Basement Brewing — Feeling Pale! If you are still waiting to brew your own Beer, then its time to get off the fence. – just brew it! Text: Erik Öl-sson
Erik Öl-sson, a brewer with attitude!
52 Best of Booze bar magazine issue #1, 2015/2016
t was a cloudy cold morning in an almost abandoned village in Värmland. I was looking out over the dewy grass with a cup of coffee in my hand. I had more or less two options a day like this. It was either to brew some beer or play Yatzy. Since I lost my dice in a fist-fight with my grandmother the other day, I had no other choice but to brew American pale ale. Ale, I thought to myself and headed for the basement. The basement was just as cold and quiet as outside but the sight of my beer ingredients just warmed my heart. I had all my brewing gear down in a laundry room, which I hoped would help me to a clean-tasting beer. Today’s plan was to brew and American Pale Ale using the more and more popular technique known as BIAB or Brew-in-a-bag. BIAB, for you who haven’t heard of this, is probably the easiest way to make full grain brewing. You are using one single brew pot throughout the process and it’s a relaxing and comfortable way of producing good beer. Today’s recipe had 4,5 Kilos of Pale Ale Malt and 0.5 kilos of Crystal Malt. The malt was produced by Viking Malt in Finland. This got me a bit confused. Were there even Vikings in Finland? Well they sure know their drinks over in Finland so I’m sure this will be all good. The hops for this brew are 60 grams of Cascade and 60 grams of Galaxy. I will try to make late hop additions to get a nice hoppy aroma. As for yeast I’m using US Safeale05 dry yeast. I filled up my 36 litre brewing pot with 29 litres of water and put it on my induction cooker. At 40 degrees I got my brew-bag in there and started pouring in the malt. A nice Finnish smell hit my nostrils while I gave the malt a good stir after pouring it all in. Appa-
rently mashing in at only 40 degrees helps preventing shocking the enzyme in the malt. Since I heard no screaming or panicking from the enzymes I assume they felt very relaxed swimming around at pleasant 40 degrees. I continued heating up to 67 degrees and then let my Finnish, non-shocked, mash rest for an hour at that temperature. While sitting there, waiting for my beer, I actually fell asleep for a while on my chair. I was dreaming that my favourite team, Liverpool FC, finally won the premier league and that the trainer, Jurgen Klopp, was singing German celebration songs. It was a harsh and confusing moment when my alarm rang indicating that both me and my mash had been resting long enough. I heated up my mash up to 78 degrees and then lifted out the bag, letting as much liquid as possible pour down into the pot again through the bag. After squeezing the bag gently a couple of times I had just the right amount of wort. Now came the tricky part. To get the temperature up to 100 degrees had proved itself to be a long and frustrating wait in the past. No different today, indicating that my 2000 Watts induction cooker is not powerful enough for this amount of water. Trying to cover the pot with blankets, sheep-wool, whatever I could find to help it preserve the heat and boil faster. I even thought about throwing a hair-dryer in there for a while to heat it up. Then I realized this was a very bad and irresponsible idea. An American pale ale is not supposed to be dry at all. After a while we finally had a boil and I couldn’t hold back my emotions. I was dancing both the hustle and the funky chicken for several minutes but then I finally calmed down. First hop addition came straight away pouring 30 grams of cascade in the boil. After
another 45 minutes of dancing the funky chicken it was time for the second hop addition, 30 grams of galaxy. I also threw my wort-chiller in there in order for it to sanitize. I also added a teaspoon of Protafloc which is supposed to make the beer nice and clear. After 60 minutes the boil was finally done and I threw the last 30 grams of Galaxy and the last 30 grams of cascade in the wort. For some reason I had had all my hops standing next to the mangle. Since they never went through the mangle I hope to avoid a thin-tasting beer at least. I now had to chill down the wort to about 20 degrees to ensure I would not kill the yeast when pitching it. I did this by using my homemade wort chiller connected to the tap. The water runs through the chiller and the cold copper-pipes chill the wort. I also put the pot in a bath of cold water meanwhile Now it was time to transfer my wort from the pot to the fermentor. This was done using a siphon. For those of you who don’t know what a siphon is this is the same technique used when stealing petrol out of a car. At least the readers from Värmland now know what I’m talking about. I poured the beer through a filter to prevent getting big particles of malt and hops into the fermentor. Final step of the process now adding the yeast that I let hydrate for about an hour in finger-warm water. After giving the wort a final stir to get some oxygen in there I put the lid on the bucket and brew was done. To be continued!
Best of Booze bar magazine issue #1, 2015/2016