Beer! Brew your own!

First off, this is a recipe for ALCOHOLIC beer - if you are young, or live in a country where you cannot brew, do not blame me for what trouble you may get into! You have been warned!

Note, I have used British Imperial units. I think they are slightly different to US pounds and gallons.

This is quite a clat, but you end up with a lot of beer - 4 Gallons, or 32 pints

Ingredients (available from some wholefood and homeware stores, if not, there are brewers and winemakers’ websites that can deliver)
3/4lb Crystal Malt
2lb Malt Extract (DMS)
2oz Hops
1tsp Plaster of Paris (if you live in a soft water area)
1 1/2 Gallons Water
3lb White Sugar +some for bottling
A Sachet of Ale (or Bread) Yeast

You will also need (available from cheap household goods shops, or you could borrow/buy from your local brewer’s circle?)
A 5 Gallon Plastic Dustbin
A fermentation vessel or jars
Pressure locks and rubber bungs
Corks and corking device
A large stock or pasta pot, or army dixie (3 Gallons)
A long metal spoon
A thermometer
A large seive
If you want to know the alcohol content of your beer, you will also need a Hydrometer.

  1. Clean and sterilise your plastic dustbin, your large pan or dixie, and other equipment (spoon, thermometer) using a solution of Campden Tablets (available at most home-brewing suppliers). Mark a 4 Gallon mark on your dustbin.
  2. Crack the malt grains (if not already done) by rolling them with a rolling pin, or sticking them in a coffee mill or food processor.
  3. Put the Malt, Malt Extract, Hops and Water in the pot/dixie, and bring to the boil. If you live in a soft water area, you will need to add the plaster of paris. Simmer the mixture for 30mins.
    3.5) Apologise to your partener/family for making the house smell. Give them coffee and biscuits.
  4. Dump the 3lb sugar in your (sterile and rinsed) bin. Pour the malt mixture through the seive, onto the sugar. Add cold water to make the mixture up to 4 gallons.
  5. Wait for your mixture to cool to 25degC (checking with your thermometer) and then add a sachet of good ale yeast (note: NOT a lager or wine yeast! However, a bread yeast can be used).
  6. Leave your bin in a warm room for 24hrs (note, if it gets too cold the yeast will die and your beer will taste horrid). There should be a good layer of froth on top of the beer: skim this off (using a clean and sterile implement) and throw it away. Keep your bin warm for a further 7 days.
  7. Sterilise a fermentation vessel (large plastic barrel) or two fermentation jars (glass jars used by winemakers), a siphoning tube, some rubber bungs (with holes in the middle) and pressure locks (a curved plastic pipe which can be filled with water to let gas out of the vessel, but not let air in!). Siphon your beer into your vessel(s): you will be left with a layer of sediment at the bottom of your bin, which you can wash off and discard. Fit the pressure locks in the rubber bungs, grease the bungs with a little vaseline, and use them to seal the vessels. Add a little water to the pressure locks, and leave in a warm place for a further week.
  8. Sterilise some (clean) bottles by swilling bleach solution in them, and rinsing VERY thoroughly. You can use plastic soft drink bottles, traditional pint bottles, or (I prefer) those big Grolsch bottles with the swing tops. There will be some secondary fermentation of the beer in the bottles, so they must be able to withstand the pressure (do not use glass spirit or juice bottles!) Add a 1/2 tsp white sugar per pint to each bottle, then siphon your beer into the bottles. Leave a little room at the top of the bottle, then cork or fasten as appropriate.
  9. Put your bottles away (NOT in the fridge yet!) and forget about them for at least ten days. The beer improves with age, and you can leave it a couple of months before drinking.
  10. Chill, and pour carefully into a glass. There will be a layer of sediment in the bottom of the bottle - this is normal. Enjoy!

This recipe is based on ‘Double Daphne,’ From ‘Brewing Better Beers’ by Ken Shales.