Special to The Sun
Beer enthusiasts know that sometimes finding the right brew can be a labor of love. While there are mass-produced commercial beers ranging from the palest ales to the richest stouts and a bevy of independent, small-scale bottlers, finding the right fit can still be difficult. However, there is something to be said for a beer that is constructed to perfectly fit an individual’s palate.
Many beer drinkers have dreamed about what it would be like to brew their own batch of beer. Before advancements in home-brewing technology, this may have been just a passing whim. But now that there are brewing supply stores and ingredients that can be purchased in-store or online more readily, many beer enthusiasts have determined there’s never been a better time to craft their own beer.
Brewing beer at home can be both inexpensive and easy. In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, you may want to try your hand at home-brewing and be the merry-maker for friends and family. There are a few basic steps and ingredients.
• malt extract
• filtered water
• brewpot — a stainless steel, 4 or 5 gallon pot
• fermenter — any vessel that can hold the beer while fermenting
• siphon hose
• airlock and stopper — enables air-tight seal on fermenter
• bottling bucket — holds finished beer and priming solution
• beer bottles and capper
Kits also can be purchased that include all of the ingredients needed to make beer.
Although the process will vary depending on the variety of beer that will be made, some common steps include:
1. Sanitize all of the equipment to eliminate bacteria and fungi.
2. Make the “wort” from boiling water and the malt extract. Then add the hops and keep it boiling.
3. Cool the wort down until the boiling pot is cold enough to touch.
4. Strain the wort into the fermenting container.
5. Add yeast to the fermenter. Stir gently to provide oxygen.
6. Put the airlock on and store the container somewhere cool and dark. The entire fermenting process should take a week to 10 days.
7. Prime your beer with boiled sugar water. The sugar will reactivate the yeast and carbonate the beverage while it is bottled.
8. Fill the bottles to one inch below the top. Securely cap the bottles immediately after filling.
9. Let the bottles sit for an additional week at room temperature to condition. Then the bottles can be chilled for drinking.