Make Your Own Beer In 10 Simple Steps By Bruce D. Carter | Submitted On January 12, 2011
When you have all of your home brewing equipment and home brewing supplies, this includes ingredients, you are prepared to make your own beer. Should you have any questions regarding specific equipment or supplies make sure you click on the website link in the box following this article in order to find out more about home brewing equipment and home brewing supplies. One of the more crucial steps to brewing high quality beer is to make certain all of your equipment that is going to come in contact with your beer is thoroughly cleaned. Any of the equipment that will be in contact with your beer following the boil MUST also be sanitized. If this equipment is not thoroughly sanitized undesired microorganisms will ruin your beer, making all your hard work a waste of time.
Take time to arrange your brewing area. Make sure that all your equipment and ingredients are readily accessible. If you are using liquid yeast, remove it from the refrigerator so that it is able to warm up to room temperature. Another useful thing is record keeping, you should always have a notebook handy for keeping track of all your brews. You need to document the ingredients and what portions were used in addition to times of each step. You will want to be able to repeat your best batches as well as learn from the ones that aren’t so good. Let’s begin.
1. Sanitize Equipment. There are numerous sanitizers on the market. Among the standard choices are B-Brite, Star San, and 5-Star. You may also use common, unscented household bleach at 1 oz. for each gallon of water. If you decide to use bleach make sure that you rinse the equipment because it may cause undesired flavors in your beer. Personally I like using Star San. Add the required amount of sanitizer to the fermenter and fill to the top with water. Also fill the bottling bucket or another suitable container with sanitizing solution for sanitizing additional equipment. Place all of the equipment which will come in contact with the unfermented beer following the boil in the sanitizing solution. These items will include: airlock, rubber stopper, funnel and strainer.
2. Water For Brewing. Add water to the brew kettle. Understand that there must be space for your boil. Assuming you have a 5 gallon kettle, only fill it with roughly 3.5 gallons of water. The quality of the water is really significant to the finished beer. If your tap water tastes okay at room temperature, it should be acceptable for brewing. You may want to think about filtering the tap water with a standard household water filter if happen to have one. You can also buy bottled water from the supermarket. After you have put the water in your brew kettle put it on your stove and turn on the burner. Additionally at this time place the unopened can of malt extract in hot water. This will heat your extract up making it less difficult to get out of the can when you need it.
3. Steep Specialty Grains. This step is optional. Using specialty grains will improve the control you have over the color and flavor of the finished beer. If you decide to utilize specialty grains place them into the grain bag provided in your home brewing kit. Once the water reaches 150 degrees F put the grain bag in the water and steep it for about 30 minutes keeping the temperature constant. When 30 minutes has gone by remove your grain bag and allow the liquid drain. Do not squeeze the bag, this will extract tannins from the husks of the grain and give the beer an astringent flavor.
4. The Boil. Gently bring the contents of the kettle to a boil. When the liquid has come to a boil add the can of malt extract. Make sure that you constantly stir while adding the extract so that none of it settles to the bottom and gets scorched. Once the liquid is again boiling it’s time to add the bittering hops. Carefully add the hops, sometimes the kettle will boil over when the hops are added. Usually the hops come in a pellet form and are added directly to the boil. They are going to settle out following the boil. Note the time of the hop addition. Continue to boil for a total of 60 minutes. DO NOT leave the boil unattended. It will often boil over just when you least expect it! Once there are 20 minutes left in the boil add the Irish Moss. The Irish Moss helps the proteins coagulate following the boil. Don’t be concerned if you don’t have the Irish Moss, the beer is going to be all right without it however, I would suggest it for your next brew. Aroma hops are generally added any time from 15 to 0 minutes prior to the end of the boil. Follow the instructions in your recipe. The aroma hops will add an additional hop flavor and aroma to the beer but won’t add any significant bitterness. Once you have boiled for 60 minutes remove the kettle from the burner. You should probably have some hot mitts handy for moving the hot kettle. The liquid in your kettle is now known as wort (pronounced wert).
5. Cooling The Wort. The wort should be cooled off as quickly as possible. The simplest way is to put the kettle in the kitchen sink or bathtub containing a cold bath of ice water. Keep the kettle in your ice water bath until it’s approximately 80 degrees F. Put additional ice to your cold bath as necessary. Putting ice right into the wort is not suggested. All flavors from the ice will be also added to the beer. You may slowly stir the wort in a clockwise motion to aid in cooling but remember to keep the spoon sanitary. Let the wort rest at least 10 minutes after the final time it was stirred before transferring to the fermenter. This will allow the particulate matter to settle to the bottom.
6. Prepare The Fermenter. During the time that the wort is cooling drain the sanitizer from your fermenter. If you decided to use bleach remember to give it a rinse. The majority of the other sanitizers tend to be a no rinse solution. Just turn the fermenter upside-down and let all of the solution drain out. If your brew kettle has only 4 gallons of wort in it you’ll want to add 1 gallon of water to your fermenter. The idea is to have a total amount of 5 gallons in the fermenter. Keep in mind the water should be the same kind as you used in the kettle.
7. Transfer The Cooled Wort Into The Fermenter. Use the sanitized funnel and strainer to steadily pour the wort into the fermenter. It is OK to leave a minimal quantity of wort behind with the trub (hops and proteins) in the bottom of your kettle. It is much better to lose a small amount of wort and keep the trub out of the fermenter. The ONLY time that splashing the wort is recommended is during and immediately following this transfer. Yeast needs oxygen to correctly ferment the wort. You may also gently shake your fermenter once all of the wort is inside it. A stick on thermometer placed on the fermenter is a valuable piece of equipment that will permit you to determine when your wort is at the right temperature to add the yeast.
8. Take A Hydrometer Reading. Once the wort has cooled down to approximately 70-75 degrees F it’s time for you to take a hydrometer reading. If you’re using a bucket to ferment it is going to be less difficult to obtain a sample than when using a carboy. Either way don’t forget that whatever touches the wort MUST be sanitary. Home brew supply stores sell a sample-taker to get the wort out from the carboy or you may use something such as a turkey baster. This hydrometer reading is referred to as the original gravity. It’ll be used with a final gravity reading obtained when the beer is fermented to compute the alcohol percentage. It is OK to skip this step if you do not have a hydrometer. It isn’t necessary to take these readings nevertheless, you will certainly want to think about getting one if you decide to continue to make your own beer.
9. Pitch The Yeast. It is now time to pitch (add) the yeast. Make sure that the wort is 70-75 degrees F if you’re pitching an ale yeast. For beginners I wouldn’t suggest using lager yeast since it requires cooler fermentation temperatures and will take a lot longer to ferment. When you are utilizing dry yeast follow any instructions for hydrating the yeast on the package prior to pitching it in the fermenter. When you are utilizing liquid yeast, shake it in the tube and then add it directly to the fermenter. Once the yeast is pitched insert the rubber stopper with the airlock in the top of the carboy or place the lid on the bucket and insert the airlock. Carefully agitate the fermenter to mix the yeast around.
10. Fermentation. Place the fermenter in a location which is between 65-70 degrees F. Also it’s necessary to keep it someplace dark or covered with a towel to stop light from getting in. The airlock should be steadily bubbling within 24 hours. Fermentation times may vary but it normally will take 3 to 7 days for ale yeasts. Once the initial fermentation stops allow an additional 7 days for settling for an overall total of around two weeks before bottling the beer. Hopefully these instructions have been useful to you. When you have completed these steps you will be well on your way to having your very own home brewed beer to drink and enjoy!
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