Instructables

How to Brew Beer

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This is a step by step guide to brew beer from scratch using the raw ingredients. The method explained here is a "full mash" meaning that the extract is made from crushed malted grain and not pre-prepared extract, which can be bought in a tin.
Total preparation time until ready to drink is approx 3 weeks. (worth the wait!)
 
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Step 1: Equipment

The main kit you'll need is a container to heat the liquid in(metal one in the picture), another large bucket/bin type container to transfer the liquid into(white in picture) and a final beer barrel to store (rack) the beer into. You can also store the finished product in beer bottles (bottle conditioned). Full list of kit:

1) Boiler/Mash Tun to hold 5 Imperial Gallons*/25 Litres. One used in picture is metal with a heating element in the bottom. I think you can buy plastic ones also. Also a large pan would work
2) Fermentor/Bucket to hold 5 Imperial Gallons/25 Litres
3) Sterilizer (eg Sodium Metabisulphite. Chlorine-based, Iodophor, San Star)
4) Water treatement, Calcium Chloride,Epson Salts, Gypsum (see step 4)
3) Stiring implement
4) Large Jug
5) Thermometer
6) Hydrometer
7) Scales to weigh out ingredients
8) Straining Bag (Mashing and Sparging bag)
9) Barrel and/or Bottles
10) Syphon tube
11) Metal bottle tops (if using bottles)
11) Gadget to get metal tops onto bottles (if using bottles)

  • Note on Gallons.
1 Imperial Gallon = 4.456 Litres
1 US Gallon = 3.785 Litres

Step 2: Ingredients

These are all available online or at your local brew shop. This is a "London Pride" recipe from Dave Line book "Brewing Beers Like Those You Buy" by Dave Line. This will make 5 gallons or 25 litres.

1) Crushed Pale Malt (I used Maris Otter) 7lb or 3.5kg
2) Crushed Crystal Malt 8oz or 350g
3) Water 3 gallons or 15 litres
4) Irish Moss 1tsp or 5ml
5) Demerara sugar 10oz or 310g
6) Fuggles Hops 1oz or 30g
7) Goldings Hops 2 and three quarter oz or 85g
8) Brewers Yeast 2oz or 60g (I used a dried packet mix of 11.5g)
9) Gelatine, Half oz or 15g

Step 3: Sterilise!

Make sure all equipment is Sterilised. This will stop bacteria and wild yeasts messing up the beer. I used Sodium Metabisulphate but I read that a chlorine based steriliser will be better at killing wild yeast rather than just inhibiting the growth (also i'm told that Iodophor and San Star work well) . Rinse well !!
Keep all equipment sterilised at all times, don't sterilize too early and if it's used or put down on a surface then sterilize again.

Step 4: Add water

Add 3 Imperial gallons (not US!) or 15 litres of water to the mash tun/boiler. The water is then treated depending on whether you live in a Hard or Soft water area.

Hard water:
1) Add 1tsp of Flaked Calcium Chloride or Lactic Acid Solution (or boil water for 15 minutes then use when cooled).
2) Add 1tsp Gypsum (Calcium Sulphate)
3) Half tsp of Epsom Salts (Magnesium Sulphate)

Soft water:
1) Add 1tsp Gypsum (Calcium Sulphate)
2) Half tsp of Epsom Salts (Magnesium Sulphate)

Give it a stir

Step 5: Prepare to add malt / start heating

Put your "Sparging bag" over the top of the mash tun. This will stop the malt touching the element in the boiler.
Turn on the boiler and start to raise the temperature to 60 degrees C (140F)

Step 6: Stir in the Malt

Stir in the correct amount of both the Crushed Pale Malt and the Crushed Crystal Malt(gives colour).
Keep stiring as the malt is added. Keeping the temperature at around 66 degrees C (151 F) leave for the next 1 and a half hours. Putting the lid on the boiler should keep the temperature constant. Keep checking every 20mins or so to ensure temperatue is correct. This is the stage where the fermentable sugars are obtained from the malted grain it's "mashing'.

Step 8: Sparging

With the Boiler tap still open keep topping up the Boiler with mains water which has been heated to slightly hotter than the mash, rinsing throught the malt until the Fermenting bucket is topped up to 4 Imperial Gallons or 20 litres. This is called Sparging

Step 9: Measure out the hops

As per ingredients in Step 2.

Step 10: Add Wort back to Boiler and add Hops

Pour the Wort from the Fermenting bin back into the Boiler and add all the Fuggles hops and just 2oz or 60g of the Goldings hops. Boil the mixture and then add in just 8oz or 250g of the Demerara Sugar (rest is used later on). Also add in 1 teaspoon of Irish Moss. Then leave to boil for 1 hour and 30 minutes

Step 11: Add second lot of Hops

Switch off the heat and add half oz or 15g of Goldings hops. Leave for 15 minutes for the hops to soak in.

Step 12: Transfer wort to fermenting bucket.

Peg the cleaned and sterile cloth used earlier for sparging over the top of the fermenting bucket. This will prevent the grain and hop debris from entering. Another tip is to slightly obstruct the tap from the inside to prevent hops clogging the tap.
Turn on the tap and let the wort drain from the boiler to the bucket.

Step 13: Top up fermenting bin with cold water

Top up the fermenting bin with cold water up to 5 Imperial gallons or 25 Lltres. At this point you can take a Hydrometer reading. This will be the original gravity (o.g.), the reading on this batch today was taken at 1040 o.g the recipe said it should be 1042 o.g. so not far off.

Step 14: Adding yeast

Once the wort has cooled to about room temperature you can add the yeast. It can get a better start if you cool a pint of the wort in a seperate glass and then add the yeast to the pint of wort. Once it's given a start in there you can add it to the room temperature wort. In this case we waited overnight before the pint of yeast mix was added to the fermenting bin. This is also known as pitching the yeast.

Step 15: Fermentation begins

The beer started to visibly ferment about and 1h 30mins after the yeast was added. This picture was taken after about 6 hours. The fermentation will continue now for around 3-5 days. Take some hydrometer readings throughout this time and you will see how its coming along. We are looking for a hydrometer reading of about 1012. Carry on to read the next step though as there is something to do before the fermentation is finished.

Step 16: Skim the top of the yeast off

You have to take the dark head of yeast off, or it sinks back into the beer and makes it taste too bitter. It then carries on fermenting with a lighter coloured head. This was done after about 12 hours of fermenting.

Step 17: Fermentation slows

This was taken after around 24 hours. Hydrometer reading taken at 1020.

Step 18: Syphon beer in Barrel

After about 4 or 5 days the beer should be fully fermented. The gravity should read 1012. Use the syphon tube to Syphon the beer from the beer to the barrel. Make sure the Fermenting bucket is higher than your barrel! (as per next pic/step)

Step 19: Syphon beer in Barrel another view

enter longer description for this step

Step 20: Prepare the last of the hops and the finings

Prepare the finings(gelatine) and the last of the hops to add to the barrel.
That's half oz or 15mg of gelatine mixed with water in a cup. The finings are used to clear the beer. The final flavouring of quarter oz or 60g of Goldings hops is also going to added directly to the beer in the barrel.

Step 21: Add hops and finings and leave for 7 days

Add hops and finings (Gelatine) and leave for 7 days.

Step 22: Drain beer back into fermenting bin

Drain the beer back into the fermienting bin. This will ensure the hops added are filtered out of the beer.

Step 23: If using bottles, sterelize them

Sterelize the bottles and leave upside down to drain.

Step 24: You will need a gadget like this to put the bottle tops on

You will need a gadget like this to put the bottle tops on

Step 25: Add sugar and then siphon the beer into the bottles.

Add half a teaspoon of demerera sugar into each bottle. Use a funnel will make it easier. I used (15x) 500ml beer bottles. Make sure they are proper beer bottles, other bottles/containers may be lible to explode under the carbon dioxide that will be produced within the bottle. Siphon the beer from the bin into each bottle.

Step 26: Syphon remainder/all the beer back into Barrel

Syphon the beer back into the barrel. You need to prime the barrel with 2oz or 60g of Demerara sugar (less if you used some of your beer for bottles like I did). I took some of the beer to one side in a glass and mixed the sugar in and then re-introduced the beer/sugar mix with the main batch of beer.
Leave for a week in the barrel before sampling your beer.
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cpaschalidis4 months ago

if we want to make less quantity ( assuming we keep the ingredient analogy ) does the boiling remain the same

streetrod51 year ago
Nice Instructable, good, clear pictures... However, I'm wondering why you don't add the sugar directly into the bottling ("fermenting") bin, and then mix it with the beer just before bottling. Adding sugar to each bottle individually would explain your exploding bottles - as Charlie Papazian says in his "The New Complete Joy of Home Brewing," from 1984: "Adding an excessive amount of priming sugar [which is easy to do if you are spooning sugar into each bottle] will result in overcarbonation and the possibility of exploding bottles. The older method... adding 1/2-1 teaspoon of sugar to each bottle will result in inconsistent carbonation and bacterial contamination, which may result in excessive foaming." - The older method is what people tried here during Prohibition days, and lead to a lot of bottles becoming grenades.

I'm thinking that not opening the fermenter every day will help with reducing contamination - an air lock is your inexpensive friend!

I've never seen the yeast scooped out of the fermenter before, but it's not necessary - the old yeast will die and fall to the bottom of the barrel, and there may be billions of viable yeast cells still working away in the stuff you throw away. The yeast will "clean up" after itself, helping with clarity and flavor
SOMEONE7337 years ago
hi is this the malt extract and how can i find it if were i live there are no brew suplies shops is there any other place ican find it
moaner70 (author)  SOMEONE7337 years ago
Hi there, have a search around for an online supply. There are plenty here in England. Where do you live?
in saudi arabia and no alcohol at all we only have nonalcoholic beer and idon't know what is the malt extract
Malt extract are the sugars and proteins resulted after brewing.
"Malt extract: Many home brewers enter into the hobby by making beers with malt extract. Malt extract is created through a process of mashing grain to make wort and then evaporating the water. The resulting extract can be added back to water later in order to create a new wort.
There are two main varieties of malt extract Dry Malt Extract (DME) and Liquid Malt Extract (LME)." - HomeBrewTalk.com/wiki

Malt extract is usually bought in cans(liquid) or bags (dry), and is often hopped (contains all the hops needed for the beer), which makes this the simplest method for the beginning brewer.
Get as much non-alcoholic beer as you can get your hands on, add some sugar and some yeast and let it ferment. Hey presto beer with alcohol in.
azterik bobba3 years ago
It might have preservatives in it or the alcohol may be boiled off...
Relocate!!!
j0rgit01 year ago
Not really a problem to aerate your wort if you do it when the wort is cold, but I've moved away from splashing to avoid forming too much foam pre-fermentation and I've seen an improvement in head retention...

I've been testing different methods and one that is working great is to siphon the beer and create an air pocket to expose wort to oxygen... this adds the oxygen without forming too much foam...

http://brewbeeranddrinkit.com/top-3-reasons-to-aerate-your-wort/

Splashing from your mash tun to your kettle?... debatable... I am well aware of hot side aeration and personally I don't do it, but I also know that boiling removes oxygen from the wort hence why we aerate post boil... since you already do it, try adding a hose and see if you see an improvement and report :)

As far as fining it depends on what you are trying to clear up on the beer... protein haze, polyphenol haze, etc.? Rather than just focusing on fixing haze at the end of the brewing process, look for ways to reduce haze during the brewing process... then look for finings to take care of the last little details...

http://brewbeeranddrinkit.com/no-irish-moss-needed-for-clear-beer/

Cheers!
I'm looking for a metal electric Tun—any online sources? I've found some plastic ones and some metal pots (they require burners).

Thanks!
kludge0003 years ago
What I want to do is grow my own barley. Then malt that barley, and then make my own beer from that. I would also like to culture my own yeast from wild yeast but that might be to hard, (I know that it's not super easy to start a sour dough from wild yeast)

Peace Jeff
Hi, If you wish to grow your own barley, i am suggesting for organic barley which you can make organic beer.
t.rohner7 years ago
Nice instructable i was thinking to make one myself for a while. I brew for more than 10 years now. I'm doing it a bit differently though. We have leased a room, that was a cheesemaking facility before. We have a walk in cooler and a sewer in the middle of the room. We brew in a more advanced manner, mainly because of our equipment and the batch size. (50l or 13 U.S. gal or 11 imperial gal) Pictures: Some of our malts, the big blue bin is pilsner, the smaller white ones contain munich, vienna, caramel, wheat, dark wheat...the brewery laptop, some of our fermenters. In the corner you see bottles conditioning. 2nd picture is our bottle washer, this device really rocks. 3rd picture is our "brew tower" heated by 3 x 10kw propane heaters. 4th picture is the cooling setup with counterflow chiller and pump. At the moment of the shot, it's recirculating sanitizing solution. (We use a product called "Shuredis" from diversey-lever. It doesn't smell like bleach or stain like iodophor and after a couple of 100 batches without infection, i'd say it's pretty much up to the job...)
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Hi t. Rohner. I want to open a small scale brewery in Africa using the brewing kit like yours.Would you recommend for me what sort of kit I can buy?I am looking for one which can at least make minimum of 1000 bottles of beer/ day just to start with. You can contact me on my email chalizdekino@zambia.co.zm thanking you in advance dekino
Hello dekino We make 100 botles per brew day. Ok we could make 200 with a double batch. Our bottles are 500ml. I don't know what bottle size you talk about, but you can make the calculations. This is a completely different league. You need a 500-1000 litre brewery with lots of fermenters and conditioning tanks. This means some considerable heating and cooling efforts and at least some professional bottle filler. If you want to do this seriously, you will need some 500'000$ give or take. This won't work with a kit, you will need professional advice for this. www.brouwland.com sells the whole range from hobby to professional brewing accessories. Or here http://www.himfr.com/buy-brewhouse_equipment/ Or used http://www.usedcentral.net/usedbreweries/micro.htm I wish you good luck. Thomas
Moaner, It's a good instructable, very clear and well presented. But yours is a pretty clumsy way to make beer, seems to me. Get yourself a sealable fermentation barrel, or better yet two of them, and do it the easy way, is my advice. A couple of points: taking a gravity reading while the wort is still hot won't give you an accurate reading. Hydrometers are calibrated accurate at 15 degrees C. You can get conversion tables to calculate SGs at different temperatures, if you want one. I prefer to get the temperature down to what I intend to ferment it at, before I take a reading. I generally ferment at 22 degrees C., for an ale; 15 for a lager. A final SG of 1010 looks a bit high to me, for a brew that started at 1040. I would be looking for something closer to 1005. Was it fully fermented when you took that final reading? Two identical consecutive readings taken at 24 hour intervals is a reliable way to be sure fermentation is complete. Then give it another 24 hours, getting its temperature down to about ten degrees C. before bottling. Ordinary beer bottles will do, including twist-top ones. I've done well over a thousand, and never had one fail. Rather than leaving your wort to cool overnight you might consider running it through a wort chiller. A good counterflow chiller will cool it to room temperature in the fifteen minutes or so it takes to run it through. The sooner you can pitch your yeast and get fermentation up and running the sooner your wort will be safe from any ester producing elements that may be working their mischief in it. To whoever said sodium metabisulphite is not a steriliser — of course it is! Stick you head in a barrel full of the gas that solution generates as it evaporates, and it will kill you, along with any bugs that might be in there. Let it fully evaporate and you will have a sterile container, to be sure. You are right, the how-dare-you sayers wrong: aerating your wort won't do it any harm. Air is an enemy of fermented beer, not of unfermented wort. Many of us deliberately aerate our wort with filtered air through an aquarium air pump in order to raise its oxygen content. Yeast needs some oxygen to get started quickly, and thereby eliminate developing esters or infecting agents. A minimum 10 parts per million of dissolved oxygen is generally recommended. Recently boiled water or wort contains close to zero ppm DO. Pouring it vigourously from one container to another will help a bit, but not much. Exposure to the air is not good, insofar as the air may contain fungal spores and microbes; but all that messing around with it you do is more dangerous than pouring it from one container into another. I say keep it in a sealed fermenter, keeping it protected by a thick blanket of CO2. Personally, I pipe the CO2 from the airlock into a second fermenter; then after fermentation is 2/3 completed, rack the beer into that second fermenter, adding finings at the same time, and let it finish fermenting. Rather than ever opening it up and disturbing that protective CO2 cover, I syringe some out through the airlock hole to read its SG in a test jar. You need an eye-level view to get an accurate reading anyway. Geltatin won't do the beer any harm. It coagulates any solids it the beer, which then fall to the bottom as sediment. Isinglass is just another kind of gelatin. Any food-grade gelatin will do the job just as well.
Hi instructables. I want to open a small scale brewery in Africa using the brewing kit. Would you recommend for me what sort of kit I can buy?I am looking for one which can at least make upto 1000 bottles of beer/ day just to start with.
t.rohner4 years ago
Hello all

I wanted to share a very useful tip with you Instructabrewers.
I heard and read about "wet milling" before, but i never thought it's so easy to do on a homebrew scale.
In the last Zymurgy issue i read about it again, just before i went to brew.
I told it to my brew-buddy and we decided to give it a try. In this article, they used a spray bottle to distribute the water evenly. Our spray bottle at the brewery has sanitizer in it, so i just sprinkled the water from a glass, while my buddy poured the malt from one bucket into another. Then we mixed it by hand and let it sit for 5 minutes, before we started to mill. We use a fixed gap JSP Maltmill.
The grist came out with more husks intact, than with dry milling. The resulting grist also has more volume.
The lautering went on wonderful, even with 70% wheat malt in the grist.
We don't normally have problems with lautering. Except with high percentage wheat grists, or pumpkin and potatoe mashes.(Zombie brewing...)

Give it a try, you will be amazed.

Cheers Thomas
esqueeze4 years ago
I did this on my latest batch and after I did this the fermentation slowed. I am assuming this took the viable TOP fermenting yeast with it. I added some more cheaper yeast that I had on hand and fermentation started again, phew. I am not very happy because I invested in good yeast to improve the flavours and now my beer is brewing with el cheapo concentrate cap yeast.

Do this and I'm sure you will remove some of the yeast which result in a higher FG and lower alcohol content.

I will not be trying this again for the following reasons:

1) I don't think my previous attempts where I haven't done this have been excessively "bitter".
2) I like really strong, hoppy and bitter beer, Indian Pale Ales in particular. Get hold of some Little Creatures Pale Ale for the ultimate Hopgasm.
3) I'm not trying to make a commercial style brew. I like my beer to have it's own gamey (Belgian) character.
4) I have found that with really bitter beers a bit of lagering makes the beer more mellow. Leave it for longer.
5) Refrigeration also hides bitterness and living in Western Australia I drink cold beer anyway.

I think that this guy drinks his beer warm and weak.
psi30007 years ago
WTF are you doing? I don't see a hose on that Mash Tun leading down into the fermenter so that it doesn't aerate, add excessive oxygen, to the wart. You should know better when brewing from grain!!! Shame on you, and your telling other people to do this. Their beer will have a very offset flavor!!
PSI... That's exactly what I thought when I saw this... STOP IT!!! You're killing the beer!!! Where are the brewing police when you need them! Plus why are you using Gelatin in your beer??? Clarification? Yeah, your "Beer" will be clear, but it will be stripped of a lot of the flavor...
Hi psi and dimhof, moaner doesn't brew exactly as i do it. Well, i read some(almost all) books available on the topic, before i started to build and buy my setup. I know about the possible effects of hot side aeration, but only from reading about it. I never tried to do it deliberately to see how much it takes to ruin a otherwise perfect batch, have you? Or did you start with HSA and then reduced it? Otherwise it's only hearsay. I know some guys around here, they use a centrifuge to lauter their mash. I'd never do it that way, because of hot side aeration and the filtration is far from perfect. As a next thing i'm too lazy to transfer the mash into the centrifuge and then back into the mash tun to add some sparge water and back into the centrifuge. They end up with a murky wort when the boiling starts. They actually started with this centrifuge thing, because their lautering took very long. This was because they milled their grains with a household grain mill. It was much too fine and the husks are shredded. Lately they come to our brewery to get their grains crushed on our MaltMill. But with all their "wrongdoings", the resulting beer comes close to ours and it's definitely better than most commercially available stuff. I read scientific books about cheesemaking, because i wanted to try it once. (it has yet to happen...) Then i saw how they make cheese here in a small hut in the alps. Wood fired without running tap water or electricity. But then, this guy had some 40 years of experience with his rustic setup. The cheese he made tasted fantastic and had good keeping qualities.(that's why they started to make cheese) The way he did it had a couple of flaws, compared to what i read in the scientific books. But the resulting product told another story.
The fines (cause of the "murk") become filtered by cycling back the first few quarts over the grain bed.  The grain bed becomes a filter bed and filters out the fine particles from the inefficient grinding.

In the boil phase, the addition of a very small amount of irish moss helps to coagulate haze forming proteins.  It is thus important to leave behind a small bit of wort because it is full of junk (hops particles, coagulated proteins), known as the "trub".

That being said, I wouldn't use a centrifuge either.  Seriously though, would it kill you to invest in a little bit of tubing to get the liquid to fill up from the bottom of the container.

grizybaer4 years ago
I thought he had 5 gallons of wort. if his bottles are 16oz, he should have close to 40 bottles? is there heavy volume loss by evaporation or sediment?
Atrophik4 years ago
What about store bought purified water? Any need for additives for that?
churious4 years ago
I worked in a brewery for a while and there we used a solution of Peracetic acid to sterilise everything.  I'm not sure of the concentration but I think it was fairly low.  As far as I know peracetic acid is used because it leaves safe residues behind that wont harm humans or the environment.
it is way easier to mix a water sugar solution and add it a fermentation bucket then siphon the beer off the sediment into the new bucket with the sugar solution then rack to bottles.
Jalakahops6 years ago
I know the instructions say you HAVE to use those expensive bottles or they will explode. I have used plain beer bottles bought from the grocery store and reused them with no problems. Its cheaper to buy the bottles with beer in them than have empty ones shipped to your house. How does that work?
its even cheaper to raid the recycling bin and dumpsters....that is if you live in an area that has that sort of thing.
is this step because of the type of yeast you are using? i have never heard of this step and have not noticed a problem with it before...just curious.
moaner70 (author) 6 years ago
Hi, I've had a quick search around and I can't see a scientific/brewing reason why pouring and aerating my wort is a problem. If you could enlighten me please as anything to improve an already astounding tasting beer would be fantastic. Regarding gelatin..well that I know is a known working aux fining. What would you suggest as a fining to be even better? I read Issinglass is better? Thanks. Mark
Hi there,
a good instructable for sure.
The concern about splashing the wort only relates to while it is hot.
It is called "hot side aeration".
http://www.howtobrew.com/section3/chapter16-2.html
after the wort is cooled, using an immersion or plate chiller to chill rapidly or NoChill in a cube over night, you will need to aerate the wort to give the yeast ideal conditions.
thanks
Bjorn
nimann5 years ago
i live in colorado, but i dont think there is a a brew shop in the whole state! where can i get it otherwise?
I live in colorado and I know theres one in colorado springs,Its down off Pikes Peak across from holy rollers tattoo shop. Ill find out the name and post it for you.
patitou nimann5 years ago
www.midwestsupplies.com
Etano nimann5 years ago
Depending on where in Colorado you live, I do know that there is a fairly good winemaking and brewing shop in Fort Collins called Hops and Berries. Their website is www.hopsandberries.com, and it looks like they just opened up a web shop.
There are stores in both Denver and Boulder.
http://www.stompthemgrapes.com/
moaner70 (author)  nimann5 years ago
Here is my local shop, they deliver worldwide.
http://www.beersunlimited.co.uk/
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