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