Sparging – Once the hour of mashing is up, sparging takes place. When sparging, the water from the mash is slowly drained from the bottom of the kettle, while simultaneously, hot water (about 168 F) is added to the top of the bed of grains. This process “washes” additional nutrients from the grains. The liquid is drained into another kettle converted from a keg, equalling about 12 gallons. The entire process takes place very slowly, to make sure an equal amount of liquid is entering the top of the kettle as is leaving the bottom of the kettle. In the video below, you can hear Aaron discuss his “SRM rating.” This is a system for measuring the color of the beer.
Boiling – Once the liquid is in the boil kettle, it is boiled for up to 90 minutes. The reasons are many and can be found here. During this time, hops are added to the boil. The hops added early on give beer its bitterness. The later additions, near the end of the boil, give beer its floral aromas.
Cooling / Yeast Addition – Once the boiling is complete, yeast must be added to the wort. But before the yeast can be added, the wort must be cool enough that it won’t immediately kill the yeast. In the early days of FBC, we merely left the hot wort outside overnight to cool. Quickly, we learned this was a TERRIBLE IDEA. So we purchased a series of coolers. Currently we use Chill Wizard, which is the piece of equipment sitting on the floor in the video below. It will cool the wort from 200 F to 70 F in very short order while pumping it into the fermenter, which is the large plasitic white conical bucket Ben is pumping into. During this time, oxygen is added to the wort to feed the yeast. This was the first time using a new oxygen tank and some spillage occured. Once the wort is cooled in the yeast can be added.
Cleaning – Once the product is in the fermenter, the cleaning can begin! Ben is a trooper and often volunteers to scrub down the kettles.
Bottle Filling – The product will sit in the fermenter for about two weeks. After about a week, some the yeast is drawn off to stop some of the fermentation process. At the end of the two weeks we can bottle straight from our new conical fermentor. First, sugar is added. This will be eaten the residual yeast in the bottle and create carbon dioxide, which will carbonate the beer. Each FBC bottle is hand filled and hand capped.
Drinking – Finally, after a minimum of two weeks in the bottle to carbonate and condition, the beer is ready to drink. Here we are enjoying a nice FBC Porter out of a communal growler.