Imagine that you have a big keg of beer that you can dip your mug into whenever you feel like having a drink. If the mere thought made you lick your lips, then you should seriously consider home brewing your own beer. Home brewed beer is all the rage these days because it’s cheaper and you can control the strength to suit your own taste.
The most common ingredient that goes into making beer is barley. Barley is a hardy cereal with coarse bristles, cultivated especially for stock feed and, you’ve got it, brewing. However, it is not the only grain that you can use to make beer. You can also use other cereals like wheat, rye, oats and sorghum.
Before you can use barley to start brewing beer, you need to prepare it through a process called malting. Fortunately, you can buy malted barley, which is what most brewers do. This will save you a lot of time and trouble. Malt provides the sugar that yeast consumes during fermentation. The higher the concentration of malt you use, the stronger your beer will become.
Other ingredients you will need for home brewing your own beer are hops, yeast and water. Hops are added to provide the bitterness to balance the sweetness. They are added in much smaller quantities than malt. They are available in pelletized form for convenience. Yeast converts the sugar in malt into alcohol and carbon dioxide. The process is called fermentation. Alcohol is what you drink beer for and carbon dioxide gives the beer its fizz.
Now that you have the ingredients, there are only a few more steps involved – provided the malted barley you have bought has already been mashed. Mashing involves soaking the malt in hot water in order to chop the large starch molecules into smaller sugar molecules. Most malt meant for home brewers have already been mashed, so you don’t need to worry about it.
The first step is to get the equipment that you will require, such as a stainless steel brew kettle and some buckets. Create a thick solution of water and malt, which is called wort (so as to distinguish it from fermented beer) and boil it. Boiling kills the germs, makes it more easily fermentable and helps make the finished product more stable. When the wort is boiling, hops are added to it. The boiled wort is then cooled.
The next step is to add yeast to the cooled wort and wait for fermentation to take place. Depending on how strong you want your beer to be, you can allow fermentation to last from a few days to a few months. After the fermentation is complete, you can bottle the beer in beer growlers or keg the beer, ready to be served. Now that you have learned the art of home brewing your own beer, the time has come to indulge yourself.
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