If you have ever been to a pub and sampled their home brewed beer then surely you must have wondered if you can do the job at home, so here’s a quick guide on how to make beer for the uninitiated.
How To Make Beer From Scratch
There are some preparations you need to undertake before you can start making beer from scratch. Make sure that you have utensils and ingredients handy. The utensils must be not only clean but sterile, so that the home made beer turns turns out the way you want it, an infected brew is not a good thing, and once an infection sets in to your brew it can not be removed. The water being used for making beer can be tap water or bottled, whichever tastes good to you.
The ingredients that you need are a about 25 litres of water, a sachet of yeast, 3 kilograms of canned pre hopped malt extract, also known as a kit beer or 3 kilograms of plain malt extract and your chosen hops. You will also need a water bath filled with ice, cleaners and sanitisers and a bucket.
Now, how to make beer from scratch? First, clean and sanitise your gear with the chemicals you have. Use your cleaner to remove all physical debris from the surfaces and use your sanitiser to remove and bacteria present. Boil two litres of water, remove your pot from the heat source and add your malt extract. Stir it through and mix the malt and water and then return your pot to the heat. This will prevent the malt from burning on the bottom of the pot. Add your bittering hops and allow this mixture to simmer gently over low flame stirring regularly if not continually for some 50 minutes. Do not take your eyes off the pot or it WILL BOIL OVER. It does every time, but you will no doubt learn that the hard way like every one else.
At some point according to your recipe you will need to add the finishing hops. This may be toward the end of the boil or half way through. Some recipes ask for a hop addition at flame out, and others add straight to the cooled wort in the fermenter. But I digress.
While this wort is cooking, take the yeast packet and stir it in to a cup of warm water and keep covered for 10 minutes.This will re-hydrate the yeast and get it ready to go to work. For a more thorough way of waking up your yeast from its stasis check out the Yeast module of my seven part course.
Once your boil is complete you have to cool it down as quick as you can. For a small boil of only a few litres an ice bath is sufficient. Put the wort pan, lid on, in the ice water bath and let it cool down to a little less than 30o C. Then wash your hands and assemble your equipment so it is ready to receive your cooled wort.
Note: At this point if you’re using a plastic fermenter with a tap fitting it is prudent to make sure your tap is closed. This is about how to make beer from scratch not how to mop it off the floor.
Now with your bucket, put a few inches of water in to the bottom of your fermenter. Strain your wort from pot in to the fermenter and bucket more water in to the 21 litre mark. Check the temperature, if it’s below 25 degrees Celsius add your cup of yeast. If not put the lid on, fill the airlock with sanitiser and wait until it comes down. Then remove the lod add the yeast and reseal it.
For information when and how to bottle your brew, or for more detailed information on the brewing process check out my seven part course.
That’s how to make beer from scratch. Easy! But remember, the most important ingredient in your home made beer is your time and attention.