Making Beer at Home
Homebrewing is a fun activity for beer lovers, and you will learn a lot about beer in the process of making it. To get started, consider investing in one of the quality homebrew kits on the market, which will likely be cheaper than buying all individual supplies and will have everything you need. Once you have your supplies and a recipe, it’s time to get started!
1. Fill Your Large Brew Pot with Water
You will need to add 1.5 gallons of water based on how much beer you want to brew. For example, if you’re going to make 4 gallons of beer, you will need to fill your pot with 6.5 gallons of water. Adding the extra water accounts for the displacement and evaporation that occurs when you are brewing and boiling.
2. Heat the Water and Place the Brew Bag in the Pot
Heat your water to the temperature specified on your recipe. Use a thermometer to measure the temperature accurately. Once your water is at the correct temperature, put the brew bag in the pot. Wrap the bag around the handles to secure it.
3. Add the Grains
Turn off the heat, pour in the cracked grains, and stir, so they don’t glob together. Stirring will prevent the grains from creating balls of flour, which could extract an improper amount of sugar from the grains.
4. Let the Grains Sit for 30 Minutes
Check and record the temperature. The temperature should have dropped about 20 degrees, and you should maintain this new temperature for about 30 minutes. Put the lid on and periodically check the temperature and stir to avoid clumping. If the temperature drops too much, turn the heat on to bring the temperature back up.
5. Remove the Brew Bag
After 30 minutes, the water should change color and have a powerful aroma. Use oven mitts or a towel to pull the brew bag straight up out of the pot. Allow the liquid to seep through the bag, and do NOT squeeze the bag. Squeezing the bag can turn your beer bitter. Let it drain until it stops dripping.
6. Boil the Wort
The liquid left is called wort. Bring the wort to a boil to get rid of bacteria and prepare the wort for the fermenting process. Usually, you will boil it for about one hour but refer to your recipe. Stir the wort periodically during this process. Depending on what kind of beer you are making, you may add the hops (or pellets) to the mixture at this point. Again, refer to your recipe.
7. Cool Wort to Room Temperature
Turn the heat off and cool the wort. One method for cooling the wort is you can fill your sink with cold water and put your pot in the sink. Drain the sink and refill it with more cold water and ice until the wort has cooled off.
8. Sanitize the Fermenter and Add the Wort
No bacteria must touch the wort. Everything must be sanitized; otherwise, the beer will spoil. Sanitize your fermenter and then pour your wort in the fermenter through a strainer.
9. Add Yeast and Ferment
Add the yeast and shake the fermenter to oxygenate the wort. Keep the fermenter in a cool dark place for two weeks. It is crucial to make sure the temperature is controlled around 65-70 degrees at all times. A cold basement is a good option, or you can purchase refrigerator brew bags.
10. Test Sugar Levels
A lot of homebrew kits come with hydrometers, a way to test the sugar levels in the beer. You might also add hops in this step as well, depending on your recipe. You can also taste the beer as a method of checking the sugar level, but remember it isn’t carbonated yet!
Carbonate the Beer
After two weeks or longer, put the fermenter in the fridge to chill the beer. To carbonate the beer, you will need to boil water with priming sugar; your recipe should specify the appropriate amount. Pour the priming mixture into the sanitized bottling bucket and then add the beer from the fermenter. Remove the hops prior to pouring into the bucket if you had added them during fermentation. Pour the beer slowly into the bucket. You will see the residue (the trub) stay at the bottom. Do not let the trub get into the final product.
Package and Chill
You can then pour the beer into sanitized bottles. Store the beer for at least 2-3 weeks at room temperature around 65-70 degrees. Chill the beer for a few days for ultimate freshness.
Cheers! Get out your beer glasses as it’s finally time to taste your beer. After this long process, enjoy drinking your handcrafted beer.