Thursday, December 19, 2013

Brupaks Craftsman Irish Stout Kit

After months of making apple cider from store-bought juice, I finally caved and put together an order for my first shipment of brewing supplies.  I had been terrified of paying the (minimal and flat) shipping charge for the few little piddly-peddly pieces I needed to start.  Now, I was ready to make an order for a few batches.

Order from Homebrew West Ireland
Order is in!
I visited the user friendly and highly recommended site for Homebrew West in Galway, Ireland.  I picked out ingredients for a Cooper's IPA kit, a Cooper's Stout kit, a hydrometer (finally!  I can now measure my fermentation and alcohol percent) three packs of cider yeast, and a Brupaks Craftsman Irish Stout partial extract kit on clearance.

Cardboard packaging ready to burn
Cardboard for the Fireplace!
The Brupaks partial extract kit came with a pouch of roasted and crushed grain for flavor and color, vacuum-dried leaf hops for boiling, and two cans of liquid malt extract for fermentable sugars.  These ingredients (especially the already crushed grains) have the shortest shelf life, so this kit was up first.

Crushed dark roasted grain in a mesh steeping bag
Grain steeping bag
I put the crushed grains in the big muslin sleeve given to me by Lord Stilton (thanks again!) while the water heated up for steeping.  The dried yeast is being hydrated and kick-started in a brown sugar and water solution in the jar.

Water and malt extract on the stove
Beginning the Boil
For this extract batch, I did a small volume boil to fit in the saucepan on the stove.  I did receive two boiling elements along with my plastic fermenter, but I haven't taken the jump to the full-bucket boil yet.  That will be down the road.  I added part of the liquid malt extract to the saucepan, mixed in as much water as I dared, and brought it to a boil.

Steeping the grains in the fermenter
Steeping in the bucket
While the water came to a boil on the stove, I added some hot water to the fermenter with the crushed grains.  These were left to steep for 45 minutes while the hops boiled on the stove nearby.

Dried leaf hops ready for boil
It's not what it looks like...
When the stove boiled, we were ready to add the boiling hops.  According to package directions, 7g went in at the beginning of the boil for 45 minutes, with the remaining 3g to go in for the last 5 minutes.

Hops boiling on the stove
Hop Soup
I know, experienced brewers will not like my boil volume here.  I think I'll be ready to try my full bucket boil for the next partial extract batch and for all grains down the road.  In Iowa, I had a 5 gallon stock pot with enough volume to hold and boil half-batches, but I still had an electric cooktop.  They just don't have enough power to get and keep that much water boiling.

A glass of homemade cider enjoyed while brewing
Home Brewing has one rule, and it is unflinchingly rigid
Of course, I have one self-imposed brewing rule that I absolutely do not break.  I cannot be working with homebrew unless I am also enjoying a homebrew.  Whatever steps I am taking- mixing, boiling, measuring, bottling, no matter.  If I'm working on the hobby, I am enjoying the fruits of my labor.  For this reason I almost never brew in the morning...

I poured a tall glass of my last batch of cider, chilled in the freezer.

Fermenter is filled and sealed for fermentation
Fermenter topped up
After the steeping and boiling, I mixed in the rest of the malt extract and topped the fermenter up to 23L.  The original gravity (sugar level) was 1.040, just about where I wanted it for this lighter stout.  It should finish out a bit under 4% alcohol is everything ferments out just right.

Once fermentation was started up, I moved the fermenter out of the water heater closet to keep it just a bit cooler and slow things down a bit.  Check back for the final bottled result after the new year.

Note:  With my next brew order, I'll be getting some Star-San sanitizer for easier no-rinse sanitation.  I'm also in the market for a nice digital thermometer so I can properly record temperatures in my brewing logbook.  I should have brought the hydrometer, bottling wand, auto-siphon, and thermometer with me when I moved.


  1. Interested to know how the stout tasted?

    1. Kit beers are serviceable. If I had my full equipment setup, I could make beers with fresh grains and ingredients.

    2. Canned kit beers are serviceable. If I had my full equipment setup I could make beers with fresh ingredients for a better result.

  2. Should be lovely to make your own stout

    1. Homebrewing is a fun hobby with tasty product as a result.


Please leave a comment, we'd love to hear what you think! Comments are word verified to prevent SPAM.