$.50 a beer? No, it isn't a bar about to lose its liquor license. If that's peaked your interest, you're going to want to check out this series.
Today is Part 2 of the Frugal Family Times "Making Beer at Home" series: Simple, Foolproof Brewing. (If you missed Part 1: Simple, Foolproof Equipment, you can get caught up here). Below are the basics for making a non-concentrated beer kit. Concentrated ones are basically the same, but imagine some boiling and mixing and measuring before you get to Step 1 below. If you want more info on choosing your kit - again, Part 1 of the series has some background and sources.
So let's get started...
This is me making a super hoppy Pale Ale from Festa-Brew.
The Steps for Brewing:
1. Pop the cap on your big bag of beer Wort. It is 23 litres of liquid, so have it up high to pour.
2. I position my Primary Fermenter in a laundry tub and gradually tip the beer bag (in a box; alliteration!) over until it starts pouring.
3. Pour a little bit of wort (or water) into the measuring cup. Sprinkle the yeast into it to hydrate it.
This is really a chance to see if your yeast is alive. I have had exactly 1 bad pack of yeast in 16 years (and I likely screwed it up), but still, it is nice to check and see it foam up and start to turn sugar into alcohol.
Nice work little guys.
4. Mix up and pour your yeast slurry into your fermenter. Attach whatever lid your Primary Fermenter came with and fill the airlock with some boiled water or metabisulphite solution.
It now will sit for 3-5 days and bubble away, turning lots of sweet into lots of booze.
1. Wait 5 days (or whenever your jug stops bubbling regularly).
Those who are really picky can use a Hydrometer (a fancy measuring tool that comes with most home-brew and home-wine making kits). Hydrometers measure how much sugar is still left in your beer. More sugar = less alcohol, so you want it to read "0" before racking. I have one and rarely use it, but some of you may like the certainty it provides.
2. Elevate your Primary Fermenter and place the glass carboy below it. Mine has a block of wood under the front to angle it back. This is to make the siphoning go easier and make for less manual tilting of the jug to try and get the last little bit out of the bottom.
3. Start a siphon running from the Primary Fermenter. This is one area I did not photograph, but I definitely
4. Elevate your glass carboy, attach a stopper and airlock full of boiled water or Metabisulphite solution. Wait for a further 7-10 days to finish fermenting and let the yeast settle out.
That funny red handle on my Carboy? I added a handle to make lifting it easier. Not a necessity (so don't panic if your beginner kit doesn't have one), but makes things easier.
Next time I will discuss how to bottle your beer.
Your homework is to drink enough empties for 60 bottles of beer.
For the people who don't enjoy this, I will also be tackling kegging in the near future too. But first things first - the yeast has to finish its work.
What is your favourite brew to enjoy with a summer BBQ?
Any questions so far?
The Make Beer at Home Series:Part 1: Simple, Foolproof Equipment
Part 2: Simple, Foolproof Brewing
Part 3: Bottling