The following is a guest blog post and recipe from Elliot Volkman, a journalist, marketing specialist, and of course a beer enthusiast. Below is how he used his Nomiku to make some brew of his own.
In 1516, Bavaria passed a law defining what ingredients could go into beer. Reinheitsgebot also commonly known as the German Beer Purity Law resulted in simple, yet consistently flavorful beer. According to the law, only three ingredients could be in your brew: water, hops, and barley (malt). At the time, yeast was not even considered an element in brewing as their sanitization process was a bit rustic, which allowed for naturally occurring yeast to interact with the wort and eventually result in fermentation.
It wasn’t until after 1993 that Germany finally repealed the law, but the resulting centuries of German brewing has left us with some of the most well balanced beer around the globe. One in particular, Kölsch, follows the purity laws and has the unique requirement (by law) of having to be brewed in a specific geographic location, Cologne. Beer in Germany is serious business. I on the other hand have no issue ruining tradition, which is why I brewed a Kölsch style ale using the Nomiku and deviated from the typical recipe.
Using a brew in a bag (BIAB) approach, I was able to use the Nomiku for both the mash and boil. Although the Nomiku is designed for cooking, it’s ability to consistently keep water moving and at a regulated temperature lets it act as a Single Vessel Electric Brew System, but not nearly as expensive. Overall the feedback from the finished product has been overwhelmingly positive, so much in fact that the 3 gallon supply didn’t last long.
Kölsch Style BIAB Recipe*
The following is a brew in a bag recipe for a Kölsch style ale using the Nomiku. It will yield 3 gallons of beer for the final product.
6 lbs. German Kölsch malt (milled)
1 oz German Select hops (pellets)
About a handful of whole, fresh Centennial hops
Cooler (I used a 48 quart rectangular one)
4.5 gallons of fresh drinking water (I use bottled)
or at least 7 gallon kettle
Basic brewing and fermenting gear
Mash and Prep
After sanitizing, heat 4.5 gallons of water before adding it to the cooler (or heat it in the pot). It’s easier to reduce the wort volume vs adding more water and diluting it, so starting off with more is ideal. Plus, water gets trapped in the grain during the mash process.
Place the Nomiku in the mash tun (cooler or pot) and level the water off at 160° F.
Place the milled malt and whole hops into the mesh bag, lining most of the mash tun; however, leave a gap for where the Nomiku is. This allows the water to constantly flow through the grains and the mesh bag keeps the Nomiku from getting blocked up.
Adjust the Nomiku to 150° F and let it work it’s magic on the mash for 90 minutes.
After the 90 minutes, mash out by setting the Nomiku to 170° F. Once the the temperature is reached, turn it off and let it rest for 10 minutes.
Lautering can be done in a few ways, typically by lifting the mesh bag with grist out of the water and allowing it to drain. With the cooler, you can just place a kettle under the spigot and letting it drain into it. This allows much of the liquid to drain from the mesh bag, but you will need to elevate it for the full effect.
Boiling (60 Minutes)
With simplicity comes a few perks, and in this case it’s only having to add one hop addition to the boil. For a Kölsch style ale you’ll set your timer for 60 minutes, get the wort boiling at about 212° F, and add in the 1 oz German Select hops.
The finished product…in a fancy gif format out in the snow!
Cool the wort to about 65-70° F, transfer it to the fermentation container, and add in the wyeast. Let it sit for about 7 to 10 days and transfer it again to a secondary fermenter. Let it rest for another two weeks, transfer it to a bottle and let it condition in those for another two weeks. In all it’s a 6 week time window for the Kölsch to complete.
*Please note that we have only tested Nomiku to be safe to use with water. If you attempt this recipe, you do so at your own risk. We recommend also cleaning your Nomiku regularly and before using this recipe.
More about Elliot…
Elliot is an experienced digital marketing professional and award-winning journalist. His experience ranges from media outlets and newspapers to the federal government and tech startups. By day, he works with a DC based startup to increase digital reach and manage interactions with online communities, and by night he runs the non-profit Digital District. He is also a writer for Tech Co where he interviews entrepreneurs, startups, and reviews the occasional gadget. Elliot holds a master’s degree from Gonzaga University, and in his spare time works with a dog rescue group and brews as much beer as possible.