Beer Kit Modification
After you have successfully finished a few brews you may be wondering whats next?
Some people are happy to carry on with the kits as they produce very good results, making great beer with no hassle. However, the more experimental may want to mess around with the kit to create a truly unique and delicious beer.
Dry Hopping is simply adding more hops to your fermenting beer or in to the barrel. This enhances the flavour and aroma of your beer.
In this Video we are going to modify the St Peters IPA Beer Kit into an American IPA by dry hopping the kit with 15 g Cascade and 15 g Apollo hop pellets four days before bottling.
The result is a refreshing IPA with hints of grapefruit.
What to use?
It is best to use hops that are categorised as 'aroma' hops such as; Cascade, Crystal, Willamette, East Kent Golding, Fuggle, Saaz etc. but the beauty of homebrewing means you can use any hops you like the flavour of. Dry hopping is particularly effective when using a light base beer.
Roughly speaking anywhere between 28 g and 50 g per 5 gallon batch but as its down to personal preference, the best way is to experiment.
Either add the hops a few days before bottling/barreling to get the maximum aroma or you can add them to the barrel. If adding to the barrel you may want to put the hops into a muslin bag with a weight (sterilised marble?) to avoid the hops floating on the top if using leaf or coming out the tap if using pellets.
Steeping the grains can be used to add colour (to darken a beer) and to add to the flavour of the beer.
You can also steep some grains to improve head retention and make the beer smoother.
In this example we will turn a St Peters IPA Beer Kit into a Black IPA by steeping 320 g Carafa III Malt into a pan of heated water for 30 mins and adding this to our fermenter when mixing the kit.
Steeping is simply putting the grains in hot water for a certain amount of time to get the desired result. The time boiled and the amounts used will vary on the recipe and personal preference.
In the video above the grains were tied into a muslin cloth and steeped in 1 gallon (4.5 litres water at 68C for 30 mins then discarded, the grain steeped water is then added to your fermentation vessel with the rest of the malt extract.
Adding fruit to your beer is another way of modifying the taste to create a great beer, and fruit beers are getting more widely available to compare yours too.
In this video we extract the juice of one watermelon and add it to a St Peters IPA Beer Kit to create a refreshing Watermelon IPA.
We will add the juice directly to the fermenter when mixing the kit.
The second method of adding fruits to your beer is, like steeping the grains, boil 1 gallon of water and add the fruit for 30 mins. It is advisable to either prick the skins of each fruit or to freeze all the fruit over night which will crack the skins and allow the goodness to seep out.
Then you add the water to your fermentation vessel with your malt extract and carry on the process.
500 g of Cherries or Plums in a stout tastes great or de-seed and cut up a pumpkin into small chunks and roast in the oven at 200C for 45 mins (skins and all) then add to a fermenting dark ale kit or bitter for the fermentation. The Woodfordes Admiral reserve is especially good.