Step 6. The Boil You should have 5L or more of sweet wort ready to boil. (Keep any excess in a jug and use this to top up during the boil as the wort evaporates).

As the wort comes to the boil add the first lot of hops. If they are compressed hops break them up a little although they will quickly swell and separate in the hot wort. Set the heat to produce a nice rolling boil.

 Shortly after the boil begins the hot break will start, this the proteins coming out of solution and coagulating. The wort will froth and foam and start to boil over, this should be stirred back in as much as possible but if there is a real danger of boil over add a drop of two of the excess wort. Eventually it will settle down and the remainder of the boil should be pretty uneventful. Boil for a total of 1hr, topping up with any excess wort as it evaporates, topping up with boiling water from the kettle will prevent the boil from becoming too vigorous as the volume in the pot reduces . 15 mins from the end of the boil add any late copper hops, 10 mins before the end, add a pinch of Irish Moss which will further coagulates the proteins.

Step 7. Cooling Once the boil is complete, put the lid on and allow to cool in a sink of water. This causes more proteins to come out of suspension and coagulate (known as the cold break) giving the finished beer better clarity at low temperatures. When the temperature is down to 30 deg c or lower the pot can be removed from the sink.

 

 

Step 8. Removing the Hops (the hop-back)  The wort will now be poured from the pot through a colander, but first, dry off the base of the pot to prevent drips getting into the finished beer. Set up a sanitised colander as shown, and carefully pour the wort, hops and all through the colander. Although the picture shows a PET bottle demijohn, unless you have someone to hold it steady while you pour I recommend a glass demijohn as these are heavier and more stable. (If a colander isn't available a sanitised stainless steel pot scrubber gently pushed into the spout of the funnel will do the same job).

The picture on the right shows the spent hops which can be added to the compost heap.

As there will be a lot of 'break' material in the wort, its advisable to cover the demijohn and allow this material to settle out before racking off the wort into another demijohn where the SG can be checked and adjusted with cold water to around 1040. Cover the opening and give the wort a good shake to get some oxygen into it then as long as the temperature is below 30 deg c, the yeast can be pitched. I ferment under airlock like this for around 5-7 days, then transfer to a secondary for a week before bottling.

As the yeast is liable to spill over and clog the airlock, its advisable to set up a blow-off tube arrangement for the first few days, this is simply a tube connected to the demijohn bung at one end and the other dipped into a bottle of sanitizer fluid.

 

The Finished 'Best Bitter' after
3 weeks bottle conditioning.

 

 

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