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Saturday: 10:00 am- 6:00 pm
Sunday: Noon- 4:00 pm
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Soaking the Grains

Before we start the batch of beer, let's have a look at the recipe:

7 Bridges Red Ale: Extract Brew

Ingredients for 5 gals:

7#        Organic pale malt extract

1/2 #    Briess Organic caramel 60 oL malt

1/4 #     Briess Organic caramel 120 oL malt

1/8 #     Briess Organic chocolate malt

3/4        NZ Hallertaur hop pellets -bittering (32 IBU)

1/2 oz.   German Select hops- flavor (8 IBU)

1/2 oz.    New Zealand Hallertaur hop pellets- aroma

Yeast:     Wyeast #1056 American Ale or dry ale yeast

For bottling: 3/4 cup corn sugar or 1 cup of malt extract

Optional ingredient: 1/4 teaspoon Irish Moss

International Bittering Units (IBU's): 40

Original Gravity (O.G.): 1.048- 1.054

Final Gravity (F.G.): 1.012-1.016

Items in photo, clockwise from top left:

Extract in pouch
A glass of Red Ale
A Flip top bottle
Hops in pellet form
Grain mixture
(caramel & chocolate, crushed)


First, prepare the grains:

Weigh out the grains that your recipe calls for, and mix them together. Place the grains in a cotton or nylon straining bag, and close the bag tightly.

The malted barley grains need to be crushed before using. For this batch, we have purchased the grains already crushed, and they are sealed in a plastic bag. Once grains are crushed they should be used right away or sealed in an airtight bag to keep them fresh. Check your grains by smelling them- they should have a fresh , grainy aroma, or a sweet caramel and or chocolate smell, if they are specialty grains.

If you need to crush the grains, the best way is with a roller mill designed for crushing grain. A corona mill can also be used. If you do not have a mill, the grain can be crushed by putting it in a plastic or canvas bag and crushed with a rolling pin or by gently whacking it with a wooden or rubber mallet. A properly crushed malt is important: the grains should be shattered enough so the insides are released but the husks are still intact. The husks act as a filter when mashing the grain; if they are pulverized the grains will stick together and prevent a good straining.  

Adding The Grains

Fill your brew pot with 1 to 5 gallons of water, place it on the stove, and turn the heat on medium. Add the bag of grains and heat the water slowly to extract the essence from the grains.

A small amount of grain will add color and flavor to your beer. Basically, a grain tea is made and with the pre- boiled, unfermented beer, before the malt extract is added.

Soaking The Grains

Let the grains soak as the water heats. Before the water reaches a boil (160- 180 oF), turn the heat off.

It is important that you DO NOT BOIL the water with the grain bag in it- it will detract from the quality of you beer. Boiling will release excess tannins from the grains which will give the finished beer an astringent aftertaste. If you have a thermometer, it is best to heat the water to between 160 and 180 oF and then turn off the heat. For this recipe, a soak time of 10 to 20 minutes is sufficient, because all of the grains are specialty grains which have been pre-mashed and carmelized.



Remove The Grains

Remove the grain bag- Use a spoon (or two) or tongs to prevent burning your hands.

Set the bag in a clean dish to cool down. When it has cooled enough to handle, gently squeeze the remaining liquid into the brew pot. It is important to not try and wring out every last drop of liquid from the grains, as this will add too much solid matter to the brew and can affect the taste and clarity of the fiinished beer. The spent grains are no longer needed for the brew, as the flavor and color have already been extracted. The grains still have some use, so if you are able, we recommend one of the following options:

Compost: Spent grains have a large amount of fiber which is excellent for building compost. Because of the high sugar content, they can attract insects and rodents, so it is a good idea to mix the grains thoroughly with the rest of the compost matter.

Animal feed: Spent grains are an excellent food source for poultry, pigs, or cows. It should be fed to the animals fresh.

Baking: for making bread, spent grains add barley malt sugar and fiber (put the grains in a blender with some water to reduce the husk size). Other foods you can make with the spent grains include granola, cookies, or energy bars.


After removing the grains, if there is room in your pot for more water, add enough water to make up to 5 1/4 gallons of liquid. If your pot is not big enough to hold this much water, don't worry; our instructions for boiling have details for boiling less than 5 gallons (a partial boil). Turn the heat back on and heat until the water is really hot, almost boiling. This will make it easier to dissolve the extract. When the water is hot, turn the heat source off.



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