Small batch brewing your own beer is great fun, and makes the perfect addition to summer BBQs or nights in with good friends and plenty of food. There are many different recipes you can experiment with, but here is a basic guide to get you started.
1 x large brewing pot, usually a large casserole pot
1 x strainer
1 x large beer bucket or large glass bottle (carboy) with air lock lid
1 x funnel
1 x siphon hose
Clean bottles with swing/latch tops
1 x Grain Bag (see below about specialist kits)
1 x kitchen thermometer
(all available in a specialist kit with grain bag)
2 gallons of filtered water
Large bag of ice
Put the grains into the grain bag, and tie it up. Fill the saucepan with approximately 2 gallons of water and put onto a medium-low heat. Place the grain bag in the saucepan and steep in the water for around 20 minutes.
Once the grain bag has steeped and the water has changed colour, remove the bag. Into the water, add the malt extract and bring to the boil. Add the hops. Depending on the type of hops you’ve purchased, exactly when you add these will vary, so follow the pack instructions. Boil on a low heat for around an hour, stirring regularly.
You now have a mixture called wort, and it needs to be cooled quickly. Fill your sink (or a bathtub) with ice water, and place the saucepan in it. With your thermometer, test the wort until it’s cooled to around 25-27 degrees.
Using a strainer, remove all the hops from the saucepan and throw them away or compost them. Then, using the funnel, pour the wort mixture into your beer bucket or carboy. This is when fermentation begins.
Add about 2 gallons of filtered water and the yeast, before placing the lid on top.
Place the bucket or carboy in a cool, dark room (or refrigerate for lagers) and leave for 2 weeks. After 24 hours, you’ll notice bubbles in the air lock - this means the yeast is working and the beer is happily fermenting.
Leave the beer alone for at least two weeks, at which time it’s ready to be bottled.
Remove the air lock and add the malt extract to the liquid. If this is a dry extract it will need to be boiled in water before adding (you’ll find instructions on the kit pack)
Then simply decant the beer into your beer bottles, seal and store at room temperature for at least a fortnight, before moving to a fridge.
Drink up and enjoy! You’ll notice some sediment at the bottom of the bottles - we don’t recommend drinking this, it isn’t particularly pleasant!