Part of the fun of being free and single is being able to submerse yourself in new hobbies and exploring new interests. With the craft brew beer revolution taking hold across the nation, home brewing is enjoying a day in the sun. Playing mad scientist with hops can be pretty easy and fulfilling. Check out the steps becoming the Craft Beer Brew King below.
You will need:
- Malt extract (liquid or dried)
- Specialty grains
All of these ingredients are available in brewing kits, and can be purchased at a variety of retailers, including specialized brewing stores.
There are several viable methods of preparation, but the basic steps are the same across the board. Start by soaking the malted barley in hot water to release the sugars. The solution is boiled with hops for the purpose of seasoning. After the solution has had time to cool, add yeast to begin fermentation. As the yeast ferments the sugars, releasing CO2 and ethyl alcohol, you’re one step closer to being able to bottle your own brew.
- Cleanliness is next to godliness. More than half of serious brewers will tell you that the secret to getting the perfect blend is starting off with a clean slate. Make sure that you have cleaned and sanitized everything that will come in contact with your beer. Make it easy on yourself and throw all of the your tools into the dishwasher, wipe down counters and be sure to use a scraper that won’t scratch your counter. Bacteria will attach to the rivets and then it’s practically impossible to sanitize the area. Consider using bleach or iodine solution on the surface and then rinse well.
- Rinse Cycle. Be sure to rinse bleach off of every surface before using your micro-brewing equipment.
- Add one ounce (30ml) of bleach to five gallons (4 liters) of cold water, followed by one ounce (30ml) of white vinegar. Don’t mix the two.
- Anything cleaned with iodine solution can drip dry.
- Remember, bleach may cause unwanted flavors in your beer, and requires rinsing, which may introduce microorganisms to your sterilized equipment.
- Try to use food-grade cleanser or sanitizer which requires no rinsing.
- Keep track. Be sure to write down everything you do from the cleaning process to the type of hops you are using. This makes it easier to reproduce certain brews without trying to recall ingredients and processes from memory.
- Put any specialty grains into a grain bag and steep them in the large stock pot in three gallons (10 liters) of hot water (around 150°F (66°C) for about 30 minutes. Remove the grains and allow the water to drip out of the grain bag, into the pot.
- After adding the malt extract, bring everything to a boil. Remember, hops added to early can create a bitter taste.
- After this liquid, mostly referred to as wort, has reached a boil, you need to help it cool as quickly as possible. Put the entire pot in the sink and bombard it with ice water.
- Once fermentation has begun, minimize the brew’s exposure to air. Use a strainer to scoop out the hops and add 20 liters of water.
- You have now reached the stage that brewers refer to as “pitch” which basically means that it’s time to add yeast. Put the lid on your fermenter and in 24 hours, you should notice the air-lock preening a sweet bubbling noise. If you notice nothing after 48 hours, something probably went wrong and you’ll need to start over.
- Finally, it’s that time. After about a week, activity under your airlock will be nonexistent but you can leave the brew alone for about two weeks before bottling. Your kit will likely include dried malt extract, which is used to carbonate the beer once it’s bottled.
- Use the sanitized plastic tubing you’ve set up as a siphon to transfer the beer while avoiding aeration—from the fermenter to the bottling bucket. Prevent sediment (trub) from entering the fermenter or the bottling bucket.
- Store your bottled beer for at least two weeks at room temperature and then it’s ready to go. Enjoy!