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Novice Homebrewer: Brewing Batch #3

Washing the Fresh Strawberries

My fiancee bought me a Wheat Beer kit from Cooper’s (who recently bought the American company Mr. Beer) prior to her back surgery as a way to say thanks for taking care of her. If you have been following my posts, my first two batches were from scratch, so this was a new adventure for me. The product is a blend of extract malt and hops that comes in a can with directions and a packet of yeast attached to the can. As this was my third batch, I opted to make a personal adjustment to the recipe and add strawberries during primary fermentation.

The three sugars used in this batch

The first obstacle was that the instructions utilize the metric system since Cooper’s comes from Australia. I had to break out the handy Google to do some quick conversions for water and sugar. Secondly, I did not have enough plain sugar, so I had to improvise. I mixed in organic sugar, regular sugar, and brown sugar to provide enough food for the yeast to eat.

The directions say to heat up 2 litres of water and mix in the malt/hop concoction. It was odd that they only required warm water, saying you could heat it up in the microwave. I opted to boil the water on the stove prior to adding in the mixture. While the water was heating up, I began chopping off the stems of the strawberries and blending them with a little bit of water. About halfway through the strawberries, the water boiled and I added the malt in to the pot. I wanted to keep the mix somewhat warm before I added it to the carboy, so I left the stove on. BIG MISTAKE! All of a sudden, I had a boil over and my ceramic-top stove was covered in syrupy liquid.

The pot, pre-boil-over

Apparently, I have not fully learned about boil overs. But I think I was thrown by using a different system that I was used to. Once I cleaned the mess up, I put the wort into the carboy and filled the carboy up with cool water and then pitched the yeast. The cleanup took longer than the brewing, and was a major pain in the butt. However, I was pretty happy with the addition of strawberries to the wheat beer, and I think it will be a great warm weather beer.

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Written by Jeff Kupko

Jeff is a traffic engineer that loves his beer, and especially loves trying new beer. As a student at the University of Pittsburgh, Yuengling was a staple and the beginnings of liking something better than fizzy yellow water. This has evolved into an entire hobby, with Jeff keeping a blog of all of the beers he tries. Vacations most certainly involve at least one brewery or bottle shop visit to gather a region’s coveted fruits. Now, Jeff has ventured into homebrewing, and there is probably no saving him from being engulfed entirely by beer. While Imperial Stouts and IPAs rank highest in Jeff’s eyes, sours are sneaking up on those styles, and Jeff loves to try all different styles. Find Jeff Kupko on Google Plus

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