Step-by-step guide to home brewing
Finally, there’s a really clear, to-the-point article online that outlines the basics of brewing beer with brew kits. They did a really great job of spelling it out in clear steps so that even first-time beer brewers aren’t intimidated. They also point out that if you’re a first-time brewer, it’s best to start with a brew kit, rather than raw hops, barley, etc.
“Beginners are advised to choose from the wide range of beer kits available online and from brewing supplies stores. A beer kit usually consists of hopped malt concentrate and yeast. The kit will advise on the additional fermentables you’ll need to make the alcohol. Fermentables include: brewing sugar, dry malt extract, liquid malt extract and rice syrup.”
From buying the equipment to bottling your brew, this article covers all the basics you’ll need to get started.
I’ve included it below, with a link to the original article:
STEP 1: BUYING THE EQUIPMENT
Homebrewing equipment is not expensive and you shouldn’t need to spend more than £75. The specialised items are as follows:
- Brewing bin to hold the beer.
- Primary fermenter with minimum capacity of seven gallons.
- Airlock and stopper.
- Five-foot plastic hose to transfer the beer.
- Large bottling bucket with a spigot at the bottom.
- Enough bottles to hold the beer you’re going to make.
- Bottle brush for cleaning.
- Bottle capper to secure the caps.
- Stick-on thermometer.
- Funnel and strainer to transfer contents of brewing bin into fermenter.
You will also need the following household items:
- Small bowl.
- Rubber spatula.
- Oven mitts.
- Stainless-steel mixing spoon.
STEP 2: CHOOSING A BREW KIT
Experienced homebrewers will devise their own recipes are purchase ingredients separately. Beginners are advised to choose from the wide range of beer kits available online and from brewing supplies stores. A beer kit usually consists of hopped malt concentrate and yeast. The kit will advise on the additional fermentables you’ll need to make the alcohol. Fermentables include: brewing sugar, dry malt extract, liquid malt extract and rice syrup.
STEP 3: COOKING THE BEER
After cleaning and sanitising your equipment, bring two quarts of water to 160°-180°F (71°-82°C), then remove from heat. Add your beer kit and additional fermentables according to the directions. Stir to ensure that everything gets dissolved. Put a lid on the pot and let it sit for 10-15 minutes on the lowest heat setting. Add the contents of your pot to four gallons of cold water already in your primary fermenter. Mix well for at least a minute or two. Allow to ferment as close to the recommended temperature range as possible.
STEP 4: FERMENTING PROCESS
Now it’s time to turn your wort (unfermented malt) into beer. Attach funnel and strainer to top of fermenting container. Slowly pour all of the cooled wort through the strainer and into your fermenter. Take your thermometer and make sure that the wort is at room temperature. If not, let it cool down before adding your yeast. Pour the yeast directly into the fermenter. Stir the fermenter gently to provide some oxygen for the yeast. Place the airlock and stopper over the top of your fermenting container, making sure that they are sealed tightly. Place your fermenter somewhere cool and dark. Check on your fermenter every couple of days, making sure that the temperature doesn’t get too high and that the fermenting process is continuing as it should.
The initial fermenting process should take anywhere from a week to ten days. There are a couple of ways in which to tell if your beer is ready for bottling: if bubbles come out of your airlock at a rate of fewer than one every minute, your beer is probably ready to bottle. If the yeast has become used up and settles at the bottom, leaving your beer clear and not hazy, then you are probably done.
STEP 5: PRIMING AND BOTTLING
The final step before bottling your beer is called priming and involves mixing sugar in with the beer to promote fermentation after bottling. A small amount of priming sugar will ferment and carbonate your beer. At this stage you again need to sterilize everything the beer will touch.
Then siphon the finished beer into your priming bucket. Add two/three cups of priming sugar to your beer and very gently mix it in. Siphon the beer into your bottles using your bottle filler. Be sure to leave at least an inch or more of empty space at the top of your bottle to aid in fermentation. Put the caps on each bottle as you go and use your bottle capper to secure them. While most beers are drinkable after a few weeks, the average home brew reaches peak flavour anywhere from eight weeks to 15 weeks after brewing. Store in a cool, dark place for the first two weeks before transferring to the fridge.
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