Wednesday 24th July 2024

How to brew your own beer

Home-brewed Beer

Beer is ace.  I interviewed my best mate and all round good egg, Andy, who has mastered the knack of making tasty ales of all descriptions.

  1.  How long have you been brewing?
    About three years, I started out with kits.
  2.  How long, or how many attempts, did it take til you made something drinkable?
    I wasn’t really happy with the results from kits, mostly due to buying cheap kits and using table sugar. As soon as I started brewing all grain there was a massive improvement, it tasted like real beer.
  3. How much were the initial set up costs?
    For kit brewing you only need a fermenter (a large vessel that cultivates the yeast), large spoon, syphon (to move liquid upwards), hydrometer (an instrument which measures the density of liquids) and a crown capper for bottling (a tool which fits beer tops to bottles and costs about £35).
    For extract brewing, you just need to add a large pan and a thermometer.
    All grain brewing requires more equipment and costs more but can be done fairly cheaply if you get creative. You can buy a mash tun (a vessel used to heat and mix milled grain and water to a pulp), boiler and chiller for less than £150. I used a secondhand Burco boiler, a £6 cooler box with a filter made from braided steel hose with a syphon tube and a copper immersion chiller. It cost me less than £50 to step up from kits.
  4. How much does each brew cost?
    I can make 40 bottles for less than £15 (after the initial set up costs).
  5. What are the highlights of your brewing career? What’s the biggest batch you’ve made?
    One of the beers I brewed with a friend came 3rd in a homebrew competition at Brewdog in Manchester, another came 4th. I’ve now got a 70 litre pan so that can do 50 litre batches. I did 90 odd litres in a day for a friend’s wedding.
  6.  Are there any downsides to making your own beer?  Do you have any advice for a would-be brewer?
    It can be pretty messy and doesn’t always make you popular at home, you can spend a lot of time mopping up. Make sure everything is cleaned and sanitised. Fermentation temperature can make a big difference. Give the finished beer time to condition.

Want to know more? Here’s a great guide to home brewing.

Dan Lever

Mouthy Blogger

Family man from Bolton, guitar teaching exercise enthusiast, due to get married any minute now so watch this space.

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