To understand the intricacies of home-brewing we tried to brew our own beer. Mr. Brewery was used for the brewing. Beer, a can of Englishman’s brewing concentrate with a yeast packet, a pack of corn sugar and a pack of One Step cleaner. We filmed the whole process step by step on a digital camera – in order not to forget how to act correctly when you want to have a home-brewed beer again.
Home-brewed beer brewed by Olga Kuzmina.
STEP 1: aqueous preparation for young beer
Preparation of the liquid that became the basis for the viability of the beer yeast culture. At the same time we have taken care not to put wild yeast in it.
Rinse thoroughly the inside and outside of the keg, the lid and the tap with dishwashing liquid.
Putting the brewery back together. It’s very simple, you just need to put the faucet back on. To do this, we put it in the hole from the outside, put it on the inside and put a nut. The rubber o-ring on the tap makes the connection secure our experience has proven that .
Disinfect. Fill the barrel with 4 liters of warm water the marks on the back wall will help us measure out the necessary doses , pour half a sachet of One Step sanitizer, put a spoon with a long handle and a bottle opener in the barrel.
We put the lid on and begin to shake the barrel, to wash all the sides and the lid.
Rinse the tap by opening it several times, putting a plate under the solution – it will be used for a spoon and opener. Now let the barrel rest for 10 minutes. Then we open the lid, take out our spoon and tugger and put them on a plate. Drain the solution through the tap, rinse the barrel thoroughly and rinse the tap again. After this manipulation we will not touch the inside of the barrel, we will try to maintain microbiological purity.
We begin to prepare the brew. Pour 4 liters of water into the barrel bottled mineral water was used .
We remove the lid of a tin of malt concentrate, there is a yeast bag under it, we put it aside for now. Pour hot water into a pot and put the can in it to warm up the malt, as it is quite thick, and warmed it will be easier to pour out.
In the pot poured a liter of water, in the first bottle just as much water and left so I neglected the advice of the developer and did not prepare, that is not disinfected, measure . Rinse the spoon under running water. Pour sugar in water, it dissolves right away. We keep it on the fire, stirring I must say, the syrup behaves very decently – it does not stick . Bring it to the boil. The syrup is clear and not too thick, the operation took a couple of minutes. Turn off the fire for now. We put a spoon on a rinsed, disinfected plate and rinse the opener.
Brewing wort. Open the can, pour the contents into the syrup. Turn on the heat again, take a spoon, stir. The concentrate is easily mixed with the syrup. The liquid is again loyal to the heating: nothing burns, you can even be not so careful. Bringing it to the boil.
We put on oven mitts, take a pot and pour wort into a barrel so that the hot liquid does not get on the walls and does not damage the plastic.
We fill up with water up to the mark of 8,5 l. Again we take a spoon and stir the future beer. The liquid is warm but not hot.
Pour the beer yeast from the sachet on the surface of the liquid. Cover and leave for 5 minutes with a lid. Then stir with a spoon and close the lid. That’s it, the first stage is complete, it was not complicated and took about 30 minutes. Now we put the keg out of sunlight. The young beer will ferment for a week.
STEP 2: we send the young beer for fermentation.
A week has passed, the beer keg was in a dark room, nobody touched it. The day before draining the young beer we take it to the kitchen: the sediment, raised during transportation, should fall to the bottom again. To assess whether everything is going right, we take a little young beer through the tap, try it – the drink already looks like beer with a bright bitterness. But for us it is more important that there is no sweet taste, just the fact that the beer can be drained. The beer is free from sludge, it is solid.
You’ve probably noticed that the technology involves pouring beer into bottles. The thing is that we are to make a drink that will not be pasteurized. And its safety is ensured by an airtight cork. Any open container of any size should be used up immediately, and bottles are practically ideal for this purpose.
Most often it is recommended to take plastic bottles or they come with the kit , to me, frankly, it seemed that the choice in favor of plastic discredits the very idea of home brewing. After all we do it for the sake of a unique and not so harmful in usefulness of beer I believe only in part – a pancreas nevertheless not iron beverage, and to serve it in a plastic container simply irreverent.
In addition, regular bottles are not designed for reusable. It is best to collect a set of glass bottles with special corks like mine or buy a cork setter.
For young beer I took two kinds of bottles – half-liter glass ones with ceramic caps, and plastic mineral water bottles.
The work begins again with the disinfectant. But the glass bottles I just washed and boiled – less hassle I took off the rubber gaskets, then put them back on and dropped them into the boiling water, before pouring the beer bottles closed . Even better is the variant with an oven – disinfection in a dry dish. By the way, you can make such disinfection beforehand.
The plastic bottles were a bit tricky. I made a solution from half a bag of One Step, then poured it into the pots, screwed the lids on, shook well and put it on the side. While the bottles were sitting there for the prescribed 10 minutes, I turned them over several times. Then rinsed again in plenty of water.
At this point you begin to realize that the sterile frenzy has subsided somewhat. Now we need to add some sugar to each bottle, I disinfected a funnel and a measure also a funny topic: disinfection is a wet process, but sugar has to be poured dry – we will wipe it, we can introduce undesirable flora! . The sugar itself may well have been a carrier of wild yeast, it is simply impossible to sterilize it, we have to rely on the power of our colony of beer yeast. I put the sugar at the rate of 1 tsp. l. For 0.5 liter glass and 3.5 h. l. – per 1.5 liter plastic bottle.
We proceed to bottling young beer. You have to hold the bottles at an angle to let the liquid flow down the wall. At first everything was fine, but suddenly it turns out that the tap has a kind of feisty character: some trickles do not go down, but to the sides. You have to put pressure on the neck of the tap and you don’t care about how the bottle behaves.
On the last bottle the beer stops pouring out, its level is below the tap. I open the lid of the brewer and carefully tilt it forward to collect what is possible, but without sediment. It turned out quite a little, and it is well visible.
By the way, I should mention that brewers without a tap and draining beer with a siphon are not so handy, you have to control two processes at the same time – watch the sludge and the bottles.
Each bottle is corked. Then shake to dissolve the sugar completely. We pour off the rest separately, you can see how much of it we got. Thought it would be more. We put the bottles back in the dark place: a week of maturation + a week of maturation. In a week I will put one or two bottles in the fridge, and the rest will remain at room temperature.
As soon as I began to work on the subject, I began to obsess about how to make a comfortable and serious brewery at home, because what we have is always a plastic container of varying complexity, with or without a tap. I would have liked something more convincing. But all these thoughts fade into the background when you start washing the thing. My brewer fits in the sink, it’s light and very simple without any fancy details. Now that the keg is empty, it can be used again.
STEP 3: tasting with like-minded people
The long-awaited tasting. I do not hide the fact that we opened the first bottle with some trepidation! As you can see in the photo our beer looks as it should be – the drink is amber in color with a big foam cap though it falls off quickly .
When opening the bottle, it shoots air. The taste is wonderful, with a bitterness, rich, interesting and no comparison with the mass beer, and thanks to the Englishman’s malt it surpasses more expensive tastes that the participants of our tasting had the chance to try.
The drink is clear with permanently formed bubbles note that we had natural carbonation . In general the experiment not only went well, it confirmed that home-brewed beer lives up to its proud name and is not that hard to brew.
An interesting discovery for us was a bottle kept in the fridge for the last week – this beer was recognized as the best special thanks to Alexey Yeshukov, our consultant, who persuaded me to do it . All the charm of home-brewed beer played more brightly in it, it tasted more noble, the color was darker, the drink was more carbonated and more enjoyable than others. By the way, the beer in each bottle tastes slightly different.
Any “domestication” of processes that were hitherto only available to production takes time and, most importantly, some effort. Those who are ready to plunge into the theme of home brewing should not avoid to get a special set of bottles with lids, find a permanent place for a brewery, make a rack for a battery of bottles, and, perhaps, provide a separate mini-refrigerator for aging and storing beer.
Well thought-out recipes and assistance of the like-minded persons and consultants will help us to turn brewing into a simple but fascinating undertaking that your friends will really appreciate. After all, the usual beer invitation will take on a new meaning for them.
We would like to thank pivovarnya company and personally Alexey Yeshukov for help in diving into the subject and for providing us with a brewery for the test.