Even for the seasoned beer drinker home brewing may still be virgin territory, but with the availability of straightforward beer brewing kits on the market it’s never too late or difficult to learn. The majority of these kits are suited towards the beginner in mind, and at the most basic of levels can be found as simple to carry out as mixing paint. Granted, the procedure of fermentation after mixing may be as interesting as watching paint dry, but both end products can certainly portray aspects of pleasant scenery enhancing qualities.
Whether it’s from a local store or over the internet, canned hop wart brewing kits are by far the easiest way to begin the learning curve to brewing beer. These ‘just add water’ kits come in a variety of brews that are bound to please any beer lover whatever their preferences to taste are. They mostly comprise of flavored malt extract syrup pre-boiled with hops and a sachet of brewer’s yeast to activate the fermentation process. Before actual purchase, it would be advisable to take into consideration of where the brewer intends to store the fermenting brew. This state of hibernation requires a suitable ambient temperature preferably in a dark location for a long period of time, but with easy access and minimal disturbance.
Storage temperature depends on the type of beer being brewed. Most ales can ferment in conditions similar to a closet, but lagers need a much cooler environment such as a basement, then probably a refrigerator to complete the conditioning process. Sunlight can inhibit the activity of yeast, constant movement can upset the sediment, and venting of carbon dioxide build up has to be done manually if the fermentation vessel has no pressure release valve. The average home brew starter kit normally produces around 4-5 gallons of beer, so the storage area required would be that of a five gallon plastic carboy for each brew, and the period of fermentation can last from a few weeks to several months.
As a simplified explanation of what efforts are required by the home brewer to their first kit, basically the syrup is first mixed with water in possibly a five gallon plastic food grade bucket. The yeast is then pitched in and the mixture stirred again, then it’s just a case of sitting back and letting the yeast do the rest of the work. Care must be taken to sterilize the container and any mixing utensils of all foreign organisms directly before starting, which is easily done with boiling water. This is to ensure the yeast works at its full potential in turning the sugars into alcohol. Depending on the kit instructions also, additional sugar may have to be added to the mixture, however these kits normally produce a beer of less body but with higher alcohol content.
The container used for fermentation in the majority of cases should be airtight; therefore if the mixing bucket can not be sealed properly, then the mixed contents should be transferred to a single carboy or similar vessel. Oxygen inhibits yeast production, but during this process the yeast produces carbon dioxide as a by-product. If the container is not properly vented to release the pressure build up, then it will expand and possibly burst. Without any automatic release valve attached, the brewer can simply unscrew the cap or partially remove the lid very slightly from time to time to vent the excess gas, but only as minimal as possible otherwise the beer can tend to go flat without its natural carbonation.
Once the primary fermentation period of several weeks as instructed by the kit is complete, then transfer to another container for secondary fermentation is required. For the amateur home brewer, this secondary fermentation usually takes place inside the bottle during its period of conditioning. The beer is carefully siphoned by gravity feed through a hose from the fermentation vessel directly to the bottle, with care taken not to disturb the bottom sediment of dead yeast particles prior to siphoning. This is best done at the place of storage as it minimizes the risk of upsetting the brew by movement through location transfer.
As a method of priming the yeast activation again for the final conditioning period, a small amount of sugar may be added to each bottle. This can increase the carbonation in the beer and add to the alcohol content, but should be done sparingly as the bottles should never be opened for unnecessary venting until actual consumption. Not only should these bottles be stored at the correct temperature, but they must also be sealable with the ability to withstand pressure build up. As once you pop the cap to enjoy the fruits of your labor, you will most certainly want to hear that magically refreshing sound to prior to your agreeable reply of “Aaahhhh….”.
Tags: beer brewing cleanliness, beer fermentation, beer fermentation problems, beer fermentation temperature, beer fermentation time, beer fermenting, beer fermenting temperature, brew beer, brew beer at home, brew beer guide, brew beer tips, home brew beer equipment, home brew beer fermentation time, home brew beer guide, sanitize brewing beer