If you like beer and you’ve wondered how to make your own beer, it’s not as difficult as you might think. Consider all of the micro breweries that have popped up in eating establishments the past few years.
The equipment that you’ll need to make your own beer will include: a large ‘brewing’ pot, a 6 to 10 gallon sturdy plastic bucket with a lid that fits, a siphon hose and hose clamp, bottles or jars with tight fitting lids. After you have washed your equipment in hot soapy water, sanitize everything with bleach water then rinse in scalding hot water. This is as important as the actual brewing itself, perhaps even more important.
Once you’ve readied your equipment, you can start to make your own beer.
First, take about 2.5 gallons of water and chill it in a separate container. While that is chilling, add a 40 ounce can of malt extract to 3.5 gallons of water and boil for about thirty to forty five minutes. At this time, add six cups of sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
After the sugar is dissolved, put the chilled water into the bucket first, then add your heated mixture. Immediately, before the air that was generated in pouring the liquid has had a chance to settle, add a package of dry brewers yeast, and do not stir the mixture.
Put the lid loosely on the bucket. If you secure the lid, at this stage, there will be no where for the carbon dioxide gas to escape and this might cause quite a mess. Set the bucket out of the way, as it will take a week and a half to two weeks for the beer to be ready to bottle. Be sure the lid remains on the bucket during the ‘waiting’ period.
To determine if your brew is ready to bottle, take your sterilized siphon hose and extract just enough brew to give it a taste test. Your beer should not taste sweet and there should be little, if any, bubble activity in the beer.
Now, time to sterilize the receptacles in which to place the beer. Whether you’re recycling plastic liter bottles or using quart canning jars, your containers should be pre-washed with hot soapy water, and sterilized with bleach water rinsed in very hot water.
All of the instruments that will come in contact with the beer will need to be sterilized in the same fashion.
Put about two level teaspoons of sugar into each receptacle and begin to siphon your brew into each receptacle, carefully avoiding the sediment at the bottom of your brew bucket.
Be careful not to swirl or stir the beer very much, as you are filling your receptacles, so the brew doesn’t become oxidated which will give it a cardboard taste.
Keep the siphon tube toward the bottom of your receptacle during the transfer of the brew, so the beer does not froth. Be sure to leave sufficient airspace at the top of each receptacle screw the lids on tightly, once each have been filled.
Now, turn the receptacle upside down and gently shake, to dissolve the sugar at the bottom. Set each receptacle in a cool dark spot and leave them for another week or so. The longer the brew ages, the better it will taste.
Now you can plan an evening of fun, gather a few friends and make your own beer.