Making your own beer gets easier and easier with the great kits that are available. I and others have been amazed at the quality of beer my son-in-law keeps making right in his kitchen! And, adding to his challenge, he is visually impaired. His many talents inspire me and others to constantly push ourselves further.
I've made beer with him twice, now, and, if you follow the instructions its pretty easy. And, for between $18 and $21 you can get over 50 bottles of incredible tasting beer!
Step 1: Equipment & Supplies
Choose your beer. Ales are easiest because they can ferment at typical room temperatures.
Pre-assembled kits are available both on line and at local homebrew supply stores. Pre-hopped malt extract kits are the simplest ale kits you can get. These are basically an ‘add water and boil’ ale. (Many folks prefer the creativity of choosing their hops themselves.
Get an equipment setup. Local and online homebrew supply retailers offer pre-assembled brewing equipment kits. You can make your own rudimentary equipment kit for less money, but then you must obtain instructions on how to assemble the kit and how to use it. Instructions on how to use the kit are included in the pre-assembled kits.
Sanitize all brewing equipment with the sanitizing agent of your choice. There are many kinds of sanitizing agents that are chlorine based, acid based or oxygen based. Again, you can get these online or from a local supply store.
Step 2: On Brew Day...
1. Create your yeast starter with warm water and something ferment-able, such as honey, maple syrup, molasses, table sugar. You want to make sure that the yeast is very healthy and active prior to starting to make your beer. Making this as habit is as important and wise as making good habits regarding sanitation.
2. Bring 2 gallons of water to 150 degrees
3. Remove water from heat and stir in the crushed crystal malt grains.
4. Let the grains steep for approximately 30 minutes.
Step 3: Brew Day Continued
5. Thoroughly strain the grains from the liquid, saving the liquid and throwing out the grains. (Note: this particular brewer saves the grains and uses them to make bread.)
6. Place the liquid back into the boil kettle (no heat under it at this point) and stir in malt extract, (syrup or powder).
7. Bring liquid to a rolling boil and add your first hops choice.
8. Set the timer for 30 minutes.
9. At the 30 minute point, add approximately ½ of your second hops choice and set the timer for 15 minutes.
10. When the timer goes off add the other ½ of your second hops choice and set the timer for 15 minutes.
11. When the timer goes off add your third hops choice and remove from heat.
Step 4: Cooling the Liquid
12. Cool liquid to room temperature (aim for 75 degrees). You can cool the liquid by submersing the kettle in cold water. A thoroughly clean bathtub works perfectly for this. There are several wort chilling devises available from retailers.
Step 5: Beginning the Fermentation Process
13. Once it is cooled, pour the liquid into the fermentation vessel, preventing as much of the particulate from entering the fermentation vessel as possible.
Step 6: Fermentation Continues
14. Add clean water to liquid to bring it up to about 5 ½ gallons.
15. Dump, do not mix , the yeast starter into the fermentation vessel.
Step 7: Storing the Brew for Fermentation
16. Affix the lid to the fermentation vessel.
17. Insert the airlock.
18. Store fermentation vessel in a location where the temperature is between about 65 to 72 degrees and where it will not get disturbed for at least 10 days.
Fermentation should begin within 48 hours of dumping in the yeast. Watch for signs of fermentation. You should be able to see bubbling in the airlock system you’ve chosen. You can remove the lid of your fermenter to check for bubbling, but this is not the advised method due to the possibility of creating a sanitation problem. (Note: those using a glass carbois have a much easier time seeing fermentation progress.)
Fermentation generally lasts between 3 and 10 days. You can determine the completion of fermentation when there are no bubbles in the airlock system or use a hydrometer. Your recipe kit will tell you what the correct hydrometer reading is.
If you're not sure that fermentation is done you can agitate the fermentation vessel (bucket) in such a way that the liquid whirlpools inside. This re-invigorates the yeast.
Step 8: Bottling
19. Sanitize the bottling equipment and the bottles. This can be done with a sanitizing agent (priming tabs) purchased with your kit or from a local brewing supplier. If you prefer not to use a chemical sanitizer you can run the thoroughly rinsed bottles through the wash and dry cycle of your dishwasher (absolutely no soap added ) to keep your beer bacteria free.
20. Dispense beer into bottles using the autosiphon and cap.
21. Store bottled beer at room temperature for 10 to 14 days.
22. 10 to 14 days later you can enjoy the fruits of your labors! Drink responsibly!