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Home - Brewing University - Beginners Guide
Beginner's Guide To Brewing Great Beer Boil Your Wort

You should now bring your 2.5 gallons of wort to a boil. Wort, pronounced wert, is really a fancy name for the sugar water that is produced by steeping germinated barley (and other types of grains) in water. The hot water extracts the carbohydrates out of the grains and special enzymes break down the carbohydrates. This process produces simple sugars that are easily digested by yeast. The dry malt extracts that we provide you in our ingredients kits have already been processed. So all you need to do is add the powder to boiling water and you're all set.

There isn't anything fancy about this. What you are going to do is put the Extracts into the boiling water. A few pointers though:

  • It is a good idea to turn off the flame (if using an electric stove, then physically move the kettle off the burner, but BE CAREFUL) while you add your Extract. The reason is that the burner will make the bottom of the kettle very hot, and you don't want the sugars to burn onto the bottom of the kettle before they have an opportunity to dissolve in the water.
  • Add the Extract slowly as you stir the water so that the sugars dissolve as you pour (Photo A). This prevents large clumps of undissolved sugars from sticking on the bottom of the kettle, melting there and causing a problem getting them to dissolve.

Once you have dissolved all the extracts, turn the heat back on and bring the wort up to a boil. Remember, you are usually adding between 5 and 7 lbs (depending on the recipe) of room temperature malt to 2 � gallons of water. This will drop the temperature in the kettle by 30 or 40 degrees easily. Once you have brought your wort back up to a boil, it is time to add your bittering hops.

Technical Term - "Hot Break"
Hot Break is a sudden foaming of the wort that generally happens just after the wort comes to a boil. Do not be alarmed, but do be on the lookout. When the wort foams up, it can easily overflow. Usually you can tame the Hot Break by taking the lid off your kettle. If the wort starts to overflow anyway, simply turn the heat down a touch (but don't turn it down so much that the wort stops boiling). Within a minute or so, the foaming will subside, and you can relax again. Some brewers refuse to use a lid on their kettles out of fear of overflowing during the hotbreak. Of course, if you don't use a lid, it takes much longer to bring your wort up to a boil.

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A drunken man gets on the bus late one night, staggers up the aisle, and sits next to an elderly woman.

She looks the man up and down and says, "I've got news for you. You're going straight to hell!"

The man jumps up out of his seat and shouts, "Man, I'm on the wrong bus!"
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"When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading."
-Henny Youngman

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