Home-brewing includes making a wide range of beverages, however, beer as the all-time favourite alcoholic drink is the choice of many homebrewers. After all, with beer, you can experiment and create your own unique kraft-style tastes. If you’re considering getting into the homebrewing game and impressing your friends with the best beer they’ve ever tasted, then you need the knowledge and the right equipment for the job. Here are the basics of the beer brewing experience at home.
The Brewing Equipment You Need
This is the basis for most home brewing systems on the market. A beer kit will include all of the components needed to produce a beer, often a can of malt extract with hop oils and a yeast sachet. All you have to do is combine the hot and cold water in the specified ratio and volume, add the yeast, and let the chemical reaction do its thing.
A fermentation bucket is required to ferment your mixed ingredients with the help of home brewing systems. It’s best to purchase a bucket with a lid, as leaving it open to the air is not advised, and covering it with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap is not a good way to keep your brew safe. For a few extra dollars, you can get fermenting buckets with an airlock built into the lid. Keep in mind that bottling will require lifting the bucket to allow room beneath for the bottles.
To make the best of home brewing systems, brewers need a sanitized long-handled stirrer, preferably in stainless steel. Use of wooden utensils is not recommended since they may harbour microorganisms that could contaminate your brew.
The Process of Fermentation
Fit the lid on and ensure sure the airlock is firmly placed once the kit has been assembled and the yeast has been injected as directed. You need to ensure that there is no direct air connection with the bucket’s interior. If you overfill it, the escaping fermentation gas will blow it out.
Keep the fermenting bucket out of direct sunlight and in a temperature range of 17C to 25C. Fermentation generates heat, so the bucket will gradually warm up as the process begins. This is normal, but if the fermentation is so active that it is butting up against the lid or even forcing it open, moist cloths wrapped over the bucket’s body will help calm it down. Brewing in hot weather can be challenging since the high ambient temperatures help the yeast too much, and a fermentation that is excessively quick and too intense is likely to give off unpleasant flavours.
Fermentation normally takes a day or two to become noticeable and can be seen mostly by the big head of dense foam that forms on top of the liquid, as well as a steady bubbling from the airlock as excess carbon dioxide is squeezed out. The rate of bubbling will reduce with the foam and after roughly a week, the bubbling will halt. This indicates that the fermentation is complete and that you are ready to bottle. If you have a hydrometer, you can monitor the results of the fermentation and the final alcohol level with greater certainty, but it is not needed with kit brewing.
Prime Your Beer
You can prime your beer in two ways: by the bottle or by batch. Priming is the process of adding a little sugar to packaged beer to give it enough fuel to make it bubble. It shouldn’t change the alcohol levels, and as long as the sugar is distributed uniformly, it won’t cause over-carbonation or explode bottles. 5g of sugar per litre of beer is a safe amount to use and will provide a pleasing amount of sparkling effect
Make a priming syrup with the same weight of boiling water and the complete amount of sugar for the batch. This is 100g of sugar with 100ml of water for a 20-litre batch. Pour this into the second vessel and decant the beer into it, taking care to leave the sediment behind and to avoid any beer splashing. You don’t want to agitate, excite, or splash the beer because you want to reduce oxygen intake and the danger of infection, both of which are enhanced by excessive air exposure. With a short, gentle swirl with a sanitized spoon or stirrer, you’re ready to fill without priming each bottle individually.
Time to Bottle it Up
When the fermenting process is complete, the beverage must be bottled using your brewing equipment. The most convenient way to fill is with a bottle filling stick attached to the tap. An auto-siphon is a good alternative if you don’t have a tap on the fermenting bucket.
The bottle should be capped once it has been filled halfway up the neck. A hand capper is significantly less expensive than a fixed capper. The standard crown cap in the UK is 26mm, while Belgian style bottles have larger ones. Caps are single-use yet inexpensive, therefore it’s important to practice capping a few times as there is a trick to it.
In a nutshell, that’s all you need to produce a 20-litre batch of beer using minimal equipment. Once you have the home brewing equipment, each consecutive batch can reuse the kit, substantially lowering the cost of your homemade beer. If you want, you can create your own recipes rather than using kits, and if you progress beyond malt extract to grain, the possibilities of flavours are infinite.