Beer is basicly made from Malted Grains (or Malt), Hops and Water. The Malted Grains come from Barley that has been treated by the malting house in a special way to make it usable to the brewer. The brewer uses a process called mashing (soaking in hot water) to convert the starch in the grains to sugars and extract 'Sweet Wort' from the malt, this is seperated from the grains and brought to the boil, hops are added for bitterness and flavour then after an hour or so it is rapidly cooled to about room temperature when yeast is added. The yeast converts or ferments the sugars in the (now bitter) 'Wort' to alcohol and co2.After the beer has been allowed to mature for a few weeks it's ready to drink.
Making Beer at Home. There are several options available to the homebrewer when it comes to making beer at home.
Firstly there are kits, which are simply concentrated (hopped) Wort, where the manufacturer has mashed the grains, extracted the sweet wort, boiled it with hops then driven off most of the water to make a concentrated wort. Kits come in various forms and sizes from 1.5kg tins to a 3.6kg kit consisting of 2 x1.8kg tins. They are generaly designed to make 40 pts of beer and as 1.5 kg of concentrated wort contains no where near enough fermentable sugars to make 40 pts of beer, extra sugars have to be added. (This applies to all single can kits up to 1.8kg.)
These extra sugars can take the form of White Sugar, Brewers Sugar (Glucose), Liquid Malt Extract (LME) or Dry Malt Extract (DME.which is dried Sweet Wort). White Sugar and Brewers Sugar ferment completely to alcohol leaving a not so pleasant taste and produce a thin watery beer. LME and DME should be added if a beer is to be made that resembles as closely as possible something that you get from a pub. They not only add alcohol but body and the pleasant subtle malty flavour found in beer. Where a kit calls for one Kg of sugar to be added, 1kg of DME can be substitued or 1.5kg of LME.-DME being cheaper and generaly more convenient. If you prefer a more hoppy pint, hopped versions of DME or LME are available
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An alternative is the 3kg or 3.6 kg kits, these can produce great tasting beer, some even come with special grains and hops which can be simmered or boiled to produce an additional complexity of flavour that makes the final product taste really great.
Also available but not shown are all dry malt extract kits and single can 1.5 kg kits that are designed to make specialist Belgium ales and lagers in smaller volumes and recommend the addition of candied sugar, these make very nice beers, particularly when served chilled on a hot day.
Kits require very little equipment to make up, all that is required is a fermenter (25L food grade bucket) preferably with tap, a mixing paddle/spoon, a hydrometer, a thermometer and a regular kettle. Click On The Pictures For Instructions on Making Up the Type of Beer Kit Shown
The next option for brewing your own beer is Extract brewing
Links to other parts of this site.
Home How to Make Up a Beer Kit My Brupaks Kit Instructions DaaB's False Bottom Mash Tun Clean and Sanitising Site Contents
Jims Beer Kit (All Grain Brewing) Brewing Equipment How to Mini-Mash Extract Brewing All Grain Brewing Menu Useful Links
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Last Update 18/06/07