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Sunday, August 12, 2007
Getting Started in Homebrewing - Sanitizing & Boiling
After laying out the ingredients and equipment, I figured my first step was sanitation. It was, but I quickly learned that this can be done while bringing the water to a boil. See, this much water takes a while to boil and you know that thing about a watched pot, right?
Since I used a 24 quart stock pot, I didn't feel comfortable trying to do a full 5 gallon boil in one pot. Adam advised that I do a partial boil. I used a smaller pot to boil 1.5 gallons, then set it aside for incorporation later. In the large stock pot, I brought a little over 3 1/2 gallons to a boil.
While boiling the water, I mixed somewhere around 1/2 cup of ordinary (unscented) household bleach with approximately 5 gallons of water in the plastic fermenting bucket. Into the solution, I put any equipment that would touch the wort after it begins the cooldown from its boil. This included the plastic bucket (obvious, right?), the airlock, the strainer, and the thermometer.
While bleach worked just fine, I may consider using something else to sanitize in the future. With bleach, I needed to very careful to control splashing. Also, thoroughly rinsing after soaking the equipment was mandatory so not to leave any bleach behind. And, while time wasn't a factor, when using bleach to sanitize, it's recommended to allow the equipment to soak for approximately 30 minutes. Using an alternative like Iodophor would require less time soaking, less care in handling, and no rinse cycle.
After a few good rinses and drying, the equipment was sanitized. In the meantime, the 3.5 gallons came to a boil around 45 minutes after lighting the flame on the cooktop. Time to add the malt extract. Also concurrently, I had placed the bag of liquid extract in a sink of shallow warm water to help soften the liquid a bit more. I added the extract slowly, stirring it around to prevent scorching on the bottom. This obviously lowered the temperature, so I needed to return the mixture to a boil. I kept the rolling boil for a little over 60 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Check back again soon for more information about the boil, the malt, and adding hops to the boil.