Brewing your own beer can be a fantastic hobby to get into. If you’re the kind of person who enjoys a good drop of beer, you’ll know that there are lots of micro-breweries around. Beer is actually fashionable these days, which is why making your own beer is a good idea.
Why Make Your Own Beer?
If you enjoy beer, here are some tempting reasons to start making your own batches:
● It’s definitely cheaper in the long run than buying beer from a store.
● Imagine being able to craft your own beer, bottle it up, label it, and then hand it out to friends and family.
● It’s just good plain fun brewing your own beer.
Should You Buy a Beer Making Kit?
Of course, you might have seen beer brewing kits in supermarkets all over the place. So should you get one? The answer to this all really depends on what you want to get out of it.
The kits make the process a lot simpler but it’s also not quite as much fun as brewing it yourself from basic ingredients. There are also those who might say that brewing your own from scratch makes it taste better too.
The truth is that brewing your own beer can be as complex as you want it to be. If you want the easy way, go out and buy a beer making kit. But if you’re game for brewing your own and having as much fun as possible learning and trying recipes, just read on!
The following link has details on the top 2 beer kits we recommend:
So the question is how to make beer from scratch. Read on for all of the fundamentals that you need to know…
Gather Your Basic Ingredients
Here are the four basic ingredients that you’ll need to start making your own beer: yeast, hops, fermentable sugar, and distilled or bottled water.
=> Water: Of course, if you don’t mind the tap water in your home, you’re free to use it instead but just remember that most tap water contains additives such as fluoride.
You want the beer to taste as good as possible so getting this right is crucial as all of the ingredients need to work together for the final brew. If you really want to use tap water, it’s a good idea to boil it first to get rid of any chemical smells, such as chlorine.
=> Fermentable Sugars: If you’re just starting out, the best thing to do is buy malt extract or malt syrup. While it’s possible to make your own sugars, it’s not an easy process and is best left to those with more experience.
=> Yeast: You must absolutely make sure that you buy yeast for beer rather than yeast for making bread because the two are different. Some yeasts are good for ales and some for lagers. It all depends on what kind of beer you want to make.
=> Hops: This is a flower that tastes bitter and is used in beer brewing to provide flavor balance against the sugariness, as well as odor.
The best place to get your equipment in our experience is Adventures in Homebrewing
Making Your First Ale – Equipment Needed
Now that you have the basic ingredients, it’s time to make your first ale! Just ensure that you thoroughly clean all of your equipment first so that you don’t spoil the beer. So where do you begin? How to make beer from scratch?
The first thing that you need to do is create a mixture called wort. This is made from malt and sugar that’s boiled before it ferments.
Here’s what you need:
- five-gallon carboy,
- boiling pot,
- bottling bucket of at least six gallons,
- racking cane,
- siphon hose,
- a long spoon,
- fermentation lock,
- bottles ,
- a thermometer,
- and diluted bleach to clean all of your equipment first.
Again Adventures in Homebrewing is also our go to place for brewing equipment.
Make the Wort
The wort forms the basis of your beer and is created step by step in the following way:
● Make sure that every piece of equipment has been bleached and/or boiled so that it’s sterile.
● Pour 1.5 gallons of water into the large pot and bring it to a boil. Once it’s boiled, take it off the heat and then stir in the malt syrup, making sure that none of it sticks to the sides or bottom of the pot.
Then put it back on heat for 50 minutes. Just make sure that you stir it often and watch that it doesn’t boil over the sides of the pot. If it does, you’ll need to turn the heat down.
● Once the time’s up, you can stir in the hops. This helps to alleviate any sugary tastes and also creates the head of the beer. Keep it boiling but don’t let it flow over the sides of the pot. Once more, you may need to reduce the heat. Let all of this happen for between 10 and 20 minutes.
● As the hops are being heated through, you should prepare the yeast you have. Put a single packet in one cup of warm water of 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Cover it and wait for it to foam up.
● Around the time that you put the hops into the wort mixture, you should also prepare an ice water bath so that you can cool it down quickly once it’s done.
● Place the wort mixture into the ice bath and stir the pot while it’s cooling down. Make sure that you use your thermometer to check all of these temperatures as you go along. You want the wort mix to cool down to 70 – 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
The following post will give you more details on the actual brewing process:
It’s Time to Ferment
Now begins the exciting part: fermentation. Here’s what to do:
● You need three gallons of cool water in your carboy. Once this is done, use the funnel to put all of the cooled wort mixture in and then sprinkle the yeast in. Then cover it with a plastic wrap, put the cap on, give it a good shake to distribute everything evenly, and put on the fermentation lock to keep all the goodness doing its thing inside the carboy!
● You need to put the carboy in a cool place that’s away from direct sunlight. Fermentation is happening when you see bubbles in the fermentation lock. If you don’t see them, move the whole thing to a warmer area of your home.
● Fermentation takes about two weeks to happen and this is when you should see trickles of bubbles.
Here is a review of our favorite fermenter:
It’s Time to Bottle it
When the fermentation is all done, it’s time to get the carboy and place it on a bench. You’ll also need your bottling bucket and your corn syrup. Once again, just make sure that all of the tools and equipment are sanitized! Here’s a quick rundown:
● Boil a mix of one cup of water and corn syrup for 10 minutes before putting it into the bottling bucket.
● Siphon the beer mix from the carboy into the bottling bucket at a gentle pace.
● Let the beer settle for 30 minutes in the bucket.
● Fill your bottles from the bottling bucket and then cap them!
If you would prefer to keg your beer check out this link: Kegging Beer
So, how to make beer from scratch? It can be as complex as you want or as simple as you… but as long as you follow the basic steps, you should have it under control.
It’s also a process of trial and error and you’ll learn as you go along. Most of all keep it fun.