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Making Your Own Beer

Aug 17, 2007
While beer is widely available mostly anywhere and there are thousands of varieties to choose from, making your own beer can be an exciting hobby. Your quest to look for the right kind of beer for your taste might be such a confusing journey as there are thousands of varieties out there. Perhaps making your own beer is the good way to speed up your pursuit. Making beer is simple if you follow every step religiously. Here's an overview of how to do it.

Procedures for Making Your Own Beer

The main ingredient for beer is barley, which is the source of sugar to be fermented for the brewing process. Rice, corn, and what are sometimes used as supplementary ingredients. To prepare for the beer making process, barley is malted by steeping its grains in water until they begin to sprout. At a certain point the grains are dried to stop the germination process and the resulting product from malting is the grain bill. The grain bills are then mashed in a special mill that crushes the grain's starch center but still keeping the husk whole. This is necessary for the proper change of starch to become sugar.

The next step is sparging, and this is done by rinsing the mashed grain bills to separate the husk from the sugar. In a brew kettle, water is slowly trickled in to the bed of mashed grain. Sweet liquor would be drained from the brew kettle and collected. What is collected are known as malt extract. Those who are in a hurry could actually buy concentrated malt and start off with that, to make life easier. Malt extracts are classified according to their origin, color and the capacity for fermentation.

One important element to making bear is yeast. Without it, beer cannot be brewed. A special type of yeast called brewer's yeast is specifically used for making beer. Brewer's yeast is even further classified into lager and ale yeasts. Lager yeast sinks during the fermentation process and requires low temperatures of about 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Ale yeast on the other hand remains on top during the fermentation process and requires temperatures of about 55 to 65 degrees F. Ale yeast is used more often for home brewing because it is difficult to maintain the temperature required by lager yeast.

To brew beer, malted grain is steeped into the brewing water using a steeping bag which is like a giant teabag. The brewing pot is then heated until right before the water boils, at this point the steeping bag is removed. Once the water is boiling well, the heat is turned off. Malt extract is then mixed into the water until the ingredients are incorporated very well. The pot will be heated once more until the mixture, called wort, boils again.

The next step is called hopping. This involves infusing bittering flowers into the wort by means of hopping bags. The bittering hop bag is just placed into the brew pot and boiled for about an hour to extract the flavors of the hops. As the wort boils, certain proteins will form. Towards the end of boiling, around fifteen minutes before turning the heat off, a teaspoon of Irish Moss should be added to the wort to remove proteins that could make the beer hazy. Towards the end of the wort's boiling process, finishing hops are added for more aroma and flavor.

Once boiling is done, the hops bag is removed. The brew pot is then covered tightly with an aluminum foil sheet. The wort is then chilled to cool it enough for the yeast by placing the brew pot in a cold bath. The wort should be cooled as quick as possible to avoid prolonged exposure to possible contaminants. The wort would then be aerated to allow fermentation process. The wort is poured into a sanitized fermenter and allowed to splash and form. It is important not to pour everything as there are sediments at the bottom of brew pot that should not be mixed to the final brew. Some cold water is added on top of the wort.

The next step is called pitching. This is done when the fermenter has cooled the wort to about less then 75 degrees F. Yeast would then be sprinkled on top of the wort. It is important to be sanitize everything used for this step, even the scissors used to open the yeast's packet. After pouring the yeast, the fermenter would then be sealed using an air lock. The fermentation process can take from about two to five days. It is important to check the fermentation daily. Fermentation is done when the bubble rate in the air lock becomes less than a time per two minutes, it takes about a week to reach this point. After fermentation, the beer would be bottled in a special process. Afterwards, the beer would be aged by storing the beer in a dark place for two weeks at room temperature, and for another two weeks at cool temperature. Once this is done, the beer may then be chilled for 24 hours, and then it can enjoyed.

Making your own beer takes time and effort, but it is well worth your exertion to enjoy something that you made out of your own hands.
About the Author
Lee Dobbins writes for http://beer-making.leisure-webzone.com where you can learn more about beer making procedures and supplies .
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