this commonly available in either 1Lb, 2Lb or 5Lb jars/tins I
won't go into any details about the mashing process. You can now
get a variety of types including flavoured and coloured depending
on what you want to brew.
can change the flavour and colour of the beer/ale by using different
types, these include - Granulated (white), Cane, Demerara (could
never spell it), Candy or glucose - powdered or crystal. Whichever
form or mix you choose - take care not to add too much as this
can make your beer/ale too strong 13% alc/vol or more! If the
sugar is burnt or caramalised it will strongly alter the colour
of the finished brew.
a note here about all you slimming boozers out there, if you
decide that sugar is too calorific and substitue it with a chemical
sweetener, then don't expect too much. You will end up with
a liquid which may look like a headless/sparkless beer but to
taste such a brew.... urgh!
(only the flowers of the plant are used) are a major factor
on the flavour of brew (beer with, ale without) you end up with.
Fuggles hops are the most common and they put the bitter in
to bitter-beer. Usage of hops can also give a longer life to
the finished brew as well as a decent head. Only one bit of
advice on the usage of hops though - evacuate the house prior
to use or take up pipe smoking for a day or so after. They stink
and the wife'll never forgive you!
still single... why do want to make beer?
usually comes out of a tap and is liquid in form, unless you
co-habit with sad brass monkeys! Ok, hardness and softness.
If the water in your area is 'Hard' ie a Ph value of above 7.5
then let the amount to be used stand for 24 hrs or so to soften
it. If the water is 'Soft' ie a Ph value of 5.5 or below then
add a small amount of Calcium Sulphate to increase its' Ph value.
Normally water with a Ph value between 6 and 7 (neutral) is
about right for most types of beer or ale. If you aren't sure
of what I'm talking about - just ignore and skip this bit.
on what type of yeast you use will depend on speed of fermentation,
the head and the flavour of the finished brew. Most people use
'Brewers Yeast' as this is made specially for brewing beers/ales.
The direction of fermentation is also due to the type of yeast
used, Brewers' = top down, Lager = bottom up. There are many
different types of yeast on the market and each one can affect
the fermentation process. Personally I use use Bakers Yeast
(the stuff to make dough rise for bread) as it ensures that
fermentation starts in the first place.
to anything else you must be certain that your equipment is
clean and sterile. The equipment you first need is :
Brew bin (3-5 gal. capacity)
Large 8pt (or larger) pan.
the pan add 4 pts. cold (or freshly boiled) water, pour in the
sugar (usually 1 Lb 8oz. min for a 5 gallon brew alcohol produced
is around 4%, you can increase it to 2 Lbs if you like it strong,
2Lb 3 oz.= Lunatic Broth!) in to the boiling water and stir
until fully disolved. To this soup add the malt extract - stir
again until disolved. It is at this point that the soup gets
to be named 'the wort' for reasons unknown by myself. Once disolved
you can add the flavourings of your choice closely followed
by the hops (2 - 3 oz. if used) - bring this to the boil and
keep it there for between 3 and 10 minutes (dependant on what
clarity of beer you require). Then leave to cool.
the brew bin add 2 gallons of cold water then add the hot wort
and stir so that a good mix is achieved - this is sufficient
for a 3 gallon (24 pint) batch - if you want to have a greater
capacity (5 gall.) add a further 12 pints of water; in doing
this last act your finished brew will be weaker by around 3%
alcohol/volume. At this point take a reading with your Hydrometer
and make a note of the specific gravity (usually in the order
of 1.030 or slightly above). Leave this too cool until the temperature
is between 18 and 24 degrees Centigrade, when the brew has achieved
this temperature you should add your favoured yeast. Cover and
the first 24 hours the brew should have started to ferment vigourously,
if it hasn't - move it to a warmer spot. If that still doesn't
do the job then take about a half pint of the wort, add two
or three teaspoons-full of sugar and add some more yeast, cover
and leave in a warm place (side of the cooker perhaps) for an
hour - after which the small amount of brew should be fizzing,
add this to the rest of the wort in the brew bin. Cover and
leave for between 3 and 10 days.
the fermentation has stopped, ie. no more bubbles rising or
a reading of between 1.000 and 1.005 on your hydometer, then
the beer/ale is ready to either be syphoned (syphon tube should
also be clean and sterile) in to a clean and sterile barrel
or into bottles (also clean and sterile).
it is a barrel then add half an ounce of sugar per gallon of
beer, upto a maximum of 2 ounces, stir well and secure (smear
the srew thread with some petrolium jelly or vaseline - it makes
it easier to remove when you clean it again) the top. Leave
in a warm area for 3 - 4 days before moving to a cool place
for 3 - 4 weeks or as long as you can wait to drink it.
the other hand if it is bottles you are using then make sure
they all are clean and sterile, add a teaspoon of sugar to each
bottle (if they are pints, a half teaspoon if they are half-pints)
and fill to within one inch of the rim, then cap or cork. Just
a little advice here, if you over-prime (too much sugar) your
lovely bottles will have a smashing time pretty soon (see note
below or just read on). When capping it is best to get a proper
capping tool rather than a hand capper and a mallet - if you
ever saw the mess I got into - glass and flat beer everywhere
- we needed a new carpet! Once again, like the barrel leave
them covered (they need to be covered with a cloth or towel)
this is purely a safety procedure to ensure the safety of yourself
and those around you (see safety note below). After said time
move them somewhere cool. The beer/ale should be ready for drinking
after a week or so but is better to leave for several weeks
(after testing of course :-)) for the brew to mature.
I hear you asking - why don't you just barrel - surely it is
easier? The easy answer is 'yes' it is easier, but through all
extra work with using bottles the beer does get to taste better
and has a longer life expectancy than in a barrel or keg.