Doing it for Ourselves, 1.5: Homebrew

Given the political climate lately, with talk of Bush never leaving office and declaring WWIII, I’ve been thinking about shifting the gears of this series towards basic disaster planning and survival techniques. These days, my Bushista survival kit includes beer and wine. Many years ago I made beer and wine at home. The beer was pretty good, but that blueberry elderberry batch, 20 gallons of the stuff….. shivers. It still gives me shivers, because it was so hideously bad!

Down below I’ll provide the basic required equipment, materials and instructions for homebrewing beer, plus lots and lots of links from more expert sources than myself. Clink Clink!! I’ll write one about winemaking in coming weeks.

Equipment


Beer making kits: Pre-fabricated kit purchased from a supplier and a Put it together yourself beer kit

· Cooking pot, at least 5 gallon sized
· Food grade 5 gallon plastic bucket with lid
· Glass water jug (carboy), 5 gallons
· Airlock to let carbon dioxide out and keep air from getting it
· Rubber stoppers 
· Hydrometer: A device used to measure the density of the beer before and after fermentation, which will help you evaluate your brew and enable you to determine the final alcohol content
· Thermometer: One that can be used in hot liquids with a range of at least 40- 180 oF.
· Surgical tubing and racking cane for siphoning
· Sanitizing solution (bleach or commercial solution)
· Bottles
· Bottle caps
· Bottling stick
· Capper
· Bottle brushes

Ingredients

Basic beer consists of four main ingredients: water, barley malt, hops and yeast.

Water: Use good drinking water. If your tap water is too chemically, purify it first.

Barley Malt: It is the main ingredient in beer, since it is the source of fermentable sugar, and also contains many minerals and vitamins that help the yeast to grow. You can purchase barley malt extract as a syrup or powder, which is ready to use right away.

Hops: The flowers of the hop plant contain acids which add bitterness to beer to balance the sweetness, as well as acting as a natural preservative. It is primarily a flavoring agent. Historically, other herbs were used to acidify beer such as, mugwort, heather, and wormwood.

Yeast: Yeast organisms feed on the sugars and exude alcohol and carbon dioxide. Yeast is what makes beer bubbly and makes you say, mmmmmm beer. There are many different kinds of yeasts, which can be categorized as ale yeasts or lager yeasts.

Ale yeast is the most commonly used by home brewers. Ale yeast is top fermenting, meaning that it concentrates near the top of the fermenting beer. Because it thrives in warmer temperatures, usually between 60 to 75 oF, ales can be fermented at room temperatures without any temperature controlling equipment. Examples of beers fermented with ale yeast include Pale Ale, Nut Brown Ale, and Stout.

Lager yeast is a bottom fermenting yeast that ferments at lower temperatures, usually between 45 to 60 oF. After the lager is fermented is is often allowed to condition in the fermenter at very low temperatures (usually between 35 to 45 oF) for 2 to 8 weeks. This process is called lagering. Examples of beers fermented with lager yeast include Pilsner, Marzen, and Bock. http://www.breworgan… source

Instructions

Directory of typical beer recipes
Including lagers, pilsners, bocks, ales, stouts, meads and ciders

Directory of Organic beer recipes

Brewmaking chart (pdf) for recording your process in case you make a great batch and want to remember how

Here is a synopsis of the brewing process:
1. Malted barley is soaked in hot water to release the malt sugars.
2. The malt sugar solution is boiled with Hops for seasoning.
3. The solution is cooled and yeast is added to begin fermentation.
4. The yeast ferments the sugars, releasing CO2 and ethyl alcohol.
5. When the main fermentation is complete, the beer is bottled with a little bit of added sugar to provide the carbonation.

Overview of instructions

Here is a link to a site that provides a full and detailed description of the entire process. How to Brew

Virtual Organic Brewing Class with pictures

Suppliers & More Info

Brew Monkey – Don’t spank your beer monkey (Directory of Suppliers by State)

Seven Bridges Cooperative: Brew Organic (Instructions and Supplies)

Northern Brewer (Supplies)

BYOB (Supplies)

Williams Brewing (Supplies) beer wine coffee

Homebrew (Instructions and Supplies)

Mt. Bottle Brewing Co. (Instructions and Supplies)

8 comments

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    • nocatz on October 20, 2007 at 5:57 pm

    • RiaD on October 20, 2007 at 6:48 pm

    I love this series…& I print them out for reference!

    Thanks cosmic debris…You’re the Best!

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