Homebrewing: a step by step how-to

By: Jimmy Goulding

It’s no secret there are many beer lovers in Bellingham, but sometimes there aren’t enough options on the shelves or the price is too high for your budget. What if you could make beers in your home that fit the style, notes and flavors you crave most in your favorites brews? Anyone can begin the satisfying, delicious and efficient process of home brewing today.

What You’ll Need: fermentation bucket (6 gallon), sanitizer , thermometer, airlocks, glass carboy (6 gallon), cleaning brushes, stirring utensil, 5 gallon cooking pot, rubber stopper, nylon bag, racking cane, vinyl tubing, caps, a bottle capper, and bottles.

Ingredients: five gallons water, 16 ounces of grains and malts, 6 lbs malt extract, four ounces of hops, one packet of brewing yeast, ¾ cup dextrose

Brewing: The first and most important step to begin any brew is to sanitize everything. I cannot emphasize this enough. You cannot overly sanitize, no one wants unwanted germs and bacteria growing in their brew. Without sanitization your beers will likely taste funky and also get you pretty sick.

Once you have sanitized everything you can now begin to heat three gallons of water in your cooking pot to about 150 degrees. Once this is done you are going to hold that heat for half an hour, put all your grains and malts into your nylon bag and adding it to the water.

After the 30 minutes are over you are going to bring your pot to a boil. While the temperature is rising, add about half of the malt extract to the pot. Make sure to stir thoroughly because it can easily burn to the bottom of your pot.

Once full boil is reached, add two-thirds of your hops and set a timer for one hour. Make sure to continue stirring intermittently.

Once you reach 20 minutes until the end of the timer, add the remainder of your malt extract. Fifteen minutes later, add the rest of your hops, making sure to stir them in completely.

Once your timer goes off, take the pot off the stove and cool it down to 75 degrees as quickly as possible.  I like to fill a bathtub with cold water, salt and about 30 lbs of ice and place the pot in the tub for about 30 minutes.

When you have reached 75 degrees add two additional gallons of water, and it’s time to begin the aeration process. The aeration process can be done by transferring the beer between the cooking pot and your fermentation bucket for about ten minutes.  Once you produce a large, thick and foamy head your beer should have enough oxygen in it to go to the next step.

Pour the yeast into your fermentation bucket, put an airtight lid and airlock onto your bucket and let it sit for one week.

Secondary Fermentation: After one week has passed transfer your beer from the fermentation bucket to the glass carboy. Put an airlock and rubber stopper in the top of your carboy and let it sit and ferment for 5 to 12 days.

Bottling: Boil one cup of water in a saucepan and combine with ¾ cup of dextrose and add to your beer as a priming sugar.

Siphon beer from carboy into individual bottles using vinyl tubing and racking cane. Once in the bottle immediately cap and wait for ten days.

Enjoy! Remember the brewing process can get tricky at times, but don’t let that discourage you. There are infinite recipes to try and countless ways to experiment.  The most important thing is to just have fun with it and brew what you love.

Leave a Reply