How To Brew Beer At Home

October 4, 2009 by  

        A friend of mine has produced a very complete and easy to follow tutorial about the basics of brewing your own beer at home. The video is clear, succinct and takes you from adding your first drop of water to sipping your brew in about 7 minutes. The text below the video is much less complete than the dialogue of the video, but it may help you to follow along.

        Start by adding 3 fresh gallons of water to your kettle.  Place the steeping grains in the water while it’s (the water) still cold.  The type of grain you use will in large part determine the final color and flavor of your beer.

        Once you’ve added your grains, bring on the heat and bring the water to 155 degrees F (68 C).  25 minutes is best.  Remove grains before temperature reaches 180 F.  180F will cause the husks of the grain will impart their tannins into the brew and will give it astringent qualities.

        Whether you use liquid or powdered malt, be sure to stir the wort vigorously to prevent the malt from burning to the bottom of your kettle.  Turn off the heat while adding the malt if you don’t have an assistant.

        About ten minutes after adding the malt, as the wort begins to boil, a layer of foam will develop that will boil over unless you either remove the kettle from the heat or tame the foam with a spray bottle.

        The proteins will coagulate; sink to the bottom become cloudy

        After about ten more minutes, the foam will disappear and you can now add your hops.

        Once you’ve added your hops, set your timer for 60 minutes.

        As the pot boils you may need to scrape the hops from side of the kettle to keep them in the wort.

        DO NOT COVER THE KETTLE!

        At the 55 minute mark add some more hops.  This final addition of hops gives your beer a fantastic aroma.

        At the end of the boil it is very important to cool your wort as quickly as possible.  Your brew can grow hazardous bacteria below 140F which is why cooling quickly in an ice bath or using an immersion wort chiller is imperative.  Do not cool your wort by letting it sit out at room temperature.

        After the boil the wort will have very little oxygen so it must be oxygenated by using a sterile whisk or by vigorously pouring the wort into the carboy.  The colder your wort is, the better it will absorb oxygen.  This is important because more oxygen makes it easier for the soon to be added yeast to take hold and absorb to its environment.

        Add cold water to the wort (which at this point is in the carboy) to bring the total volume to 5 gallons and a temperature between 65F and 75F.

        Add your yeast, top with an airlock and go to bed…  In other words, after adding yeast, don’t mess it!

        Primary fermentation takes about a week.  You will know (in about a week) that it’s time to siphon your brew into another carboy when it bubbles once every 90 seconds.

        While making this transfer, you want to keep oxygen AWAY from the wort, so be gentle and don’t splash it around.

        After transfer to the secondary fermenter, you can forget about it for the next few weeks.

        After those  few weeks you can either bottle or keg your beer.

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