Purchase our Calavera Spiced Chile Stout recipe here.
STEP 1: Sanitizing
Cleaning is one of the most important steps in brewing. It kills microscopic bacteria, wild yeast and molds that may cause off-flavors in your beer. Make certain to clean all equipment that comes in contact with your beer by following the directions below:
1. Fill clean keg with warm water to line mark 1 on the back, then add ½ pack (about 1 tablespoon) of No-Rinse Cleanser and stir until dissolved. Once dissolved, the solution is ready to use. Save the remaining ½ of No-Rinse Cleanser because you will need it for bottling.
2.Screw on lid and swirl the keg so that the cleaning solution makes contact with the entire interior of the keg, including the underside of the lid. Note that the ventilation notches under the lid may leak solution. Allow to sit for at least 2 minutes and swirl again.
3.To clean the spigot, open it fully and allow liquid to flow for 5 seconds and then close.
4.Pour the rest of the solution from the keg into a large bowl. Place your spoon/whisk, can opener and measuring cup into the bowl to keep them cleaned throughout the brewing process. Leave them immersed for at least 2 minutes in cleaning solution prior to using.
5.After all surfaces have been thoroughly cleaned, do not rinse or dry the keg or utensils. Return lid to top of keg, proceed immediately to brewing.
STEP 2: BREWING
Brewing beer is the process of combining a starch source (in this case, a malt brewing extract) with yeast. Once combined, the yeast eats the sugars in the malt, producing alcohol and carbon dioxide (CO2). This process is called fermentation.
1. Remove the yeast packet from under the lid of the can of Brewing Extract, then place the unopened can and BrewMax LMEs in hot tap water.
2. Add all the packets of grains to a Muslin Hop Sacks tying it closed.
3. Using a measuring cup, pour 6-8 cups of water into your clean 4-quart or larger pot (Use just enough water to cover the grains).Bring your pot of water up to above 155 degrees F.
4. Add the grain sack to the hot water and steep for 30 minutes between 155-165 degrees.
5. Carefully lift the grain sack out of the pot, and place into a strainer/colander. Rinse the sack over the pot with 1 cup of hot water each. Let drain. Do NOT squeeze the grain bag. Discard grain bag.
6. Slowly add the Robust LME Softpack to the hot grain water while stirring until it is completely dissolved.
7. Place the packet of US Goldings pellet hops into a hop sack tying it closed, then trim away excess material.8. Place the packet of cocoa nibs and the diced chile into the final hop sack tying it closed, then trim away excess material.
9. Bring grain water to a low rolling boil, add in the hop sack and the sack of chile/cocoa nibs, and let boil for 5 minutes, then remove the pot from the heat
10. Open the can of Brewing Extract and pour the contents into the hot mixture in your pot. Stir until thoroughly mixed. This mixture of unfermented beer is called wort.
11. Fill your fermenter with cold tap water to the mark 1 on the back. If using any other fermenter this would be approximately 1 gallon of water.
12. Pour the wort, including the hop sacks, into your fermenter, and then bring the volume of the fermenter to mark 2 by adding more cold water. Leave the hop sacks in the wort for the duration of fermentation. (If you have a different fermenter top it off with cold water to the 8.5-liter mark).
13. Stir your wort mixture vigorously with your sanitized spoon or whisk.
14. Sprinkle the yeast packet into the keg, and screw on the lid. Do not stir.
15. Put your fermenter in a location with a consistent temperature between 70° and 76° F (21°-24° C), and out of direct sunlight. Ferment for 21 days.
STEP 3: Extras
Adding extras is the process of adding additional ingredients to a beer which will impart more flavor and aroma in your finished brew.
1. At day 14 of fermentation carefully open the lid and add the vanilla and cinnamon stick. Replace lid and let ferment for 1 more week before bottling.
STEP 4: Bottling & Carbonating
After 21 days, taste a small sample to determine if the beer is fully fermented and ready to bottle. If it tastes like flat beer, it is ready. If it’s sweet, then it’s not ready. Let it ferment for 3 more days (24 total). At this point it is time to bottle. Do not let it sit in the fermenter for longer than 21 days total.
1.When your beer is ready to bottle, fill a 1-gallon container with warm water, then add the remaining ½ pack of the No-Rinse Cleanser and stir until dissolved. Once dissolved, it is ready to use.
2.Distribute the cleaning solution equally among the bottles. Screw on caps (or cover with metal cap if using glass bottles) and shake bottles vigorously. Allow to sit 10 minutes, then shake the bottles again. Remove caps and empty all cleaning solution into a large bowl. Use this solution to clean any other equipment you may be using for bottling. Do not rinse.
4.Holding the bottle at an angle, fill each bottle to about 2 inches from the bottle’s top.
5.Place caps on bottles, hand tighten, and gently turn the bottle over to check the bottle’s seal. It is not necessary to shake them.
6.Store the bottles upright and out of direct sunlight in a location with a consistent temperature between 70°-76°F or 21°-24°C. Allow to sit for a minimum of 14 days. If the temperature is cooler than suggested it may take an additional week to reach full carbonation.
Tip from our Brewmasters
After the primary carbonation has taken place your beer is ready to drink. We recommend putting 1 bottle in the refrigerator at first for 48 hrs. After 48hrs. give it a try and if it is up to your liking put the rest of your beer in the fridge. If it does not taste quite right, leave the bottles out at room temp for another week or so. Keep following this method until your brew tastes just how you like it.
This process is called conditioning and during this time the yeast left in your beer can help clean up any off flavors. Almost everything gets a little better with time and so will your beer.