How to Make a Hoppy Beer? Dry Hopping

Try dry hopping. This trend is where you add hops after the beer has finished primary fermentation. Similar to the way you make a tea, you steep hops in the fermented wort. Dry hopping is a way to impart an aroma punch without contributing to your home brews bitterness. Next time you go to your favourite craft beer bar impress the staff by asking them what variety of hops were used during the dry hopping phase – remember it is more than likely to be an IPA or Pale Ale that this technique is used.

The great thing about dry hopping is that there is little risk of spoiling through contamination as hops have antimicrobial properties which help prevent infection, so next time you are brewing dry hop away.

When you add hops early in the boiling of your wort this adds bitterness, the longer you boil your hops the greater the bitterness but you get less aroma. The later you boil your hops you get more aroma but less bitterness. Boiling your hops drives off the essential hop oils that contribute to the aroma.

When creating your recipes you will see that dry hopping imparts no bitterness to your beer in the form of IBUs, you will see in your recipe builder it will show up as zero IBU regardless of how much you use.

How do you dry hop homebrew?

This is a simple process and the easiest method is to place your hops in a filter bag or hop bomb and suspend in beer.  This is usually done between day 7-10 of your primary fermentation. Leave the hops suspended and in contact with your beer for 24-72 hours to impart as much of the aroma as possible. Any longer and you might start to get some ‘off flavours’ start to develop.

Remember you can use pellets or whole fresh cone hops. Fresh cone hops can be dropped right in the fermenter and syphoned out afterwards when you transfer to your keg.

Small Batch Brew - Dry Hop Beer Filter Bag
Which hops should I use to dry hop?

Hops can be classified as Aroma, Bittering or Both. Try the 3C’s of hops in your next homebrew; Centenial, Citra or Cascade. You can also combine these hops together to get an aroma flavour bomb.

Finally, for best results you should dry hopping with lower alpha acid hops when possible. Higher alpha acid hops tend to have a lower percentage of the delicate aroma oils you are going for, so using lower AA hops is really just more efficient. You can get great results with higher AA hops, however this is a guideline not a rule.

Beer Hops Cones
How much hops should I use in a dry hop?

How much hops you use when dry hopping is entirely up to you and how much of that big aroma you want in your finished beer. My advice would be to start off with smaller amounts say 1 gram per litre of beer up to 4 grams per litre if doing a double IPA.

Small Batch Brew - How Much to Dry Hop Beer

Our commitment is to help you brew better beer, with only the essential premium equipment you need. Get one of our home brew starter kits and mini keg kits and start your journey with us. Just because you are brewing small doesn’t mean you cant dream big. Tag us @smallbatchbrew so we can tell the world about another up and coming Master Brewer.

How to Force Carbonate your Mini Keg

Home Brewing gets that much better when you drink it fresh from a keg.  There is something special when you get that perfect pour of fizzy liquid gold.  Some people usually start off with bottles and then migrate to kegs when they feel more confident.  I found the time taken to clean and sanitise your bottles, waiting for the beer to naturally carbonate and the risk of bottle explosion was always in the back of my mind.  The beauty of our mini kegs is that you can force carbonate your beer quickly with CO2  or naturally carbonate over time.

Forced carbonation is by far the quickest and easiest way to go so we’ve broken it down into 6 simple steps that will have you going from zero to brew hero immediately.

Small Batch Brew Carbonation Co2 Beer Types
6 Simple Steps to Force Carbonating your Small Batch Mini Keg
  1. When fermentation is complete, clean and sanitise your mini keg,  Put 15g of sodium per carbonate and fill your mini keg with water and leave for 10 minutes, empty the keg.
  2. Screw on the double ball lock spear, attach the barbed black liquid disconnect to the ball lock post. Syphon the fermented wort into your mini keg via the disconnect. Pull the pressure relief valve during filling to relieve internal keg pressure and keep a steady flow.
  3. Connect your mini regulator to the forced carbonation kit and attach to the gas inlet on the double ball lock spear.  Connect your SodaStream CO2 source to the mini regulator.
  4. Turn the valve on until the PSI reaches 30 PSI, put the keg, carbonation kit and gas source in the fridge in an upright position. Leave for 48-72 hours.
  5. After 48-72 hours bleed off the pressure via the pressure release valve to 10-13 PSI and leave for a further 24 hours.
  6. When you are ready to drink your home brew, bleed off the pressure between 3 & 5 PSI, leave for 10 minutes and then serve. You can disconnect the regulator and gas at this point as there is enough pressure in the keg to serve a few beers.  If the pressure becomes to low re-attach the gas kit and set the pressure back to between 3 & 5 PSI. This will allow you to have nicely carbonated beer without a lot of foam.

Important note: Make sure that the regulator does not get moisture inside the unit as this will damage the internal mechanism and void the warranty.

That’s all there is to it and remember Dream Big, Brew Small.

Our commitment is to help you brew better beer, with only the essential premium equipment you need. Get one of our home brew starter kits and mini keg kits and start your journey with us. Just because you are brewing small doesn’t mean you cant dream big. Tag us @smallbatchbrew so we can tell the world about another up and coming Master Brewer.

We are taking orders up to the 15th of December.

Have you ordered your home brewing equipment and starter kits yet?

We have been informed that our courier elf can guarantee your order will arrive in time for Xmas if you order by the 15th of December 2017.

What better way to celebrate the festive season than to create, make and serve the freshest craft beer at home. Whether it is a gift for your favourite beer enthusiast or maybe a cheeky gift to yourself just because you have been truly AWESOME this year.

Don’t miss out! Remember if you add a recipe to your kit we crush the grain fresh and vacuum seal all your ingredients so they arrive fresh and fragrant.

Need more convincing?

That’s all there is to it and remember Dream Big, Brew Small.
Our commitment is to help you brew better beer, with only the essential premium equipment you need. Get one of our home brew starter kits and mini keg kits and start your journey with us. Just because you are brewing small doesn’t mean you cant dream big. Tag us @smallbatchbrew so we can tell the world about another up and coming Master Brewer.

A 3.5 Hour Brew Day Timeline

Did you ever wonder how long it takes to home brew beer.  Well wonder no further as brew day takes about the same amount of time to cook a lamb roast. Better still when you make it yourself it tastes better, costs less and you can add a new skill to your repertoire.

  1. Sanitise your Home Brew Equipment (15 minutes)
  2. Mashing (60 minutes)
  3. Sparging (30 minutes)
  4. Boiling (60 minutes)
  5. Chilling Out (45 minutes)

That is a total of 3.5 hours.

Now don’t be scared off, it is not 3.5 hours of non-stop brew making, there is a bit of waiting, tasting and of course drinking beer in between.

Step 1: Sanitise your Home Brew Equipment (15 mins)

Small Batch Brew - Homebrew - Infection

This is one of the most important steps in any new home brew journey. So before you do anything else make sure you thoroughly wash and sanitize all of your kit. Sodium Percarbonate and StarSan are recommended when cleaning your equipment. Even if it is brand new the smallest amount of contamination can ruin your beer and the 3.5 hours you spent will be a total waste of time.

Sanitising equipment is as easy as putting warm water in your carboy and pouring in some sodium percarbonate and letting it dissolve for 10 minutes.  Once the solution has dissolved pour the sanitised water over your bung, airlock, syphon and any other home brew equipment that will come in contact with your chilled wort.

Pro Tip: Leave some sanitised liquid aside to place in the airlock later on.

Once this is done move onto step 2.

Step 2: Mashing (60 – 90 mins)

HomeBrew Pot BIAB Mash

Most all-grain recipes will have a mash step.  Simply put, this is where your crushed grains are mixed with warm water to extract the sugar for your beer.

The first thing is to heat your water and get your strike temperature.  This is the desired water temperature your grain needs to extract the desired flavours and fermentable sugars.  The strike temperature is usually higher than the desired mash temperature this is so that when you immerse your grain the water absorption and temperature of the grain will equalise to get to your desired mash temperature.

Once you have reached your strike temperature, pour your grains in your BIAB (Brew in a Bag) and immerse in the water. Stir and wet your grain to the consistency of porridge. Maintain the desired temperature for the full 60 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure all the grain is wet.

As the grain spends more time at the desired temperature enzymes begin to break down complex starches into simple fermentable sugars, this is the stuff your yeast wants to consume. The colour of your wort will change, the flavours start to develop and the water is becoming increasingly sweeter.  Stick a spoon in and give it a taste.  Don’t worry you won’t contaminate it as it will be boiled soon. Can you start to taste the different malt flavours?

Once you have finished tasting the sweet liquid move onto step 3.

Step 3: Sparging (30 minutes)

When I first heard this term I freaked out.  I had no idea what it was, why I needed it and would anyone know if I didn’t do it.

So what is Sparging? It’s rinsing your grain to get every bit of fermentable sugar out of them. It is usually achieved by using hotter water than your strike temperature as this washes the grain more effectively. You will hear the term brewhouse efficiency, all this is referring to is your equipments effectiveness in extracting the greatest amount of fermentable sugar from your grain.

For 5 litre recipes lift your grain bag and put in a colander / strainer and place on top of your pot. Pour water over the top of the grains and rinse.  The slower you pour the better. The liquid that goes through the grain drips into your wort like a coffee filter.

Alternatively heat up another pot with water that is heated to sparge temperature and dunk the grain bag in that for 10-15 minutes. Just like a tea bag. Once you have finished jiggling, pour the liquid into the main pot.

Pro Tip: Rather than discarding, make some bread or dog treats with the spent grain.

After the Sparge you are ready to boil.

Step 4: Boiling (60 mins)

Home Brew Wort Boil

You are on the home stretch and are at the easiest step of brew day.  You will see recipes have timings for hop additions like 60, 45, 15, 5. All this means is that you start your timer at 60 minutes and work backwards to 0. When the recipe says to add hops at Flameout or Whirlpool all this means is to turn off your stove, and put your hops in and stir the wort.

Bring your wort to the boil, and I mean a vigorous or rolling boil not a simmer. When it reaches a boil start the timer, fill your hop bomb and put your first hops addition in the pot. Crack open a beer and wait for the next hops addition.

Small Batch Brew - Hop Pellet Addition

Pro tip: Setup a separate alarm on your phone for each hop addition. I add a teaspoon of Whirlfloc-g into my pot at 10 minutes to make my bear clear and remove haze (unless you are making a NEIPA).  It doesn’t add any flavour to your beer and makes it look awesome so why not.

Step 5: Chilling Out (45 minutes)

Once you finish boiling  you want to chill the wort as quickly as possible.  This helps reduce the risk of bacteria getting into your beer and helps produce a clearer end product.  So remember sanitisation is key and anything that touches your beer from here on out MUST be clean.

I have said 45 minutes, however if you are brewing 5 litre recipes you can get your wort chilled to room temperature in as little as 20 minutes.  Can you get it chilled faster?  Let me know your secret.

Fill up your sink with ice and water and put your pot in it.  Monitor the temperature until you get to yeast pitching temperature.

Pro tip:  If you use salt in your ice bath, the freezing point is reached faster.

Once chilled, syphon or pour your wort into your carboy, sprinkle the yeast on the wort and give the carboy a good shake for 5 minutes to oxygenate and activate the yeast.  Insert the bung and airlock and fill the airlock with sanitised water.

Hydrometer, Carboy, Airlock and Test Tube

You should start to see fermentation bubbling action in 24-48 hours.  Your wort is now becoming beer. Fermentation usually takes up to 2 weeks and you should be ready to enjoy your beer  in 4 weeks. Once you have mastered brew day I recommend brewing a new beer every week so you’ve always got one of your creations ready to go.

Our next brewers guide will show you what to do during and after fermentation has completed. Sign up to the Small Batch Brew Society to be notified when the next guide is released.

That’s all there is to it and remember Dream Big, Brew Small.

Our commitment is to help you brew better beer, with only the essential premium equipment you need. Get one of our home brew starter kits and mini keg kits and start your journey with us. Just because you are brewing small doesn’t mean you cant dream big. Tag us @smallbatchbrew so we can tell the world about another up and coming Master Brewer.

How to Home Brew in 10 Easy Steps

I always looked in awe at my friends nano-brewery setup with all of the boilers and fermenters in the garage and how he converted his fridge to be his very own 5 tapping system. The blackboard had his latest experiements including the flavour and alcohol content or ABV.

How did he do this? Was this some type of sorcery that a select few knew about? Why does the beer taste better than what I can get at a pub?

We then proceeded to go through the range of his latest concoctions, starting with a dry lager, a crisp pilsner, a fruity saison, a refreshing pale ale and then finishing with a mind blowing coffee imperial stout.

The ideas then started to flow freely, was it the alcohol allowing my thoughts to reach transcending heights or was it the passion someone showed towards this ancient art of brewing? Either way I thank him for planting a seed and fast forward 15 years Small Batch Brew was born.

I’ve gone on a beer journey; I’ve trained my palette, I’ve drunk hundreds of unique beers, I’ve planned holidays around breweries, I’ve visited countless beer festivals, I’m a commercial brewer in training, I want to open a brewery and I’ve brewed beers – lots of them. I will be sharing these beers and experiences with you through my website – Small Batch Brew Co.

Brewing isn’t sorcery or some mystical art. Brewing is a lifestyle, an urban community of like minded individuals that are willing to help and share their brewing experiences and why buy a IIPA for $18 when you can make the same if not better, fresher, no preservatives and hoppier one for a fraction of the cost?

You don’t need a lot of space, money or time – all you need is patience and passion and a belief that you can brew anything that you put your mind to. Experimenting with flavours, ingredients and yeast is the fun part as long as you follow the standard steps.

HERE ARE OUR 10 STEPS TO HOMEBREW:

Step 1 Santise, Sanitise, Santise:

Clean your equipment, fermenters and anything your beer will touch. Unless you want a sour beer this is crucial

Step 2 Mash:

Let your crushed malt and grains soak in hot water for an hour. During the mash (geeky stuff) the beta-amylase breaks down starch and dextrins into glucose (one molecule), maltose (two molecules) and maltotriose (three molecules). After beta-amylase is through working, the starch has been broken down into fermentable sugars. This is what the yeast will eat to make alcohol.

Step 3 Sparge:

Drain the liquid from the mash and rinse the malt with more hot water to extract more of the fermentatble sugars. This liquid is now called wort.

Step 4: Boil:

Boil the wort anywhere between 1 and 2 hours depending on the style of beer and what flavours you want in it

Step 5 Add Hops:

Adding hops during the boil, this brings out the bitterness or aroma of your beer. Add bettering hops between 60 – 45 minutes and aroma hops between 20 – 5 minute marks depeneding on beer style

Step 6 Cool Wort:

Chill the wort at the end of boil as quickly as possible to avoid bacteria. Brewing small means you can do this at a fraction of the time and in your kitchen sink.

Step 7 Transfer Wort:

Once the wort is cooled to 27C or lower, syphon it into your sanitised fermenter

Step 8 Add Yeast:

Sprinkle dry yeast or liquid yeast into the fermenter and shake vigourously to oxygenate the yeast and activate it.

Step 9 Ferment:

Add the bung and airlock and store in a cool dark place. Depending on the yeast, store it at a reasonably constant temperature 18 – 24 is suitable. Leave for 2 weeks.

Step 10 Bottle/Keg:

After 2 weeks, sanitise your keg/bottles and syphon the beer into your preferred conditioning vessel. Add some priming sugar to carbonate and leave for another two weeks. Drink and enjoy.

This is a general overview of brewing beer but as you can see it isn’t sorcery.

Our commitment is to help you brew better beer, with only the essential premium equipment you need. Get one of our home brew starter kits and mini keg kits and start your journey with us. Just because you are brewing small doesn’t mean you cant dream big. Tag us @smallbatchbrew so we can tell the world about another up and coming Master Brewer.

Join the Small Batch Home Brew Club on Facebook

This Facebook group was specifically created to help home brewers of any skill levels to brew better craft beer in Small Batches at home.

Anyone who wants to learn to brew beer or refine their craft is welcome to join this group. Our mantra and sole purpose is to share recipes, secrets, experimental ingredients and learn to brew the very best craft beer at home. Share your tips, help other brewers and get your liquid gold out there in lights. Invitation is open to anyone that loves beer and wants to learn the art behind the craft.

The best thing about this group is the willingness and support everyone gives to fellow members. Ask any question and I’m sure there will be an answer to help you out.  Home brew is best shared with friends and family.

That’s all there is to it and remember Dream Big, Brew Small.
Our commitment is to help you brew better beer, with only the essential premium equipment you need. Get one of our home brew starter kits and mini keg kits and start your journey with us. Just because you are brewing small doesn’t mean you cant dream big. Tag us @smallbatchbrew so we can tell the world about another up and coming Master Brewer.
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