Brewing your own beer can be a fun and exciting hobby for the beer enthusiast who wants to truly become untapped. This DIY is to help those wondering about the process and want to try it out without investing into a garden of hop growing or simply to be educated into the process of brewing beer.
Step 1: Read This Through, Entirely
Don't be hasty and get everything you need and go step by step becasue you WILL mess up. Home brewing is simple but a small mistake can ruin an entire batch of what would be tasty beer.
Knowing what's coming next and knowing what to do cautiously will ensure a smooth operation on your road to bottling your first home made beer.
Step 2: Find Your Beer Brewing Recipe!
First timers should stick to recipes that use malt extract, in place of making mash, while you get more comfortable and confident with your brewing skills.
Brew Your Own has a great list to choose from that can be found by clicking here!
The basics: Lots of clean water, malt extract, hops, yeast (dry does not need any prior preparation), dextrose (priming sugar for bottling); ALWAYS follow the recipe and instructions on the hops and yeast packets (you'll see why later).
You can start experimenting once you've grown used to what the different hops and malts do to the brew's flavor profile.
Step 3: Beer Equipment and Preparation
Most batches make about 5 gallons of beer so keep that in mind while buying your brew buckets
-Kettle for boiling
-Hydrometer (some fermenters have a liquid level gauge with built in hydrometer on them)
-Sealed Fermenter with air lock bubbler
-small mixing pot
-Bottling bucket (at least 5 gallons, preferably 8)
-Bottles (more is better than not enough!)
-iodophor (sanitizing agent)
Clean EVERY thing you're going to use before using it.
LET'S START TO HOME BREW!
Step 4: Boil a Gallon of Water.
Step 5: Time for the Malt
Once your gallon of water has begun boiling; remove it from the heat source and start pouring in the malt extract (however much the recipe says). Constantly stir the mixture to ensure that the extract does not settle at the bottom of the kettle.
Step 6: Add the Hops
Again, follow your recipe for measurements and add the hops into your stirred mixture of malt extract and water.
You only need to bring the hops and malt extract mixture to a light boil without letting anything foam over the top; the hops package will say how long it needs to be boiled.
Once your hops have been boiled, you should see a layer of foam at the top and now you have what is called WORT!
Step 7: Chill the Wort
You want to chill the wort quickly. Wait 5 minutes after you've removed your wort from the heat source and then place the entire kettle into an ice bath until the wort cools down between 70° F to 73° F (~21°C).
Fill your sealable fermenter with clean water halfway(~2.5 gal) and then add wort; add as much water as needed afterwards to bring the whole mixture up to your batch level, usually 5 gallons.
Step 8: BEFORE You Add the Yeast...
Take a sample of your wort and water mixture in a tall glass big enough to have your hydrometer suspend upright. Record the liquid's OG (original gravity) once all the bubbles have risen up out of the liquid; use this calculator to get an exact reading as different temperatures skew the hydrometer's measuring. Some recipes have an OG reading for comparison.
NOW you can add the yeast into the fermenter.
Step 9: Seal the Fermenter
Using a bung or bubbling air lock, seal the fermenter completely. You will NOT OPEN the fermenter again until it is time to bottle.
Bring it to wherever it is you will be storing it; you want consistent temperature that is required for the yeast, a dark place with little to no light getting to it and somewhere where it will remian untouched and UNOPENED during the fermentation process.
Step 10: Shake the Fermenter
Now shake the fermenter aorund side to side and in a circular motion to let the yeast began to "breathe" and come in contact with as much oxygen as possible. Shake for about 90 seconds and then LEAVE IT ALONE.
Step 11: LET THE FERMENTATION BEGIN!
Within 72 hours, you should start to see bubbles coming up into the air lock to reassure you that the yeast is doing its job. The fermenter should remain untouched for about 20 to 25 days.
If your fermenter has an sight glass equipped to it, you will see the foam, or kraeusen, forming at the top.
When this occurs and the timing seems appropriate, take another reading with the hydrometer to verify the process is complete. The FG (final gravity) should be about 20%-25% of the OG. Use the calculator from the first measurement to ensure accuracy.
Step 12: Prepare the Priming Sugar
Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and then add 5oz of dextrose (1 oz per 1 gal of beer) and boil for 10 minutes.
Once ready, pour the priming sugar into your sanitized bottling bucket.
Step 13: Prepare for the Bottling Process
Using a clean siphon tube and the power of gravity, transfer your beer from the fermenter into the bottling bucket with the priming sugar. Try to get the tube draining at an angle to cause a whirlpool effect within the bucket to help distribute the sugar evenly.
DO NOT transfer the solids that have formed at the bottom of the fermenter.
Step 14: Bottle Your Beer
Use a bottle filler to consistently fill your bottles. Once you take the filler out of the bottle, there should be an inch of space from the top of the bottle to the beer. OVER filling can cause the bottles to explode (see pic).
Cap your bottles with the bottle capper and store them in a box or dark room @ ~70°F/21°C. BE PATIENT
Step 15: The Moment You've Been Longing For
After 15-20 days, crack open a bottle and enjoy the fruits of your labor!