The Homebrew Beer Brewing Process

HERMS Beer Brewing System Mash-In Procedure

 

Mash-In Process

Mash-In Process

The homebrew beer brewing process is not complicated with my particular setup. The first step is to determine the amount of water one needs for the beer brewing session based upon the quantity of grain in the recipe, final required volume, and system losses. Once this is determined, this quantity of water is placed in the Boil Kettle and brought up to the required dough-in temperature. This seems to usually be roughly in the 174 degree range. Although the system picture shows a propane burner, it is only for an emergency. I am currently using 3 Brewing Heatsticks to perform all of my liquid heating duties.

A given volume of water based upon grain quantity and desired mash consistency is pumped to the Mash Tun from the Boil Kettle. I usually use 1.2 to 1.4 quarts of water per pound of grain. The rest is simply gravity fed to the Hot Liquor Tun (HLT) on the bottom shelf. Quick Disconnects on all the hoses allow for simple system configuration based upon which process is being performed.

Next, The grains from the recipe are dumped into the top tank. One must be careful to mix the grains thoroughly into the water in order to avoid dry spots and clumping during the dough-in procedure.


HERMS Beer Brewing System Mash Circulation

Mash Circulation

Mash Circulation

Once the mixture sits for a few minutes and everything is allowed to reach an equilibrium temperature, It is now time to turn on the switch for the HLT heating element and the proper HLT temperature entered into the Electronic Temperature Control (ETC). I usually use 180 degrees. Next, the switch for the pump can be turned on and the Mash Tun temperature can be set on the second ETC. Because I usually perform a single infusion mash with this system, this temperature is generally 153 degrees. The system seems to maintain mash temperatures to within a degree. This system has no problem with ramping temperatures up for multi-step mashes if one so desires.

 After the mixture sits for 60 minutes in the Mash Tun, I begin the mash-out procedure. I change the temperature on the Mash Tun ETC and allow the system to raise the mash temperature to 168 degrees. It takes roughly five minutes for this to occur. Once the temperature is reached, the mash sits for an additional ten minutes. This denatures the active enzymes in the mash and ensures there will not be additional enzymatic activity during the sparging process.

 


HERMS Beer Brewing Sparging Procedure

Sparging Procedure

Sparging Procedure

At this point, the system is reconfigured so that the sparge water from the HLT enters the pump, goes through the Heat Exchange Coil, enters the Mash Tun Return Manifold, and gently returns to the top of the grain bed. It is very important that the heating element in the HLT be shut off at this point to keep it from burning out as the liquid level drops and exposes the element to air. The wort is slowly drained from the Mash Tun at this point and is gravity fed to the Boil Kettle. What makes this procedure unique is the float switch on the Mash Tun Return Manifold. It toggles the pump on and off and ensures there is only an inch of sparge water on the top of the grain bed at all times.

Once the liquid has been emptied from the HLT and all liquid has been drained from the Mash Tun, the Boil Kettle is brought up to boiling temperature. As soon as a rolling boil has been achieved, brewing hops are added according to the particular beer recipe being created. About 20 minutes from the end of the boil, I like to add a little Irish Moss in order to allow more suspended solids to settle out during the cooling process. Once boiling has completed, water is routed to the Cooling Coil in the Boil Kettle. After about 20 minutes, the temperature of the beer has dropped to around 70 degrees.


Transfer to Beer Brewing Fermentation Tank

Fermentation Tank Transfer

Fermentation Tank Transfer

The beer is now transferred by gravity through a hose to the Fermentation Tank. The trub is left behind in the Boil Kettle since the spigot level is about an inch above the bottom of the kettle. Pure oxygen is introduced via an oxygen tank and an aeration stone. The yeast that has been selected for the brew is then pitched into the Fermentation Tank and fermentation proceeds for about one week. The spent yeast is then dumped through the bottom valve. Secondary fermentation continues for at least one more week before priming sugar is added to the beer and it is transferred to Kegs or the beer is transferred to Kegs and it is force carbonated using a CO2 Tank.

Once the beer has conditioned in the Kegs for at least one week, it is ready to be consumed. Most beers, however, benefit from a longer aging period where flavors meld and the overall quality of the beer is improved.