Beer me. Do you share Andy Bernard’s love for beer? If so, you should consider brewing your own!
When you make your own brew, you control the ingredients. Which means you have the ultimate control over how it tastes. And you’ll get to enjoy it at a fraction of the cost of buying beer at the store.
Check out this easy guide for how to make beer at home.
Make Beer At Home: A Step By Step Guide
There are a ton of benefits to brewing your own beer. It’s a really cool hobby! You’ll take pride in your product. And it makes a great gift to share with others.
So let’s get into the nitty-gritty of how to do it. Here are four easy steps to make beer like a rockstar!
Step 1: Gather Round
Your first move is to gather the equipment and ingredients you’ll need. Here’s a list of the necessary equipment to get your home brewery started.
- A large cooking pot (4 or more gallons). You’ll use this to boil the grains.
- A fermenter with an airlock. These can be purchased at any brewing store or website. This is the vessel you’ll use to ferment the beer after it’s cooked.
- A large spoon to stir the mixture.
- A steeping bag to hold the grains when you boil them.
- Siphon or auto siphon to move the beer from the fermenter to the bottles.
- A bucket and funnel for bottling.
- Bottles, caps, and a bottle capper.
- A prize-winning beer recipe.
Once you have your equipment, it’s time to get ingredients. The ingredients depend on your recipe and your taste.
There are four main ingredients in beer: water, grains, hops, and yeast. Water makes up the largest ingredient, about 95% of the beer. The grain you use depends on your recipe.
Most beers use barley. But you can also brew with corn, wheat, or even rice. It’s all about your preferences.
Hops are what give your beer the right flavor. And they are added at specific intervals during the brewing process.
And yeast is made up of the tiny creatures that eat sugar and regurgitate alcohol. It’s what gives your beer it’s alcohol kick and provides the CO2 to make it carbonated.
Step 2: Brew Up
Before you begin brewing, make sure all of your supplies are clean and sanitized. You may not realize it, but a dirty pot can seriously affect the taste of your beer.
Start by boiling water in the large kitchen pot. How much water you use depends on the recipe. But keep in mind that you’ll be adding water to the mixture again down the line.
This first step is how you make wort, which is a sugary water concentrate. You’ll add water to this when you put the finished product into the fermentation vessel. So you want to make sure you start with the right amount of water.
Add the grains to the bag and steep them at 170 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove the grains from the water. Then bring the kettle to a boil again.
Note, recipes differ in the exact ingredients and timing. Some may say that you boil for 30 minutes while others call for an hour. Follow your recipe to the second for the best results.
Some recipes call for malt extracts. Some call for hops to be added to the mixture at various times. Or create your own recipe by experimenting with these two elements.
When that’s done, put the entire kettle into an ice bath. This usually works best in a large sink that you’ve filled with ice and cold water. This step cools the wort down quickly to prepare for fermentation.
Step 3: Ferment and Vent
Pour the wort into the fermenter after it’s cooled. The fermenter has an airlock to allow CO2 out without allowing air in. This is important to keep the beer from oxidizing.
After you pour the wort into the fermenter, add water. Again, follow your recipe. But most recipes call for doubling the liquid wort with water.
Use the spoon to stir the wort around. This allows air into the mixture. And yeast needs air to work.
Prepare the yeast. Dry yeast doesn’t need any preparation. But if you’re using traditional liquid yeast, follow the instructions to get it ready before you add it to the wort.
Seal up the top on your fermenter and make sure the airlock is in place. Then store the brew in a cool, dark place for about 2 weeks. We suggest between 68 and 72 degrees F.
As the yeast ferments, it goes through a process called beer attenuation. As you become more skilled in brewing, you’ll pay more attention to this process. Master brewers check their fermenting beer using thermometers and hydrometers.
Step 4: Bottle Party
Before you’re ready to drink the beer, you need to carbonate it. Mix up a batch of priming sugar. This is a simple mixture of 3 oz corn sugar to 1 cup of water.
Pour the priming sugar mixture into the bottling bucket. Then siphon the fermented beer into the bottling bucket and mix the mixture with your spoon.
Siphoning helps keep sediments from getting into the final bottles. You can use the old fashioned method of siphoning with a clean tube. Or you can opt for an auto siphon to make the job easier.
Pour the mixture from the bottling bucket into the bottles using the funnel. Cap the bottles. Then store them in a cool (not cold) place.
In two weeks, you’ll be able to break open a bottle of your newly brewed ale!
Stop Buying, Start Brewing!
Make beer at home using your own, unique recipe. Or stick to a recipe that’s tried and true. No matter what you do, you can’t go wrong when you’re brewing your own ale!
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