Sep 24 2010
Everyone likes to reach for a cold one now and then. Too bad we can’t just reach in our fridge at any time and grab a brewsky to enjoy which doesn’t taste like the commercial brands that leave so much to the imagination and so little in the pocketbook. Well, the good news is you can. Learning how to make your own beer is not as difficult as you might think and actually can be quite enjoyable.
The entire process involved to make your own beer may at first seem a little overwhelming but in actuality there are really only a few basic steps to follow in order to start enjoying your own home brew. Basically, it is 3 simple steps.
1) Boiling the mixture consisting of hops, barley and water (known as the wort)
2) Placing it into a fermenter with yeast
3) After fermentation, bottling it.
That is pretty much everything in a nutshell. Now of course, you also need some good brewing equipment and home brew recipes but all in all, those are the 3 steps you follow every time you brew to start enjoying your own brew at home.
The very first step when learning how to make your own beer is to start with good, clean sanitized equipment. You can either purchase the equipment at a local brewing supplies store or on-line. It is crucial to keep the equipment sanitized properly to prevent any bacteria or growths from developing. This equipment needs to be kept clean and sanitized THROUGHOUT the process. This environment is a haven for bacteria and fungi to grow so be sure to be extremely stringent when cleaning and sanitizing.
Next, bring 2 quarts of water to nearly boiling (steaming) and remove from heat. Add your beer kit along with any additional fermentables purchased according to the instructions on the packaging. Fermentables can include dry malt extract, liquid malt extract, brewers sugar, rice syrup, demerera sugar or any combination to impart the unique flavor and taste you desire. Each one has its own uniqueness. Supply store owners are usually happy to help so be sure to ask for advice on the best fermentables, etc. based on the desired outcome. This mixture is your wort.
Next, stir the ingredients until they are well mixed and dissolved. Place a lid on the pot and let it simmer on the lowest setting for 10-15 minutes. This will help to achieve sanitation which is crucial.
Now add the contents of the pot to 4 gallons of COLD water which should already be in your primary fermenter and mix for approximately 1 to 2 minutes. This helps in the oxygenation of the wort prior to adding the yeast. When the fermenter sides are cool to the touch, you can now add your yeast.
The type of yeast you use also has an effect on the final flavoring so be sure you pick and choose accordingly. (If you are new at this, trial and error is part of the game).
Ferment as close as possible to the temperature recommended. Place the airlock on top of the mixture to help seal out any bacteria. Wait approximately one week and then move the mixture to the secondary fermenter being careful not to disturb any sediment laying on the bottom of the primary fermenter. The agitation caused by moving causes a second fermentation and this wort will remain in place for another week.
Once the second fermentation is complete, the bottling process can now start.
So that is pretty much it. Following along the steps, asking for help at the local supply store, and doing some trial and error runs is a great start to learning how to make your own beer and stop being a slave to those “store bought” lackluster brands.