How do you make beer? If you’re thinking “Just pour it in a glass!”, this Cobble it Yourself is for you!
Craft beer is a must in hackerspaces around the world (chimarrão being the alcohol-free alternative). Of course, beer didn’t wait for the maker movement to exist in a myriad of forms… Its invention dates to way before our era, roughly 4,000 years according to historians. The modern version though, with hops added for flavor, has been around since the Middle Ages.
Nowadays, everyone can brew at home (well everyone above 18 of course). You just need some patience, some free space, a lot of rigor, and around 70 € for a basic brewing kit and some ingredients.
Makery has chosen the crafting recipe for the German lager, because it’s a cool beer and we had to choose one.
To craft 7 liters of lager-type beer, all the ingredients listed here can be found in online stores or specialized shops
Price: from 10 to 17 € per kilogram
Quantity: 850 g
Type: Amber malt powder (18 EBC)
Its quality is determining (get bottled water if you can)
Price: 2.50 € for a 9 L pack.
Quantity: 8 L
Price: 3.35 € for 30 g
Quantity: 30 g
Type: Saaz hops in pellets
Price: 1.75 € for a 12 g bag
Quantity: 4 g
Type: lager (Brewferm)
The recipe in 17 steps
1. Put the pot you are going to boil the water in and the one you are going to use for the yeast (see step 7) in a dishwasher at the high-temperature setting. One of the best way to properly sanitize your equipment.
2. Clean the fermenter with a cleaning agent (most of the time it will be included in the brewing kit, if not it can be found separately on online shops or specialized stores).
3. Make sure that everything is really, really clean. We’re here to make beer, not cheese.
4. Fill the pot with 8 L of high quality water.
4 bis (optional). If you wish to add specialty grains (rice, wheat, etc.) for flavor, now is the time (and we won’t talk more about it, because it doesn’t fit the lager we want to brew).
5. Bring the water to a boil, then slowly add the malt extract powder while stirring so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom (and burn).
6. When the mixture starts boiling again, start the stopwatch: at the 15-minute mark, add the hops, at the 60-minute mark, turn off the heat and place the pot in a iced water bath so that the mixture can cool to 27°C (80°F).
7. Put the yeast in 50 mL of warm water and let it rest for 10 minutes to activate it.
8. Pour the cooled-off mixture in the fermenter so as to oxygenate it.
9. Get the hops out of the mixture with a strainer.
10. Add the yeast while stirring so as to continue the oxygenation.
11. Place the lid on the fermenter (along with the airlock).
12. Now all you have to do is find a dark spot to place the fermenter. In most cases, room temperature will do the trick, but for a lager, we will have to aim for a lower temperature of 12-15°C (56-63°F) is necessary for the yeast to work its magic. So place the fermenter in a cool place, like a basement.
13. After 24h, the airlock should be letting a few bubbles out. If that’s not the case after two days, it means the fermantation is not happening, and something has gone wrong!
Some bubbles, that’s it… An example of a fermentation gone wrong:
14. Wait for three weeks (two in case of most ale-type beers).
15. Bottle the beer (a crown-capper is included in most kits).
16. After keeping the bottles at room temperature for a week, place them in a fridge for two weeks.
17. Open your fridge, open your beer, and taste your creation on a shady patio where a soft summer breeze is blowing.
What about the ales then?
If lagers are not your mug of beer, you just need to change the yeast… and adjust a myriad of other parameters such as the type and quantity of malt extract, the type, quantity and cooking time of the hops, the specialty grains to add… Fortunately, there is a small, free software that will do most of the work for you: BrewMate.
For more information, tips and tricks from the community, have a look at the /r/Homebrewing subreddit