In this thread I will show you how to prepare your own beer for fermentation and I will also be following my own attempt at brewing 2 batches (45L / 80 pints) of beer, shown further down the page. Whilst brewing it never occurred to me that I might make a thread about this so I do not have any pictures of the kit at first, so I'll just be using stock images for the setup and I'll post photos as the process continues.
If you have ever wanted an interesting and satisfying hobby, are possibly interested in chemistry (or not), want some super cheap booze or you just want the satisfaction of drinking something that you have made yourself, then this could be a hobby you should consider! Brewing beer is easier than you would probably think and can actually result in a beer that tastes better than commercial brands (they like to take shortcuts like injecting CO2 to carbonate it, you can too if you want). Before you buy your kit to brew your beer all you need is a room that will constantly be at 18-25 degrees celsius and a bathtub makes this easier (although it is still easily possible to do this in small houses like student flats which may not have a bathtub). In this thread I will be using two kits, a lager and a bitter, each one makes 22.5L or 40 pints.
First off, here is the kit you need (for simplicity you can buy from the same brand):
25L fermentation bin (I use 33L in my pictures)
Plastic long handle spoon
Beer kit (obviously)
1 kg brewing / cane sugar
Yeast (This should be included with the beer kit)
Stick on thermometer
Bottle caps (buy these, don't reuse them)
Long handled scrubbing brush
It is important that you buy kit suitable for brewing, if you buy it from a brewing shop or shop section then you can be sure that it is food grade plastic, hygiene is VERY important when brewing, especially for winemaking.
Preparing the equipment
First thing you need to do once you have all your equipment is to sterilise it all very thoroughly. Put your bin in the bathtub if you have one (to prevent spillages), and following the instructions on your sterilising agent package, sterilise the bin, throw in your spoon as well to sterilise that, as well as your scrubbing brush (use it too). Rinse with cold water repeatedly (5-10 times should do it), make sure you slosh the water around too. If this is the first time you are using your kit it should be pretty clean and will not need scrubbing.
Preparing the brew
Now you need to add your beer kit into the sterilised and rinsed bin, from now on I will be using the instructions given by the kit I am using (I am using a bigger kit, makes 40 pints)
Add 1kg of sugar to the mix and 4 pints of boiled water, using the water to rinse out remaining mix in the can. Allow to cool so you don't melt plastic into it when you stir the mixture with your sterile plastic spoon, stirring until it is no longer thick and the sugar is all dissolved. Top up to 23L with cold water, you can use the can to bail water into the bin which will also rinse out remaining mix. The mix should be 18-25 degrees celsius, if it is above this temperature, allow it to cool slightly, and if it is below then allow it to warm up in a warm room (put the lid on though, no point in sterilising it for nothing, block up the hole in the lid with a paper towel to stop things getting in). Add the yeast and stir, the froth might dissipate a bit. Now half fill the airlock with water, stick it on top and sit back (or make another batch like I did).
Now that I have shown you what to do, the rest of the thread will be about my progress, this is my first time brewing so I hope it will be a success!
Day 1: Preparation and fermenting
All kit has been sterilised, the mix, sugar, water and yeast have all been added and it is currently fermenting, this process should take at least a week, depending on how warm your room is (do not be tempted to warm it up or you will kill the yeast). I have put an airlock on the top of each bin, this prevents air entering the bins and allows the CO2 to escape to prevent pressure building up (if you do not have a hole in your lid you can just routinely loosen the lid to allow gas to escape). I have also labelled each one with the current date. My brother is making wine hence the jug wrapped in a cloth to protect it from sunlight. Beer is manly stuff and can take a bit of light but do not store it in direct sunlight.
The prepared batches (bitter left, lager right, wine bottom (the wine will not be discussed, it is my brother's))
An airlock, it can look very different but they all do the same thing, gas pushes past the water and escapes, the water acts as a barrier to stop air getting in (the top is not sealed, it is a loose cap to prevent things falling into the airlock)
What it looks like right now, just a watery brown liquid. Refrain from removing the lid to check this, the idea of the airlock is to not get outside air inside the bin
Stay tuned for updates, the next one should be in a week or so (basically when gas stops coming out) and the carbonation process will begin, where the beer will be 'primed' with sugar which will produce CO2, the lid will be completely sealed to allow pressure to build up and the CO2 to dissolve into the beer so it becomes fizzy.
Day 1: Preperation and fermenting
Day 4: Fermenting
Day 12: Clearing