I've sampled a few kits from the LHBS over the years, and I've been consistently surprised that people continue using them given the results. The instructions give horrible advice, and still insist that One-Step sterilizes your gear. A couple of my neighbors have expressed interest in getting started and I want to see them really enjoy their first batch. I put together a recipe and instructions this week and did a test run yesterday. It's bubbling away now, and it smells great. Before I give it to them as a pre-assembled kit, could you guys give me some feedback on the recipe and instructions? I'm trying to make it as simple as possible while using more solid methods than the LHBS recommends. I followed this to the letter and found it to be really straightforward, but I tend to enjoy making things more complicated than they need to be.
Stovetop American Pale Ale, 5.5 gallon batch
6.5 lb Extra Light DME
12 oz Crystal 20
12 oz Crystal 40
.75 oz Cascade pellets (6.4%) @ 60
1 oz Cascade pellets (6.4%) @ 30
1 oz Cascade pellets (6.4%) @ 15
1 oz Cascade pellets (6.4%) @ 0
2/3 cup corn sugar
Put the grains in the muslin bag, tie the end closed and place in a pot with 2.5 gallons filtered or bottled water. Heat the water to 170F, remove the grains, let them drain into the pot and discard. Continue heating to boiling.
Remove the pot from the heat and stir in 2.5 lb of the malt extract until dissolved, making sure none is stuck to the bottom of the pot. Put back on the heat and bring the wort back to a boil. Watch carefully and temporarily remove the pot from the heat if it looks like it's going to boil over. When the foam subsides, add .75 ounce of the hops and continue boiling for 30 minutes.
Add 1 ounce of the hops and continue boiling for 15 minutes.
Remove the pot from the heat and add the remainder of the malt extract. Stir until dissolved, making sure none is stuck to the bottom of the pot. Put back on the heat and return to a boil, watching for boilover. Add 1 ounce of hops and continue boiling for 15 minutes.
Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the remaining 1 ounce of hops. Place the lid on the pot and place in a sink filled with ice water. The goal is to bring the wort to below 100F as quickly as possible. Change the water in the sink as needed.
Sanitize all equipment that will come in contact with the wort once it's cooled. This includes the fermenter, lid, airlock, etc.
Add about 2 gallons of cold filtered or bottled water to the fermenting bucket. Pour the cooled wort in from as high up as you can manage, leaving as much of the thick sludge in the pot as possible. This will aerate the wort, which is beneficial for the yeast at this stage. Top off to 5.5 gallons with filtered or bottled water. Check the temperature with a sanitized thermometer. The goal is to reach around 70F.
Sprinkle the yeast onto 1/2 cup of 80F water and let stand for 15 minutes. Gently stir the slurry until it's creamy and smooth. Pour the mixture into the cooled wort.
Put the lid on the fermenter and seal it. Fill the airlock to the fill line and put it in the hole in the lid. Place the fermenter in a cool, dark place for 14-21 days, until the beer falls clear. Keep an eye on it for the first several days to be sure it doesn't foam over and clog the airlock. A blowoff tube may be needed.
Sanitize all siphoning and bottling equipment, including bottles and caps.
Stir 2/3 cup of corn sugar into 1 cup of filtered or bottled water and bring to a boil. Pour the mixture into the bottling bucket.
Check the bottling bucket's valve to be sure it's closed. Siphon the beer into the bottling bucket, being careful to avoid any splashing. Stir gently to ensure the priming solution is mixed in well.
Attach the filling wand to the valve and fill each bottle to the top. The volume of the filling tube will give you the correct head space. If there is less than a full bottle at the end, DO NOT cap that bottle. Instead, enjoy the contents while you are capping the rest.
Leave the bottles at room temperature for 2 weeks, then chill.
To serve, pour into a clean glass, being careful to leave the layer of sediment at the bottom of the bottle.
I'm going to instruct them to use Star San for sanitizing.
Thanks for any comments.