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HOW TO: Homebrew by Coopers

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HOW TO: Homebrew by Coopers

Postby dingo » Fri Jan 21, 2011 6:25 am

Here is how to make beer at home, without going out and buying hops, barley and all the raw ingredients. This uses a beer kit, which is basically all the stuff you need in one tin.

What you need:
    - Beer kit (looks like a big tin of beans)
    - yeast, (usually comes with beer kit)
    - Sugar (preferably Dry Malt Extract (DME), brew enhancer, or dextrose. Regular sugar is not great)
    - fermenter (or some big air-tight bucket to brew in),
    - air-lock (to let the excess gas out, and stop germs getting in),
    - hydrometer,
    - mixing spoon,
    - tap,
    - bottler,
    - bottles,
    - carbonated drops.

Image

Step 1: Mixing
Clean everything! If its the first time using the kit, then hot water will do, but if not, you might want to use a sanitising solution.
Then heat up the beer kit (still in the can) in boiling water to losen up the goo inside! Then pour it into the fermenter with 2 litres of boiling water. Pour in your brewing sugar, mix it all around with your mixing spoon until its mixed properly, and then fill up the fermenter to 23 litres with clean water, preferably bottled water. you now have your wort.


Step 2: Brewing
Take a hydrometer reading through the tap at the bottom, to get the Original Gravity (OG). You will need this for your next hydrometer reading at the end, when you compare the 2 to calculate the alcohol percentage. Write this down.
After taking a reading, pour yeast into the top of your wort. Mix around with your mixing spoon, being careful not to mix too much air in with it, as this can oxidise the wort and stop it from brewing. Seal the lid and attach the airlock, which should have some water in it to act as the barrier.
Leave this going for at least a week, maybe 2. You can watch the airlock, as in a lot of cases, it bubbles when it is brewing. Sometimes it doesnt bubble at all, but still brews, which is fine. Taking another hydrometer reading during the brew can tell you if its moving or not, but give it about 3 days first. Also, keep the temperature at about 22 degrees celsius.


Step 3: Bottle
Take another hydrometer reading. This will tell you your Final Gravity (FG). Write this down.
Remove the airlock from the top, attach the bottler tube, put 2 carbonated drops into each 750ml bottle, or 1 carbonated drop into a stubby.
now put the bottler right into the bottle so its touching the bottom of the bottle. There is a little button at the bottom that needs to be pressed to open the valve. Fill the bottles to the top. When you remove the bottler, it will leave about an inch of free space at the top. You need this for any extra gas the carbonated drops will cause. Plastic PET Bottles are handy coz glass bottles do not expand, instead, they explode! But only if theres too much gas. You should be fine otherwise. Now, store bottles in your wardrobe or somewhere. Dont put them in the fridge until just before you drink them and cold temps halt any extra fermentation or carbonation thats happening in the bottles. The longer you leave the bottles, the more the taste matures and becomes more drinkable. Do not let light get into the bottles. Dark brown bottles are best, followed by green. Clear bottles are not recommended, unless you are leaving them in a dark place where no light can get in, as light affects the brew negatively!


Step 4: DRINK!
After leaving the bottles to settle for about 2 weeks minimum, stick them in the fridge, and drink.
By the way, to calculate the alcohol percentage, use this formula: (OG-FG)/(7.46) + 0.5 = ABV%.

8-)
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Re: HOW TO: Homebrew by Coopers

Postby pimptastic » Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:45 am

I have brewed a few beers in my time, there are a few thing i would change in /add to your howto.

1) Boil the Wort in a large saucepan. You have to make sure all the sugars are disolved entirely.
2) I would not recommend bottled water. Some types of beers especially ales/stouts actually require 'heavy' water.
3) Place the fermenter in a dark, draft free location. Make sure can bottle in this location. Moving the fermenter after fermentation should not be done, as this will stir up the muck on the bottom and create a cloudy beer with heaps of scum on the bottom of the bottled beers. Always leave quite a bit of beer in the fermenter when bottling as this will also be scummy beer.
4) The Hydrometer step can be entirely skipped. This is only required if you want to know an 'estimate' of what alcohol percentage you end up with.
5)Make sure your 'wort' is not above 35^C when you add the yeast. Anything above 36-38 will begin to kill the yeast. This is why i suggest boiling the wort with some of the water in a large saucepan. That way after all the sugars are disolved, the mix can be placed in the fermenter and cooled to 35^C with cooler water.
6) The lower the 'fermentation' temperature the 'cleaner' the end product is going to taste. However note that the lower the temperature the longer the brewing process is goin to take. Additionally, I beleive yeast becomes dormant at 10^C but will not die. as a general rule of thumb, normal amounts of sugar with average temp 28 degrees should take about 10-14 days to entirely ferment.
7) You can tell you brew has finished fermenting when it stops bubling. However, to avoid bottle explosion later. Leave it for a couple of days after you think it has stopped to ensure entire fermentation.
8) Always pull the "bubler" out of the top of the fermenter prior to bottling, otherwise it will suck the skanky water into the beer.
9)You wrote "The longer you leave the bottles, the more the taste matures and becomes more drinkable". this is true upto a point. I have some 18 months old Duval homebrew which had begun to taste wierd sour cherryish. This brew was definitely best tasting around the 6-8 month mark. With lagers the best tasting mark would be around the 3 month mark.
10) At the Wort stage, note that the "sugar" can preety much be substituted in parts with any sugar except lactose. Lactose however can be used to impart a sweeter taste to a beer (particularly stout) as it doesn't break down into alcohol. Get creative. A little honey instead of some of the sugar will provide the beer with more body. A 60g replacement with muscovado for dark ales will give it coffee and mollases tones. Trapist beer Orval actually use candied suger. General rule of thumb the less refined the sugar the better. Avoid castor sugar and dextrose like the plague. Go for malts, barleys. My next brew I intend to brew a lager but add those fake banana candies grinded. I know it sounds mad, but occasionally when i am drinking real Heineken a get a brief hint of that fake banana candy taste and it is delicious.
11) Additionally, do not be afraid to add aromatics to the wort while boiling, just be sensible. Brews like hoegarten add lemon peel and corriander seeds. Just remember to remove them before adding the wort to the fermenter.
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Re: HOW TO: Homebrew by Coopers

Postby eoinzy » Wed Jan 26, 2011 10:48 am

haha you mean these bananas:
Image
I'm curious now what it'd taste like. I suspect probably like gone off banana milkshake! :lol:


I never knew you brewed at home actually! What about all them times coming over for soccer and you never mentioned it, even when Justin was brewing his?
I've just bottled my batch there (well actually, I got a 9yr old and an 11yr old to do it for me!). My hydrometer gave me a crappy reading so I think mine is less than 4%. So pissed off! i think it was that I kept moving it and the water from the air-lock kept falling into it. That, and the fact that I checked the lid after 3 days and noticed it wasnt even screwed on fully. I was able to tighten it another full turn or 2! Also, when I went to open the sugar, it was in a plastic packet that spilled everywhere when I ripped it open! Think I only lost about a tablespoon though.
what bottles do you use? I have some plastic PET bottles i got with the coopers kit. They have plastic lids, like what you'd find on bottles of coke or 7up or whatever. I was drinking miller at the weekend and they had twistie tops, and I was able to twist the caps back on so was considering using them. Though I figured they wouldnt screw back on tight enough. Ideally, I'd love some of those Grolsch style bottles which can be easily reused.

Next up I have a canadian blonde. It comes with its own yeast but I got some Muntons from the homebrew shop where your long lost brother works. Its good yeast!
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Re: HOW TO: Homebrew by Coopers

Postby pimptastic » Thu Jan 27, 2011 8:35 am

I'm pretty sure those fake bananas would maintain their flavour, I severely doubt there is any real banana to them.

I used to brew at home at lot when I was younger. So much easier and better results now going to a home brewing place. With their professional equipment like filters etc, you get a much better result but obviously costs alot more than a tin of homebrew and a kilo of sugar.

I mainly bottled with long necks and 500ml bottles, just be careful you select thick glass bottles. I have had a few thinner glass bottles shatter on me whilst trying to cap them, especially if you are using a hammer and bell rather than the proper capping stations. Got a few grolsh swing tops as well including a 2litre one. Don't use twist caps. Also if you go to the brewing centres you can actually 'CAN' the beers into 500ml cans.
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Re: HOW TO: Homebrew by Coopers

Postby pimptastic » Thu Jan 27, 2011 3:17 pm

Image
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Re: HOW TO: Homebrew by Coopers

Postby eoinzy » Thu Mar 10, 2011 11:11 pm

I kicked off my coopers canadian blonde last week. Seems to be finished fermenting now.
Just need to wash out all my bottles and then bottle them.


Kev, did you try that banana beer after all?
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Re: HOW TO: Homebrew by Coopers

Postby pimptastic » Fri Mar 11, 2011 8:53 am

No not yet. Still want to just haven't had the time.
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Re: HOW TO: Homebrew by Coopers

Postby eoinzy » Sat Apr 23, 2011 10:07 pm

So I finally bottled that Canadian blonde. Only problem was mould on the surface! Lactobacillus apparently! It was very cloudy too.

Check this out:
Cloudy

Mouldy



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Re: HOW TO: Homebrew by Coopers

Postby pimptastic » Wed Apr 27, 2011 8:42 am

You are going to have to bin it. Either you didn't sterilise properly or the seal was not airtight.
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Re: HOW TO: Homebrew by Coopers

Postby eoinzy » Thu Apr 28, 2011 6:06 pm

Ye I think I didnt sterilise properly. We'll see though. The internet told me its still drinkable so I have it bottled and I'm gonna taste it in a few days to see if its OK or not. If it tastes horrible, I'll just bin it.

PS I forgot to add the mould picture. Its there now! Lactobacillus!!
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