Geordie is a company that makes a line of home-brew kits featuring well-hopped lagers and bitters. The kits consist of malt extract syrup in a can, plus a packet of yeast. With sanitary equipment, fresh clean water and about two months of bottling time, you can make 40 pints (five gallons) of crisp, refreshing beer.
Sanitise your equipment by scrubbing your glass carboy, plastic bucket, rubber stopper and plastic tubing with a solution of one cup bleach to one gallon of water, using the bristle brush. Failure to clean the equipment of bacteria can result in nasty-tasting beer, as well as possible gushers---bottles of beer that froth and foam uncontrollably.
Pour two gallons of clean, cold water into your stock pot and bring to a rolling boil. Tap water is fine, since you'll be boiling the brew. This will kill any lingering bacteria in the water.
Empty the can of Geordie malt extract into the boiling water, adding some hot water to the can and swirling it around to remove as much of the malt extract as possible.
Reduce heat to a slow boil and allow the malt extract and water to brew for 20 minutes. Extend the brewing time up to one hour for a richer flavour. Then cover the pot and allow to cool.
Pour three gallons of clean, cold water into your sanitised glass carboy, then add the boiled malt extract (called wort) from your stockpot using a funnel. This should bring your five-gallon carboy almost to the full mark on the bottom of the bottle neck. Add more water if necessary to reach five gallons.
Check the temperature by dipping your sanitised thermometer into the carboy so that the bottom of the thermometer is in the malt liquid. Once it reads about 18 degrees Celsius, add the packet of yeast that came with the kit and gently agitate the wort to stir in the yeast. It may take two hours or more for the wort to cool to 18 degrees C, but be patient! If you add the yeast (this is called "pitching") before the temperature cools to 18 degrees C, you may not activate the yeast or kill the yeast culture, and this will prevent your beer from fermenting and carbonating.
If you have a spare refrigerator, you can remove the shelves and place the carboy inside to chill the wort faster.
Attach the rubber stopper fitted with a plastic hose into the mouth of the carboy, then set the other end of the plastic hose in a bucket. The bucket is used to catch blow-off---the foamy mix that will rise from the carboy through the plastic tube while your beer is fermenting.
After one day, replace the plastic hose with an airlock. This is a plastic, pretzel-shaped tube filled with water. The airlock fits in the hole of the rubber stopper, which in turn seals in the neck of the carboy. An airlock is a one-way system that allows excess gas to escape the fermenting wort, without allowing any contaminants from the outside air to get into your carboy and spoil the flavour of your brew.
Check every couple of days to see if the airlock on the carboy has stopped bubbling and gurgling. Your initial fermentation should be complete in one week.
Siphon your beer from the carboy into the sanitised plastic food bucket. It helps to put the carboy on a kitchen counter with the bucket on the floor below it.
An easy way to siphon is to fill a sanitised plastic hose with clean water. Place your thumbs over either end of the hose, then quickly insert one end of the hose into the neck of the carboy on your kitchen counter. Lower the hose almost to the bottom of the carboy, taking care not to disrupt the sediment that has built up on the bottom. Then take the other end of your hose, lower it to the bottom of the plastic bucket on the floor and release your thumb. Beer should begin siphoning immediately into the plastic bucket. If the siphoning stops or you accidentally jostle the plastic hose, just repeat the process by filling the hose with water and following the step again.
Pour one cup boiling water mixed with one cup brewer's sugar into the food bucket holding the beer and stir with the sanitised plastic spoon. Let it rest for 15 minutes with the lid on the bucket.
Brewer's sugar may come with your Geordie beer kit. If not, you can buy brewer's sugar at home-brew supply shops and online retailers dedicated to home brewers and winemakers. Do not substitute granular table sugar in your brew as it is overly sweet and may over-carbonate the beer.
Boil your bottle caps for five minutes in a saucepan while you sanitise the tubing for bottling your beer. Use the caps that came with your original kit or buy replacement caps from a home-brew supply shop.
Clean and sanitise your beer bottles in bleach solution and rinse thoroughly with cold water in a clean sink. Alternatively, some home brewers run their glass bottles through the heavy-duty cycle in the dishwasher, allow them to cool on the racks, then bottle their beer.
Siphon your beer from the food bucket into each pint bottle one at a time, then cap the bottles. A bottling tube is a handy device. This hard plastic tube contains a spring-loaded valve on one end, which opens when the tube is pressed inside the bottom of a bottle, allowing you to fill a bottle of beer from the bottom up. The tube fits over the end of the clear, plastic hose you used for siphoning the beer from the carboy to the plastic bucket and then on to bottling.
Cap the bottles using the sanitised bottle caps that you boiled in step 11 and a bottle capper if you are using glass bottles. Just screw on the caps if you are using plastic caps that came with the original kit. Bottling and capping will take a little more than an hour -- about 45 minutes to bottle 40 pint-sized bottles and 15 to 20 minutes to cap them.
Some home brewers graduate quickly to larger bottles to reduce the time spent bottling and capping their beer, since it takes less time to cap 20 quart bottles than 40 pint bottles.
Store your bottled beer in a cool, dry, dark space for at least two weeks and up to two months for optimal flavour.
Chill beer. Open a bottle of your beer and pour slowly into a glass mug, taking care not to pour out the natural sediment that has accumulated at the bottom of the bottle. There's no harm if a little sediment gets in the glass and it won't hurt if you drink it, although it will impart a yeasty taste. The yeast in homemade beer is rich in Vitamin B complex, which is one remedy for a hangover if you drink too much home brew.
Try recipes for adding hops and malted grains to the basic Geordie beer kit to bring out new flavours and create different styles of beer.
Clean equipment produces clean-tasting beer. Any non-sanitised items, even a spoon, that come into contact with the beer can potentially introduce bacteria and ruin the entire batch. Do not add more brewer's sugar than recommended before bottling your beer. The sugar reacts with the remaining yeast culture to produce carbon dioxide that naturally carbonates your beer. Too much sugar can cause enough pressure to explode glass bottles.
Tips and warnings
- Try recipes for adding hops and malted grains to the basic Geordie beer kit to bring out new flavours and create different styles of beer.
- Clean equipment produces clean-tasting beer. Any non-sanitised items, even a spoon, that come into contact with the beer can potentially introduce bacteria and ruin the entire batch.
- Do not add more brewer's sugar than recommended before bottling your beer. The sugar reacts with the remaining yeast culture to produce carbon dioxide that naturally carbonates your beer. Too much sugar can cause enough pressure to explode glass bottles.
Things you need
- Geordie beer kit
- Though kits come with plastic bottles, the seasoned brewer may prefer glass for durability and ease of cleaning.
- 14-quart stockpot
- Home brewers' supplies, including a five-gallon carboy, rubber stopper and plastic tubing, two cases of glass pint bottles, bottling caps and capper, food-grade plastic bucket, and brewing thermometer
- Long-handled plastic spoon
- Long-handled nylon bristle brush