It’s Bucket List time and while number 15 obviously isn’t the first thing on my list to do it is the first accomplished. So how did I get here in this far out prohabition style homebrewing world I am in? Well, the same place anyone gets anywhere or learns anything nowadays, where else but the internet.
You see I never excelled in school, the apes always picked on me in gym and why does a monkey need to learn science? Well my friend I have learned that reason and it is the greatest reason of all – Beer. Homebrew is a mixture of cooking and science that results in drunken fun so easy that anyone can do it. So how do you do it?
Well first you need all the supplies; you can buy your own homebrew starter kit which traditionally comes with all you need equipment wise.
- 2 – Five gallon buckets with lid(s).
- Five Gallon bottling bucket with spigot – This one has a big hole on the bottom so you can fill up your bottles.
- Air lock – this goes on top of the lid to prevent the bad bacteria from coming in (the good bacteria gets you drunk)
- Racking Cane – This helps you siphon the beer from one bucket to the other
- Siphon Tube – average clear plastic hose
- Bottle Capper- so you can seal off your fresh delicious beer.
Other things that you will need to purchase
- Large 3 gallon cooking pot
- Large stirring spoon
- Sterilizing powder
- Malt and Malt Extract
- Bottles and bottle caps (around 55 is needed per batch)
- Bottling sugar
- Bottle Filler (This one isn’t necessarily need but this spring loaded filler prevents oxidation of beer as you fill it up)
- Bottle brush
The malt and malt extract method is the simplest method of homebrew, but this also limits you to the variety of beers that you can make. Now I’m not sure if there are some serious homebrewers out there that would scoff at our using of extract but I’m under the belief that starting off simple is the best method. You have to learn to climb before you can swing, at least that is what my mom always taught me. So before you buy all the extra equipment to go to grain or mash homebrew try a few batches this route till you get the hang of it. Then, you can ‘upgrade’ and get creative with your homebrew.
What exactly do you do with all this stuff you just bought? First you must clean, clean and clean – everything must be thoroughly sterilized or you run the risk of ruining your beer. Then, bring 2 ½ gallons of water to a boil, once it has boiled shut off the stove and add the malt and malt extract. While pouring the contents of the cans into the water stir continuously as to prevent it from settling to the bottom and burning, this creates your wort. A tip to help make your malt and malt extract easier to pour is to get a second pot of boiling water and place the cans in the pot until they are ready to pour.
Next we must chill the wort until it has reached around 70º F/21º C, some people have a wort chiller others like myself have used our tupperware to make a lot of ice. The wort needs to be chilled fast, so if it is snowing where you live too, just pour it into the bucket, put the lid on it and then set it outside for a little bit. Adding cold water to the wort once it is in the bucket can also help cool it off, some use purified water but tap water works fine for me right now.Make sure your wort is totaled up to 5 gallons, you could make less but why would you want to do that? Once it has chilled you add the yeast, I sprinkle it on top let it set for 30 mins then stir it in. Then, place the lid on it add the air lock (with water) in the lid and set for one week. Make sure to keep your bucket in a place that ranges around 60-70º F. If it is too cold the yeast will not process as fast and if it gets too hot the yeast will die.
You may be asking yourself what is so important about the yeast, well my friend the yeast is very important because the yeast is a living organism that eats the bacteria in the wort and basically poops out alcohol. It’s slightly more complicated than that on a science level but basically beer is yeast poo and water with other things for flavoring.
After a week of fermentation use the racking cane and siphon to transfer the wort/beer into a different (also sterilized) bucket. Make sure you tilt the bucket towards the end to get all the good beer and leave all the crud in the first bucket – you don’t want to drink that. Let that bucket set for another week and ferment some more.
After another week in its second fermenting we must transfer the beer into the bottling bucket with spigot. Before I do that I boil 1 cup of water and pour it into the recently sterilized bucket with the bottling sugar (usually corn sugar) and mix thoroughly to ensure it dissolves. We again use the racking cane and siphon move the beer into the bottling bucket and once that is complete we bottle our beer. You may use the spigot alone but I prefer to add the bottle filler. Cap your beers off and then you have to let them set another (this is the last one I promise) week.
Finally, after three weeks of brewing your beer you can stick them in your fridge and drink your wonderful homebrew. Unless you decide to have a homebrew party you probably won’t be drinking all your beer at once, which is ok because letting your beer sit longer actually will help it to come out better.
Since you can’t share a drink with me, share this post with others!