Homebrewing Beer

Homebrewing Beer can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it.

It can be said that in the home brew industry you have 3 options or different types of homebrew beer kits

  1. Isomerised Beer Kits (usually pouches or cans)
  2. Extract Beer Kits ( Partial Mash Kits)
  3. All Grain Brewing ( brewing from scratch )

Modern day homebrew beer kits and equipment can allow you to not only be frugal but you can brew better beer than shop bought. If you are a craftbeer fan you can attempt to clone your favourite beer or be adventurous and create some truly unique beer.

If you decide to start homebrewing beer and you choose to start with a basic homebrew beer kit the equipment will always be useful for all levels of brewing beer. If you try a isomerised beer kit you can still create great beers. An isomerised extract kit is usually a pouch or can of liquid malt that has isomerised hop solution in it. You are basically rehydrating the liquid malt extract and adding the yeast and fermenting the beer. Some modern beer kits also have dry hop additions that you add directly to the fermenter this creates a nice hoppy aroma.

Extract brewing also includes brewing with liquid malt but it’s a little more hands on and you need a little more equipment but household pots etc can be used to help you create a wort with steeping grains. This steeping grain or quantity of malt will bring more freshness and body to the beer. Once you create the wort by adding the steeping grains (grains/malt in a muslin/nylon bag) to warm water you add the liquid malt. The steeping grains are added to warm water in extract brewing for e.g. 67 degrees as it converts the starches in the malt to fermentable sugars which is also known as sugary wort. The lower mashing temperatures with steeping grains will create a dryer beer and higher temperatures of say 69 will produce a sweeter beer.

All Grain Brewing is brewing from scratch using water, malt, hops and yeast. I’m a massive fan of all grain brewing it creates really impressive craft beers and allows you to really immerse yourself in the hobby, the process of all grain brewing is the longest to produce with a brewday taking around 5 hours. It’s a great way to spend a day though and the results are worth it. You can buy all grain recipe kits with instructions that have the beer style and ingredients all worked out for you or you can design your own recipes from scratch

What is critical to successful brewing of beer no matter what type of beer kit you choose is cleanliness and temperature control.

Having all equipment sterilized and maintaining a constant fermentation temperature for the yeast will make for the best brewed beer.

If you need any help at all selecting a homebrew starter kit we are happy to help, we aim to be beginner friendly and remember that we want you to brew beer consistently and successfully so you return to brew more beer time and time again



Kettle Sour Brewing

Geterbrewed did some experimenting over the weekend with new beer recipes and we wanted to try and use the new lallemand wildbrew sourpitch.

sourpitch & belle saison

Our friend Rob Percival from Lallemand kindly gave us some samples of the wildbrew sourpitch freeze dried bacteria. Now I’ve always been very dubious about introducing bacteria to my homebrew system but with a kettle sour you don’t need to worry as after the souring has taken place you bring it to a boil and it kills off the bacteria

We decided to run this test batch on the grainfather, so the brewday was split over two days, day one being the mashing to create the wort then cooling that wort to souring temperature of 36 degrees and holding it at that temperature for 24 hours to drop the ph. Day two is the boiling process and hop additions etc before cooling and pitching the yeast.

thumbs up for kettle sours

In recent times i’ve become a huge fan of sour beers, i’ve gave them to friends and family to sample and they would have never tried them unless encouraged now i have created a whole new group of sour beer fans, people that normally don’t like beer are becoming sour  fans, its definitely growing in popularity.

crisp malt in grainfather

In this recipe I wanted to achieve something super fruity and delicately tart. With most sours the best base is a traditional malt bill for a berliner weisse, so i went for a 50% Pilsen & 50% wheat base, I use Crisp Malt exclusively now as i think they are the best malt producer.  For hops they don’t normally feature heavily in sour beers, I plan on adding a fruit addition so I went for Citra hops to compliment this. I bought 2.5 kg of blueberries and as I like to push the boundaries a little when brewing at home I plan to ferment this all with lallemand’s Belle Saison yeast and add a ‘dry hop’ with a difference, this time i’m going to add gin soaked juniper berries on day 4 to create a really impressive sour beer.

lallemand yeast starter

I mashed the malt at 67 degrees for 60 minutes and then cooled the wort through the grainfather chiller to acheive a temperature of 36 degrees. I rehydrated the freeze dried bacteria ( Wildbrew Sourpitch from lallemand) and added it to the wort and then sealed up the grainfather and set it to hold the temperature for 24 hours.

wildbrew sourpitch

24 hours later the ph had dropped so I brought the wort to a rolling boil, just prior to the boil I added the blueberries and boiled for about 15 minutes at the end of the boil I added citra hops and then chilled the wort via the grainfather chiller to 26 degrees. I had prepared a Belle Saison Yeast starter the day before when doing the initial mash so I pitched the yeast and it got off to a healthy fermentation immediately.

Blueberry fruit sour

I had a starting gravity of 1032 so I’m aiming for a super sessionable 2.9% abv packed with flavour

There is so many options with the new wildbrew sourpitch to create amazing sour beers, we are really impressed with it and hope you try it.



The Grainfather – All in One Brewing System Review

What is the Grainfather?

You must have lived under a rock if you’ve followed homebrew over the last few years and haven’t come across the Grainfather! If somehow you’ve not seen this before, the Grainfather is the All-in-one brewing system. You can mash, sparge and boil in a single vessel and they even include a super-efficient counter-flow chiller – not enough? The even have free recipe software and a Bluetooth enabled control box so you can plan your brewday and then control it from your phone.

Why an All-in-one Brewing System?

The biggest advantages of having an all-in-one system are things like space saving, time saving, more control, less to clean and the ease of using in doors.

The Grainfather is an electric, pump driven system which allows you to have a recirculating mash whilst maintaining the heat perfectly. This helps get the most out of your malt and is so easily repeatable – imagine making the best beer ever and being able to make it again and again! If you want the same level of control from a three-vessel system, you would probably need herms pots, insulated mash tuns, countless valves, elements and it would probably cost a hell of a lot more when you add it all up.

The Grainfather takes away none of the fun – sure it helps control a few things, but you’re still creating your exact recipe, still mashing in, sparging, throwing in the hops etc… it’s proper brewing and I doubt you’d find a single user that disagrees with this. It also pretty much cleans itself – just rinse out after use, heat some water, put everything you used back in. Then throw in their High-Performance cleaner, connect the chiller and switch the pump on. You can expect to be finished and tidied away within 4-5 hours without rushing or stressing at all. All of the fun, less of the mess.

Why the Grainfather?

There’s other all in ones on the market that cater for different budgets. Some benefits the Grainfather offers include the most advanced, user friendly controller on the market, along with the software to go with it. It makes use of a PID algorithm, so where as other systems power is either on or off, the Grainfather reduces power sent to the element as it approaches the desired temperature, so it doesn’t overshoot. It then regulates the elements to accurately keep it stable. You can reduce the vigour of the boil if you want to and even change what the system recognises as your boil temperature (handy for those who live high up). An added bonus for me is the ability to tell the controller when to switch on the heat. I often brew first thing in the morning so set up the night before and wake up to my strike water heated, ready to mash in. It saves time and allows me to be finished and tidied away well before lunch.

The chiller is a real step up from the standard immersion coils – you pump your wort straight into the fermenter via the counter flow chiller (essentially a heat exchanger), running cold water through the other fittings. It remarkably chills from boiling to room temperature on its journey through and you can pitch your yeast straight away when the wort is all in your fermenter. Depending how cold your ground water is, it can chill a 23l batch in as little as 10 minutes.

The build quality is excellent compared to some budget systems and the modular design allows you to upgrade your brewery when something that interests you comes along. They don’t leave customers behind – for example, the recent change from a manual control box to the Bluetooth connect box mentioned above is available for users with older models.

The customer service is also really important to the folks at Grainfather. They have guys in the UK as well as New Zealand and any issues are dealt with quickly and efficiently – the warranty is 2 years for your peace of mind. We know guys that have clocked up well over 300 brews in the two and a half years on the market and still going strong – that would be a life times use for many of us!

I could go on all day about the Grainfather, but a lot of it’s already been said elsewhere. The countless user videos on youtube, the blogs, forum posts and chatter on social media are overwhelmingly positive which is a real testament to the guys at Grainfather. It’s been designed by brewers for brewers and it really tells!

What about Grainfather Ingredients?

Geterbrewed have specific Grainfather recipe packs but you can also retrieve a full catalogue for recipes from the Grainfather app and use the custom grain kit recipe service to build those recipes

Genuinely one of the best options for anyone interested in getting into all grain brewing

Unmalted Cereal

There is a renewed interest in the use of un malted cereals in the brewing industry, both home brewers and small craft brewers are experimenting more with unmalted cereals. Geterbrewed have been proudly working with Crisp malt as their distributor in Ireland, the Crisp Malting Group Acquired Micronized Food Products in 2014 and this adds a range of un malted cereals to our extensive catalogue of brewing ingredients at the best value for you the brewer…

So what are unmalted cereals?

Cooked cereals used in brewing are known as Torrefied cereals, and are widely used as natural adjuncts in the brewing process. Geterbrewed supply a range of wheat, barley, maize, oats in flaked or whole form.

Flaked products can be conveniently used as you can add to the wort without the need for milling

Torrified Products are widely used to enhance clarity in the brewing process as well as improving head retention, they offer exceleent cost benefits compared to malt products

Carl Heron from Crisp Malt talks about a renewed interest in unmalted cereal ingredients

“This has, perhaps, been a reaction to the way international players have set their store by inclusions of maize or rice at the rate of over 20%,” he said. “However, brewers in the craft sector are increasingly adventurous. They’re experimenting extensively with the rich range of malts, but also visiting some of the excellent un-malted cereals on offer.”

Torrefied and micronised wheat, barley, oats, rye, maize and rice all offer the opportunity to play tunes on the flavour notes of beer. They have an impact on colour, head retention, body, smoothness and mouthfeel, and can therefore offer significant help in orchestrating the overall characters of beers.

Clearly, brewers can’t use raw grains. In the past, those that weren’t malted might be passed through a stream of hot sand by grain merchants or had to be put through a cereal mash by brewers (using up precious space in the mash tun). The processes of torrefication and micronisation have provided much more satisfactory answers. They involve rapid cooking of cereals at high temperatures to gelatinise the starchy endosperm.

Torrefication, rather like the sand-based methods of the past, involves passing the grains through a fluidised bed of very hot air at 750 to 780ºF. The cell walls of the grains are disrupted. The grains expand, their density changes, they’re aspirated to remove dust and chaff, then sized and cooled in the ambient air.

Micronisation involves using infrared waves to rapidly heat grains until they ‘pop’. The molecules within the grains vibrate and the molecular friction causes the fast increase in temperature and rise in water vapour pressure. Once the cellular structure has been disrupted, the starch gelatinises.

What unmalted cereal ingredients do Geterbrewed stock?
Torrefied whole or crushed wheat

Torrefied wheat improves head retention, especially in wheat beers. It’s great for use as a nitrogen diluent as it adds very little soluble nitrogen to wort. It also adds subtle depth of flavour and body.

Torrefied flaked barley

Torrefied flaked barley has similar benefits to torrefied wheat, but with a stronger and slightly harsher flavour.

Micronised flaked maize

Micronized flaked maize adds up to 20% of grist to the tun with normal malt, and even more with high diastatic power malt. On top of this, it improves body and mouthfeel, and is gluten and nitrogen free, allowing it to be used as a diluent in coeliac-friendly beers.

Micronised flaked rice

Micronized flaked rice also adds grist to the tun, and adds a greater perception of refreshment. It also accentuates hop aromas, without adding taste.

Micronised flaked oats

Micronized flaked oats improve mouthfeel and increase body, but also impart a smoothness and a pleasant oaty flavour on the beer.

Both torrefication and micronisation can be applied to many cereals, including barley, wheat, rice, maize, oats, and rye, creating grains ready to be used for brewing, providing their own benefits. With these products you will be able to develop a brew that consists of your preferred colour, head retention, body, smoothness, and mouthfeel.

Of course, experimenting with malts is crucial to developing a fantastic brew, but if a beer needs a little boost in a certain area, there’s usually an un-malted cereal which can be used to save the day.