A selection of craft information for artisans of the HFS.

    How to Make Your Own Beer


    Posts : 81
    Join date : 2011-05-30

    How to Make Your Own Beer Empty How to Make Your Own Beer

    Post  Admin on Tue May 31, 2011 8:13 pm

    Any idiot can make beer at home. Even if you aren't an idiot, there's no problem. You can make the beer, then drink it and become an idiot. But I'm wandering from the topic. Let's make beer.


    You'll need malt extract. It comes in two forms. Liquid extract is sticky, easily scorched, and packaged in inconvenient 3.3 lb. cans. Dry extract is fine as long as you never open the package. The moment it's exposed to air, it sucks up all moisture within a distance of five miles and forms into thick clumps that are almost as sticky as liquid extract. Most brewers have a hard time deciding which is worse, so they use a combination of the two.

    You'll also need hops. Once you've selected your preferred variety, you need to make a simple calculation to achieve the proper degree of bitterness in your beer. Take you your age, multiply it by the number of taste buds in one square inch of your tongue, add the current temperature of you kitchen (in degrees Kelvin) and square the result. Divide this total by the number of beers you drank during the last Superbowl. Or toss in a handful and hope for the best.

    Last but not yeast, you'll need least. Oops, 'scuze me. You know what I mean. Dry yeast comes in a convenient package containing a pure strain of brewing yeast pre-mixed at the factory with various unwanted bacteria that might ruin your beer. Liquid yeast comes sealed in a special pouch, allowing it to remain pure until you open it and expose it to all sorts of unwanted bacteria, thus giving your beer a personal touch. The choice is yours.


    You'll need a fermenter. There are two kinds. Plastic is light, inexpensive, and subject to scratches that will harbor bacteria that might ruin your beer. Glass is scratchproof but has an amazing tendency to slip from your hands and shatter. You'll also need a thermometer and a strainer. The strainer is optional, but comes in very handy when you're trying to fish the broken pieces of the thermometer out of the kettle.

    Oh yeah, that reminds me. You'll need a kettle. The standard ten-gallon stainless steel model found in most kitchens is ideal. If you can't find yours, just get a quarter keg from your local beer distributor and saw off the top. You might also want to weld on handles while you're at it. (Be sure to wear safety goggles.)

    That's pretty much all you'll need except for some siphoning hose, a hydrometer, a bottle capper, a bottle brush, a bottle filler, bottle caps, bottle labels, bottle-drying rack, bottle washer, bottle-nosed dolphins, bottle rockets, and a couple of boxes to hold all the bottles.


    Okay. Here comes the easy part. Boil some water. Add the malt. Turn away for an instant. Now look back. Surprise -- the pot has boiled over, covering the stove and most of the kitchen floor with a material that hardens to amazing finish while remaining sticky enough to trap flies and small animals. Don't forget to toss in the hops. And add the yeast. Oops. No. Wait. Don't put the yeast in boiling water. Yikes. Sorry about that. Bad move.

    Anyhow, boil the stuff for an hour. Then cool it down. From this point on, avoid exposing the beer to sunlight unless you are trying to imitate the mephitistic bouquet of Heineken or Corona. Put the beer in the fermenter. Add the other pack of yeast you were smart enough to buy. Now put the fermenter in a room that will stay at exactly 68 degrees, or at least somewhere between 40 and 85. Wait a while.

    After a brief period of anywhere from five to ninety days, the airlock will stop bubbling. Airlock? Oh jeez, did I forget to mention that part? Sorry. Well, anyhow, once everything stops bubbling, it's time to bottle or keg your beer. Bottling is inexpensive and incredibly tedious. Kegging, on the other hand, is expensive but never boring when one contemplates the possible disasters that could occur in the presence of a cylinder containing carbon dioxide at a pressure of 3,000 pounds per square inch. The choice is yours.

    Let's assume you've chosen to bottle your first batch. Might as well, since you have all that equipment. (By the way, I was kidding about the dolphin, so please let him go.) Bottling is simple and virtually foolproof. First, prepare a priming solution with 3/4 cup of corn sugar and 2 cups of water. Be sure to boil the water to avoid the risk of introducing any bacteria that might ruin your beer. Hey, what was that? I thought I heard something explode. Sounded like it came from the basement. There goes another one. Oh drat, it sounds like they're all going. Start without me. Just put the beer in the bottles and crimp on the caps. No worries.

    Hi. I'm back. Got it all bottled? Good. Now set it aside for a week or two. Downstairs would be good. Away from children and pets. You might, just to be on the safe side, want to put the bottles inside plastic bags and maybe put those bags behind something sturdy like several inches of Kevlar or some old cast-iron appliances.

    Well, that's all there is to it. Congratulations on making your first batch. I can guarantee it's going to be like nothing you've ever tasted before. Cheers.

    Posts : 81
    Join date : 2011-05-30

    How to Make Your Own Beer Empty Homemade Beer

    Post  Admin on Tue May 31, 2011 8:18 pm

    There are many good books on homebrewing currently available, so why did I write one you ask? The answer is: a matter of perspective. When I began learning how to brew my own beer several years ago, I read every book I could find; books often published 15 years apart. It was evident to me that the state of the art had matured a bit. Where one book would recommend using baking yeast and covering the fermenting beer with a towel, a later book would insist on brewing yeast and perhaps an airlock. So, I felt that another point of view, laying out the hows and whys of the brewing processes, might help more new brewers get a better start.

    Here is a synopsis of the brewing process:

    1. Malted barley is soaked in hot water to release the malt sugars.
    2. The malt sugar solution is boiled with Hops for seasoning.
    3. The solution is cooled and yeast is added to begin fermentation.
    4. The yeast ferments the sugars, releasing CO2 and ethyl alcohol.
    5. When the main fermentation is complete, the beer is bottled with a little bit of added sugar to provide the carbonation.

    Sounds fairly simple doesn't it? It is, but as you read this book you will realize the incredible amount of information that I glossed over with those five steps. The first step alone can fill an entire book, several in fact. But brewing is easy. And it's fun. Brewing is an art as well as a science. Some people may be put off by the technical side of things, but this is a science that you can taste. The science is what allows everyone to become the artist. Learning about the processes of beer making will let you better apply them as an artist. As my history teacher used to chide me, "It's only boring until you learn something about it. Knowledge makes things interesting."

    As an engineer, I was intrigued with the process of beermaking. I wanted to know what each step was supposed to be doing so I could understand how to better accomplish them. For instance, adding the yeast to the beer wort: the emphasis was to get the yeast fermenting as soon as possible to prevent unwanted competing yeasts or microbes from getting a foothold. There are actually several factors that influence yeast propagation, not all of which were explained in any one book. This kind of editing was an effort by the authors to present the information that they felt was most important to overall success and enjoyment of the hobby. Each of us has a different perspective.

    Fortunately for me, I discovered the Internet and the homebrewing discussion groups it contained. With the help of veteran brewers on the Home Brew Digest (an Internet mailing list) and Rec.Crafts.Brewing (a Usenet newsgroup) I soon discovered why my first beer had turned out so brilliantly clear, yet fit only for mosquitoes to lay their eggs in. As I became more experienced, and was able to brew beer that could stand proudly with any commercial offering, I realized that I was seeing new brewers on the 'Net with the same basic questions that I had. They were reading the same books I had and some of those were excellent books. Well, I decided to write an electronic document that contained everything that a beginning brewer would need to know to get started. It contained equipment descriptions, process descriptions and some of the Why's of homebrewing. I posted it to electronic bulletin boards and homebrewing archive computer sites such as Sierra.Stanford.edu . It was reviewed by other brewers and accepted as one of the best brewing guides available. It has been through four revisions as comments were received and I learned more about the Why's of brewing. That document, "How To Brew Your First Beer" is still available and free to download and/or reproduce for personal use. It was written to help the first-time brewer produce a fool-proof beer - one they could be proud of. That document has apparently served quite well, it has been requested and distributed world-wide, including Europe, North America, Australia, Africa, and Asia- the Middle East and the Far East. Probably several thousand copies have been distributed by now. Glad I could help.

    As time went by, and I moved on to Partial Mashes (half extract, half malted grain) and All-Grain Brewing, I actually saw requests on the 'Net from brewers requesting "Palmer-type" documents explaining these more complex brewing methods. There is a lot to talk about with these methods though, and I realized that it would be best done with a book. So, here we go...

    Oh, one more thing, I should mention that Extract Brewing should not be viewed as inferior to brewing with grain, it is merely easier. It takes up less space and uses less equipment. You can brew national competition winning beers using extracts. The reason I moved on to Partial Mashes and then to All-Grain was because brewing is FUN. These methods really let you roll up your sleeves, fire up the kettles and be the inventor. You can let the mad-scientist in you come forth, you can combine different malts and hops at will, defying conventions and conservatives, raising your creation up to the storm and calling down the lightening...Hah hah HAH....

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