your favourite beer is becoming a favourite pastime for many people of all ages
and many varied backgrounds. Here at Burleigh Homebrew we have most of the ways
and means to begin. It doesn’t have to take too much of your time and is a
great hobby that has an enjoyable reward at the end of the process. It also
gives you a warm fuzzy feeling of being proud of yourself after creating your
own beer, you could even start referring to yourself as a brewmaster!
point in time Home Brewing shops have access to beer making ingredients from
all over the world. Ingredients including Malts of all varieties. Hops that
have been grown in America, England, Germany, Czechoslovakia, New Zealand and
Australia. Dry and liquid yeasts of all different strains from all the major
suppliers. There are even adjuncts such as dry enzyme and finings available.
beer can be as easy or as complicated as you want. Homebrewing companies such
as Coopers/Morgans/Mangrove Jacks/Blackrock etc have made it easy for those
brewers who haven’t the time or inclination to create a beer from scratch. They
have mastered the process of combining all the ingredients and reducing them
into convenient 1.5kg cans of hopped specific extract brew. From a lager, an
Ale to a stout to name a few, at their breweries they combine a mashed
combination of malt, water and hops to boil up a brew of specific taste. It is
then place in a vacuum to allow it to be reduced to these concentrated 1.5kg cans
ingredients they use in all the brews has improve immensely from the old days.
If your experience with homebrew in the past was a taste of bananas or was basically
unpleasant then it must have been a while ago. Homebrew beer nowadays can be
made to commercial/craft beer quality.
Try and get
a sample from a friend or go to your local homebrew shop. Here at Burleigh
Homebrew we will always have a beer on tap for you to taste.
Now to the
varied processes of making your beer at home.
using the 1.5kg cans of hopped extract only have to mix some fermentable
sugar/malts and warm water for dissolving to the canned extract, mix vigorously,
sprinkle the yeast on top and leave to ferment for 7-10 days. Your homebrew has
been created. The chemical reaction of yeast and sugar takes place to produce
an amazing specific beer of your choosing. Once fermentation is finished there is the process
of either bottling or kegging. In the bottles it will need to be carbonated
(secondary carbonation), this is done by adding 8gms of sugar for each litre of
brew. The kegs can be force carbonated with CO2.
would be at a drinkable stage after 2 weeks but would still be green, a term
used to describe it of not being ripe or mature. For best results the beer will
get better with age, 1 month- 2 months or for even better tasting beer 3 months
There are numerous
ways to augment the basic procedure described above to enhance the overall beer
quality and all of them are rather simple and they won’t add much time to the
better yeast that goes with the particular style of beer is probably the best
way to take your brew from a good one to a great one. As I have mentioned
previously Homebrewers nowadays are blessed with the quality of good yeasts
that are available to them and there is a diverse number of different strains
that can be used in your brew.
whether used for bittering, finishing or dry hopping can be added to the
brewing process to enhance your brew. Steeping the hops in boiling water will
extract bitterness, in water that is hot will extract mostly flavour and
throwing the hops in the fermenter 3+ days after your fermenting begins will
extract the hop’s aromas. Here at Burleigh Homebrew we have 20+ hop varieties
available from all over the world.
to give your beer a kick is to steep a small amount of freshly cracked
grain/malt. This process is simple and only adds about half an hour or so to
your brewing process. It entails, getting hold of about 500gms of your
favourite speciality grain. This could be a crystal style malt, (very popular)
a chocolate or even a roasted style malt for your stouts and porters. Just
place it in a bag and lightly crack the grain, using a rolling pin should
suffice. The quickest way to infuse the flavours is to steep the grain in a pot
in a couple of litres of water that has a temperature between 65-70 degrees for
about half an hour. The other way is to just use tap water and leave it in your
fridge overnight. You can place it a bag of muslin cloth or something similar
or just run the liquid grain mix through a sieve into your fermenter when
you’re making up the brew. This will give your beer a freshness that takes it
over and above the ordinary brew.
When all the
ingredients are mixed well with water and placed into your fermenter, the
amount of water to add -in most cases- to your fermenter should total 23litres.
It is important at this stage to mix all the ingredients thoroughly to aerate
the wort. The optimal temperature to pitch yeast for most brews is around the 22-23-degree
mark (there will be information on the packet, but you’ll get away with it being
between 20 to 30 degrees). Don’t pitch the yeast if the wort is over 30 degrees
as there is a chance of yeast failure. There are also different methods to introduce/prepare the yeast for pitching which
we will cover in later posts.
All there is
to do now is to seal the fermenter and take a gravity reading with your
hydrometer. There are some long-time brewers that say they don’t use the
hydrometer, but my advice is to use it, the hydrometer is your friend. Not only
by taking a reading at the start and the end of the fermenting process will it
give you the alcohol content, most importantly it will give you the vital info
that the brewing/fermenting process is complete. By taking a reading two days
in a row at the end of brewing, which is usually day 7 during the warm months
and day 9 during the colder months. So, for example on day 9 your reading is
1.008, take another reading the next day if it’s the same reading, 1.008 then
fermentation is complete, it’s ‘cooked’.
Your brew has gone through the natural
chemical reaction of yeast converting sugar to alcohol.
That is the initial
and simplest way (with a few small upgrades) to create a homebrew beer and is
recommended that the beginner ‘gets his feet wet’ by doing the first couple of
brews in this manner.
an idea of how it all works together.
that wasn’t mentioned and is probably the number 1 rule when Homebrewing beer
or doing anything that involves yeast and fermenting: Sanitization! As the
yeast will react with the sugars so it will react with bacteria. Make sure
every container and utensil you are using in the beer making process is
sanitized. It’s just a matter of common sense and cleanliness, wash your hands
prior to starting.
the adventurous/creative type you can then experiment with partial brewing
using grain and unhopped extract and once you have that mastered this process and
your beers are amazing, heaven forbid you can move on to all grain brewing,
just as they do in the breweries.
discuss these other methods of brewing in later posts.
Burleigh Homebrew we strive to maintain a fresh and abundant supply of
everything you would need to homebrew beer in the most popular styles of beer
and methods of brewing. We are also available to give you advice on how to make
your Homebrewing experience an enjoyable and successful one. You won’t get any of
that advice from one of the conglomerate’s supermarkets or bottleshops that
carry a limited range of homebrewing ingredients. Keep that in mind when you
are in the market for purchasing any homebrew supplies.
local Homebrew store.