Step-by-step guide: How to make my own beer

Overview

Beer may seem like a complicated product to make, because the original ingredients, dry grain and simple water, appear to almost magically turn into an alcoholic, crisp and amber beverage, with fizz from nowhere and a cloudy, fluffy head to top it. On the contrary, although making a top-notch beer may require uncommon skills and technique, with the simplest of equipment, a homebrewer can make a very drinkable beer in his or her own home.

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Equipment

Source each piece of brewing equipment from brewing shops or as a brewing kit. A 25 litre bucket with a tight lid is essential, as this is the vessel in which the ingredients will ferment together. A siphoning tube is also essential, as is a long stirrer to mix the ingredients together. After the fermentation process in the bucket is complete, you will then need a set of glass bottles and caps to seal the bottles closed. For a batch of about 25 litres, you will need about 75 bottles of 330ml in volume.

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Sterilisation

Clean all of your pieces of equipment with a food-grade sterilisation solution, which can be obtained from brewing shops as tablets to be dissolved in water. This is necessary to kill off any microorganisms on the equipment which may interfere with the ability of the brewing yeast to convert sugar to alcohol.

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Ingredients

Source a brewing kit from a brewing shop. These kits commonly are made up of a grain source like malt extract and a sachet of yeast. Some include a sugar source for the yeast to convert to alcohol, but some simply require you to add your own sugar. Mix up the grain product and the sugar in the amounts specified on the brewing kit, and place in the bucket. Stir up the dry ingredients with about 3 litres of hot water, and then fill the bucket to a few centimetres (roughly 1 inch) with cold water.

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Fermentation

Open the yeast packet and sprinkle the contents on top of the warm concoction in the bucket. Stir the yeast into the liquid and then close the lid loosely over the bucket. Let the bucket sit in a warm place such as a kitchen for four to six days without opening the lid. Some brewing kits may require a seven to ten day fermentation.

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Siphoning

Open the fermentation bucket and siphon off the liquid into the bottles, leaving a headspace of about 5 cm (2 inches). The bucket bottom will be covered in sediment so the siphon is a way of removing the liquid without mixing in sediment into the finished beer. Close the bottles securely with the bottle caps and store upright for two weeks or more in a cool place like a basement until it is ready to be popped open and drunk.

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