The Brew Process

Here is how I brew. I have been brewing for 6 years. Something I love as much as brewing is designing and making the equipment. I have made the majority of the equipment I use to brew. Click on the thumbnails to see how the item was made.

picture of grain crusher Once the grain is weighed out I crush it with the grain crusher, the grain is then mixed with the hot liquor (water for brewing is called liquor)I fill the hot liquor tank the day before brewing, set the thermostat and the timer. I use electricity for heating.
picture of hot liqour tank So the first thing I do on a brew day is let the hot liquor (about 7imp. gallons) into the mash tun then I pour in the crushed grain(about 13Kg,28 ½lb) and mix it up, put the lid in the mash tun and leave it for 90min. I don't disturb the mash until I sparge. The temperature is maintained because the mash tun has 4 inches of foam insulation all around it. I get less than 1ºC drop in the 90min.
picture of mash tun The mash tun has stainless steel mesh false bottom to let the wort out and keep the spent grain in the mash tun. I run the wort into the boilers (I use 2) the grain is sparged using a further 2-10imp. gallons of hot liquor.
picture of boiler When the wort begins to boil I add the bittering hops and leave it to boil for 90min. I add Irish moss and aroma hops for the last 5-10min.I leave the wort stand for a few minutes then run it into the primary fermenter. In the bottom of the boiler is a small piece of stainless steel mesh to keep back the hops and turb(solids produced from boiling wort) .
picture of cooling coils. I put the cooling coils in the fermenter before running in the wort. When all the wort is in the fermenter I turn on the tap and let the cooling begin. When the wort is cool I pitch the yeast then aerate the wort as much as possible.
picture of brew cubbert. I cover the fermenter with cling film and put it in the brew cupboard (this is a large, insulated press with a thermostatically controlled heating element in the bottom). Primary fermentation usually takes one to four days, then I siphon the brew into closed fermenters and leave it for a few more days maybe a week, then I put it in the cellar to clear,this takes from a few days to a few weeks depending on the beer and my luck. I don't use any clearing agents except Irish moss.
picture of keg with tap & gas When the beer is clear I siphon it into cornelious kegs and connect up the CO2, then I put the keg in my keg shaker and leave it to shake for about 15min. this gets the gas into the beer fast so it can be served immediately (shaking is not necessary the gas will be absorbed naturally but it takes a few days). I don't make lagers and I don't like my beer to be very cold so I don't normally use beer coolers or a fridge, the beer is served at cellar temperature.

All the thumbnails are clickable to a larger image and a description of how I made each piece of equipment.

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