If you have ever enjoyed a bottle or can of your favorite beer, you may have wondered what is involved in the beer-making process. You may already know that the procedure takes place in the brewery. And for the many popular brands in the market, involves a lot of work to prepare and market the product.
But what if you are looking to start a beer company or happen to be interested in learning the act just to run a small-scale outfit from the comfort of your home? You surely will need to learn how to make beer and how to get it right up to the taste and smoothness. Need to find out the different procedures that take place in the brewery and how to make your special brand of alcoholic beer product just the way the experts do it? You will find this guide to be helpful.
How to Make Beer?
You should know that the act of making any alcoholic drink is both a science and an art. It requires a scientific approach because you will need to learn the secrets to getting it right. This will include knowledge of the procedures, the right equipment, and the different ingredients required to get it right. As an art form, you will need to have a passion to succeed at the task. This means that you will need to be ready for the ups and downs as you learn the art of beer making.
The first thing you will need is to be passionate about drinking beer and be interested in making something that people will enjoy drinking. You want to make it an experience right from when the bottle or can is opened till when the contents are emptied into the glass or belly of the drinker. You will only be interested in getting it right if you love to experiment with the drink-making process in your brewery and look for the best process to end up with the perfect brew.
Understanding What is Needed to Make Beer
You may think that you need fancy expensive equipment to succeed at making beer. But the fact is that many home-based breweries engage in small-scale production that may even be better than many of the popular brands in the market. But to get started with the task, you will need to have the right equipment and have the ingredients needed to succeed at making your first batch. Whether you are looking to run a home-based brewery or set up a large production outlet, below are the equipment and ingredients you will need to make beer.
You can find starter kits for running your brewery at home that costs between $100 to $600 for a miniature unit. But you can expect to spend a lot more if you are looking to run a large-scale outfit like a brewing factory. Nonetheless, the main equipment you will need include
- Brewing kettle
- Fermenter and airlock
- Automatic siphon
- Stir siphon
- Spoon for stirring
- Capping machine
- Bottles for storing the finished brew
Ingredients Needed for Beer Making
You don’t need many ingredients to make beer. And if you have ever checked the ingredients on the bottle of your favorite brand, you will find that there are not more than four or five elements listed there. Whether you will be brewing at home or in a factory, below are the ingredients you will need.
Hops are obtained from the Humulus lupulus plant and are the basic ingredients that add a bitter taste to the wort and make the final brew taste sweet. The cones obtained from the female part of the hops plant are what is needed in brewing. It contains the alpha acid that is responsible for the bitter taste of the brew. The higher the percentage of the alpha acid the more bitter the taste of the drink.
The percentage of the alpha acid contained in the hops differs depending on the time of year and location the plant is obtained from. You will need to experiment with plants obtained from different seasons and locations to be able to determine the best option for your drink. You will need to boil the hops for at least an hour to be able to release the bitterness into the drink.
2. Malt Grains
Malt is an important ingredient in the beer-making process as it helps with ensuring that the grains turn into sugar which is needed for the fermentation process. You can choose between the liquid or dry form of the malt extract and would have to determine the best option depending on the measure of fermentable sugar needed in the wort.
There is an ideal calculation that helps in ensuring you get the measurement right when preparing the wort. One pound of the liquid malt extract will produce 1.044 of the original gravity when added to a gallon of water. In the dry form, one pound of malt extract will produce 1.037 of the original gravity when added to a gallon of water. You will need to experiment with the different gravity to determine the preferred mix for your brew.
Even with malt extracts included in your brew, you will also need to include grains to help with adding texture, aroma, color, and taste to the finished brew. You will need to crush or mill the grains to be used in beer making to be able to extract the inner contents. It is best to use the grains immediately after crushing them and you can store the uncrushed grains for up to three months before milling them if you have the right equipment.
Some of the ideal grains for making beer include barley, wheat, rice, rye, oats, corn, and many other specialty malts. You will have to experiment with a few of them to determine which is best for your beer. This page has more on the grains required to make beer.
Yeast is an important ingredient in beer making as it is responsible for providing the alcohol that makes beer an alcoholic drink. In the past, before brewers understood the importance of yeast in the beer-making process, the quality of the final brew wasn’t much to write about. And you can find yeast as part of the ingredient in every popular beer brand out there.
There is the option of choosing between liquid or dry yeast during the brewing process, and whichever your option, you can expect that it won’t affect the quality of the brew. The only thing to note is that the liquid form does come in different varieties and requires careful handling during brewing. The dry yeast on the other hand is not complex to work with and has a long shelf life than the liquid option.
You will also need water to make beer. Water makes more than 90% of the drink and you must use the best quality water in the brewing process. The ideal choice is to use one from a clean source that is odor-free. You also need to ensure that it is mildly hard and has a mildly alkaline pH. There is not much chemistry needed in choosing the right water to make beer as you can get the best result with tap water that you drink at home. This link https://www.allrecipes.com/article/how-to-brew-beer/ has more on the ingredients needed to make beer at home.
The Beer Making Process
Now that you know the equipment and ingredients needed to make beer, we will now analyze the different steps involved in the brewing process.
The first step is to ensure that all the equipment is sanitized to ensure that the final product is as clean as possible and safe for consumption. The goal is to avoid bacteria in the finished product and you don’t need to employ clinical-grade sterilization. Cleaning all surfaces and rinsing the equipment with boiling water is enough to get the job done. You can also consider using beer sanitization kits that help ensure the process is thorough.
2. Preparing the Starter wort
You will then need to begin with preparing the starter wort which can be done by heating the water and malt for 10 minutes in a container and allowing it to cool to about 60 degrees. You can make use of a thermometer to be sure of the temperature. Next is to include the yeast in the 60 degrees’ solution of malt. Ideally, 33 billion yeasts cells are enough for 6 liters of water and 6 ounces of dry malt extracts. Once the yeast has been added, close the container with aluminum foil and put it aside.
3. Prepare the Mash
The mash consists of your chosen grains which have been crushed and boiled in water. This process is special as it is responsible for turning the starches in the grains into sugar which gives the liquor its sweet taste. Ideally, 11 pounds of grain is enough for 11 liters of water. Boil for up to 150 degrees Fahrenheit and maintain this temperature as you boil for about an hour.
4. Testing and Straining the Mash
The next step is to test the mash to be sure that it has the right sugar content. You can do this with the use of iodine. Start by using a spoon to scoop the water and grain mix and add a drop of iodine to it. If there is still starch in the mix the brown iodine will change to black which means you need to continue with the mashing. The ideal situation that determines there is enough sugar in the mash is one that doesn’t change the color of the solution when you include iodine.
Once you achieve the right sugar content, you will need to extract the sweet liquor from the mash. This can be done with the use of a strainer to get rid of any solid particles from the mash so all that is left is a liquid extract.
5. Boil the Wort
Now that you have the sweet liquor extract, the next step is to vigorously boil the solution. This is done to kill any bacteria that may be left in the liquor and releases a compound that gives it a more plant-tasting feel to the drink. You want to keep a close eye on the heating to ensure that it doesn’t reach a sticky phase that leaves behind a thick mess in the pot.
Once you reach the ideal boil, you want to add in the hops to release the alpha acids that give the bitter taste. You will have to boil the worts and hops for another hour to achieve this taste. The number of hops to include will depend on the bitter taste you aim to achieve. You will need to note the alpha acid content of the hops to determine how much to use.
6. Allow the Beer to Cool
The next step when you achieve the desired taste is to allow the beer to cool and the yeast to pitch. You can speed up the cooling process by using a wort chiller specifically for beer making or by putting the brew pot in a bath filled with ice. Never add ice into the beer. The temperature to aim for is 68 degrees Fahrenheit after which you will need to strain the beer again to remove any leftover particles.
After straining you will need to leave the beer in a sanitized carboy or this specialized ABS stainless steel fermenter tank for a few days to ferment. Attach a blow-off tube to the top of the carboy and ensure the other end is sitting under a bowl of water filled to just a few inches up. This is so as the seal it from oxygen from the environment to ensure that only carbon dioxide is released from the beer.
Fermentation should be complete after a week and you will need to transfer the beer to another sterilized closed container and allow it to sit for up to two weeks before the final bottling.
7. Bottling and Carbonation
Take about a three-quarter cup of corn sugar and add to a pint of water and boil for 15 minutes. Allow the sugar water to cool for about an hour and pour into the bottling bucket. Then transfer the prepared beer to the sweet corn sugar water. This gives the yeast food while it rests inside the bottle. You can then begin bottling the beer and once done keep it in a storage place under room temperature for another two weeks. This is done to enable the drink to achieve proper carbonation which provides the bubbles in the drink. At the two weeks mark, the beer should be ready to drink.
Now that you have a finished beer, you will need to decide on a name for your product. You can employ the services of a branding company to help ensure that you come up with a name that will help with getting your brand in the market if you looking to target the consumer market. You can go with a personalized name if you are looking to have something you and your friends can enjoy when you meet. You can also seek expert help if you are not satisfied with the finished product. This website has suggestions on what to do with a bad batch of home-brewed beer.
The bottom line is that it requires experimenting which is part of the scientific process involved in beer making. So you don’t need to be disappointed and give up if you don’t get it at the first trial. You will need to start over and give it time until you are satisfied with the brew.