Home Beer Brewing
How to Make Beer at Home
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Suds. Tall boy. Draft. Barley pop. Cold one. Cerveza. Brewski.
Beer: no matter what you call it, it’s been brewed pretty much the same way for thousands of years. You can learn how to make beer at home! All you need is a handful of ingredients and a few tools you can pick up from any homebrewing shop. We’ll show you how to make your very own extract brew in ten simple steps.
3. Crushed specialty grains
4. Malt extract
1. A kettle: most recipes are for 5 gallons of home brew, so a minimum 5-gallon stainless steel pot is best
2. A fermenter: Beer needs to be in a clean environment, safe from airborne bacteria and dust, while it ferments. Most homebrewers use a 5-6 gallon glass bottle, called a carboy, but a plastic food-grade bucket is another option. The fermenter must have an airtight stopper with an airlock.
3. Funnel: use one designed for home brewing – those are easiest to sanitize.
4. Muslin bags
5. Strainer or Colander
9. Long spoon
Step 1: Fill your kettle with water and put it on the stove. Time to steep your specialty grains, which give your beer unique malt character. The grains you’ll use depends on the type of beer you want- for instance, a roasted grain results in darker beer like a stout or porter. Tie up your grains in a muslin bag, and put the bag in the kettle. Stir occasionally. Check your water with the thermometer- once it reaches just the right temperature, turn off the heat to let the grains steep for 10-20 minutes. (The exact temperature, duration of steeping, and amount of water used will all depend on your recipe. Make sure you follow your recipe closely!) Then dump your grains into a strainer and rinse the extra flavors/sugar/color from them right into the kettle with a little hot water. Voila – you’ve extracted every last bit of the flavor in those grains; go ahead and discard them.
Step 2: Add your malt extract. Malt extract is super concentrated, syrupy stuff. You’ll need to stir it in thoroughly. Now you’ve got wort – that’s what we call unfermented beer.
Step 3: Boil the wort. Watch your pot closely until the wort is at a calm, rolling boil.
Step 4: The bittering addition. Put your hops in a muslin bag, tying it off so hops won’t escape into the boiling wort. Plop the hops into the wort and set your timer for 60 minutes. During this time, you’re extracting the bitterness of the hops to counterbalance the sweetness of the malt. Your recipe might call for additional hops to add flavoring or aroma – add those according to their instructions.
Step 5: Cool down the wort. At the end of the 60 minute boil, remove the hops and chill your wort to a temperature that won’t harm your yeast – as quickly as possible to avoid potential off flavors in your wort. Either use a wort chiller, or submerge it in a cooling bath in your sink.
Step 6: Sanitize. From this point forward, nothing can touch the wort unless it’s been sanitized. Most home brewing sanitizers are no-rinse, so all you have to do is wash equipment in the sanitizer and allow it to drip dry.
Step 7: Put your wort in the fermenter. After the wort has cooled below 80 degrees, take out the hop bags and funnel your wort into your carboy. If your wort doesn’t reach the 5 gallon mark, top it off with cold water- cold water that’s been filtered or boiled – remember, this water needs to be bacteria free just like everything else that touches the wort!
Step 8: Add the yeast. Your best choice is a packet of freeze-dried ale yeast, which requires zero prep. Once your wort’s at room temperature, sprinkle all of the yeast into your wort-no need to stir.
Step 9: Attach the airlock to your carboy. This lets the gas from fermentation escape the fermenter while stopping airborne bacteria from getting in.
Step 10: Now you’ll wait while your beer ferments – this process takes a bare minimum of two weeks, but when it’s done, your patience will be rewarded with tasty home brew!
Stay tuned for a companion video on how to make beer at home that shows you how to bottle or keg your brew.
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