
ABV: 5.12%


FERMENTABLES
5 kg – German – Pilsner (100%)

HOPS
20 g - Saaz, Type: Leaf/Whole, AA: 3.5
Boil for 60 min, IBU: 6.6
15 g - Saaz, Type: Leaf/Whole, AA: 3.5
Boil for 15 min, IBU: 2.46


YEAST
Wyeast – Bavarian Lager 2206

Download a printable version here
 

WE MADE AN IPA - RECIPE

 
 

BREW METHOD: All Grain
STYLE: American IPA
BOIL TIME: 60 minutes
BOIL SIZE: 20 litres

ORIGINAL GRAVITY: 1.055
FINAL GRAVITY: 1.015
ABV: 5.25%

FERMENTABLES
4 kg - United Kingdom - Maris Otter Pale (80.6%)
320 g - United Kingdom - Cara Malt (6.5%)
320 g - German - Munich Light (6.5%)
320 g - United Kingdom - Dark Crystal 80L (6.5%)


HOPS
20 g - Simcoe, Type: Leaf/Whole, AA: 12.7,
Boil for 60 min, IBU: 27.24
25 g - Simcoe, Type: Leaf/Whole, AA: 12.7,
Boil for 36 min, IBU: 28.58
50 g - Simcoe, Type: Leaf/Whole, AA: 12.7,
Boil for 0 min

10 g - Simcoe, Type: Leaf/Whole, AA: 12.7,
Dry Hop for 5 days


YEAST
Wyeast - American Ale 1056

Download a printable version here

 

HOW TO BOTTLE

We bottled loads of beer during this process. It can be quite laborious but its still REALLY FUN!
As always, you must remember to clean absolutely everything at each step!

Step 1 - Dip and douche your bottles with cleaning fluid! Then add to a bottle tree or similar to dry.

 
 

Step 2 - Drop the trub from your fermentation tank. This can be messy.

Step 3 - Transfer the clean trub-free beer from your fermentation tank into your bottling tank. 

Step 4 - Work out how much sugar you need to add and put it into a little bit of freshly boiled water to dissolve it. Gently fold the sugar liquid into the beer. The sugar will give the yeast another little kick into action causing carbon dioxide to build up - and that's how the fizz gets into your bottles!

 
 

Step 5 - Connect a hose from your bottling tank into your bottling station.

 
 

Step 6 - Fill your bottles - not too full now!

 
 

Step 7 - Cap them! Make sure you leave these soaking in cleaning fluid beforehand too!

 
 

Step 8 - Store the bottles and wait for the beer to carbonate and bottle condition (at least 10 more days) 

Step 9 - Label your bottles. An optional but fun extra. 

Step 10 - DRINK UP!

 

HOW TO BREW

So you've done some research, drunk some beers and you've developed a recipe for your own brew using BrewersFriendBrewToad or similar, but where do you go from there? 

Techniques change depending on what equipment you're using, but here's how we brewed at UBREW - wittled down into 15 easy steps! NOTE: Clean absolutely everything as you go along!

Step 1 - Turn water into 'hot liquor' 
Take water and sprinkle on some science to alter the hardness and pH if needed! Heat it up to around 7o°c. Now your lowly water has magically become 'hot liquor' and is instantly more sexy.  

Step 2 - Add your malt
Once you've weighed and ground your malted grain, you need to add them to your mash tun bit by bit, and slowly stir in your hot liquor. Use around 2.5 litres of water for every 1kg of malt - consistency wise think 'northern porridge.' All that stirring is gonna take the temperature of your water down a bit, keep an eye on this so you mash in at your desired temperature. Put the lid on and leave your mash to do its thing.

Step 3 - Mashing
Set the timer for an hour, and leave it to mash. During this period the heat of the water tricks the grain into germinating, which releases the sugar that you need to make wondrous alcohol. While you wait... head to a nearby tap room and enjoy some tasty BEER.

 
 

Step 4 - Recirculation or 'Vorlauf'  
45 mins into our one hour mash time, start 'recirculating.' 

Recirculation means clarifying the wort being drawn from the mash tun. The idea is to get as much sugar as you can from your malt and achieve a consistent colour in your wort. Drain the wort out of the bottom of the mash tun into a jug and sprinkle it back over the top of the grain, recirculating it round and round again for the last 15 minutes of the mash. 

We sprinkled our wort over the grain bed along the back of a spoon - this gave us even coverage and stopped us from getting any direct channels through the grain bed.

Step 5 - Sparging
Sparging is the process of diluting the wort and transferring it out of your mash tun and into your kettle. We used around half of our water during the mash, so here we're increasing the volume of liquid - follow your recipe! We used a 'sparge arm,' which looks like a little garden sprinkler - but there are many different techniques you can use.

Whatever method, the process remains the same. You add more hot water over the top of the grain bed, this then trickles all the way down cleaning the grain, releasing more sugars. This sparge water then comes out of the bottom of the mash tun via a hose and into the kettle. 


Step 6 - Boil your wort
This doesn't need much of an explanation. Heat your wort up to 100°c and leave it on a rolling boil for an hour.

 
 

Step 7 - Add Hops!
While the wort is boiling, add your hops according to the hop schedule in your recipe. 

Hops added close to the start of the boil are your 'bittering hops'  - they add bitterness to balance the sugar, but not much flavour (imagine leaving a teabag to stew for an hour). Hops added towards the end of the boil retain their aromatic, floral aromas and flavours, adding hop character to your beer - IPAs often have a lot of hops added just a few minutes before the end.  

Step 8 - Cool your wort
Yeast is very temperature sensitive - you can’t just chuck it into 100°c wort, because it’ll die. You need to chill the wort down to a much more yeast-friendly temperature, usually around 15-25°c depending on the style of beer you're making.

We used a counterflow chiller to cool our wort down. It works kinda like a car radiator - cold water goes into the chiller and runs quickly through some funky piping alongside our 100°c wort, which is running really slowly through the chiller. We can control the cooling temperature by playing with the speed of flow. Slower water + faster wort = hotter wort. Faster water + slower wort = cooler wort.

In short - hot wort leaves our kettle and enters the plate chiller. SCIENCE HAPPENS, and cool wort leaves the plate chiller and enters our fermentation vessel.

Here's a rather GCSE science looking diagram that hopefully illustrates the functionality a little better. 

Step 9 - Check your gravity
Once your wort has cooled you can take your 'Original Gravity'. This is the most accurate way to test how efficient you've been with the brewing. Rescue a bit of cooled wort from the pipes and fill up your trial jar. Use a hydrometer to check your original gravity. The more sugar, the higher the gravity. Make a note of this as you'll need it later!

 
 

Step 10 - Pitch your yeast
Now that your wort is cool and in its fermentation tank, it's time to sprinkle in your yeast. Yeast loves oxygen at this point, so stir the shit out of your wort, making it all bubbly and full of air pockets. Stick the lid on and seal it tight (making sure you've used an airlock)

Step 11 - Fermentation
Leave your fermentation tank somewhere with a consistent temperature. UBREW has a room specially designed to hold out tanks at a consistent temperature.  

Once pitched, a yeast orgy commences and it reproduces rapidly. As you'd imagine, it then gets super hungry, and sugar is its food of choice. Fermentation happens when yeast eats the sugars and kind of poops out alcohol and carbon dioxide gas. At this stage the CO2 will escape through the airlock*, and the wort becomes beer.   

Most beers take around 10 days to ferment and settle, but lagers take a lot longer, around two months, and require much cooler conditions. 

Step 12 - Bottling
Before you bottle, take another gravity reading. This is your final gravity. To work out your ABV you do a little bit of maths (original gravity - final gravity) x 131. Alternatively let BrewersFriend do it for you. 

Before bottling, you need to add some extra sugar, which will re-ferment in the bottle and create CO2, which will dissolve into the beer and add the fizz.

There's various ways to bottle, ranging complex pressure systems to a simple lowly jug, and it can be messy! Seal your bottles tight with a crown cap and leave them somewhere cool to re-ferment and condition for at least 10 days. Read our how to bottle blog for more info.

Step 13 - Beer!
After 10 days of conditioning (or more depending on the style), your beer is ready to crack open and enjoy!

BREWING EQUIPMENT: WHAT WE USED

Here's a quick round up of the equipment we've been using to brew with:

Hot Liquor Tank: this heats up your good old tap water and keeps it at a steady temperature for mashing in.

Mash Tun: like a giant thermos flask that keeps your grain happy and warm as you mash in.

Kettle: looks very similar to the hot liquor tank. This is where the boil happens - don't forget to attach a hop filter!

Fermentation tank: this is a conical fermenter. Super handy as all our trub (that's the hops/yeast/ leftovery bits) sinks to the pointy bit at the bottom, so it's easy to remove before we bottle.   

 
 

Big Spoon: Note also a bottle opener!

 
 

Hoses: These are gonna connect all your bits of kit together. 

 
 

Counterflow chiller: A fancy piece of kit that chills down your boiling hot wort to fermentation temperature in minutes. Cold water goes in and runs past hot wort. Chilled wort and waste water come out the other side. There's more on this in our how to blog - 

 
 

Thermometer: A brewer's best friend. Good beer needs accurate temperature readings. Consistency is key. Follow the temperatures on your recipe exactly and you should have a really accurate brew.  

 
 

Hydrometer and Trial Jar: These are the tools we need to read our 'gravity.' Gravity relates to the amount of sugar in the wort. We need to take gravity readings in order to work out the ABV of our final beer.  

 
 

SANITISER AND SPONGES TO CLEAN WITH!: Seriously. If you don't clean everything you use, your beer is going to get infected and disappoint you!