If you're a big beer fan, especially a micro-beer fan, then there's no better way to spend your summer afternoon than getting down and dirty with making your own beer at home. After all, August is beer month! The process is simple enough, but requires some patience. The end result though, is definitely worth it.
Of course, feel free to add flavors as your taste demands.
For the entire cost break up check this out.
- Brew pot - any large kitchen pot that will hold a couple of gallons of water with room to spare to avoid boiling over.
- Kitchen strainer - to strain grains and hops before going to the fermenter
- Kitchen thermometer
- Large funnel
- Rolling pin - for crushing the grain
- 3 gallon container of bottled water - this will provide you with the water to make your beer and serve as your fermentation container
- Bottling container - An empty container of at least 3 gallons...could be another water bottle or a clean, scratch-free, food grade plastic bucket.
- 3 feet of 3/8" clear poly-vinyl tubing - for siphoning and fermentation air lock
Ingredients for a 2.5 gallon batch for a simple ale.
- 3 lbs light dried malt extract
- 8 oz crushed crystal malt
- 1 oz Northern Brewer pellet hops
- 1 pkg brewers yeast
- 3/8 cup sugar for bottling
Sanitizing is a separate procedure from cleaning, and it requires the use of heat, chlorine or iodine mixed with water to kill off any remaining bacteria. If your dishwasher has a "heat dry" cycle, you're in luck. Turn it on and let the steam in the dry cycle do the work for you.
If you are not blessed with a dishwasher (no doubt, one of man's greatest inventions) you will need to sanitize the old fashion way.
- First, you need to mix up some sanitizing solution, using either unscented chlorine bleach (2 ounces per 5 gallons of water) or pure iodine (not the stuff your mom put on your wounds, but stuff you have to buy at a brewing or restaurant supply store) and cold water.
- Mix this up in a big basin, a sink or a bathtub, so long as whatever equipment you put it in has been thoroughly cleaned.
- The primary fermenter and the bottling bucket don't need to be soaked; you can mix up sanitizing solution right in them. You can even soak your other items in these two pieces.
- All small items should be completely immersed in the sanitizing solution in the sink or in one of the large pieces of equipment. Once everything is full of or immersed in sanitizing solution, you can kick back and wait (30 minutes if you are using bleach, 5 minutes with the iodine solution) while the solution does its work. If you are using bleach you need to rinse everything thoroughly after it is sanitized. Set everything somewhere clean and let it dry. Don't allow small children, pets or gypsies to rummage through the equipment, don't sneeze on it. We want everything to be nice and clean for the brewing. OK. Let's make some liquid nirvana!
Now for the fun part - brewing. The Instructables recipe sounded simple enough but detailed and meticulous to make a great brew. Click here for the full instructions.
From Home Brewery here are instructions to bottle.
- Siphon the beer back into a clean and sanitized container or bottling bucket, leaving the yeast behind.
- Draw off about one pint of beer into a pan and warm it on the stove.
- Add exactly 3/4 cup of Corn Sugar to the pan and stir until it is dissolved.
- Pour this back into the beer and stir gently to distribute the sugar.
- Siphon or tap into clean, sanitized bottles and cap.
- Keep the bottles at room temperature (avoid storing them in direct sunlight;it will ruin your fine beer!), and after a week put a bottle in the refrigerator and try it. It will be even better in a month if you can keep it that long.