Beer begins with ingredients. With the increase in popularity of homebrewing, ingredients have become easy to find in homebrew stores throughout the country. The amount of necessary equipment is minimal, many of the items displayed in this page is are merely conveniences for the brewer.
The minimum equipment for a malt syrup brew is one large cooking pot (1 gallon or greater), an airtight fermenting bucket or glass carboy fitted with an airlock, and some bottling arrangement.
|This display shows a rather large stainless steel brewpot, two glass carboys (6 1/2 gallons and 5 gallons), and some sample ingredients. The cans of malt syrup are really condensed unfermented wort that can be reconstituted and form the basis for a malt extract brew. Two cans are needed for a typical 5 gallon batch. The dry malted barley seen can be steeped in hot, non-boiling water and the run-off be added to the wort to alter the character of the finished beer. The green pellets are compressed hops. Hops add the bitter flavor that balances out the sweetness of the wort. Hops also act as a traditional preservative in beer. Compressed hops are easy to add to the wort boil and come in vacuum sealed pouches for freshness. The white powder is dextrose, or corn sugar. Dextrose is added to the beer after fermentation so that carbonation will form in the bottle. Also seen in the photo are some bottle caps, a thermometer, hydrometer ( for measuring alcohol content) and a gallon measuring jug.|
|The first thing you need to do is boil the wort. This is when you sanitize the wort, add the hops for a timed boil and add any adjunct grains (the steeped malt juice full of sugars, starch fragments and proteins). Here is a picture of my boiling setup. The gas burner is from a turkey fryer and runs off low-pressure propane. The stainless steel brewpot will hold the malt extract diluted with a few gallons of water. The coil of copper tubing is an immersion wort chiller and will not be placed in the brewpot until the end of the boil.|
Adjust the fire so as to avoid boil overs.
|Boil a known amount of hops for a known amount of time. At 90 minutes the maximum extraction of the bittering alpha acids from the hop's lupulin glands will be extracted. Hops can be added later for shorter boiling times to yield more flavoring or aromatic agents that would be boiled off during the longer boil.
The wort must be cool in order to add yeast. This is effected by adding cold water to make up the rest of the 5 gallon volume and by ... time. My newest toy is the immersion wort chiller shown in this picture. Immerse the chiller in the boiling wort to sanitize and then turn off the heat. Garden hoses bring cold water in which flows through the coils, absorbs the heat, and flows out a separate hose as hot water. The chiller gets the wort to within 10 degrees of the water temperature in less than half an hour.
|Use a funnel to pour the chilled, diluted wort into the carboy. Add yeast and place in a dark place with a constant temperature of 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit. Notice the airlock shown on the empty carboy shown in this photo. Bubbles will be noticable the following day and should subside within the week.|
Bottling and Storage
|After fermentation siphon the new beer into a bottling bucket for convenience. Be sure not to stir up the trub, which is a disagreeable sediment on the bottom of the carboy following fermentation.|
|Standard bottles need a special bottle capper to crimp the bottle caps as shown. Alternatively, fliptop bottles have rubber gaskets and a built in wire lever to compress the seal.|
|Store the beer for several months in a cool, dark place with a constant temperature. This old coal bin works well for me.|