Home Brewing: Beer Step-by-step Kits
Both styles of kits, wet and dry, come complete with detailed instructions on how to make them up. Briefly, they are as follows:
For wet kits:
1 Empty the contents of a wet kit into a sterilized bin.
2 Add some hot water to dissolve the malt extract.
3 Stir in the requisite amount of sugar.
4 Top up with cold water.
5 Sprinkle in the yeast.
6 Cover the bin and wait for fermentation to finish.
7 Siphon the beer into sterilized bottles or a cask.
8 Prime at the rate of one level teaspoonful of castor sugar per 1-15 litres/1 quart.
9 Seal the bottles or cask securely.
10 Mature the beer for at least one week and preferably three or four.
For dry kits:
1 Empty the grains and hops into a boiling pan.
2 Add water and wet the hops to prevent them floating.
3 Boil them for up to an hour.
4 Dissolve the malt flour in warm water.
5 Strain in the liquor from the boiling pan.
6 Top up with cold water.
7 When the wort is cool enough, add the yeast.
8 Continue as for a wet kit.
With each kit, the process is simple and the resultant beer is clean, wholesome and satisfying. Possibly more than a million people brew their beer regularly with one of the many different kits. If you are new to brewing, purchase an assortment of kits from different manufacturers over a period of time and make them up until you find the one that you like best. If a brew satisfies completely, then stick to it. However, some people find that even in their favourite kit, they would like some variation. Kits generally, are not easy to vary successfully. If you want to make a more individual beer, then it is best to buy some malt extract and hops and work out a recipe for yourself.
Malt extract and hops
You can buy a completely plain malt extract or one already blended with different barleys. Also buy some hops and yeast appropriate to the style of beer you wish to brew. You need at least 450g/1 lb malt extract and up to 25g/1oz hops per 4.5 litres/1 gallon of beer.
1 Dissolve the malt extract in a little warm water with up to 225g/8oz sugar per 4.5 litres/1 gallon.
2 Boil the hops in some more water for at least 45 minutes and strain on to the malt solution.
1 Dissolve the malt extract in 2.25 litres/4 pints warm water, add the hops and boil for at least 45 minutes.
2 Leave covered to cool, then strain out the hops.
3 Stir in the sugar.
4 Top up with cold water, cover and leave until the temperature of the wort has fallen to 18.3°C/ 65°F.
5 Meanwhile, dilute one-third of a cupful of the wort with as much cold water. Add the yeast and leave in a warm place to activate.
6 Stir the active yeast into the wort, cover and leave in a moderate temperature of 18.3°C/65°F.
7 Next day, skim off the dirty froth and give the beer a good stir.
8 Do this again on the second day, then leave the wort to ferment out.
9 When the surface of the beer is clear of bubbles, move the bin to as cold a place as you can find for two days to encourage the sediment to settle.
10 Siphon the clear beer into sterilized bottles.
11 Prime at the rate of 1 level teaspoonful per 1.15 litres/1 quart.
12 Seal securely and mature for three weeks.
You can adjust this basic recipe to suit your individual palate. For example:
1 Use more malt extract, or less sugar.
2 More or fewer hops or different hops or a combination of hops.
3 Save a handful of hops or a few hop pellets per 4.5 litres/1 gallon to add to the wort after the second skimming. This enhances the fresh hop tang.
4 Alternatively, save a quarter of the hops and add them (or a different variety say Northern Brewer) for the last 15 minutes of the boil.
5 Use golden syrup, brown sugar or glucose chips instead of household sugar.
6 Boil 55g/2oz black malt with Fuggle type hops in soft water, or hard water to which half a teaspoonful of salt per 4.5 litres/1 gallon has been added, to make a stout.
7 The addition of a tablespoonful or two of flaked rice or flaked maize to a bitter beer or of oatmeal to a stout, varies the flavour most interestingly.
There is almost no limit to the variations that you can try. It is recommended, however, that you brew these experimental beers in 4.5-litre/1-gallon quantities, in case you produce one that you like less well. Even that may be blended with another and re-primed.