I used to make my own beers and wines in my early twenties but as university life turned to work life, I found I had less time to make my own beers and it gradually faded into a fond memory.
Then recently I saw an advert come up on my Facebook feed (I’d always found the adverts annoying till this popped up) advertising The Home Brew Shop and their NEW Courage Directors beer kit from Muntons I got in touch with them and having said I didn’t have any of the kit any more they helped me get all of the equipment I needed.
The first thing that surprised me was the minimal amount of ingredients in the beer kit. There was two tins of concentrated wort (wort is the liquid extracts from the malt and other ingredients which are the beginning process of alcohol production), a pack of yeast, a pack of hops and finally an instruction booklet.
So what do you actually need in order to make your own beer? Well here’s a list (all of which are available from The Home Brew Shop) of items that will get you started…
1. 25 Litre Fermenting Bucket
2. Pressure Barrel
3. Stirring Spatula
4. Pressure Barrel Cap with Pressure Valve
5. Co2 Cartridges
6. Co2 Cartridge Holder
7. Air Lock Valve
8. Siphoning Tube
9. Suitable Sterilising Powder
10. Tap for Pressure Barrel
11. Stick on Thermometer for side of Fermenting Barrel
12. Home Brew Kit of your choice
You will also need some lubricant such as Vaseline to put around the thread of both the pressure barrel tap and cap. Some Brewing Sugar may also be needed if the home brew kit says you will need it.
Using these new kits makes making your own beer extremely simple and I thought I’d go through the basic steps (although it may differ slightly with different kits) on making your own whilst I tried out the new kit…
Make sure everything is thoroughly sterilised (soak everything for a minimum of 20 minutes) as contaminants are the number one cause of beer tasting absolutely awful. The general rule for making up your solution with powdered sterilisers is 2 teaspoons of powder added to 6 pints of luke warm water.
Take your two tins of wort and soak them for 5 minutes in hot water to soften the mixture up.
Open and pour your two tins of wort into your now sterilised and rinsed fermenting bucket.
Pour one kettle full of boiling water into the fermenting bucket and give it a good stir to start mixing the wort and hot water together. Pour in another kettle of boiling water and stir for a couple of minutes to make sure it is well mixed.
Pour in kettles of cold water until the fermenting bin is full to where the brewing kit states in litres and give it a final stir with the stirring spatula.
Sprinkle the two packets of yeast and hops over the top of liquid – DO NOT STIR and put the lid on the fermenting bucket.
You should see a small hole in the lid of the bucket, place the air lock valve in here. Now leave for however long your kit says, in my case it says 4-6 days.
If your kit requires you to add Brewing Sugar add it to your sterilised pressure barrel now, also make sure you screw in your barrel tap having put some Vaseline on the tap threads. Making sure your fermenting bucket is on a higher surface than the pressure barrel, take your siphoning tube and start to siphon your beer into the pressure barrel. Make sure that you don’t get any of the sediment at the bottom of the bucket.
Screw the pressure barrel cap on to the pressure barrel. (you will need to add the Co2 capsule when you are down to 20 pints but dont do it before or your barrel may explode!!). Leave the beer to sit and ferment for as long as your kit states, my kit says 3-4 weeks but I will leave it for 5-6.
That’s it, your beer is now on tap ready to drink. These kits usually make your beer work out at around 60p-70p per pint so they are very good value for money!!
Okay so the kits been used, the beers been made but… What did I really think to it? Is it worth the hassle of making your own?
Well the first thing I will say is that since I made my own beer all those years ago the kits have not only become more simple with their ingredients but are also a lot simpler to use!! This is fantastic news as it means there is less things for you to do and less things to go wrong.
The kits themselves are extremely good, the instructions are simple and the beer tastes just like it has been poured out of the tap in your local pub!!
With how easy it is to use these kits these days if you have ever thought of giving making your own beer a try I highly recommend giving it a go.
These kits make it so simple and if you ever want to venture further into making your own from scratch your only going to need to add a couple of saucepans and another fermenting bucket to the equipment you purchased to make these kits.
For more information, tips and advise I highly recommend giving The Home Brew Shop a try, they are happy to deliver to you and their customer service is brilliant. Here are a few ways to get in touch with them and a link to the home brew kit I used too.
and the kit I used is Muntons Courage Directors