Food and drink is without a doubt the finesse of life, and while most people get to experience cooking and preparing meals at some point in their lives, it can be equally as gratifying to make your own beer, too. Beer is the oldest multi-ingredient drink on the planet, and it is said that the oldest recipe in the world is one that was found in Ancient Egypt for the hoppy brew. Making beer at home can be fun and exciting, and here are the steps and tools needed to create your own version.
1. The first step to making your own beer is to collect all the proper equipment and ingredients. You will need malt extract, hops, yeast, specialty grains, a brew pot, strainer, large funnel, 3 gallons of water, a kitchen thermometer and empty bottles. The real secret to success when it comes to brewing beer is keeping everything clean and sanitized. The best way to do so is to have an electric dishwasher with a high heat setting. If you do not have one you can always use bleach, but it requires a lot of extra thorough cleaning and you should only use one ounce of it per five gallons of water to create your solution.
2. Set aside a notebook to take notes for you to look back on during the brewing process. It will be helpful to refer back to these notes in order to stay on track with everything to make sure that you are doing everything correctly. In addition to that, any notes taken about certain amounts put in can later be looked at to replicate a recipe.
3. Next, take your specialty grains and soak them in a grain bag, and then put them in three gallons of water. The temperature of the water should be about 150 degrees, and allow the grains to remain in it for at least half an hour. Once finished, take out the grain bag but do not squeeze out the excess water because this can alter the flavor of the beer and damage the grains.
4. Next, add your malt extract to the pot and bring it all to a boil. The malts and hops are what flavor your beer, and by adding them earlier on you will find your end product to be a bit bitterer. If you decide to add them in the end, the beer will be less bitter but the aroma will not be as strong.
5. Once the malted hops are finished boiling, it becomes known as a liquid called “wort.” This substance will have to be cooled fairly quickly, and the best way to do that is to put the whole pot in a bathtub or sink full of ice. After the temperature has been lowered to about 80 degrees it can be transferred the fermenter.
6. Put the wort into the fermenter. This is the only time during the entire process where it is acceptable to shake it up to get the yeast active and interacting with oxygen once it is added. Use the strainer to remove the remains of the hops, and then add enough water to make 5 gallons worth.
7. Add in the yeast and make sure that your fermenter and seal it tight in an air lock. Place the entire container in a dark area and allow it to sit there for about three weeks. Within 24 hours, you can check in on it to make sure that it is bubbling, which means the yeast is doing its job. After the brewing time as passed, the beer will be ready to bottled, carbonated and stored for at least another two weeks aging before consumption.
Written by the staff at Willie’s Pub and Pool. Willie’s has great drink specials and is one of the most atmospheric bars Columbia MO has to offer