Monday, December 26, 2011

Brewing made simple: A guide to making your first beer

People have been brewing beer for thousands of years and very little has changed in this simple yet effective process. I will show you where I bought the equipment and ingredients, as well as, the forums I used for advice and tips. A great forum is http://www.homebrewtalk.com/

The first step in brewing is getting equipment. There are many sites you can use, also any local homebrew stores, but I would try to find a company located in your area. I used http://www.midwestsupplies.com/

1) Equipment and preparation.

The absolute first thing you will need is a good, preferably stainless steel, 5 gallon pot. Many people already own one but I would highly recommend get one that is new because boiling the wort can stain the pot and also pots that have already been used might have soap or other contaminants in the pores that can possibly ruin the beer. These pots can be purchased online or at your local grocery store.
Secondly, you can either get the equipment is separate pieces or just get a kit. I would recommend getting this kit:
http://www.midwestsupplies.com/homebrewing-equipment/equipment-kits/compare-all-kits/brewing-basics-equipment-kit.html
It has almost everything necessary to brew except the bottle, caps, or beer ingredients.

Thirdly, you need to get your ingredients. I would highly recommend getting what is called a "20 minute boil kit". These kits come with all the ingredients required to make your beer and it's a good way to get a little experience with a proven recipe plus it usually turns out great! I like really dark and heavy beer so I went with this Amber Bock kit.
http://www.midwestsupplies.com/homebrewing-ingredients/recipe-kits/20-minute-boil-kits/amber-bock-20-minute-boil-kit.html

The final step is cleaning all of your equipment. I find that cleaning the equipment with bleach is highly effective and very cost friendly but you must rinse all the equipment in hot water after because any access bleach can affect the taste.

2) Boiling the wort

When you get your brew kit, all of the ingredients are ready to go and there are also step by step instructions that are very easy to follow, as they are designed for beginners. Because most brew kits have slight variations I will go over the basics so you get an idea of what to expect.
Usually you fill your pot with 2-3 gallons of water and bring it to a boil. Once the water is boiling, the dried malt extract and the hopped can kit (a very syrupy substance) are added to the boiling water. Add the ingredients slowly while stirring so they are no burnt. This mixture, called the "Wort", is boiled for 20 minutes.
When the 17th minute of the boil arrived I added my aroma hops but other kits may be different.


3) Cooling, combining, and fermenting

Now that you have boiled your wort it's time to bring it to a lower temperature and then add it to your fermentation bucket, which has ~3 gallons of cold water inside. Once this final mixture(4.5-5.5 gallons) is around 75 degrees, it's time to pitch your yeast. There are different types of yeast so it's best to do a little research and follow the directions. The yeast is what makes the beer have alcohol. Now that you have pitched the yeast all that's needed is time. Seal the lid, place the airlock, and wait to see some bubbling. These kits usually require 2 weeks to ferment but there are many variations so again, follow the instructions and do research.

4) Bottling and carbonation

After 2 weeks your beer should have completed it's fermentation stage and you're now ready to bottle. You can drink a little of the beer now to get the flavor but it will be completely flat. Make sure that the bottles you are using are completely sterilized! THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT! If any of your bottles have germs in them they can infect that beer and ruin the taste. The process of bottling and carbonating are pretty simple. Transfer the beer into the bottling bucket and either add the required amount of priming sugar to the entire bucket and stir or add the sugar to each bottle. The sugar will carbonate the beer and help with its taste, as well as the aging process. After 2 weeks your beer is ready to drink!
 
In the end, brewing can be very interesting and fun but having your first beer is the most rewarding experience. So I hope I helped and if you have any questions don't be afraid to ask! Good luck brewing and have some fun!

6 comments:

  1. I'm not sure... I'd rather make whisky

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  2. Great guide, I will try it!

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  3. I loved this! thanks for the info! I've been thinking of making beer lately!

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  4. Wow, this is great, I always wanted to try making alcoholic beverages.

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  5. nice to know!! :3



    +follow, followme ;)

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  6. I've been mad for making my own things out of simpler things lately. Haven't gotten to brewing yet, but things like making your own chocolate are insanely sattisfying.

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