About a year ago I caught the brewing bug. My brother in law brewed two beers for his wedding and I was fascinated. I knew the basics of brewing and had visited enough breweries to know the terms but I never tried it myself.
Living in a small apartment I didn’t think I could brew 5 gallons of beer and the idea was intimidating. So I got a 1 Gallon kit from Amazon.com that was made by Brooklyn Brewshop that including their Everyday IPA and got to work.
The kit came with just about everything you would need to start brewing except the pots and the strainers. If you followed the directions they gave you, it is not easy if you don’t have big enough strainers. I had 4 different wire mesh strainers filled with different amounts of the grains that were used to for their sugars. Now you have to continue to get some more of the sugars out of the grain by pouring 170 deg F water over the grains. But I had 4 different strainers with grain… how the hell can I do this?
A $1 muslin bag could have saved me a headache in a half. Do you know how hard it is to clean 4 wire mess strainers? I could have put all the grains in a muslin bag, tied off the top, and cooked the grains in the bag in the water. When the grains were done i took the bag out with a pair of tongs, let the liquids drip out, and put the muslin bag into 170 deg F water to continue to get the sugars out of the grains. When you are all done with the extraction, just throw the grains and the muslin bag out and continue with the brewing.
This same technique can be used for partial grain and all grain brews and I’d highly suggest it. For larger and more frequent brewing I would urge you to get a reusable Nylon Homebrew Grain Bag. I would also suggest using smaller muslin bags if you are using whole leave hops or spices such as coriander in the beer. This will help with the clarity and make sure that the left overs doen’t make it into the primary fermentor.
Hope who ever reads this next is saved by the $1 bag and goes on to make amazing beers!