Let’s tackle Homebrewing. A few people have asked me how to start Homebrewing so here it is. I’ll start with the absolute basic, cheapest and easiest way to get into Homebrewing. Then in the next post we’ll get a little more fancy before finishing with how to make an All Grain batch of beer, after that you should be able to start a Brewery (maybe).
So in this post we are going to explore Liquid Malt Extract kits. You can pick them up for around $20 and are a great way to start your Homebrewing adventure. Beer is made of four basic ingredients Malted Barley, Hops, Yeast & Water. This kit will take care of this first three for you. The Liquid Malt is already Hopped and the Yeast is packaged on the top of the can.
So the only thing we need to add is Water. Now in the local area that I live the Water is extremely hard, so using this to brew Beer is a bad idea as I found out the hard way (pun intended). The best thing to do is to purchase Water from a Water store, Spring Water is best or any Water that hasn’t been completely stripped of its minerals. You will need to pick up two carboys as they are usually 18L and we need to use around 23L.
We now have all the ingredients to brew up some Beer so now we need to find the equipment to do it. As this is the most basic way to start we don’t need much, just a Pot, a measuring Jug and a Fermenter (bucket). If you’re reading this you are probably already thinking about taking up Homebrewing as a Hobby so I will recommend that you buy a starter kit that will have everything you need for your first brew. Here’s one from Ontario Beer Kegs that has the Equipment for your first brew plus there are some other kits depending on how much you want to spend. For this style of Kit you only need to heat up a little amount of water so I would hold off buying a huge Pot just yet.
We now have everything we need to make the Beer so how do we do it? Don’t worry this is such an easy way to start it will take you less than an hour. The Liquid Malt Extract kits usually have the Instructions written on the back but I will run through them as well.
Firstly we need to Sanitize everything that will touch the Beer (Cleanliness is like the 5th ingredient of beer). Sanitizer will come with the Fermenter kit you purchase or you can pick some up at any Homebrew store. In this case it will basically be the Fermenter and a Spoon we will use for stirring. Read the directions on the back of the Sanitizer and apply accordingly. Don’t worry about getting infections it’s is very difficult to get one and has only happened to myself a couple of times out of hundreds of brews, just relax and have fun.
Next take the Water and warm up 2L in a pot. Whilst you are heating up the water take the can of Liquid Malt Extract and take off the cap on the top. You’ll find the Yeast under here, put that to one side for later. Put the uncapped can of Liquid Malt Extract into a bowl of Warm water. The Liquid Malt Extract is like Molasses so if we warm it up a little it will help give us an easier pour.
Once the Water has warmed up (I usually take it up to just about boiling) pour it into the Fermenter. Then take the can of Malt Extract open it and start pouring it in. It will go quite slowly so be sure to stir it as it hits the Water. Get as much as the Liquid Malt Extract out of the can as possible an make sure it is evenly stirred. Congratulations you just made your first Wort (more on that as we progress)! Now at this point you can add around 1KG of Sugar into the mix if you like it’s not necessary though, this will pump up the Alcohol content and make the Beer a little sweeter. Regular Sugar is fine to use as is Brown Sugar or Baking Sugar.
We will now add about 16L of Water, the rest of the 18L carboy basically and stir the whole thing up again. Once you are Happy that it nice and even top up the Fermenter up to 23L. Now take the Yeast we put to one side and sprinkle on top as evenly as possible. Add the lid of your fermenter and that’s it you’ve made your first Beer!
You’re Fermenter will have an Air Lock on the top, be sure to fill this up with a little Water. This is so the CO2 that the Yeast creates as a by product during fermentation can escape out but any nasty stuff can’t get it.
After about 24hrs you will see the Air lock begin to bubble, if you don’t give the Fermenter a little shake. The bubbling is a shore sign the Fermentation is under way. After 5-7 Days this bubbling will slow or completely stop. Then we are ready for Bottling but we will take a look at how to Bottle the beer in the next post.
This post was Just a quick and basic guide to making your first Batch of Beer, I have left a lot of the more complicated things out of this post but we will pick these things up as we go along. I have also included this instruction video below to give a visual guide on how to do this style of kit. If you still have any question either leave me a comment or contact me on Twitter or Facebook