How to brew beer at home?
For those among us for whom beer is not just a social drink but an elixir to savor and stock, home brewing can be a very interesting project that once mastered has potential economic benefits too (homemade beer is way cheaper than commercial beer). Many feel it is not possible to make beer at home; the truth is it is very much possible and simple too, I will show you how to brew beer at home in seven simple steps.
Home brewing beer is very similar in principle to the process used by commercial large scale breweries. So on to the process now:
• Add 3 gallons of fresh water to a kettle; preferably use bottled mineral water for this.
• Place the barley in a tissue or muslin bag (these are usually called steeping grains and readily available in the market) and immerse it in the cold water. Now turn on the heat and bring the water temperature to 150oF.
• Steep the grains at 150oF for 25mins. Maintain the water temperature between 150oF to 160oF constantly. Do not squeeze the grain bag, this will extract the tannins into your sweet wort.
• Now remove the grain bag from the water and heat the wort till it comes to rolling boil stage. Now remove the wort from the heat and add the malt extract to your wort – this will prevent the malt from burning. Stir vigorously to mix the malt into the wort and put the kettle on heat again.
• After 10 mins of boiling thick frothy foam forms, this can overflow from the kettle. Reduce the heat and keep stirring the wort to tame the foam.
• As the wort boils, proteins coagulate and settle down – this is called the “hot break”. Around 10 mins latter the frothy foam disappears. Once this occurs you are ready to add hops.
• Usually the hops are boiled for an hour in the wort. Do not cover the kettle during this process, this helps the sulfur compounds produced during the boiling to escape. Add some more hops are 5 mins before turning off the heat, this ensures that the volatile acids are extracted into the wort and gives an excellent aroma to the final brew.
• Now you need to cool the kettle as soon as possible. Quick chilling of the wort is essential. Commercial brewing techniques advanced insulators or immersion wort chillers. A good household method would be to place the kettle in a tub full of crushed ice and salt or holding the kettle in a refrigerator. Remember to ensure optimum sanitation and preferably use sterilized equipment only from this stage onwards.
• After cooling whisk the wort with a sterilized wisk to incorporate as much oxygen (essential for fermentation) as possible.
• Add sterilized water to the wort to make up the volume to 5 gallons maintaining the temperature at 55oF to 65oF during the process.
• Now you need a 6 gallon fermenter jar, brewing yeast, a tightly fitting rubber cork with a central hole and an air lock.
• Sterilize the fermenter jar and pour the chilled wort into it. Sprinkle the brewer yeast, seal it will the rubber cork and airlock half full with water. Set it to ferment in a cool and dry place. At times the fermentation might be so vigorous that the Kraussen (layer of froth at the top) might start to bubble out of the fermenter jar through the air lock. To prevent this attach a blow off tube and run the tube into a bucket set nearby.
• The primary fermentation is over once the bubbles rising into the air lock reduces to one in every 90secs it is time to siphon the beer into a secondary fermenter. This is done using a food grade siphon hose. Try not to disturb the sediment during the siphoning process.
• The secondary fermentation is an anaerobic process, so you make sure that your secondary fermenter has very little air into it and filling the ferementer almost to the brim. Allow the secondary fermentation to occur for few weeks.
Now all that’s left to do is to bottle your beer and savor it!
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