Your complete recipe should have:
- a bag of crushed grain
- disposable cheese cloth bag
- malt extract
- hop pellets (1-3 bags)
- Dried yeast
- small bag of bottling (corn) sugar
You’ll also need:
- large pot
- standard beer making equipment
You should read the instructions before you begin because there are "tips" listed throughout that you might want to consider.
STEP 1Heat 7 litres of cold water in your brew pot until it is too hot to touch, but not boiling. Remove the pot from the heat. Pour the crushed grain into the cheese cloth bag and tie the top so the grains are not packed too tightly. Now immerse the cheese cloth bag into the water and steep it for 20 minutes... just like making tea. (The ideal steeping temperature is 155F but an educated guess will do.) Remove the bag of specialty grains and throw it in your compost.
Remember: DON'T BOIL THE GRAINS
Add all malt extract (and glucose or honey if any) to the water and stir well to dissolve. Put the pot back on the heat and bring mixture (wort) to a boil. Be careful not to boil over! Add your first addition of hops (Boiling hops) and start your 30 minute boil. Stir occasionally to avoid scorching.
STEP 3 - HOP ADDITIONS
This step tells you at what point during the boil to add the various hops in your recipe. Hops added at various times during the boil will have different effects to the finished beer. Note: If your recipe happens to contain gypsum, add it to the boil with the boiling hops.
All recipes have boiling (bittering) hops to balance the sweetness of the malt. The hops listed in your recipe as boiling hops should be added as soon as the boil begins, and boiled with the wort for a full 30 minutes to extract the bitterness from the hops.
Depending on the beer style you are making, your recipe might have flavour hops. This addition is designed to give the flavour of the hops you are using to the beer you are making. They will not contribute substantially to the bitterness because they are not boiled long enough. Add these hops during the last 8 minutes of your boil.
If the recipe you are using has finishing hops, add these hops during the last 1 minute of the boil. This addition should give you the aroma of fresh hops in your beer while not contributing much to the flavour or bitterness.
Upon completion of the boil, pour hot wort into primary fermenter containing about 5 litres of very cold water. It is not necessary to strain the hops as they will settle out later. Top up the primary fermenter to the 23 litre mark with more very cold water. As soon as you can get the temperature down below 30 degrees C (the sooner the better) it is time to add your yeast. Note: placing the hot pot in a sink full of cold water and stirring for a few minutes can be an effective way of getting the temperature down before pouring it into the primary fermenter.
STEP 5 - PITCHING DRIED YEAST
In a sterile cup or bottle, add ¾ of a cup of luke warm water (30-35 degrees C). Sprinkle the yeast from the packet into the water and cover it for 10 minutes. Now stir it and pour the slurry into the unfermented beer. Mix well. Place the lid on top of the fermenter (don’t snap it down). Keep it in an area where you can maintain a constant temperature of 18-23 degrees C. (Hotter is definitely not better.)
Note: Even better results can be obtained by using pure liquid yeast cultures. Ask for details.
In approximately 12-24 hours you should see evidence of yeast activity in the form of a layer of foam (called kraeusen) covering the surface of the beer. In about 2-3 days, you will notice that the foam will begin to change in appearance, developing holes, and starting to collapse. It is now time to transfer (rack) the beer into the secondary fermenter. Note: Neglecting to rack at this time can be hazardous to your beer and you should never let the beer sit in the pail for more than 5 days.Note: Neglecting to rack at this time can be hazardous to your beer and you should never let the beer sit in the pail for more than 5 days.
Gently siphon the beer into the secondary fermenter being careful not to disturb the sediment. Avoid splashing the beer at this stage by placing the end of the siphon hose at the bottom of the receiving vessel. Add some water to your airlock and attach it to the secondary. Maintain the same temperature and provide a dark environment for this stage of the process. Do not remove the airlock again until bottling day or spoiled beer could result.
In about 7 to 10 days you will notice that the release of carbon dioxide through the airlock has slowed considerably or stopped completely. The beer is now ready to bottle, but can sit for a few more days if your not in a hurry. On bottling day, check the specific gravity with a hydrometer. Make sure that your final reading is below 1.020 and that the beer appears stable. (very little activity in the airlock)
STEP 9 - BOTTLING
Bulk Priming- Boil your bottling sugar (small bag of white powder) in 1 cup of water on the stove. Pour this mixture into your sterilized, plastic, empty fermenting pail. Now gently rack (syphon) the beer into the plastic bucket. Gently stir the beer to dissolve the sugar mixture into the beer. Syphon the beer into bottles to within 1½ inches from the top. (A ‘bottle filling attachment’ for your syphon hose works best. Ask for details)
Keep the beer at room temperature for 7 to 10 days. Next, move the beer to a cooler location and start to enjoy. Remember, most beer will continue to improve for the next month or so. Cheers!!!
Beer Colour tip: During the boiling stage, holding half of the malt extract back until the end of the boil can give you a lighter colored beer. This method is useful when making light lagers and lighter coloured wheat beers and ales.
Cheers and Happy Brewing!