Who could have thought that making beer at home could be so simple? It is as easy as making lemonade. After my disappointing experiences with wine kits I was reluctant to try a beer kit but the beers are really surprisingly nice.
Since I was making wine already I did not need to buy any equipment. The only thing I needed were empty beer bottles. The ones that I have are from Grolsch which have so called “flip top closures” so I don’t even need crown caps.
There are instructions in the package but I don’t need them anymore. Actually my eyes are not able to read the small letters anymore.
This is my personalized manual
- Open the can and place it in hot water. This way the syrup becomes more fluent.
- Start boiling water. This is not strictly necessary but apparently boiling the water results in better foam on your beer.
- Sterilize the fermenter and put in the syrup.
- Rinse the can with hot water to get all the syrup out. Watch out, the can gets hot.
- Add the sugar in the can and dissolve it in boiling water before adding it to the fermenter.
- Sterilize a spoon (And your hands).
- Add the proper amount of boiling water and stir. When a kit is meant for 9 liter I fill the fermenter up to maximum 9,5 liter. (During racking you will lose some beer.)
- Close the fermenter and wait until the wort has cooled to room temperature.
- Add the yeast. After a few hours you will see that the yeast starts working. Keep the fermenter in a room where the temperature does not fluctuate too much. Yeast doesn’t like that.
- One day later you will see why you need a big fermenter. Lots of foam!
This is the nice thing of a demijohn. You can see what happens! This was an abbey kit with wyeast abbey yeast. I discovered later that the yeast was too expensive to use for one kit but look at that foam!
- When the fermentation slows down I transfer the beer to a demijohn. This is not really necessary but I need the fermenter more often and it looks nicer in a demijohn.
- After 2 weeks the fermentation is usually finished. You can check it with a hydrometer but I don’t do that anymore. When in doubt just wait a week longer.
- Then it is bottling time.
- Rinse the bottles with a sulphite and citric acid solution.
- Put the bottling sugar in another demijohn and rack the beer in it. Do not disturb the lees. Make sure that the sugar is dissolved before bottling!
- Rack the beer in the bottles with the bottle filler.
- Store the beer in a room with constant room temperature and wait 6 to 8 weeks. Some beers will improve when you age them longer.
At the moment I do not make the kits anymore. Nowadays I am brewing beer the hard way. But at the time I was already thinking about some experiments with the kits. For example; using another yeast, adding some hops, substituting part of the sugar for honey, using another kind of sugar, add some extra sugar for more alcohol, etc. etc.. There are many things that you can do to create “your own beer” with a kit as a start point.