When I lived in London in the late 70’s through the mid 80’s it was common to make your own beer. Boots, the large pharmacy retailer, sold a beer brewing kit for less than 10 pounds ($16 at today’s rates) which contained all you needed to make your own beer. Drinking beer at the pubs was popular and even when you visited friends for a meal, you would before or after the meal, head to the local pub. However, and I began to dread the moment, your friend would occasionally insist you drink his own brew. Some were good, most were blemished, including some of my own.
So now, many years later, I have returned to making my own beer. One reason is I am using yeasts for various other purposes such as making whole wheat bread and I am growing three different types of mushrooms (yes, yeasts are classified in the kingdom of Fungi). And I like beers, especially dark beers – each evening I have a Trader Joe’s Hofbrau bock.
I ordered equipment and a kit (described as German style dark all malt) and yesterday I began my brew. Relatively straight forward. Clean all the equipment which will be used, then heat 1.5 gallons of water and mix in the ingredients and boil for a while.
Next step is to move the hot contents to the fermentation vessel, allow it to cool down, add the yeast and leave it alone for a few days. Here is a ‘photo of my carboy fermentation vessel before adding the yeast.
And here is a ‘photo 16 hours after adding the yeast. The gadget at the top is an airlock which allows the bubbles to escape without admitting outside air, which could contaminate the contents. The cylinder next to the carboy is an hydrometer which I will use to determine when the beer is ready for bottling. It measures the specific gravity (“SG”) of the contents. Alcohol has a lower SG than water and as the yeast ferments and makes alcohol, the SG will fall. When the SG reaches the accepted range it will be bottling time and “Cheers!”