Greifensee, Switzerland (PressExposure) April 18, 2011 -- The Art of Brewing
At the beginning of a brewing process, grain is grounded and then mixed with water. After one hour, the starch in the grain is converted to sugar. The liquid generated, called wort is drained from the grains through the grain bed. After the first runnings are collected, Brandewie uses the Quick-Brix to test the brix of the solution to ensure that this conversion has successfully taken place and within the expected range.
The next process involves three to five gallons of water being added to the product at about 80°C. The mix is tested again after 10 minutes with the Quick-Brix to ensure that the runnings do not dip below 3 Bx, which is equivalent to 1'010 gravity. A measurement any lower runs the risk of extracting tannins from the grain which can lead to a harsh after-taste in the brew.
If this stage is successful, the runnings are combined into the brewpot and placed on the burner. A few drops of this mixture are again placed on the Quick-Brick to test the pre-boil gravity of the wort. Brandewie uses beersmith software which provides a pre-boil gravity target to be achieved. This allows him to adjust the amount of fermented sugar in the mix. If the QuickBrix displays a measurement within a predefined range, Brandewie knows that he is on track. If the test is off, he will add malt extract to get the mixture back to the proper brix/gravity level.
Finally the yeast is added to begin fermentation. Throughout this process, the Quick-Brix is used to ensure that the yeast has fermented out the sugar and converted it to alcohol. "Prior to acquiring the Quick-Brix I would have to pull a sample in a test jar and use a hydrometer to check the specific gravity of my wort," Brandewie continues, "this would require me to pull about a half a cup of the wort and place it in a test jar and float a hydrometer in it. The biggest problem with this was that I had to wait for the wort to cool and, with the number of samples I was pulling, this added up to a substantial reduction to the amount of final product."
Quick Brix - A Great Helper
"I think, most importantly, the QuickBrix has saved me time," Brandewie continues. "I only need to put three or four drops of sample onto the prism and with one keystroke the result can be read seconds later. It is so much easier than the old method. The required precision is guaranteed and large amounts of testing sample are saved."
"Brewing is an art form and the QuickBrix is my paintbrush! It enables me to check my brews every step of the way and correct any problems that might pop up. It has made my hobby so much more efficient, streamlined, and fun! The first beer that I made after I got the Quick-Brix won first prize at the Scioto, Olentangy and Darby Zymurgists (SODZ) British Beer Fest in Columbus Ohio. Without the QuickBrix I would not have known to correct the gravity prior to the boil. Thanks to the Quick-Brix not only has my process improved, but my beer has improved too. You can't argue with results!"