Homemade beer recipe
Homemade beer compares favorably to cheap store-bought counterparts due to its intense flavor, dense foam, and lack of preservatives. You get a beverage that contains nothing unnecessary. I’ll show you how to brew beer following the classic recipe, using only traditional ingredients: hops, malt, water, and yeast. To preserve the original taste we will not resort to the filtration and pasteurization.
It is believed that to make real beer you need to buy a mini brewery or other expensive equipment. This myth is imposed by manufacturers of such products. With a brewery, they will gladly sell you beer concentrate, which only needs to be diluted in water and fermented. As a result, you will pay an exorbitant price for the beer the quality of which will be slightly above the store-bought ones at best.
Actually, you can make homemade beer with only materials at hand: a bit cooking pot, fermentation container, bottles, and other accessible things, a full list of which is written below. You’ll only need to buy hop, malt, and beer yeast. I don’t recommend any brand in particular. The range of choice is quite wide, and you can but any raw material you like.
Theoretically, malt and hop can be grown in home conditions. But such practices are outside the framework of this article. From here on I will conceive that you have all of the required ingredients, whether homemade or store-bought. The only thing is I don’t recommend experimenting with beer yeasts, you should buy the best one right away, because beer is distinguished from grain brew by its unique yeast.
• Water – 7 gl/27 liters
• Hop (alpha acidity 4.5%) – 1,5 ounces/45 grams
• Barley malt – 6.6lbs/3 kg
• Beer yeast
• Sugar– 0,2822 ounces/8 grams per liter of beer (it is needed for natural carbon dioxide enrichment)
• Enamel pan for 8 gl/30 liters or Brewing Kettle– the must is cooked in it
• Fermentation container – is required for fermentation
• Thermometer (necessary) – moonshine or wine can be made by just approximately maintaining the temperature, but for beer that would be doomed from the beginning
• Bottles for bottling prepared beer (plastic or glass)
• Silicone tube of a small diameter – for taking beer from the sediment
• Bath with ice cold water or beer must coolant
• Gauze (9,84 -16,40 feet/3-5 meters) or a cloth bag
• Iodine and a white dish (optional)
• Saccharometer (optional) – a device used to determine the saccharinity of the must
Steps – Homemade Beer recipe
1.Preparation. The first phase, in which the brewer checks the ingredients and his equipment. Also, I advise paying attention to the following points.
Sterilization. All containers and tools that will be used must be washed with hot water and dried. Before working with ingredients brewer thoroughly washes his hands with soap and wipe them dry. It is important not to infect the beer must with wild yeast or instead of beer you will get a brew. Neglecting sterilization will eliminate all further efforts.
Water. It is best to use spring or bottled water. In an extreme case, usual tap water can be used too. Before brewing tap water is settled for a day in opened containers. This time is enough for chlorine to get out and for heavy metals and salts to gravitate to the bottom. Then settled water is carefully drained from the sediment into another container through a thin tube.
Yeast. For normal fermentation, beer yeast is activated with a small amount of warm water 15-30 minutes prior to adding them to the must. There’s no universal method for diluting beer yeast. That’s why you have to follow the instruction on the package.
2. Mashing the must. This term is used to describe mixing milled malt with hot water for amylolysis in grains. Sometimes malt is sold milled for brewing and that oils the path a bit. Otherwise, you’ll have to crush it yourself by using a grain grinder or mechanical meat grinder.
Caution! Crashing does not mean grinding into flour. You just need to crush grains into small pieces, keeping the grain skin particles, which then will be used to filter the beer must. The correct version of the grinding is shown in the photo.
Pour 6.5 gl/25 liters of water into an enamel pot/brewing kettle and heat it up on a stove to 176°F/80°C. Then pour ground malt into the mesh bag 1×1 meter in size made out of 3-4 layers of gauze. Put the bag in water, close the pot and boil it for 90 minutes, maintaining the temperature of 141.8-161.6°F/61-72°C.
Malt grout at 141.8-145.4°F/61-63°C facilitates a better sugar recovery, increasing the ABV. At 154.4-161.6°F/68-72°C the density of the must increases, although the alcohol contents will be slightly lower, but the taste will be more saturated. I recommend maintaining a temperature range of 149-161.6°F/65-72°C. As a result, you’ll get a tasty thick beer with 4% ABV.
(Optional) After 90 minutes of boiling you should do an iodine test, which will help you make sure that there’s no starch in the must. For this you need to pout 5-10 milligrams of the must on a clean white dish and mix it with a few drops of iodine. If the solution is dark-blue, you have to boil the contents of the pot for another 15 minutes. If iodine didn’t change the color of the must – it is ready. You can pass iodine test by simply increasing boiling time by 15 minutes. This won’t hurt the quality of the beverage.
Then you drastically increase the temperature to 172.4-176°F/78-80°C and boil the must for 5 minutes in order to stop the fermentation. Then you take out the bag with the remains of malt from the container and wash it with 0.53 gl/2 liters of boiled water of temperature of 172.4°F/78°C. In this way you wash out the remains of extractive materials. Then you add cleaning water into the must.
This method of boiling is called “in a bag”. It helps avoiding filtration – removing brewers’ grains (malt particles that didn’t dissolve) from the main must. In its turn filtration requires specific equipment (purification system) and pouring the must from one container into another many times. Boiling in a bag has no effect on the beer and takes far less time.
3. Boiling the must. Pot contents are brought to boiling. That’s when the first portion of hops is added (in our case it’s 0.52 oz/15 grams). After 30 minutes on intense boiling another 0.52 oz/15 grams are added. And after 40 minutes the remaining 0.52 oz/15 grams of hop are added. Boiling continues for another 20 minutes.
Depending on the chosen recipe the time periods and amounts of hops may vary. But if you follow the specified sequences and proportions, you will surely get a great result. Boiling takes up an hour and a half. It is important to maintain intensive heating for the must to bubble.
4. Cooling. The beer must has to be quickly (in 15-30 minutes) cooled down to 75.2-78.8°F/24-26°C. The sooner this is done, the less the risk to infect the beverage with bacterial and wild yeasts, which are harmful for the fermentation.
You can cool down the must with special wort chillers (one of the possible designs is in photo) or by carefully taking the container to a bath with ice cold water. Most novices use the second method. The main thing is not to turn the hot pot upside down and scald yourself with hot water.
The cooled must is poured through gauze into the fermentation container. This is done 3 times to enrich future beer with oxygen (there’s not much of it left after boiling), which is needed for a normal yeast development.
5. The fermentation. Diluted beer yeasts are added to the must and stirred up. It is very important to observe the temperature and the proportions specified in the instructions on the label. There are top-fermenting yeast, which are added with a temperature of 64.4-71.6°F/18-22°C, and bottom fermenting yeast, which work at 41-60.8°F/5-16°C. From these two types of yeast different types of beer can be made.
Put the filled fermentation container into a dark place with a temperature recommended by yeast manufacturer. In our case it’s 75.2-77°F/24-25°C. Then install airlock and leave it for 7-10 days.
In 6-12 hours active fermentation will start, and it usually lasts for 2-3 days. During this time the airlock is bubbling intensively, and then the frequency of carbon dioxide emitting is slowly dropping. In the end of the fermentation new homemade beer becomes bright. Its readiness is determined by two methods: with a saccharometer or airlock.
In the first case you should compare the data of two saccharometer tests for the last 12 hours. If the values differ slightly (by two decimal places), then you can proceed to the next step. Not everyone has a saccharometer, that’s why at home you can just look at the airlock. No bubbles for 18-24 hours indicate the end of the fermentation.
6. Bottle sealing and carbonation. Carbonation of beer is an artificial saturation of carbon dioxide which contributes to improving the taste and appearance of thick foam. Despite the complicated title, the process is very simple.
Sugar/carbonation drops are added to the bottles for storing beer (preferably dark) on the basis of 0.28 oz/8 grams per 0.3 gl/1 liter. Sugar causes a small secondary fermentation which saturates the beer with carbon dioxide. Then the beer is poured from the sediment through a silicone tube, filling the prepared bottles.
One end of the tube is immersed up to the middle of the container with beer, another is sunk to the bottom of the bottle. This minimizes the contact of beer with air. It is important not to touch yeast, which, depending on the type, can be at the bottom or on the surface. Otherwise, your beer will get cloudy. Bottles are filled up to 0.7 inches/2 cm of the bottleneck and tightly sealed.
Bottles filled with beer should be placed in a dark room with a temperature of 68-75.2°F/20-24°C and left there for 15-20 days. Once every 7 days they should be shaken well. After that you can put them in a fridge.
7. Maturing. The homemade beer is ready, you can drink it. But if you let it mature for another 30 days, the taste will greatly improve. Beer can be stored in the fridge for 6-8 months, opened bottle – 2-3 days.