Beer Making Class at Red Dot Brewery

4/24/11

When we lived in San Jose, Jeff would spend every other Saturday in the kitchen making batches of home brew. As his beer making skills improved, his collection of equipment grew and started to find new homes in other rooms of the house. Before our house had a chance to turn into a full-blown speakeasy with people coming in and out for kegs and growlers of home brew, we moved to Singapore and sold all of the equipment to one of Jeff's friends. 

Jeff couldn't go without his favorite past time for very long, and eventually found Home Brew, a small business in Singapore selling home brew equipment and ingredients. The accumulation of beer making equipment is happening again, with the corners of our dining room slowly being filled with boxes of glass bottles and a mash tun (a stainless steel container used in the beer making process). The sweet smell of boiling wort has become a semi-monthly Saturday tradition once more. 

We recently attended an all grain beer making class held by head brewer and owner of Red Dot Brewery, Ernest Ng. The class covered the basics of all grain brewing, as well as some of the chemistry involved and how to correct potential brewing mistakes. Even Jeff, the experienced home brewer, learned a thing or two. Below, we break down the process involved in making a batch of beer from basic ingredients. 
First, we smelled and tasted the basic ingredients that go into beer: hops, malted grains, water, and yeast.
Next, we crushed the malted grains in a grain crusher that was powered by an old drill. It's much easier than doing it by hand (we've tried). The crushed grains were then added to hot water in a mash tun at a carefully calculated temperature. The grains need to steep in the mash tun for one hour to extract all the sugars for fermentation. This is called mashing. 
Mashing results in sweet wort, which is boiled for another hour. During this hour, hops are added at different intervals, depending on the desired flavor and bitterness. 
After the 60 minute boil is finished and hops have been added, the wort is then quickly chilled and transferred to a container called a fermenter. In this photo, the people helping the class used a pump system to push the wort through an ice bath into a fermenter. When we brew, we use something called a copper coil wort chiller. Yeast is added to the wort and left to ferment (fermentation takes less time in higher temperatures). After all that is done, you've got yourself some beer. Now you just need to carbonate it. 
After class, Ernest showed us around his brewery, which he designed himself. Jeff and Ernest talked for a long time about what it takes to make a brewery successful. Owning a brewery is one of Jeff's dreams.
If you're interested in home brewing, there are two home brew supply stores in Singapore: Home Brew and iBrew. If you would like to know more about home brewing and how to get started, feel free to contact Jeff by leaving a comment below or emailing him. Cheers! 

7 comments:

  1. Wow I didn't know we had beer making classes in SG. I would love to attend this with my BF as he loves beer too. Think he tried making some when he was a kid in NZ! The Red Dot website doesn't seem to have any information on beer brewing classes. Is it a private function?

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  2. @365days2play Nope, the event was open to the public. There were two classes held over the past few weeks, and they were Red Dot's first foray into holding classes. We were told that they weren't sure if/when they'd be holding more classes. I would call to find out more.

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  3. so in that humidity jefe can have his beer in half the wait time it takes over here- i bet he is super stoked about that :o)

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  4. It's actually not quite as simple, because the high temperature affects flavor and bitterness. Brewing is so much easier in California!

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  5. Very cool!

    Was chatting with a friend the other day about small breweries having a tough time with the wild price fluctuations of hops...

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  6. Wow this is totally awesome, gonna check it out to experience this! I tried the Red Dot beer before, they are quite okay for the price you pay. I'm glad more and more local businesses in Singapore are setting up these brew pubs, its a great alternative to the generic and commercialized Tiger beer. Thanks for sharing this! Cheers!

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  7. Hi guys, I am a homebrewer in Singapore. Homebrewing has been very fulfilling and fun. I have set up a website to share this love as well as other cool information on beer.

    If you are keen to learn more, "like" us at http://www.facebook.com/RedDotBrewHouse#!/makebeereasy and also visit our site regularly!

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