Process of Home Brewing
Apr 2, 2012 Home Brewing
Process of Home Brewing. Now that you've learned everything you need to learn about home brewing beer, you're all ready to start. Home brewing consists of 5 steps:
- Brewing the beer
- Cooling and Fermenting
- Priming and Bottling
These directions are for 5 gallons of home brewed beer as well as basic home brewing. You may need to make some slight changes in the process depending on the equipment you’re using such as a kit or the type of beer you're making.
And Finally…get Brewing!
The first thing you want to do is sterilize everything. Not just wash, but also sterilize. Bacteria may not be seen, but it can still be there and ruin your entire batch of beer. Home brew supply stores sell sanitizers or you can use bleach. Make a mix of 5 gallons of cold water per 2 ounces of unscented bleach, using your sink or a large tub.
Sanitize your carboy first (if you have one), followed by the other equipment. The things that fit in your sink can soak for 10 minutes, and then rinse them thoroughly.
Preparing the Wort
Put in approximately 1 1/2 gallons of cold water into your large brewing kettle. If the recipe you're using uses specialty grains, put them in a sparge bag and allow them to soak in the kettle and turn on the burner. When it reaches the point where it is almost going to boil, take out the sparge bag.
Add the malt extract into the kettle and bring it to a boil again. Let it boil for 20 minutes, making sure it doesn't boil over. Make sure you stir the mixture immediately and consistently so the malt doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan and burn.
Adding the Hops
Put the required amount of bittering hops in a sparge back and steep for at least 30 minutes. Do not remove it before 30 minutes, as it needs this much time for all the oils to extract from the hops. If your beer recipe asks for finishing hops (which are optional), put them in another sparge bag and steep for 1 to 10 minutes. If you're after aroma, only about 2 minutes, but if it's flavor you're concerned with, then 10 minutes. Turn the heat off, take the wort off the hot burner and put the cover on the brewing pot.
Chill the Wort
If you have a fermenter (glass carboy), fill it half-full with cold water. If you have a wort chiller, you can use this to chill the wort. If not, fill up a bath of ice-cold water (water with ice) to sit the brewing pot in so it can chill. You may need to drain the ice water and refill with ice. If you don't have a wort chiller, you'll wish you did!
Preparing (proofing) the Yeast
While your wort is cooling down, you can prepare the yeast. Get a sterilized measuring cup and add 6 ounces of lukewarm water from the tap. Add the dried yeast to this, cover and set aside for a bit. The warm water helps to activate the yeast.
If the brewing pot with the wort has cooled to where you can almost touch it, use a large funnel to move the wort to the glass carboy (fermenter). You may use a small sterilized pot instead of a funnel. Fill the fermenter with cold water until you have 5 gallons (there should be a 5-gallon mark). For the yeast to work properly, it needs oxygen, which is removed from the boiling.
To rejuvenate it with oxygen, splash the water when you're pouring it in and shake the fermenter occasionally. Pay attention to the temperature, which should be below 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Do NOT put the yeast in the wort until the temperature is below 75 degrees or it may die. You may want to take a reading with your hydrometer at this time to check the specific gravity.
Set the fermenter some place where it will stay cool, stable and out of direct sunlight. Get a large sturdy container and fill it half full with water. Put it next to the fermenter. Get sterilized tubing with outside diameter of 1 ½". Put one end in the fermenter and the other end in the container of water, making an airtight seal. This becomes a blow off tube, which will allow any excess foam to escape while the initial fermentation is taking place.
The first couple of days, you'll really see the yeast go to work as excess foam will come out the top along with air bubbling out from the container.
Some people really love watching this process, knowing their beer is being made. The tube must stay under the water to keep the seal airtight. You can remove the blow-off tube after 3 days and put in the sterilized stopper and air lock. Make sure you add about ¾" of water to the air lock or it won't work. You'll know the air lock is in place securely and has a good seal if your mixture starts to bubble. This is from the escape of carbon dioxide.
After you've put in the air lock, the beer will need to ferment until the yeast is done, which usually takes from 5 to 14 days. It will be ready for bottling when the air lock is no longer bubbling. A hydrometer reading will tell you if the fermentation is complete. You're now ready to bottle!
Once again, you need to sterilize everything including
- bottling bucket,
- bottling tube,
- racking cane,
The bottles need to be thoroughly cleaned before sterilizing them. Do not sterilize the caps. Put them in a small saucepan with enough water to cover them. Boil covered for five minutes, drain and cover them again until they're needed.
Add ¾ Cup of dextrose (priming sugar) in another pan with 16 ounces of water and boil for 5 minutes, cover and take off the stove.
Now you're going to transfer your beer from the fermenter to the bottling bucket. With the fermenter on a table, take out the airlock and put in the racking cane so it's approximately an inch above the yeast sediment. Attach the bottling tube and the plastic hoe to each other and fill the hose with water. Attach the hose filled with water to the racking cane and put aside for the moment. Put the bottling bucket right below the fermenter on the floor and pour the boiled dextrose in the bucket. Put the bottling tube to the bottom of the bucket and begin the siphoning process. Try to splash as little as possible as you transfer the beer.
Bottling the Beer…Finally
Put the bottling bucket on the table. Take the hose from the racking cane and connect it to the spigot on the bucket. You'll have to use a racking cane and second siphon if you don't have a spigot.
Put an empty bottle on the floor under the bottling bucket. Open the spigot and put the bottling tube in the bottle, pressing down on the tube to get the beer moving. Fill the bottle right to the top. When the bottle is full, take out the tube. Beer will drop down about an inch. Do this on all bottles until they're all full.
You need to be on a steady surface for this, so you may want to stay on the floor. With the bottle capper and a cap, put a cap on the bottle. Pull the levers down with steady pressure, making sure the cap goes on straight. Crimp the cap and make sure the seal is good. Do this for all the bottles.
All you have left to do is clean up your mess. Store your beer in a location with a cool and consistent temperature between 65 to 70 degrees. Let it set for about 2 weeks and be prepared to taste the best beer you've ever tasted!
Following are two popular home brew recipes that are easy to follow once you get the ingredients. They're perfect for a 5 gallon supply. You can modify them to your own personal tastes as you experiment.
4 to 4 ½ ounces Galena, Eroica or Chinook bittering hops
10 to 12 pounds light malt extract
1-ounce of both Cascade and Willamette hops (finishing)
brewing yeast of your choice (many use Wyeast)
½-pound crystal malt specialty grain
6 to 7 lbs amber malt (this is an extract)
¼-lb. chocolate malt (this will be a specialty grain)
½ lb. Cara-Pils Munich malt (this is a specialty grain)
1 ½ to 2 ounces Saaz, Hallertauer or Tettnanger hops (this will be bittering hops)
½-ounce Saaz, Hallertauer or Tettnanger hops (this is the finishing hops)
Wyeast or brewing yeast of your choice
Some of these products may seem unfamiliar to you, but your home brew supply store should carry all of them and more. The recipes are very simple and will make a variety of different tasting beer. Once you get seriously into the home brewing of beer and other drinks, you'll find there are many recipes to be found. There's nothing more interesting than experimenting with different products for a unique taste. Your local library will have many informative books on home brewing as well as easy-to-follow recipes. The internet is also a wealth of information with their many articles and beer brewing forums.
There's nothing better when you take up a new hobby than being able to share your hobby with others that have the same enthusiasm. You can discuss recipes you've each tried, exchange helpful hints on money and time-saving techniques you may have learned. If you're considering entering amateur home brewing competitions, they'll be more fun if you know some of the participants.