Instructables

How to Make Beer

Featured
So, you've considered brewing your own beer but you're not yet willing to drop the cash for the entry level kit just yet. With a few simple pieces of equipment and ingredients here's how you can brew your own mini batch. In just a couple of weeks you can taste for yourself if homebrewing is a hobby you want to take to the next level.

Don't get me wrong, I think the entry level brew kits are a good value. They include some special equipment not used here that will make things easier. But, will you enjoy the beer or find the brewing process rewarding? I think so. This project will allow you to find out for yourself.
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Equipment

  • Brew pot - any large kitchen pot that will hold a couple of gallons of water with room to spare to avoid boiling over.
  • Kitchen strainer - to strain grains and hops before going to the fermenter
  • Kitchen thermometer
  • Large funnel
  • Rolling pin - for crushing the grain
  • 3 gallon container of bottled water - this will provide you with the water to make your beer and serve as your fermentation container
  • Bottling container - An empty container of at least 3 gallons...could be another empty water bottle or a clean, scratch-free, food grade plastic bucket.
  • 3 feet of 3/8" clear poly-vinyl tubing - for siphoning and fermentation air lock
  • Bottles - there are a lot of options here and I'll cover some of them in the bottling step later

Step 2: Ingredients

Most recipes for the homebrewer are written to make 5 gallon batches. I've simply cut the ingredient list by half for the 2.5 gallon batch here. You'll need to find a local homebrew supply shop or one of many such shops on the web from which to purchase the ingredients. (See resource list in Step 15)

Simple Ale
  • 3 lbs light dried malt extract
  • 8 oz crushed crystal malt
  • 1 oz Northern Brewer pellet hops
  • 1 pkg brewers yeast
  • 3/8 cup sugar for bottling
« Previous41-80 of 366Next »
Munchys jrh0654 years ago

I don't care about drinking at all. I just wanted to know if it was legal to make it.
troseph Munchys4 years ago
Yeah, its legal to brew at home. Some states limit how much you can make. You should check your local laws. http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/pages/government-affairs/statutes
Munchys troseph4 years ago
So what I understand in Florida http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/pages/government-affairs/statutes/florida I can brew beer for personal and family uses?
troseph Munchys4 years ago
Yep, same goes most places.
only if you are of legal age to drink it. which he is not.
It is not legal to make unless you are of legal drinking age.

Just like you can't reload bullets unless you are legally allowed to own a gun.
thayray jrh0654 years ago
Puulllleeeezzzz!
jrh065 thayray4 years ago
eh?
is there any way to not have that layer of misery (suspended yeast) at the bottom of the bottle?
Only by filtering the beer. Then you loose the fizz it collects in the bottle and have to artificially carbonate the bottles.

Storing your beer in a Barrel allows the fizz to develop AND the sediment to fall to the bottom leaving nice clear beer to draw off.

For a truly complete solution a pressured beer barrel is the answer so you don't have to open the top to let the bees and Carbon dioxide out.
I know how don';t be cheap and buy your own beer.......
Before bottling, pour the beer in a sanitized flexible container (Thin plastic bottle) and place in the freezer to help get it cold. After cooling, (try not to freeze it, nothing can settle if the whole thing is solid) place in fridge and wait for yeast to settle. Once it's all settled, bottle it. (The beer may not become completely clear if there are unfermented sugar particles. To get every last bit of yeast to settle, wait 1 - 2 weeks before bottling.
If you have another container to transfer your beer into, there is a process called secondary fermentation. When transferring the beer over you want to siphon it and try to keep most of the yeast out of secondary. Keep you beer in secondary for another 7 days, this process add some waiting time but its all worth it.
Oops - sorry dan. Looks like you answered already.
Instead of racking (syphoning) into the priming bucket at step 12 rack into another fermentation bottle instead and leave it another week or so and wait for some more settling of the yeast. This will lessen the yeast in the bottom of the bottles, but you will still get some. The yeast in the bottles is what carbs them - you don't want to get rid of all of it otherwise you'd have flat beer =(.
I have developed a beer clearing technique that imitates a large brewery process. I simply cool the finished beer in a sealed bottle (Iuse a 2 liter pop bottle. Cooling beer allows the gas CO2 to dissolve in the beer. Then I carefully decant the beer into another bottle. I leave the sediment behind. If the bottle overflows from foam do not stop the gentle pouring, use another container. because as soon as you tip the sediment containing bottle upright the the sediment will mix.. wait for the foam to subside then fill up. remember air make beer go stale. co2 gas imitates sugar to our tounge that is why ITS ALL ABOUT THE HEAD. btw I use beer kits and a plastic bucket with a lid.... no air lock...... my beer is drinkable 7 days after brewing.....
good luck to alll I my opinion alcohol is a hormone to mammals as ethylene is a hormone to plants. But i'm weird
You can always use Clarifying aids such as; Irish Moss, Gelatin and Isinglass. You add one of these about 20min left in the boil and they act as a magnet attracting the suspended yeast and having it settle at the bottom of the fermenter. This will considerably lower the amount of yeast settlement at the bottom of the bottle, unless you filter the beer (Which you don't want to do as it takes all the Goodness out of it!).
imarunner2 (author)  curiousthemonkey5 years ago
If you age long enough...a couple of weeks or more, most yeast will settle pretty firmly at the bottom. Just pour carefully and you shouldn't get too much yeast in your glass. Bottle conditioned beers will always have some yeast settle to the bottom. There are methods of carbonating filtered beer before bottling but that goes well beyond the intent of this instructable.
I would recommend against adding the last of the hops and covering the kettle at flame out, there's a chance that diacetyl could accumulate in the wort and give the beer a buttery flavor. Add the hops 10 minutes before flame out and keep that cover off.
It all depends on what you are trying to accomplish. the closer to flame out you add the hops the more aromatics from the hops you retain. According to the AHA HomeBrewoPedia...

dry hopping.

1. The addition of loose dry hops to the primary fermenter (when the wort has cooled down to 75 °F, 24 °C), the secondary fermenter, or to casked beer to increase the aroma and hop character of the finished beer without significantly affecting its bitterness. Homebrewers usually add 50-60 grams of aroma hops or hop pellets per 5-gallon batch during primary or, more often, secondary fermentation. Hop extracts are not recommended for dry hopping because they may contain traces of the organic solvents used for their extraction. 2. In England, dry hopping more specifically refers to the addition of fresh hops to a cask of draft beer when it is racked from the primary fermenter.

Some people carry it to extremes... do a web search on "Hops" + Randall" and you'll see what I mean.

The diacetyl comment is well taken.
DouglasLaw3 years ago
A couple of other items for the reference section:

http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/


The American Homebrewers Association (AHA) has all sorts of information and support for both the new and the experienced homebrewer and

http://www.howtobrew.com/intro.html

John Palmer's book is available for free online. The online edition is 2 prior to the one that is currently in print but the brewing information is virtually identical.

Disclosures...... I am a member of the AHA. I am a satisfied user of John Palmer's website and paid cash money for a hardcopy of the book.
MekkMan4 years ago
Tap water?? Yech! 1. not really bug free in a lot of places. 2. Nasty chlorine affects taste 3. Chlorine can interfere with yeast growth. Instead use the bottled water (also not very attractive because of nasty plasticizers), boiled water that's cool (boiling drives off the chlorine), or tap water that's been put through a good filter. I prefer boiled and filtered.
kclouse MekkMan3 years ago
I agree, boil the water and let it cool, but no filtering is needed. In the US most tap water is "bug" free, putting it through a Brita filter or something of the sort will tend to increase the microbe levels. This will however remove a lot of the minerals unwanted in some types of brewing.
 Can you place the grain in a blender and pulse it a little at a time to get the consistency you want?
If you have a high end blender, like the vita-mix, the raw foodists go-to tool, they make a blade specific for seeds and such, which I'd guess would work pretty well. I also have a rocket blender type drink mixer with a seeds/grains specific blade. Would be worth a shot.
Blender is a bad idea, because it's not really meant to handle solids. A food processor will do the job, a mini one if you have it will work too. Just don't crush them too much. All you really want to do is bust open the husks while leaving them as intact as possible, that way they are easier to strain out later.
k5cqb4 years ago
I am new to home brewing. I was at the hombrew store the other day and mentioned using a water bottle. The guy there said not to use the refillable water bottles because they "breathe" and I could do one batch of beer then the bottle would not be useful after that. I don't know what he meant by breathes other than the beer would stain or get into the plastic affecting other beers after that. Anyone else have this problem or recommend a particular bottle?
You can use plastic. PET bottles (like the ones softdrink comes in) are OK - though you need to store your beer away from light because it will break down the acids in hops and give you a taste you REALLY don't want - beer like this is called 'skunky' for a reason.

Brown PET bottles are also available from homebrew stores (at least here in Australia). These are perfectly fine for storing beer (as good as glass) and easier to clean and handle (bottling is much faster with these babies). I'd recommend them if you can find them.
make sure to feel the inside of the container, if you feel scratches don't buy it/use it. those scratches can harbor many different types of bacteria that can turn the wine/beer bad. it took me several trips to the brew store and a lot of wasted money/alcohol. the best thing you can buy is a glass carboy, ive had mine for 5 years and never had a problem. most brew stores/online stores sell them, you can buy them from (U.S. measurement) 1 gallon through 30 gallons. I have got a 1 gallon, 5 gallon, and 10 gallon. but DONT use a glass carboy if it has been used for collecting coins of any kind. the coins can make small scratches in the glass.
The best way to clean plastic brewing contaiers if you don't have glass ones or don't want to spend heaps of money on those powder sanitizers is to use a couple of cap fulls of bleach and fill it with warm/hot water and let it sit for an hour to kill all the germs then wash out with the biodegradable detergent
Then fill it up with warm hot water and let it stand after rinsing to get rid of any left over detergent residue
johnd1763 k5cqb4 years ago
always use glass
marcward864 years ago
Thanks to this instructable, I've been homebrewing for the past 4 years. I just entered my latest batch in the Arkansas State Fair Homebrew competition. Just wanted to say thanks!
imarunner2 (author)  marcward864 years ago
Haha.... very cool! I'm glad I had some small part in your entrance to a fascinating and rewarding hobby.
Got my results from the homebrew competition: 48,47,41,38,40 (out of 50). Not good enough to place, but at least I can quantify my enjoyment! If the numbers go up, it means I'm having more fun.

My recipe was all grain:

American Amber Ale:
9 lbs american 2-row
12 oz crystal 80L
3 oz roasted barley
1 oz centennial hops (60 min)
1 oz cascade (20 min)
American Ale Blend Yeast
THis is what I will try as my first all grain brew. Did you use 5oz corn sugar to prime?
I used 3/4 cup, or about 6 oz.

Also I did a single step mash: 90 mins at 152F.

I had some comments from the judges about not having enough of an aftertaste/finish, and wanting more of an impact. I'm planning a new batch with a slightly different recipe, just adding 2 oz special B and using california ale yeast instead.

Let me know how it turns out!
I just read an old school brew book and it suggested adding salt to improve the finish. Not enough so that the brew tastes salty of course (ewww) but apparently the chloride and sodium rounds out the flavours and adds to the 'finish' when used in small amounts (about 2-3 teaspoons in 5 imperial gallons (whatever they are - Australia's metric) of wort.

Now I'm a brewing noob - I haven't even tried this. Here's some reading about ions, etc in beer:
http://www.howtobrew.com/section3/chapter15-1.html
lol when I was 17 almost 18 I was a junior in high school and there was a beer and wine store a few towns over. after learning I could make my own I did and they sold it to my friends. the store even new me by name and would send me discounts! the owner showed me every thing there was with making beer and wine. but now I am 21 so why bother making it!
Because you can get a unique, hand-crafted beer that you made!
triumphman4 years ago
Too much rhetoric! All this talk is making me thirsty mates. I am going to the fridge and get a cold one. The problems you guys encounter really turn me off to home brewing. I thought your intructable said EASY Home Brewing??????? Good luck. I'll be watching and enjoying my brews while you guys screw up your wort.
« Previous41-80 of 366Next »