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The 15 Minute Brew Process

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Over the last couple of months I've laid down the foundation for the 15 Minute Brew Process as a collection of tips, and the use of a pressure cooker for bittering hops. Here I'll cover the procedure from beginning to end.
You can start simple with just extract and bittering tea which only requires one pot, or you can make beer using three hop additions and steeping grains which will have you active with three burners. Much of the process happen simultaneously. Each portion will be laid out in its entirety from beginning to end. How they overlap will be depicted in a chart.
Notes
Water Distilled water works well with extracts. The minerals that were present when the extract was made have been condensed into the extract, so there is no need for additional minerals. Another advantage of bottled distilled water is that the distillation processes does a great job of sanitizing the water.

FermCap
In place of FermCap another simethicone product, such as infant Gas-X, can be used.
Temperature Correct pitching temperature can be achieved by mixing a portion of boiled water with refrigerated water. In most situations, adequate temperature can be achieved by combining 20% boiling water with 80% refrigerated water. To manage how much water to use in each step so that 20% is boiled you can consult the table below. Feel free to redistribute the water, especially if you don't use all three pots. The goal is to have the total amount of boiled water correct. The distribution outlined below is simply a recommendation.

Procedures
Bittering Hops
Add water to the pressure cooker, the bittering hops, and one drop of Fermcap. Seal it up and crank the heat up. Once it has reached a boil turn the heat down to maintain a boil. Allow to boil for 11 minutes. This will achieve the same bitterness level as a 60 minute open boil. After 11 minutes have elapsed, turn off the heat and move the pressure cooker to the sink and run water over the top. Once the pressure cooker has cooled (this typically takes less than 30 seconds) turn off the water and open the pressure cooker. Fill the pressure cooker with cold water to dissolve more of the alpha acids. Pour the content through a strainer into the fermenter through a sanitized strainer. The strainer will aerate the water and hold back some of the hop debris. Pour the remaining water through the hops in the strainer.
Yeast
Heat 1 cup of water to 80F (25C) in the microwave, or on the stove. Pour this into a sanitized container with a large surface area such as a glass casserole dish. Alternatively a 1 quart glass measuring cup can be used to both heat the water in the microwave and rehydrate the yeast. Sprinkle the yeast over the surface of the water. Allow the yeast to float on the surface for at least 15 minutes.
Malt
Malt extract can be added directly to the fermenter at any time that is convenient. Some people prefer to boil the malt extract in water, although it is not necessary. Boiling the wort will cause Maillard reactions which will darken the beer and add more of a caramel taste to the beer. Similar flavor and color can be achieved by using Munich malt extract in place of the base malt.
That's the basics, but you don't have to stop there.

Flavor and Aroma Hops

In a small sauce pan add water and the flavor hops. Bring to a boil and lower the heat to maintain a simmer. Let this simmer until the bittering hops are almost done, then top off with cold water and pour through a sanitized strainer into the fermenter.
Specialty Grains
In a sauce pan add the grains, water, and a drop of FermCap. Apply medium heat and allow the temperature to climb to 150F. Once the temperature has been reached pour the content though a strainer into another sauce pan. (For convenience I often pour this into the pan with the flavor hops.) To make the most of your grains water can be poured through the grains in the strainer to sparge additional flavor from the grains. Adjust the heat to high and bring this to a boil. Once the boil has been achieved, top off with cold water and add to the fermenter. Because this pot will likely already be very full add it after everything else to the fermenter.

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Steven Deeds is "The Woodland Brewer"! For more from Steven please be sure to visit him at his blog, WoodlandBrew.com

 
Very interesting how much of the brew process can be compartmentalized and shortened. I'm not sure I'd do it because I love brew day, but it's very cool none the less!
 
This is a great idea especially since it is too darn cold to brew outside right now it would be a great way to maintain the pipeline without brewing in -5 in the garage ;)
Would you have to use distilled water for this? Would that be a requirement on the sanitation side of things since you aren't boiling?
 
While I think this is a cool idea, and will give credit for an interesting process.... I can't get passed how mow many triggers there are for high concentrations of DMS to be present in the final beer.
Do you spend extra time trying to force carb the DMS out with CO2 in a keg?
 
I look forward to trying this. Doubt I'd replace every brew day with this but for some easier drinking beer or when there is not a lot of time to brew or if the elements make it so I don't want to go outside to brew this would work.
 
At 12 minutes, we add cold water to the pressure cooker. I assume this will reduce the temperature to pitching range. But if that is the case and we add extract with the yeast after that, how is the extract dissolved?
That being said, I love the fact that we have another way to brew!
Thanks Woodland!
 
If you don't like to brew, why don't you just buy beer? Seems like your taking the fun out of the process, I assume that the love of brewing might fade, but if and when that happens, I will just stop.
 
With a 4 mo. old baby stealing my brew time I might have to give this a shot. Finding the time to do a typical brew is getting tougher by the day.
 
@fredfoodphilly
This is not at all the case. Some of us are limited in time. That doesn't mean we don't want to brew. Life is tough, but I don't want to drink commodity lagers. Craft is great, but it can be expensive.
I really like Mr.Deeds series and no one is telling extract brewers to not brew. That takes a lot less time than AG.
 
Thank you everyone for your comments, and especially the positive feedback. It's reassuring to hear that this is something that others are interested in.
For those that don't want to change the way you brew and love long brewing sessions, that's fine. Keep doing what you are doing, my intent is not to change your opinions or tell you that you're doing it wrong.
Distilled water isn't a necessity, but it does reduce the contamination risk. I've made fine beers with tap water without boiling, but it is a higher risk.
DMS isn't really an issue with extract brewing because the extract has already been boiled when it was made. It goes through the same steps that a brewery would use except that instead of being routed to a fermenter it is routed to an evaporator.
The yeast will find the extract even if it isn't all dissolved at inoculation. For aeration I pick up the bucket and shake it which helps to dissolve the extract.
Having a child changed the way I brew. It was a big motivator to work out the details of the 15 minute brew process. Some brewers can complete an all grain batch while watching three kids. That's awesome, but I don't think I could do it.
 
WoodlandBrew - It would be interesting to see this method used without the pressure cooker as many people don't have that piece of equipment lying around. What changes when you don't have that?
 
@WoodlandBrew
My kids changed my brewing too. Especially considering the second took my office/brew space/man cave because he "needed a bedroom.".
I still think I got the short end of the stick on that one.
 
Thanks for sharing your methodology here Woodland. A truly interesting read. I'm not as experienced as some so don't know if I could manage this in the time frame mentioned. Definitely something I would like to try out though. I have a pressure cooker and am always looking for good recipes for it. Here is another. Are there any particular styles or recipes you have brewed with success using this process you could share? BTW love your blog.
 
@geoffey Without a pressure cooker you could do of your hops in the same pot as the flavor and aroma hops. For bittering you could increase the amount of hops, or you could use an alternative bittering source.
@Austin I feel your pain. :)
@Gavin C Thanks. Everything I have made using this method has come out nicely. From a light lager to a stout, and also a Belgian Brown. I've found that most extract recipes convert well to this method. "Brewing Classic Styles" has some great ones.
 
In addition to brewing, I'm an avid baker. I really love Betty Crockers cake mix. Really saves a lot of time over having to bake from scratch. In the end, they taste the same.
 
Thanks for all the hard work! It looks interesting and I think I'll give it a try but I do have a few concerns.
1. With the water having such short contact time with the specialty grains I wonder how much flavor you'll be getting. Also, the conversion has to suck.
http://brulosophy.com/2014/09/01/does-mash-length-matter-exbeeriment-results/
http://braukaiser.com/documents/Effects_of_mash_parameters_on_attenuation_and_efficiency.pdf
It seems that you need at least 15 min at the sach rest temp to really get the amount of flavor and conversion we want, probably more like 30 mins.
2. I know DME has a very low microbial load but not at least heating to 160 or so for a few mins would make me nervous. This would require another pot but would assure complete mixing, would sanitize the DME and avoid kettle caramelization.
I know this would require a bit more cleanup and stretch the process to maybe 30-40 mins but these steps might increase the quality of the beer at least to small degree.
Regardless, I love the idea and appreciate the work you've put in refining this process.
 
@amcclai7 Thanks! You have some good questions.
Yes, the conversion is very poor. I assume I am getting all of my sugars from the extract and none from the specialty grains. Even with the short contact time the flavors of the specialty grain have been what I would expect.
I've never had a problem with using DME without boiling, but if you want some reassurance, and don't mind adding some time, then you could pasteurize or boil. If the DME is still in the package from the manufacture then there is a very very low microbial content. The evaporation process destroys bacteria and high sugar content prevent microbial growth and everything is done in a closed system.
 
If I was going straight from the manufacturer's sealed bags I would have very little worry as well. However, I brew quite often and so I buy light DME in 50 lb bags (saves a ton of money in the long run!!) and then store it in food grade buckets from Lowe's. Even in this situation its still probably a very small risk but one that I'm probably not willing to take. However, shortening the brew day from 3+ hours to 45 mins, and avoiding wort chilling, is something that is still worth trying. Especially if there are no ill effects on the beer. I'll post my modified version on here and let you know how the beer turns out.
 
Quite interesting! Just last weekend, we were scratching our heads trying to figure out how we could employ the pressure cooker on brew day.
The cold, -20F wind chills scared us back into the safety of the house which meant that we couldn't be sloppy like we normally are, so the boil wasn't as rigorous as we would have liked it to be and it certainly showed up in the lack of bitterness in the wort.
I might give the bittering hops a try in the pressure cooker the next time that happens.
 
I'm interested in hearing about your results, particularly if you can do a side-by-side comparison with someone using a more traditional process.
 
It would be interesting to run an experiment (and fill up a mega-pipeline) to see how many batches you could feasibly pull off in a day. Calculate how long a standard 5 gallon all grain brew day lasts, and then see how many 15 minute batches (plus clean up, etc) you could get produced.
My last brew session was a marathon session - three 5 gal extract batches and 5 gal of cider in one day. It was exhausting, but a blast!
 
When doing your flavor and aroma hops can you provide a little further information on times and converting recipes. Say a recipe calls for a hop additions at 20,5,0. With starting with cold water how do you sequence in a 15 minute recipe. Thanks
 
I love this idea. Who wants to take it one step further? You could cook two different recipes with a common hop tea and maybe combination of extracts, but different character hops and steeping grains. Or, you could make 5 different 1 gal batches with slight variations in ingredients in order to tweak a recipe. If saving time is the goal, you could double output for maybe 150% time invested.
 
With hop utilization being much higher with the the higher PH of water vs wort, do you need to lower the amounts of hope used for flavoring? Do you need to adjust the bittering hops amount to account for the higher PH and utilization? In this article it looks like you say a simple 1:1 hops but for a shorter time but the chart in your pressure cooker hops article seems to give higher than that in IBU's.
Your book has made me rethink the "traditional" methods.
 
@WoodlandBrew
With hop utilization being much higher with the the higher PH of water vs wort, do you need to lower the amounts of hope used for flavoring? Do you need to adjust the bittering hops amount to account for the higher PH and utilization? In this article it looks like you say a simple 1:1 hops but for a shorter time but the chart in your pressure cooker hops article seems to give higher than that in IBU's.
Your book has made me rethink the "traditional" methods.
 
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