My girlfriend got me a homebrewing kit from a local supply store. It's not an out-of-the-box kit, the guy that worked there basically pieced together the kit from the stuff on his shelf, including the ingredients that I would need to make the first batch. My girl knows nothing about brewing beer and she picked a recipe out of a brewing magazine for a Racer 5 clone.
I love Racer 5 so that's not a problem but the fact there are no instructions at all with the kit is leaving me a bit overwhelmed and slightly confused.
(I just realized this will probably be a long post - sorry!)
The kit contains:
5 gal carboy
6.5 food grade bucket with a hole for a spigot
3' piece of soft plastic tubing
1' long piece of hard plastic tube with something on the end that I don't really know how to describe
what looks like a sock - is this a grain bag?
bottle caps & cap tool
Also included are all the ingredients to make 5 gallons of Racer 5.
I've been doing a ton of reading here and elsewhere over the last few days and I think I have a handle on the basic process but I have a few questions.
From what I can gather, the recipe for making Racer 5 is a little advanced for a first brew but I think if I put enough time and effort into the project I can do it right the first time (someone correct me if I'm way off base with that assumption). I'm good at cooking following directions, figuring stuff out, noticing when something doesn't make sense which all seem to be good home-brewing skills to have.
The recipe (shortened for brevity):
6 lbs DME
4 different types of malt in the form of crushed grains, totaling about 3 lbs
6 different types of hops
The recipe in the magazine assumes a level of knowledge about brewing that I do not yet possess.
"Mash in at 145* then ramp temp to 152* for conversion. Mash out to 170*. Boil for 90 minutes, adding hops at the times specified. Ferment at 68*" is what it says.
Ok, my questions:
- Why do I have both a carboy and a food grade bucket? The recipe does not say anything about a two-stage fermentation process. Do I need the carboy for this recipe?
- What does "mash in at X" mean? How do I ramp the temperature? What does "mash out to X" mean?
- What does an airlock look like? I have something that I think might an airlock but I'm not sure.
- The recipe says to steep the grains, which is pretty straightforward. I will need a thermometer (any recommendations for a style that works well?). I have also been reading up on mashing hoping to figure out what "mash in" and "mash out" mean but it's really only confused me.
Thanks for any help... there is a lot to learn about this new hobby of mine!