Most of us depend on commercial supplies when we feel like having a can of chilled beer. But, if you have a bit of time and patience on your hands, then you can very well try making your own batch of home brewed beer. You can carry out the beer brewing as a part time hobby or else you can also make a small scale business out of it. Brewing beer at home is not at all a difficult process. In fact, by following the exact procedure and by using the exact quantity of ingredients, you can make homemade beer in a very easy manner.
Giving below are 10 tips which will enable you to successfully brew beer at home.
1. Do your homework
It is essential that you have an authoritative information regarding the home brewing of beer, before you start up with the actual process. For this purpose, you can read various books and can also look up various websites, which gives information regarding the process of beer brewing. You can also talk to others who are engaged in the process and can also take part in discussions in various online forums. A recommended option is to use a brewing software termed as Beersmith, which allows you to calculate the color, bitterness and gravity of the beer which you plan on brewing.
2. Clean your equipment
It is very important that you use completely sterilized equipment for preparing beer. For this purpose, you can use slightly soapy water and then rinse off with boiling water. See to it that the equipment are dried thoroughly using a clean and dry towel.
3. Choose your ingredients wisely
The quality of the beer basically depends on the quality of the ingredients which are used. Therefore, it is necessary that you use high quality ingredients while brewing beer. Fresh ingredients are always seen to impart the beer a very rich flavor. So instead of using dry yeast, you can switch on to liquid yeast and instead of using extract from an old can, you can use an extract that is freshly obtained. You should store ingredients like crushed grains, liquid yeast and hops in the refrigerator and should use them up very quickly as they have a very low shelf life.
4. Prepare a yeast starter
In order to bring about better beer fermentation, it is recommended that you use a yeast starter. For preparing the starter, you should boil together a small amount of dried malt extract with a quarter cup of hops and water.Cool the mixture and then add yeast to it, 3 to 4 days before you start brewing. Store this yeast starter in a cool dry place and in an airtight vessel.
5. Invest in glass fermenters
For the purpose of home brewing, it is advised that you choose glass fermenters over plastic ones. These fermenters are very much easier to clean and sterilize and they also provide a hundred percent barrier to oxygen entry. Plastic fermenters are also tend to leakage and this problem can be rectified by the use of a 5 gallon glass carboy.
6. Buy appropriate airlocks
The airlock is an important accessory of any fermenter as it helps in letting out the carbon dioxide and at the same time prevents the entry of foreign particles in the fermenter. See to it that the airlock you purchase has a tight fit. Also, it is recommended that you fill about half of the airlock with boiling water, as this will help in keeping the air out.
7. Know the ideal boiling time
For preparing a high quality beer, it is necessary that you boil the wort ideally for 60 to 90 minutes. This will help in sterilizing the wort, vaporizing unwanted compounds and releasing bitter oils from the hops. It will also help in coagulating proteins and tannins from the grains so that they fall out easily while cooling.
8. Switch to full batch boil
For obtaining the complete benefits of boiling, it is recommended that you follow a full batch boil, instead of boiling the batch in parts. To facilitate this process you can make use of a 7 to 12 gallon brew pot and an outdoor propane burner.
9. Maintain a steady fermentation temperature
In order to obtain a steady fermentation temperature, you can use a fermentation refrigerator. Another simple method is to place the fermenter in a cool dry place, cover it with wet towels and place a fan in front. Wet the towels every 12 hours and keep a check on the temperature by using a thermometer. By following this process, you will get a steady temperature in the range of 66 to 68 degree Fahrenheit.
10. Cool the wort quickly
After boiling for the stipulated time period, you should see to it that you cool off the wort in a quick manner. Quick cooling is also essential when you perform a full batch boil. This will ensure the effective fall out of proteins and tannins and will also reduce the risk of infections. For bringing about quick cooling, you can use an immersion wort chiller.
11. Maintain sterile conditions
The immediate period after the cooling of the beer is very important as it is when there is a high chance of occurrence of infections. Therefore it is necessary to maintain highly sterile conditions during this period and you should also see to it that anything which comes in contact with the wort is sanitized in an instant manner.
12. Make long term purchases
If you plan to continue with the home brewing of beer, then it is better to make purchases that will last for a long period of time. This will also prove to be a huge money saver over the years.