How to use your home brewing kit

Brewing beer has been said to be part science and part art. There is a precise and calculated aspect to the process but at the same time the “rules” and any possible confines can be hazy, presenting grounds for personal interpretation and the creation of a truly unique beer. Sounds like it could be difficult, right? Well, it's not! Like all homebrewers, any process that you can implement to brew better beer is a no brainier. Whether those factors are time, money or energy, the reason we respect homebrewers so much is because they aren’t willing to take shortcuts and they always go for quality rather than quantity. With that being said, let’s get started! First here’s some essential equipment that you’ll need before you can begin brewing.
    • Fermenter: A plastic container, generally 30lts. It prevents contamination and is where the brew is allowed to ferment. It’s important that the open slit on the sediment reducer is facing up.
  • Bottler: A simple valve device and length of tube that attaches to the tap to make bottling much easier. The bottler is fitted into the tap on the fermenter.
  • Thermometer: The fermentation temperature has a large bearing on the flavor and quality of your beer. A stick on the thermometer, stuck around the 12lt mark will provide an accurate reading of the temperature of your brew.
  • Hydrometer: A device which has two functions, determining the alcoholic content of your beer and establishing that fermentation has finished. It measures the specific gravity, or the density of your brew.
  • % Alcohol: (Starting SG-Final SG) *0.14 + 0.5 | Note. Ignore the decimal place of specific gravity readings; IE, 1.040 is written as 1040. The 0.5 is to factor alcohol produced in secondary fermentation (or carbonation) in the bottle.
  • Sterilizer: Cleanliness and hygiene are very important in homebrewing. If not done correctly or at all, the beer will spoil and adversely affect the aroma and flavor.For cleaning and washing (Oxyclean, Neodetersol Verde or the beer cleaners are excellent products. Do not rinse after sanitizing, just let all containers drain for a few minutes before use).
Now that you’re all set, Step 1 is PREPARATION:
    • There are a number of ways to prepare your brew. By far the easiest and best starting point is kit brewing. Nowadays there is a wide range of beer styles available in brew kits, formulated by combining hops and malt extract.
    • Clean and sterilize all equipment.
  • Place the kit in hot water for 10 minutes to warm the contents, and then pour the kit contents into the fermenter.
  • Add 1 kg of brewing sugar (dextrose) TAB Tip: For better brewing results, add dried malt extract or a combination of dried malt and dextrose. This will enhance the flavor, color, foam and quality of brew enormously.
  • Add 4lts of boiling water to fermenter and stir contents vigorously.
  • Fill with cold water to the required level (most kits are designed for 23lts). This mixture is known as the wort.
  • Take the specific gravity reading of the brew at 20°C and record this value.“Pitching” the yeast: The yeast can only be added to the wort if the temperature is under 30 °C. Sprinkle the yeast over the wort and allow hydrating for 15 minutes, with a sterilized spoon vigorously stir the wort for 1 minute. This oxygenates the mixture to promote quick and healthy yeast growth. This is the only stage that oxygen is to come in contact with the wort/ beer. Before fermentation begins, the brew is very vulnerable to infection so cleanliness is important.
  • After a day or so, you will see the airlock bubbling as “carbon dioxide gas” passes through. This is evidence that fermentation has commenced and that the fermenter is sufficiently airtight. If no gas is passing through the lock, taking a specific gravity reading can determine the presence of fermentation.For better results, the temperature of the brew should remain reasonably constant around 20°C. If using a heater, a thermostat is essential to ensure against the brew becoming overheated.
  • As the fermentation reaches completion the rate of bubbling through the airlock will slow. At this point, you should begin taking specific gravity readings. Once constant, wait another two days so you can allow the beer to clear and add finings at this stage to get better results.
For Step 3, BOTTLING:
  • After you sterilize and rinse the bottler valve, bottles and caps to be used. Don’t forget to taste a sample before bottling. If there are no odors such as rotten egg gas, then proceed with bottling.
  • Fill each bottle to around 3 cm from the top and seal each with a crown seal.
You’re all set for Step 4 - MATURATION:
  • For the first 2 weeks after capping, store your beers in a warm place around 20°C. In cold conditions a plate heater is useful for this. At this point, your brew will be carbonated and ready for drinking.However, it cannot be overstated the advantage of allowing your beer to mature. For the first three months, the flavors and texture of your brew will change quite dramatically. The improvement to drinking quality will amaze you.
TAB TIP: More tips to making better beers, there are a number of additives that you can use to improve properties of your beer. Corn syrup/lactose, grain adjuncts, beer head improver, clearfine or modiferm. You are now ready to be the perfect host, don’t forget to ask them what they think about the flavor; family & friends can be our perfect tasters! And they’ll get interested in trying out more of your recipes! Congratulations! you just made your first Home Brewing Beer! If you make this recipe don't forget to tag us on our socials @artisans.bottega. Let us know what you think of it! We love getting in touch with our TAB family!

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