So, you want to brew your own beer? Well, you can and should because it is really easy. Did you realise that you can make 40 pints of very good quality beer in about 3 weeks. In fact most starter beer kits contain very easy to follow instructions.
So long as you follow them closely, remembering to keep your home brew equipment clean, then you will soon be enjoying your own home made beer with your mates.
There is some starter home brew equipment you will need up front. This can be bought either as a complete beginner’s kit or as individual items. Once you have got them though, your beer will cost you as little as about 50p per pint. And it tastes as good as (better in some cases) any pub beer.
What you need to brew your own beer
So, what do you need to start off with? Well, you can either buy a complete beer making starting kit, or the separate bits below: –
- 25 Litre brewing bin / bucket
- paddle / stirrer / big spoon
- Siphon tubing
- Steriliser powder
- Beer kit (includes yeast sachet)
- 40 pint barrel or 24 1 litre bottles
What is the procedure?
OK, so you have your equipment. This is how easy it is: –
Sterilise. Firstly but very importantly, sterilise all of your brewing equipment. It takes just a few minutes but can make all the difference. The instructions should be printed on the tub the sterilising powder came in. 3-4 teaspoons of powder are added to the fermenting bin. Add about 10 litres of warm water. Place into this any other equipment you are using such as the stirring paddle, hydrometers and thermometers. Leave to stand for about 10 minutes. It’s best to swish the solution over the inner sides of the bin a few times.
Warm the Malt. While you wait, stand the unopened tins of malt extract in a bowl of hot water for a few minutes. This softens the malt and enables most of the contents to be easily poured out.
Then open the tin(s) and pour the malt into the clean fermenting bin. You can use a little boiling water to rinse the last bits out but be very careful, the tin(s) will be hot.
Dilute and mix. Next add 3.5 litres (6 pints) of boiling water to the extract and mix with the spoon, ensuring all the contents are completely dissolved.
Add yeast. Now top up with cold water to a total of 23 litres (40 pints) and mix thoroughly again. Then snip the top from the yeast sachet and pour in whilst stirring.
Wait. That’s all for the moment. Easy isn’t it! Fit the lid on the bucket and leave it to stand for about 4 to 6 days in a warm place (between 18-20 degrees C / 66 – 70 degrees F). In colder months, you should consider buying a brew belt. These are easy to use and economical heaters that simply fix round the fermenting bucket and keep your brew at a constant temperature until you start bottling, usually about 5 days. You can see an article on How To Use A Brew Belt here.
After a day or two you will see a thick crust forming on the top of the liquid as the yeast starts to eat the sugar. This means fermentation has started. Fermentation is complete when bubbles cease to rise through the liquid, usually between 4 – 6 days.
Transfer. You are now ready to transfer your brew to the barrel or bottles, whichever you prefer. This is maybe the trickiest part of the process but easy once you are used to it. First siphon the beer from the fermenting bucket, avoiding disturbing the sediment. Using the siphon provided, fix the tube to the inside of the fermenter but not quite reaching the sediment.
Then suck the tube to start the siphon process. Fitting a tap or a little bottler if using bottles makes this process a lot easier and will also avoid messy floors and work tops or maybe a divorce! Next add a teaspoon or two of sugar to each litre of beer. This will condition the beer, using up the remaining yeast in the mix and provide a little carbonation to result in a nice lively beer.
Now the hard bit. Yes you have to wait! Stand your bottles or barrel in a warm place for 2 days and then transfer to a cool place for at least 14 days or until it has cleared. Ignore any sediment in the bottom. This may look like a thin white/ brown layer on the bottom of the bottles. This can be avoided with careful pouring when drinking although it won’t hurt you anyway.
So that’s it. How easy is that eh? Now you just need to drink your beer. Oh and don’t forget to start the next batch ready for when it runs out. And of course don’t forget that the second batch is so much cheaper without the starter equipment costs.
So what are you waiting for? Buy your starter beer kit today.