Brewing your own beer is different for everyone. But the one thing we all agree on, is that brewing your own beer is incredibly rewarding. Above all, sharing your creation is a pleasure few others will ever enjoy. With that, I offer you guidance to get started. For your bottom line, plan to spend $100 US to start-up. After that, about $30 per 5 gallon batch. You do not have to buy everything now, from the time you start your wort (pronounced~ wert), you have over a month before you need bottles, caps and a capper.
For your fist few batches, brew simple. A basic ingredient list will produce a beer far superior to most commercial brands. There are many steps or phases taken over the course of creating your brew. Each step is done over time. One thing you can't do while brewing is rush. As for any good set of instructions, read them through thoroughly before you start. Prosit!
Arguably, the most important ingredient is the water. Water should not have any taste to it at all. I always use a filtered water that I can trust.
The most important concept required for brewing your beer is cleanliness. You don't need to get too bent over it because the plain fact is that we cannot sterilize , but we are capable of making our equipment sanitary - CLEAN!. Keep the concept of a practical level of sanitation and you will do fine. Note: bad beer can not kill, make you go blind nor can it make you sick. At it's worst, a contaminated batch of beer will leave you with bad gas. I recommend an oxygen cleaner like One-Step for your equipment or 1/8 cup of bleach per 1 gallon of water. Soak for at least 5 minutes then rinse well.
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Confusing word? Check my: Glossary
|Ingredients List:||Approximated cost:||Equipment Needed:||Approximated cost:|
|5 gal filtered water||$5.00||7 gal car boy||$22.00|
|Aroma Malts||$3.00||5 gal car boy||$15.00|
|3 lbs. dry malt||$7.00||16 qt. stock pot||This really varies|
|3 lbs. malt extract||$10.00||long and strong spoon||$4.00|
|yeast||$1.50||5 gal bottling bucket||$7.00|
|1 cup honey||$1.00||car boy cap||$2.00|
|1 oz. boiling hops||$2.00||fermentation air lock||$1.50|
|1 oz. finishing hops||$2.00||large funnel||$5.00|
Let's brew the wort!
Start by bringing 1 and one half gallons of water in your stock pot to 150 degrees. While maintaining 150 degrees, add your crushed aroma malts to steep for 15 minutes. When the timer goes off, give the sock a little squeeze to get a little more flavor out.
This past step will help give your beer a great aroma. Now increase the heat to induce boiling. As it comes to a boil, add the malt extract. It helps to soak the can in hot water before opening to help it flow. Stir! pour in the dry malt a quarter bag at a time stirring all the while. Now your brewing! Return your wort to a boil. Note! This is a critical time when disaster can happen! When your wurt returns to a boil it can boil over fast and hard. Watch it and keep stirring and this will never happen to you. When it returns to a boil, reduce your heat to a medium-low temp. to maintain a gentle boil. After this point, your wort will not boil over, you still want to stir occasionally so not burn the bottom.
Add your boiling hops and honey. Let boil for 30 min. Again, stirring occasionally.
Now add your finishing hops and boil for 5 min.
Remove from the heat, cover, cool and add to the rest of the water.
The next step is to pitch the yeast, but you can't do that until the wort has reached 78 degrees. Again, read the manufactures instructions. There are many ways to cool the wort. Got a snow bank on the deck? Stick you stock pot there for 20 min. A tub of cold water for 30 mins works. or add the wort to 3 gal. water in your bottling bucket. This may take an hour or two to cool. Then again, with a well sealed lid, you can let it cool over night.
Once your wort is at 72-78 degrees, it's time to activate your yeast. Heat a half cup of water (or wurt) to 105 degrees. Add in the yeast and let stand for 10 min. (there are many brands and strains of yeast, so read the makers instructions) While the yeast is activating, add the wort to any remaining water in your clean 7 gal. car boy. By this time your yeast is ready to pitch or add to the wort.
Cover with clean cap and air lock. Cover your beer from any sun light. Always remember that sunlight will ruin any beer. It will produce a "skunky" taste in as little as 30 min. A beach towel works well to block out any light.
If you think your going to be serious about this, it's time to get a 5gal car boy - about $16.00. Or you can use the bottling bucket for now.
What to expect next:
After about 24 hours your car boy will start gain pressure. This gas is the result of the yeast eating the sugars in your wort. The gas will defeat the weight of the water in your air lock and expel, but the outside air is never heavy enough enter, thus keeping out any air born contaminates. So as your wort ferments, it will bubble out the gas. It may do this for 3 days. Look at it this way, the longer and stronger gas is expelled, the stronger your beer will be. I wait until the bubbling has stopped for two or three days, then rack it into a clean 5 gal car boy. Avoid transferring the sediment on the bottom of the 7 gal car boy. You can't remove it all, just as much as possible. You will find that this will stir up more yeast and sugar from the bottom and start the fermentation process again. It will be much shorter lived this time, may be a few hours or even a day. By doing this you will have removed a possibility of bottles bursting. In addition to that, it will remove that "yeasty" flavor. You should let your brew sit for another 10 days before you bottle it. I have let mine sit for as long as 6 months. Time is a friend to beer. Fresh beer? Who are they kidding? If you have the strength and discipline to save a bottle or two, it will only get better after a few years!
Time to bottle!
You will need a few more things first.
|Priming sugar - dextrose - $1.00||Brown bottles - with enough time, FREE!|
|caps or easy cap seals - $3.00|
|Capper - $16.00 or borrow one at first|
This is where the under construction part starts.
Hmmm... I need a term list or glossary. Note to self..check, done!.
Words that need link to detail and variety: hops, wurt, yeast ~ workin' on it!