Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Aztec Gold

written by Gavin from The Greening of Gavin

I have a great many hobbies, but one of my favourites has to be beer making.  Now how could beer making be green, I here you ask?  Well glad you asked.  Have a read of this post titled "Gav's Eco Beer" to get a good understanding of the environmental benefits of making your own beer. 

Anyway, I made up a simple recipe that I found on a the back of a Coopers leaflet called Aztec Gold.  I put 500g of Dry light malt and 1 can of Coopers Cerveza brew mixture into the fermenter, added 2 litres of boiling water and mix.  Once mixed, I added rain water to make up 23 litres, took an original specific gravity reading (mine was 1036) and then pitched the yeast when the temperature goes below 25C.  To see how the process works, have a look at my Home Brewing video tutorial

I made this batch up on a Sunday, before I came down sick, and it bubbled away merrily for 6 days.  My wife Kim let me put the fermenter in the laundry, because the temperature variation in the shed has been ridiculous and she likes Cerveza!

The beer stopped fermenting on Friday so I could have bottled it earlier, however from experience, I always leave the beer in the fermenter for an extra two days, so that the beer settles and clears without the use of finings. The final specific gravity was 1008.

After washing and sterilising all sixty six 330ml bottles, I added just under a teaspoon of white sugar to each bottle, then filled them all up as you can see below.

Then I went about putting the crown seals on each bottle with my hand capping machine.  

My darling daughter Megan (who took the photos) always catches my best angle.  Here is a sealed bottle.  Once sealed, I inverted the bottle a few times to dissolve the sugar to start secondary fermentation.  This produces the beer bubbles.

Here is an action shot.  It is a pretty simple process, and from start to finish, bottling usually takes me about 90 minutes.

This recipe turned out to be a winner.  It is light at only 3.5%, and has a fantastic taste that is just right for drinking after a session with the hand lawn mower!

Beer making is a great hobby, and I suppose that if I draw a really long bow, it is a great skill to have if the breweries every shut down or go broke, and besides that, the satisfaction of sharing your own home made beer with mates is second to none.  Especially when it tastes great as well!


Terra said...

In an emergency you could trade beer for food or other necessities, if you have extra beer of course :)

The Script Library said...

nice one, I'll try leaving mine for a couple of extra days next time before bottling. And one tip for you.. in my last brew I tested 'batch priming'.. add all the priming sugar with some hot water into a large sterilized container ..syphon the beer from the primary fermenter into large container, then stir a little. Now bottle it from this primed container. DONE. no messing about with getting sugar into little bottles, and no need to tip each bottle after capping. Also this lets you use a variety of bottle sizes without calculating different priming amounts per bottle size.

Anonymous said...

I would recommend using darker bottles, that way you dont get light struck.

Gavin said...

@ Terra,

Sounds like a plan. I always have extra beer on hand.

@ The Script Library

Great idea about the batch priming. How much sugar per litre should I add to the beer? I make it in 23 litre batches.

@ anon,

I do usually use dark bottles, but for this type of beer it is never in the bottle long enough to go bad!


Joseph said...

Now this is a hobby I could get into! I'm going to check out your tutorial.

The Script Library said...

in theory [the same amount per bottle * the number of bottles], and check here for some example amounts http://www.tastybrew.com/calculators/priming.html . Also make sure you use enough boiling water to dissolve this amount of sugar, but not so much that you dilute your beer.

happy priming :)

skybluepinkish said...

This can only be an improvement on the gooseberry wine (it was so dry made sauvignon taste sweet and had a tendency to remove the roof of your mouth if you didn't sip slowly!) The other half has had a couple of beer forays of varying success but I think I could support him in this one .... so long as I don't have to sterilise sixty bottles!

The Script Library said...

regarding sterilizing bottles, I put them upside down in a dishwasher, use no detergent, then let it run. never had problems this way. quick and and easy and less chemicals. I use 500ml bottles too.. less of them :)

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