Three Methods of Home Brewing
Craft Beer – Make It Yourself!
Part 1 is here: https://www.blackbucketbrew.com/how-to-make-beer
Let’s jump back into home brewing your own craft beer with the completion of…
3.) How to Make Beer – Advanced
How to Make Beer – Equipment Needed
- Plastic Bottling/Sanitation Bucket with Spigot
- 3/8” Plastic Bottle Filler
Get extra vinyl tubing. About six inches should be fine. The tubing makes it much easier to attach the bottle filler to the bucket’s valve.
- Airlock (Allows release of CO2 and prevents undesirables from entering the fermenter – you know, things like insects, wild yeast, or bacteria that are not good for you or your beer.
- Rubber Stopper with Hole (For carboy and airlock)
- Hydrometer (For determining alcohol content and when fermentation is complete)
Don’t skip using a hydrometer since an incomplete or “stuck” fermentation can lead to serious problems. As in beer that’s too sweet, or even “bottle bombs”. Ouch!
- Hydrometer Jar (Pour brew into the jar and use the hydrometer to take a reading.)
Do not pour back into your fermenter as it risks an infection of your brew. Taste it instead, to get an idea of your brew process. Yum!
- Auto Siphon Racking Cane
Use an auto siphon cane – it’s much easier. (Use with the vinyl tubing and transfer to bottle bucket from carboy.)
- 5ft Vinyl Transfer Tubing (I prefer 6ft or 7ft, but 5ft will do.)
- Shutoff clamp (for tubing)
- Bottle capper
- Bottle caps
- Sanitizer (Star San Sanitizer is my choice.) Sanitizes all that comes in contact with beer – either unfermented (wort) or fermented (beer).
- Powdered Brewery Wash, an alkali cleaner for easy cleaning of your carboy etc.
- Bottle brush
Rinse the bottles with hot water (3 or 4 times) after emptying. With a thumb over the bottle top, shake the bottle up and down vigorously and drain. Let drain and dry upside down in dish rack. Store them covered and sanitize them with Star San before reusing.
The items below may not come with your “beer kit”, but are needed for home brewing:
- 54 – 12 oz. Beer bottles
- A 5 or 6 gallon brew kettle, also known as a stock pot. A 6 gallon stainless steel kettle made of a heavy gauge stainless steel is my choice.
The 6 gallon size gives enough “head space” to help contain the boil. A boilover’s very messy, as the wort contains concentrated malt sugars. Thankfully, I’ve not experienced a boilover, and with planning, you can prevent it, too. Plus, the heavy gauge metal has benefits. It helps to maintain an even temperature when steeping or mashing grains.
A pot with an aluminum encapsulated bottom (aluminum sandwiched between stainless steel) heats evenly and does not warp. Even heating helps to prevent scorching of the wort – which can make for a burnt taste and a hard clean up after the pot’s used. Anything to help cleaning up is my way to go. 🙂
- Whirlfloc Tablets – Add one half tablet per 5 gallon brew in the last 15 minutes of the boil to help clear your wort.
- Fermcap-S – This controls the foam during boiling. If used with a properly sized pot and wort volume, you can leave the kettle unattended occasionally – be careful though, as you learn how your brew process works.
- A good kitchen timer – Helps keep track of your boil time and scheduling your hop and Whirlfloc additions.
Print out a schedule of the recipe with all temperature(s) and hop additions and place it in an easily readable place before beginning the brew. This makes for a more relaxing and accurate brew session.
- A long stem dial thermometer for checking the wort temperature and checking the temperature of the cooling wort before moving to the fermenter. It should be under 80 Fahrenheit when transferred. (See BlackBucketBrew.com/shop )
- Small electronic scales for weighing hops and grain. They are inexpensive and can be used for kitchen recipes too. (See BlackBucketBrew.com/shop for a great and inexpensive scale that weighs to 1 gram accuracy and up to 11 pounds.)
Use a technique that good chefs use called “Mise en place”. Pronounced [miz on plas], it means ”put in place”. Have all your ingredients (weighed or measured as needed) and laid out conveniently in the order of addition to your brew recipe. Also have equipment sanitized and prepared at hand to use.
This is so easy to do when you’re not yet in a rush to keep up with the brew process. Do this one thing and you will greatly increase your enjoyment and the success of your brew process.
Brew great craft beer at home? Of course you can – I did.
For extract with steeping grains kits – my recommendation for most newbies – allow about 3 to 4 hours for your first brew session. Plus, about 1 hour to prepare, fill and cap bottles after your beer is ready.
Some additional time is needed for clean up and storage. With experience, you will gain efficiency and will find the time needed will decrease.
For the best craft beer home brewing, drink a brew after the brewing process. You need a clear mind to brew. It’s not rocket science or quantum physics, but there is a need for precision – if you want the best tasting craft beer. And I know that you do.:)
Hey – you might become a brewpub or craft brewery brewmaster!
How to Make Beer is just one of many informative articles in Black Bucket Brew – a weekly BeerZine. Subscribe Now for your free emailed copy!
Written by: David Ivey