Do you already have a microbrewery in the cellar? For quite some time now, the dream of making one’s own beer has become a true trend, prompting amateur breweries to set up experimental laboratories in cellars and kitchens. Since you can order various home sets very conveniently online, the technology and knowledge about brewing beer have become accessible to everyone. During my study I have researched how the new trend is and what tips and tricks there are for master brewers.
Home-Breweries – Trend Microbrewery
It is thanks to Jimmy Carter that the trend towards home-brewing in America has developed. In 1977 he legalized beer brewing for private use, which encouraged many people to make their own beer. Meanwhile Craft Beer has become a worldwide trend. In Austria too, the development of a lively craft beer and a beer brewing start-up scene has begun. A recent study on the Austrian beer market also shows the importance of regional identity: While in English-speaking countries Indian Pale Ale is the style-setting beer of the craft beer scene, in Austria more and more the bock beer is the favorite one.
Brewing techniques and ingredients
If you research the possibilities of a home brewing business, you immediately notice the many different offers of brewing sets in different price ranges. Meanwhile, you can choose between hundreds of home brewing kits and brewing utensils online. From the mini starter set to the fully automated coffee machine-style brewing robot, there are no open wishes for the hobby brewer. In addition, the hops and barley market flourishes in the truest sense of the word: Especially in the US, a large breeders’ community has formed around the topic. The farmers work very closely with craft beer producers. In consultation with the companies, they also cultivate the desired varieties in smaller quantities, but the companies commit to buy them one to three years in advance.
Beer brewing – in both big and small
The process of brewing works in a modern, automated brewery basically the same way as in small microbreweries, although the degree of automation is not necessarily related to the size of the brewery. Even private hobbyists are always finding new ways to further automate their mini-brewery.
Here’s the 1 × 1 of brewing:
Crush is roughly grinded malt grains. For milling, there are simple mills in the trade. Advantageous mills, where you can adjust the roll distance.
Tip from the expert: The malt should not be ground too finely. Care should be taken to preserve the husks – the thin, dry husks of the cereal grains. These husks ensure that later when refining a well-permeable treber cake.
Mashing is understood to mean the mixing of warm water (the so-called main casting) with the malt meal. The malt must be slowly stirred into the water to avoid clumping.
During the protein break at a temperature optimum of 50 ° – 60 ° C, the malic protein is enzymatically degraded by proteolytic, protein-cleaving, enzymes in protein fractions of different sizes.
Tip from the expert: The distribution and composition of the protein fractions in the finished beer have an effect on the full-bodied, the protein turbidity and the foam stability. Therefore, special attention is paid to this step. The saccharification takes place optimally at a temperature of 60 ° – 65 ° C and a duration of 30 – 35 min. Subsequently, the mash is heated to 72 ° C and optimally maintained a rest of 20 – 30 min.
The iodine sample
With the iodine sample, the complete saccharification of the mash is detected. For this you can put a few drops of the mash on a white porcelain dish and add a few drops of 0.5 N (normal) iodine solution. If the sample turns blue, the mash is not completely saccharified. After the maltose mash is heated to 78 ° C and pumped into the lautertun.
When refining the liquid wort is separated from the solid components, the so-called treben, you get the wort. By over-tipping or tending by means of hot water (the so-called refilling) are dissolved from the spent grains cake the remaining malt ingredients. Front seasoning and infusion then give the so-called pan-full seasoning.
Tip from the expert: During and at the end of the refining process, you should measure the sugar content of the refining wort several times.
Seasoning and hopping
The seasoning won in the previous step is then cooked. It is added to hops, which is responsible for a bitter and tart taste. Cooking takes place in an open kettle, as undesirable substances such as dimethyl sulfide (DMS) escape. Due to its vegetable-like aroma, DMS accelerates the expression of a bad flavor in beer even at low concentrations.
Tip from the experts: Cook longer and later dilute again. Attention must also be paid to protein coagulation during wort boiling: Sometimes the flocculent protein extracts large amounts of bitter substances and thus spice.
Before the wort is transferred from the cooker to the fermenter, a small amount should be filled into the spindle to measure the wort.
Tip from the expert: The wort must be allowed to cool to room temperature before the measurement, because the spindle is calibrated to a certain temperature. You should also thoroughly clean the spindle before. Under no circumstances may the sample be later returned to the brew.
Knocking out and removal of hot tubs
Then you have to “reject” the wort, which means that the undissolved hops, called “hot trub”, are removed from the wort. The clear wort can then be removed and filtered. Then the liquid is transferred to the fermentation vat.
Tip from the expert: The knocking out of the protein components is important, so as not to impede the beer filtration later. However, the process should be balanced so as not to filter too many valuable constituents of the later beer – many of which are needed for yeast fermentation.
Add yeast and aerate
After cooling, the brewing yeast is added. The yeast level needs to be calculated accurately, and the yeast should have time on the surface to rehydrate. Normally about 0.8 l of fresh seed yeast is calculated per hector-litre of wort, for bottom fermented beers and strong beers more yeast is used, for fresh wheat beer less is used. By aerating the yeast is supplied with oxygen. When the oxygen is consumed, the yeast begins to convert the sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide.
Tip from the expert: If you aerate properly, the fermentation process can be accelerated even with small amounts of yeast. Generally, you have to know exactly how long the fermentation time and the storage time are. When brewing at home, it is important not to freeze the yeast, otherwise it may be damaged.
During fermentation, alcohol and carbon dioxide are produced by the conversion of the malt sugar of the wort. The fermentation can be accelerated by pressure in the pressure vessel, in open containers it takes longer. One differentiates between bottom-fermenting and top-fermented yeasts. Depending on the species, they either attach themselves to the ground or to the surface.
Tip from the expert: Even with the self-brewing, it would be ideal to have a device that subtracts the yeast during fermentation, otherwise a very bitter taste of the spent yeast arises. In addition, care must be taken that the temperatures do not become too high during fermentation – the lower the temperatures, the better the flavorings are distributed.
Alcohol measurement and bottling
When measuring alcohol, the rule of thumb is: Volume percent alcohol = (original extract – remainder extract) / 2
The content of the previously measured original wort is subtracted from that of the residual wort that is collected before bottling and then divided by two. When filling, make sure that the bottle is clean or in the case of rubber closures they have been sufficiently heated.
Tip from the expert: You should not leave much room for my bottling. If fermented with glucose, should be stirred again.
Conclusion and other tips
When brewing at home, most problems arise in the regulation of alcohol and taste. That’s why accurate measurements and gauges are also important for home use. The more you know about the chemistry of brewing, for example about the properties of dimethylsulphide, the easier it is to prevent brewing mistakes or fix them. If you want to sell the beer later, you must also determine the exact alcohol content. Furthermore, one should not forget that even when selling small production quantities always a beer tax is incurred. Incidentally, this is much lower in Germany than in Austria.
Brewing beer at home is like child’s play, while brewing a high-quality and tasty beer, is much more difficult.