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Colin and Kim Marshall
(“If you can drink it, you can make it.”)
Have you tried kits and malt extract brewing and feel it's now time to have a go at making beer
Not only is it possible to successfully mash at home, but with care and some planning you can
We suggest that before starting you have a good read of this pamphlet and if possible read any
good books on the subject, for example, "Homebrewers Companion" by Charlie Papazian, "The
Complete Handbook of Home Brewing" by Dave Miller, "New Brewing Lager Beer" by Greg
Noonan and "Brew Your Own Real Ale at Home" by Graham Wheeler & Roger Protz or any of
Malt is the basis of all beer and it is impossible to brew without it. Once you have brewed a few
times you will become familiar with the different types of malts and the influence they have on
your brews. It is outside the scope of this pamphlet to fully explain what malt is and how it is
produced other than to say it is derived from barley and is a completely natural product. For a full
explanation as to what malt is, we would suggest again that you consult the abovementioned
All malts produced in Australia are not the same as each other. In fact quite the opposite is true,
as the majority of Australian Malts are produced for export to South East Asia. In these countries
they follow more closely the Dutch and German brewing tradition, which calls for different
mashing techniques. Different types of malts have to be handled in different ways. This is
explained in the modification section and is borne out in the recipes.
Varieties of Malt
Lager (Franklin) Malt : This is a light coloured malt and is used for producing lagers and
pilsners. It is described as lowly modified.
Ale Malt : This is a pale coloured malt used specifically for English style beers, and is excellent
in ales and stouts. It is described as fully modified.
Wheat Malt : As the name suggests this is made from wheat instead of the traditional barley. It is
very light in colour (about the same as lager malt) and requires some special treatment as it
contains large amounts of insoluble protein. This is explained in more detail in the section on
Modification. It is great for making Weizen Bier or as it is known in Australia, Wheat beer.
Small quantities are excellent for producing a frothy long lasting head on any beer. This malt is
made specifically for the Redback Brewing Company.
Munich Malt : This is normal malt similar to ale malt except that it has been more highly kilned
to produce a richer colour. As the name implies it is excellent for making pale & dark Munich
Munich Dark : A slightly darker version of Munich Malt
Amber Malt : This is an even more highly kilned malt than "Munich Malt". It has a beautiful rich
malt aroma and flavour suitable for adding a strong smooth character to your beer. Due to the
high kilning temperatures, Amber malt contains very little Enzyme power and therefore needs to
be mashed with a good proportion of pale malt to convert it's starches to sugars.
Lager, Ale, Wheat, Amber and Munich malt all require mashing to extract their malt sugars.
Crystal Malt : This is normal malt that has been treated so that sugar is produced within the grain.
This is achieved by heating the grains to the mashing temperature (65 degrees) in a closed kiln to
retain the moisture within the grain. This causes the interior of the grain to liquify, and the sugars
formed within the grain caramelize. The kiln is then opened to allow out the hot moist air and
then the temperature is raised to a point where the interior of the grain crystallizes, hence the
name. If you crack open one of the grains you will see what we mean.
Light Crystal : This is a type of crystal malt. It is only slightly roasted which results in it retaining
a very pronounced malt aroma. This is a beautiful malt to use in any beer to add malt flavour and
Dark Crystal : A darker version of crystal malt;
Chocolate Malt : The type of chocolate malt we have available for sale is actually a dark crystal
malt, it is excellent in stouts and is perfect for making Brown Ales.
Roast Malt : This is malted barley that has been roasted until it carbonises, this gives it an aroma
similar to coffee and accounting for its very dark colour.
Roast Barley : This is unmalted barley that has been treated in the same way as roast malt but has
a sharper, more burnt character to it. Roast barley is the principal flavouring ingredient in stout.
Modification refers to the amount of germination which takes place in the grain during the
malting process and from this we then know how the grain has to be mashed. Put simply, any
malt that is under-modified has to have a protein rest during the mashing cycle. The protein rest
makes certain enzymes become active and breaks down insoluble protein into soluble protein. If
this were not to occur, the finished beer would be extremely hazy. Therefore this is an essential
part of the mash when using undermodified malt.
It is our belief that to produce first class beer, cane sugars should be either omitted or used very
sparingly. The Germans actually have a law forbidding the use of anything other than Malt,
Hops, Yeast and Water in their beer. In other words no sugar is used, and we've yet to taste a bad
If you are to use sugar it should only be as a flavouring adjunct and never just as source of
alcohol. This therefore rules out the use of white sugar and dextrose. Small amounts of some
dark sugars can add subtle flavour characteristics and are particularly good in English style beers.
We would never recommend more than 500 grams in a 25 Litre batch.
Hops are the flowers of the female hop plant which is a perennial deciduous climbing vine. They
are the seasoning in beer used to add bitterness to balance the sweetness of the malt and impart
their aromas to the finished product. Almost all hops available for sale in Australia are pelletised,
made by crushing the hop flowers and forming them into pellets.
The importance of hops in the beer cannot be overstated and it is essential to use fresh hops at all
times. We store all our hops in the deep freeze and we strongly recommend you do the same with
any you have at home. Below is a list of all the hops we have available along with approximate
alpha acid ratings for these varieties. Also included is a guide to their aromatic qualities:
The alpha acid figure is the total bittering component in the hops when they are fresh and will
differ from crop to crop & year to year. For example, if you required a particular level of
bitterness applying the above quoted figures you would need three times as many Saaz hops as
There is a formula that can be used to calculate the quantity of hops required in a given recipe,
based on the European Brewing Convention (EBC) Bitterness Units (BU). Bitterness Units are
expressed as milligrams of alpha acid per litre of beer and some typical figures for well known
As you can see there is quite a bit of variance between different styles of beer. This is very useful
information as home brewers are almost always trying to reproduce a particular commercial
brand. With this information, and the final gravity of the beer, which determines the sweetness
and body of the beer, the bitterness levels of any beer can be reproduced.
BITTERNESS UNITS = 10 x Required BU x Batch Size = g Alpha Acid.
This figure is then divided by the alpha acid figure for the type of hops you are using and a
efficiency factor. To show this more clearly we will give an example for a 25 litre batch of Bass
BU = (10 x 28 x 28) divided by (31 x 3.5)
= 72 grams of Goldings hops in the boil.
(1) This figure of ten is there to ensure we get an answer in whole numbers ie; 72 instead of 7.2;
(2) This is the BU figure for Bass Pale Ale.
(3) This is the batch size in litres. It is 28 instead of 25 due to the amount of wort that stays in the
boiler at the transfer stage (explained later), that liquid which is heavily saturated with protein
(4) This is the utilisation factor, or the amount of Alpha acid that is actually used during the boil.
Brewing chemists have established that 31% is the maximum achievable in a 90 minute boil.
You would use figure of 25 if you were using cone hops.
(5) The alpha acid content of Goldings hops as a percentage by weight.
Fosters Lager BU = (10 x 20 x 28) divided by (31 x 9.5) (Pride of Ringwood);
This is another important ingredient in beer as even the strongest beer is 90% water. So it is
important to use the cleanest and most chemically neutral water you can. As a general rule of
thumb, Canberra's water is soft and is perfect for Lager style beer once the chlorine has been
removed from it. This can be achieved by aerating, filtering or boiling, the first of these being the
When making beers with quantities of dark grain it is essential to add various mineral salts to the
mash to balance out the acidity of these grains. It is beyond the scope of this paper to fully
explain the chemistry involved in water treatment. For further information again consult the texts
For simplicities sake we have included the water treatment for various beers in the recipe list at
Yeast is probably considered the least important ingredient in the minds of amateur brewers, yet
it has the ability to add all manner of subtleties to the finished beer, both good and bad.
For too long amateur brewers have suffered by having to use second rate brewing yeasts. No
matter how good all your other ingredients are, if you have a sub-standard brewing yeast, you
will finish up with sub-standard beer.
All is not gloom and doom though as new pure brewing yeasts are becoming available on the
market. These are strains sourced from breweries all around the world and when used properly
will give superb results. They are available in liquid packs in many Lager types as well as Ale
and Wheat beer styles. Some of the available styles in the Wyeast or the White Labs ranges are:
German Ale, London Ale, Irish Ale, Scottish Ale,
European Ale, Bavarian Wheat, American Lager, Danish Lager,
Californian Steam, Bohemian Lager, Bavarian Lager, Czech Pilsner,
Munich Lager, Belgian Abbey, Swedish Ale, Kolsch,
Belgian Lambic, German Wheat, Belgian Trappist, Belgian Wheat.
To be able to brew successfully you will need a certain amount of specialised equipment. The
most important is a large pot capable of holding 25 to 30 litres of liquid and in this you can mash
your grains and later use as the boiler. This is only one method but usually works out to be the
More experienced mashers often use a gravity fed system using three stainless steel containers
(sometimes beer kegs) with ball valves outlets. The mashing vessel usually has a false bottom
drilled with many small holes (approx 2mm) spaced about 8mm apart. LPG is the usual method
We have devised a system utilising two polyethylene fermenters and an element. This gives the
control you require to mash accurately and also the power required to boil your wort. These are a
great unit and really take the hard work out of mashing. No doubt you will have your own ideas
on what gear you would like to try using. We would suggest that before attempting your first
mash you come in or call us to discuss your equipment needs. This may save a lot of headaches.
To explain the mashing procedure we will run through the basic procedure we use when brewing
using the double bucket method. You can then relate this to your own equipment set-up.
Firstly, ensure that your equipment is clean, most importantly the electrical element. It will not
function accurately if it is discoloured or coated with a protein film.
Once everything is cleaned, add the water to the mashing vessel, known as the mash tun. We use
4 to 4.5 litres of water per kilo of malt. This is partly due to the gap left between the top and
bottom bucket, which means slightly more water is needed to achieve the required mash
consistency. You may find you need less using a different system, but never use less than 2.5
Heat the water to 72 degrees Celsius. The grain is added next. It should be all added at the same
time, and once in, stirred continuously until properly wetted.
The temperature will now have dropped to 65 - 66 degrees. It is now up to you to maintain this
level for the next 90 to 120 minutes. This requires a little effort at the start of the mash.
Removing 2 litres through the tap every 15 minutes or so and adding it back into the top of the
mash, then stirring, will to ensure proper heat distribution.
A drop in temperature of 2-3 degrees over the period of the mash will not be seriously
detrimental, however the strike (initial) temperature is important.
Once 90 minutes has elapsed it is time to prepare for the sparging stage.
A Brief Word On The Effect Of Temperature During The Mash.
You may be wondering about the temperature quoted for the mash of 65-66. This temperature
has been found to produce the required balance for most beers. By balance we mean the
proportion of maltose to dextrins and other complex unfermentable sugars.
Maltose is a fully fermentable sugar and when malted barley is mashed at 65-66, 80% of the total
sugar produced will be of this type. The remaining 20% will be made up of dextrins and other
The type of sugars produced is related directly to temperature. Using 65 as a mid point, the nearer
the mash temperature is to 60 degrees the higher the proportion of maltose. This will result in a
thinner beer lacking in body, as the residual dextrins supply much of the beer's flavour. The
nearer the temperature is to 70 degrees, the higher the proportion of dextrins, which can result in
a thicker, more syrupy beer due to the proportion of unfermented sugar.
High mashing temperatures are good for making full bodied Stouts and Scotch Ale type beers.
SPARGING AND WORT CLARIFICATION
Sparging is the process whereby the wort is separated from the grain and the grain bed is used as
a filter to remove as much grain matter (draff) from the wort as possible. The grains are then
rinsed with hot water to extract the remaining sugar.
To do this effectively, the mash must be heated to 76-78 degrees. This lowers the viscosity of the
sweet wort, thinning it down so that it then flows better, allowing a good separation from the
grain. Higher temperatures than this will result in the extraction of unwanted tannins and starch
from the grains, causing harshness and haze problems.
Once the temperature has reached 76-78 degrees, open the bottom tap to slowly allow out some
wort. At this stage it is necessary to filter out as much trub as possible if we want to achieve a
truly professional result. This is done by returning the wort back to the mash as gently as possible
to avoid agitating the mash bed. This should be done until the wort starts to run clear which
usually takes 10 minutes. This use's the grain bed as a filter to remove as much draff as possible
from the wort to be boiled. This may seem like a lot of work, but it will make the beer taste much
cleaner and allow the flavour of the malt to come through fully.
When the wort becomes fairly clear it is time to transfer our first runnings into the boiler. When
the level of the wort drops to just above the surface of the grain bed it is time to add the heated
sparge water (78 degrees). Again this is best done gently to avoid disturbing the grain bed, using
roughly the same volume of sparge water as was used in the mash.
If you can use a hose to avoid splashing the wort as it drops from the mash vessel to the boiler
this will result in smoother beer due to the reduced chance of oxidation.
It is also advisable to keep the flow rate through the outlet hose to around 1 to 2 litres per minute.
This will again reduce the chances of drawing through any unwanted draff into the boiler and
will also allow the hot water to percolate slowly through the grain and remove all the malt sugars.
As you can see by a simple bit of arithmetic the sparging and clarification process can take quite
a while. This may seem an awful lot of effort, but if you aiming for perfection this is what is
BOILING THE WORT
The most difficult part of the process has now been completed and it is now time to boil the wort.
There are several reasons for boiling the wort. These are as follows :
(a) Destruction of the diastatic enzymes from the mash. Even after a long mashing and sparging
process there will still be some diastatic activity in the sweet wort. Diastatic activity means the
activity of the enzymes in the grain that convert starch in the malt into sugar. If this were allowed
to continue the correct ratio of maltose to dextrins would be affected resulting in an unbalanced
(c) Extraction of bitterness from the hops.
(d) Removal of excess protein which can cause haze and flavour problems.
A very important point to note before you return the sweet wort to the boiler is to clean out the
boiler and most importantly clean the element. This is best done with a scourer pad. It is
important to remove the protein residue that will have built up on the element during the mash. If
this is not removed it may char onto the element during the boil resulting in burnt flavours in the
beer or, at the very worst, the element cutting out completely.
Once your boiler and element are clean, fill the boiler with the sweet wort. As soon as the
element is covered, turn the thermostat control to position 10 and allow the wort to come to the
boil. We have found from experience that if you leave the mashing container in the boiler it
increases the capacity of your boiler and also acts as strainer at the end of the boil to hold back
It is important to make sure that your boiler is not over full because as the wort comes to the boil
it will kick and bubble violently, which could result in a boil over. For this reason, when boiling
take the element out of the mashing unit and fit it into a 50 litre aluminium boiler. This allows us
to boil up to 40 - 45 litres of wort without boilover problems.
Once on the boil, leave the sweet wort to boil for 30 minutes before adding the hops, and then
boil for a further 60 minutes. The hops only need to be boiled for this amount of time to extract
their bitterness and if boiled for any longer harsh flavours can be extracted from them. The long
boil is to remove the optimum amount of protein from the wort thus forming a good "Hot
Hot Break refers to the removal of protein from the wort by mechanical action due to the violent
boiling action. This protein precipitates out of the wort to form a layer of fine debris on the
If this were to remain in the wort it would cause haze problems and have an adverse affect on the
Hot break will generally be achieved by a 90 to 120 minute boil. The addition of Irish Moss 20
minutes before the end of the boil will greatly help this phenomena to occur.
COOLING THE WORT AND THE COLD BREAK
The hot wort in the boiler must be cooled as quickly as possible for the following reasons :
(a) To bring the temperature down so that the yeast can be pitched before rogue bacteria can take
The " Cold Break " is a phenomenon similar to the hot break. Although the hot wort appears
relatively clear, once the temperature drops below 50 degrees Celsius a fine mist like material
will appear and fall to the bottom of the boiler. This is more protein matter and it is our job to try
to stop it being transferred into the fermenter.
To do this we need to cool the wort while it is still in the boiler. This is best done with a piece of
copper formed into a coil. The coil is placed into the hot wort and cold water is circulated
through the coil and then out to waste.
It normally takes 15 to 30 minutes to cool 28 - 30 litres to pitching temperature.
To avoid transferring any trub into the fermenter it is wise to locate the tap at least 50 millimetres
above the bottom of the boiler. Tapping off from this point reduces the amount of trub and if
transferred using a filter bag reduce it considerably.
Have you ever wondered how much sugar you may be leaving behind in your grain bed after
mashing and sparging? Even if you feel you get a good extract you may be interested in knowing
The formula below is based on the laboratory extract figure for Australian well modified malted
barley. This figure is expressed as "Brewers Degrees per Kilogram Litre" (BD/KL). This means
the maximum possible extract attainable from a kilogram of malt mashed to produce a litre of
wort. "Brewers Degrees" (BD) are a simplified version of an "Specific Gravity" (SG) reading and
The BD/KL for Australian well modified malt is for"ale" 307, and for lager 302. This means that
by following a strict procedure as laid down by the European Brewing Convention (EBC), one
kilogram of malt mashed to produce one litre of wort would have an SG of 1307, or 307 BD/KL.
If this figure is entered into the following formula, efficiency can be calculated:
Extract Efficiency = Original Gravity in BD x Volume x100
This may look a little complicated but it is easier to understand when an example is used. This is
an example for a brew made with 5 Kg of malt made up to 25 litres with an OG of 1050.
This figure has other uses. Once the percentage has been checked over several brews and an
average is calculated, it can be used to calculate the required weight of malt needed to achieve a
Quantity of Malt = OG in BD x Volume x 100
If a brew of 25 litres @ OG 1050 is desired and efficiency has been calculated at 82 % :
A quick look at this indicates that we should roughly achieve 10 degrees of gravity for every kilo
All of the figures for the Australian malt were obtained from Kevin Mitchell, Plant Manager at
Barrett Burston Maltings in Collingwood and are based on malt produced in 1992.
After all the hard work of mashing and boiling you should now have the perfect environment for
The most crucial thing now is temperature, both the pitching temperature and that during
fermentation. It is most important that you add the yeast at the correct temperature. If too high,
the yeast at worst can be killed and at best the flavour will be spoiled by esters developed by the
Esters are a form of acid that will be present in the beer as fruity flavours such as pineapple,
banana, butterscotch. These flavours when occurring in small amounts can add subtle character
to Ale style beers but when they overpower the beer can make it undrinkable.
So it is up to us to control the temperature of the ferment to reduce the esters or in the case of
lager style beer to do away with them completely.
As you can well imagine, the type of beer produced is tied directly to the type of yeast you use.
For the sake of simplicity we will recommend the type to use, as well as the correct fermentation
temperatures. This is all in the following recipe list. Once you become more experienced you
may want to start experimenting with types of yeast and different temperatures.
SECONDARY FERMENTATION & CLEARING
Once the primary fermentation appears to slow (usually the third or fourth day) you should rack
your brew into a secondary fermentation vessel, leaving the sediment in the primary fermenter. A
vessel exactly the same as your primary fermenter is perfect for this job and is an essential item
in any amateur brewer's armoury. This will separate the beer from the yeast in the primary
fermenter and will allow it to clear of most of the remaining yeast.
Bottle sediment will be reduced, and the flavour and shelf life of your beer will be greatly
improved. This is best done using a piece of tubing which fits over the outlet of the tap, this is
then placed in the bottom of your second fermenter and the tap opened. Avoid splashing the beer
at all cost, in order to reduce oxidisation (allowing air to come in contact with your brew) which
Once filled immediately add finings and allow to sit for 5 to 8 days.
35g Cluster Hops, 25g in Boil(18BU), 10g in Soak
1 Sachet DCL SafLager Yeast (Ferment at 10 - 15 Degrees)
20g Pride of Ringwood Hops(22BU), all in the Boil
1 Sachet DCL SafLager Yeast (Ferment at 10 - 15 Degrees)
1 Sachet DCL SafLager Yeast (Ferment at 10 - 15 Degrees)
1 Sachet SHB Lager Yeast (Ferment at 10 - 15 Degrees)
120g Saaz Hops, 90g in Boil(35BU),30g Soak
Wyeast Bohemian Yeast or White Labs WLP 800 Pilsener yeast (Ferment at 8 -10 Degrees)
Wyeast Bavarian Lager or White Labs WLP830 German Lager yeast (Ferment at 6- 10 Degrees)
Wyeast Bavarian Lager Yeas or White Labs WLP830 German Lager yeast (Ferment at 6 - 10
50g Hersbrucker Hops, all in the boil (27BU)
Wyeast Munich Yeast or White Labs WLP830 German Lager yeast(Ferment at 7 - 10 Degrees)
65g Hersbruck Hops, all in the Boil (34BU)
Wyeast Bavarian Yeast or White Labs WLP 838 South German Lager yeast(Ferment at 7 - 10
60g Tettnang Hops, 35g in the Boil(20BU), 25g soak
Wyeast Pilsner Yeast or White Labs WLP 800 Pilsener yeast (Ferment at 7 - 10 Degrees)
110g Goldings Hops, 80g in the Boil(30BU), 30g in Soak,
1 Sachet Danstar London Ale Yeast (Ferment at 18 - 20 Degrees)
50g Willamette Hops, all in the boil(35BU)
Wyeast European Ale Yeast or White Labs WLP002 English Ale yeast (Ferment at 18 - 20
135g Goldings Hops, 105g in the boil(40BU), 30g in Soak,
1 Sachet DCL S-04 Ale Yeast (Ferment at 18 - 20 Degrees)
30g Willamette Hops(22BU), all in the Boil
Wyeast European Ale Yeast (Ferment at 18 - 20 degrees)
35g Vienna Gold Hops, all in the Boil(25BU)
2 Sachets DCL S-04 Ale yeast (Ferment at 18 - 20 Degrees)
30g Hallertau Triploid Hops, all in the Boil(32BU)
Wyeast Belgian Ale Yeast or White Labs WLP500 Trappist Ale yeast(Ferment at 20 - 22
30g Pacific Gem Hops, all in the boil(40BU)
Wyeast Irish Stout Yeast or White Labs WLP004 Irish Ale yeast (Ferment at 18 - 20 Degrees)
Wyeast Irish Stout Yeast or White Labs WLP004 Irish Ale yeast (Ferment at 18 - 20 Degrees)
30g Hersbrucker hops, all in the boil (16BU)
Wyeast Wheat Beer Yeast or White Labs WLP300 Hefeweizen yeast(Ferment at 15 - 18
* = Protein rest at 50 Degrees for 20 mins then mash at 66 for 2 hrs.
** = Protein rest at 50 Degrees for 45 mins the mash at 66 for 2 hrs.
# = Mash in at 71 Degrees then mash at 66 Degrees for 2 hours.
## = Mash in at 74 Degrees then mash at 68 - 69 Degrees for 90 mins
We would like to thank Laurie Cahir of Southern Home Brewing Supplies of Edithvale,
Victoria, for granting us permission to use his excellent article as the basis for this one.
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