My brother sent me my first brew kit (extract), the ingredients for which he also purchased for himself, and we just completed the pre-fermentation stage today over Google Video. This was a kit from Northern Brewer, and the ingredients made the "Caribou Slobber" beer. The grain consists of a quarter-pound of Briess Caramel 80L, a quarter pound of Fawcett Pale Chocolate, and an 8th-pound of Black Malt. The kit came with liquid Amber malt syrup and dry Amber malt extract. The yeast was a dry yeast called Danstar Windsor Ale Yeast, with an optimum temperature of 64-70F.
Here were the grains, the amber extracts, the priming sugar, and the fermentation tank:
San Jose tap water is terrible, so I picked up a bunch of water that had minerals added from Wally World. One benefit I noted was that it made measuring easy. The recipe called for 2.5 gallons to be initially boiled, which consists of two and a half of these:
I also bought 40 pounds of ice. I even left for another 20 pounds of ice. I'll make sure to buy 60 pounds from the beginning next time.
After pouring 2.5 gallons of water into the kettle, I turned on the stove to full heat and started my timer.
The grains must be steeped in the water before 170F or 20 minutes, whichever comes first.
After dipping the bag around in the water, I eventually tied it off to the side but made sure it wasn't touching the bottom of the kettle:
I measured the temperature of the water during this phase at semi-regular intervals. Here was my temperature schedule:
+6:30 - 90F
+9:00 - 100F
+12:40 - 120F
+15:30 - 138F
+18:30 - 149F
+21:30 - 159F
+24:30 - 170F
+28:00 - 180F
+38:00 - Started boiling
At 170F I took the bag with the grains out of the kettle and put it in a ziplock bag. My brother says it is awesome to make granola bars with it.
After the water and grain mix started to boil, I took it added the dry and liquid amber:
I stirred it for 4 minutes, which temporarily stopped the boiling, and then I had a small boil over like a noob. This was 52 minutes into the process.
At this point I put the first set of hops in, according to the following 60 minute hop schedule:
Boiled 1oz US Goldings hops and set the timer for 60 minutes
Boiled 1 oz Liberty hops 15 minutes from the beginning of the boil.
Boiled 1 oz Willamette hops 45 minutes from the beginning of the boil.
Apparently, after it is done boiling for the 60 minutes, the goal is to transfer the kettle into an ice bath and cool it down as rapidly as possible, due to the fact that bacteria will grow during the cool down phase.
My sink did not come with a plug. To improvise, I put a plastic cutting board over the drain and placed a pot full of water over it to use it as a weight. The previous night I timed it to see how long it takes to fill up the sink: about 6 and a half minutes to fill near the top. With all this, I still loose water. It take****s basically 50 minutes for the sink to drain using this system. The plan is simple: after boiling the wort for an hour, I will pull the weight-pot out of the sink and replace it with the kettle-pot. Thankfully, the plastic cutting board remains over the plug when pulling off the weight- pot, so minimal water is lost if I act quickly.
After dumping 20 pounds of ice and making the switch an hour and 52 minutes after initially heating the kettle, this is what it looked like:
The ice melted pretty quickly, so I dumped the other 20 pounds of ice and ran to 7-11 to purchase another 20 pounds.
After 30 to 45 minutes I measured the temperature and it read 60F. I filled my fermentation tank with 2 gallons of water, and poured the contents of my kettle into the tank, leaving the sludge. I then topped the tank off to a total of 5 gallons with some more water, sealed the lid, and filled the air lock with vodka (the brew guy at the brew shop said vodka reduced contamination compared to filling the airlock with water):