Try it at home: brew your own beer
While a good pint was once something reserved for the pub, today brewing has become more fashionable and all over the country local tastemakers have been coming up with their own special blends of ale and cider to enjoy.
If you’re something of a craft beer aficionado yourself, why not get involved and try making your own beer at home?
Brewing your own beer is a fun and inexpensive hobby, and is a great way to share your passion with family and friends as well as add your own mark to your next event or special occasion.
The basics of homebrewing
To brew your own beer at home the first thing you’ll need is a kit that comes with the right mix of ingredients like hops, malt extract and priming sugar – you can purchase these online from retailers like Lakeland and Love Brewing, or if you prefer, look for a local brewer or winemaker who sells similar kits and can offer their advice. You’ll need:
- A 40 pint (23 litres) pressure barrel
- Fermenting bucket,
- Siphon tube,
- Plastic spoon
- Cleaner and steriliser
Once you have the right equipment and ingredients you’re ready to get started. The brewing process happens in 5 stages. Mixing the ingredients and making the beer itself should take between 3 and 4 hours, so it’s an easy activity to do in an afternoon or on the weekend with family and friends.
The fermenting stage takes longer – between 4 and 6 weeks – so make sure you have somewhere safe and away from direct sunlight to store your beer as it ferments. Your mixture should be drinkable after a month, however it can take up to six months for your beer to reach its optimum flavour, so if you can let it rest for as long as possible.
Boil together your pale malt extract and hops with water for about an hour. This will sterilise the extract and release the bittering qualities in the hops. You can also steep the grain in the mixture prior to the boil to create a more complex flavour and colour.
Leave your hot mixture, or wort, to cool to room temperature and then siphon and transfer to a fermenter where you’ll combine with more water to create your batch size. After the mix reaches room temperature, add yeast to begin the fermentation process – at this stage the wort can be easily infected so take care to ensure cleanliness and sanitation. Keep the fermented mixture sealed using an airlock and leave for 1 – 2 weeks.
3. Prime & Bottle
Once the beer is fully fermented, siphon the mixture into another container to get it ready for bottling. Mix in the priming sugars and then siphon into bottles and secure them using a bottle capping device.
4. Let it age
Leave your bottled beer to age for 2-6 weeks. During this stage the yeast will ferment with the remaining sugar to create carbon dioxide – this is what will make your beer bubbly. Sediments like excess yeast and proteins will also drop out of the beer during the ageing process to help enhance the flavour.
Once you’ve aged your beer properly all that’s left to do is refrigerate your bottles and enjoy. If you’re planning on using your beer for a special occasion like a family party or wedding, why not design your own labels and give your beer it’s own name? Also be sure to keep track of the recipe you used and anything you noticed during the process so you can make the beer again.
Have you ever tried home brewing?
Rachel - Silversurfers Assistant Editor
Leave a Comment!
Community Terms & Conditions
These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.
You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.
be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.
Contributions must not:
contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.
Nurturing a safe environment
Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.
We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!