How to Make Home Brewed Beer

beerMaking your own home brewed beer is easy, inexpensive, and a fun hobby that your friends will certainly enjoy right along with you.

Equipment you will need and all the ingredients to make your beer are included, along with the full, easy to understand instructions.

Making your own home brewed beer is easy and inexpensive. It’s the most popular drink in the world, as much for ease in making as for it’s good taste and the joy of sharing with your friends.

All the equipment for brewing,measuring temperature, and sugar content follows with instructions you need to turn out fine tasting home brewed beer on your very first try.

Bottles,caps, and capping machine:beer caps for home made beer

Bottles of 12 or 16 ounces are commonly used. You can save your old bottles or buy new ones. You must have new caps. Don’t use non-returnable bottles. They are too fragile. Some hardware stores, beer making supply houses, and several mail order houses sell caps and capping machines.

Use a large 7 to 10 gallon food grade polyethylene pail with a tight fitting top. You will need two pails. Make sure they are very clean!

Fermentation lock:

It mounts on the lid and allows carbon dioxide to escape from the fermenting beer, while keeping the air outside.

Saccharometer:

This item measures the sugar concentration. Available at stores selling wine making and beer making supplies.

Thermometer:

Any immersible thermometer that is accurate to the 50f to 230f range will do.

All equipment should be washed and sterilized by soaking in a solution of 2 cups chlorine bleach and 5 gallons of very hot water for 10 minutes. Rinse everything well in more hot water before using.

The ingredients for making beer are:

Brewer’s yeast, sugar, water,malt, and hops. Good water is important but almost any tap water will do, providing it’s not heavily chlorinated, and does not have a mineral taste. Sweet tasting malt and bitter tasting hops give beer it’s special flavor.

Both are available in premeasured packages in stores selling beer making supplies. It’s a good idea for beginners to start with these packages.

Basic Steps for Light Beer:

1. Boil 2 1/2 gallons of water for five minutes and pour into pail. Add 3 pounds hop flavored malt extract, 3 pounds sugar, and 2 1/2 gallons of cold water. To test sugar content, pour some beer into a glass cylinder, let it cool to 70f, and insert saccharometer. Twirl meter to release any bubbles that are clinging to it, and let it float. For beer that will have a 6 percent alcohol, reading should be 12 percent.

2. Dissolve 1 tsp. tartaric acid in a small quantity of brew and add it to pail. When mixture has cooled to about 70f, sprinkle a package of brewer’s yeast nutrient over the brew, let stand three hours, then stir well into mixture. Warning: temp over 80f will harm yeast and slow fermentation.

3. Cover pail with tight fitting lid that includes a fermentation lock on the top to allow carbon dioxide to escape. After about five days, when fermentation slows and sugar is about five percent, siphon brew into clean polyethylene pail or 5 gallon glass bottle. Siphon from the top of liquid, being careful not to disturb sediment at bottom of fermenting beer. Replace cover on pail.

4. Check sugar concentration daily. When it falls below 1 percent, fermentation is complete, and liquid should be siphoned into the bottles quickly. Fermentation time depends on proportions of ingredients as well as holding temperature but usually it’s from three to six weeks. Most recipes give the approximate time. Siphon carefully from the top of pail. Do not disturb sediment.

5. Many recipes call for addition of small amounts of sugar, about 1 tsp. per quart to each bottle to ensure enough fermentation to carbonate beer. To avoid adding too much sugar to any one bottle, (it could cause the bottle to explode,) dissolve the total amount in a small quantity of malt, then divide malt equally among the bottles. Cap bottles and store at least three weeks before drinking.

Instructions for Wine Making

grapes for making wineYes, this site is about that beautiful liquid called beer. But let’s face it, all alcohol is good. Beer, wine, liquor, they all have their places. So this is something I thought a few of you might be interested in.

These instructions will take you through the complete step by step wine-making process, from crushing the fruit to bottling your homemade wine.

The secret to good wine making is to start with the right amount of sugar, to little sugar and the yeast cells will not produce enough alcohol, too much and they are poisoned before they can convert all the sugar.

With the right amount of sweetness and tannin you will make a delicious homemade wine.

The secret to good wine making is to start with the right amount of sugar. a saccharometer of the same type used in beer making makes it easy to measure the sugar content. Always start with a good fruit that is neither old or under ripe.

For richness and full flavor in your wine, add tannin by mixing in 1/2 cup of strong tea per gallon of juice. However grape wine needs no extra tannin since grape skins contain tannin.

Beginners should use all purpose vintners yeast but there are many other varieties of yeast, such as those used for making sherry and champagne.

Have all wine making equipment clean and sterilize by rinsing in a solution of six Campden tablets, available at wine making stores. They inhibit the growth of wild yeasts. They are also used during the wine making process itself.

After fermentation the real magic of wine making takes place. It can take up to as much as a year, dead yeast cells and other sediments gradually settles to the bottom. When they settle the wine is carefully racked, off (siphoned) into a clean container.

The more the wine settles and is racked off the better the wine will taste. When it becomes so clear you can see the edge of a candle flame through it, it’s ready for bottling.

When you have the wine in the bottle, stopper the bottles with new corks and seal with paraffin. After several days put the bottles on their sides in a cool, dark place to age. The process takes at least 6 months but can continue for up to a year for wines made with high quality grapes.

Grape Wine:

1. Crush 70 lb.of unwashed grapes and stems with a potato masher. Put juice and crushed grapes in a 7 gallon pail. It should be 3/4 full or fill pail 3/4 full of purchased grape juice.

2. Check sugar content. Pour juice (should be 70f) into glass cylinder. Twist saccharometer to dislodgesaccharometer bubbles,and take reading. Add about 4 3/4 teaspoons sugar for each percent needed to raise reading to 22% (for 11% alcohol).

3. Use acid testing kit to check acidity. Juice for wine should be .6 to .8 percent acid. If too acid, add cooled, boiled water, if not acid enough, add 1/2 acid blend per gallon for each .1 percent that acid must be raised. Retest acidity.

4. Dissolve five campten tablets in a small quantity of juice,add to pail, and stir. Wait 4 hours, then add yeast and yeast energizer (packaged nutrients that encourage yeast growth in the wine). Add tannin if using purchased grape juice.

5. Cover pail and place in 65f to 70f area to ferment. Stir several times daily to mix grape skins with juice. When fermentation has nearly stopped and sugar level is 3 to 5 percent (three to 7 days) strain through nylon mesh bag.

6. Siphon juice into five gallon glass bottle, filling it to 1 in.from stopper. Fill smaller bottle with remaining juice. Close wine bottles with fermentation locks so that carbon dioxide can escape but wild yeasts and other contaminants cannot get in.

7. When fermentation stops (bubbling ceases and sugar level is almost zero), rack the wine into a clean 5 gallon bottle. Do not disturb lees. Keep outlet end of siphon near bottom of bottle to avoid splashing and over oxidizing wine.

8. Dissolve 2 1/2 Campten tablets in some wine. add to bottle, then fill bottle to 1 in. from stopper with reserved juice or previously made wine. Insert fermentation lock and set bottle in 65f to 70f area for two to three months.

9. Rack wine into clean 5 gallon bottle whenever lees accumulate. When wine is clear (after two or more rackings) refrigerate for two days to stabilize. Let wine return to room temperature, then siphon wine into bottles, cork, and label.

And that’s it. Pretty easy right? Not super easy, but not as difficult as Celestis Memorial Spaceflights either.

Instruction for Making Dandelion Wine

Dandelion wine is a really tasty wine. And what’s great about this one is that you can usually find as many dandelions as you need right in your front lawn. Now you probably don’t want to use this to play drinking games with friends and neighbors, but it’s good enough for the casual dinner.

Ingredients: 1 gallon dandelion flower heads, 3 oranges, 3 lemons, 1 gallon boiling water, 5 1/2 cups sugar, 1 package vintner’s yeast, 1 capsule yeast energizer, 1 tablespoon strong tea.

1. Wash flower heads well in cold water, pull off stalks and other green parts, place petals in a large plastic pail. Chop fine the colored outer rinds of oranges and lemons, add to petals, and cover with boiling water.

2. Drape pail with sheet of plastic or cloth, and tie sheet tightly in place to keep out insects. Stir wine mixture twice daily for three days. After three days strain juice into large kettle, squeezing out as much liquid as possible. Add sugar, to bring its level to about 21 percent, and cook juice at medium boil for 30 minutes. Let cool to 70f, and mix in yeast and energizer. Divide wine mixture between two 1 gallon bottles, and seal the bottles with fermentation locks.

3. When fermentation slows (one to three days), siphon all the liquid into one bottle, filling it to 1 inch of the stopper. Add tea. Reseal with fermentation lock, and let ferment at 70f until bubbling stops (one to four weeks).

4. Rack as often as necessary to clear wine, adding enough liquid each time to fill bottle within 1 inch of stopper. When wine is clear (usually after 3 rackings), bottle and cork as for grape wine. Makes 1 gallon.

So there you have it, a basic starter recipe that any new beginner can follow. And if enough people enjoyed this, I’ll go ahead and add a few more recipes. Let me know if you want them by liking this page!

The 10 Strongest Beers in The World

I came across a story about a Scottish beer company that had just produced a new beer with the highest alcohol content for a beer ever produced.

It set me wondering as to what other beer companies had been up to in the realms of trying to produce high alcohol content in their beers.

How many more of them had been experimenting trying to brew a “Milk of Amnesia”? Who were making the strongest beers in the world?

With ratebeer.com as my guide I decided to find out.

It is worth bearing in mind, when talking about “the strongest beers”, that the average bottle of wine is 11-12%; a bottle of brandy is around 36%; a bottle of vodka is 37% and a bottle of whisky is 40%. Buying a pint of draught beer in the UK will be between 3.5-4.2%. A bottle of premium lager (Grolsch, Stella Artois or Budweiser, for example), is about 5%

1. Tactical Nuclear Penguin  (32%)brewdog worlds strongest beer
Brewed by BrewDog
Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Type: Imperial Stout

You have just got to love this company. Why? Is it that if you click on the BrewDog link, above, you come across the most anarchic looking brewery site you have ever seen, stating:

“Our beers are in no way commercial or mainstream.
We do not merely aspire to the proclaimed heady heights of conformity through neutrality and blandness.
We are unique and individual.
A beacon of non-conformity in an increasingly monotone corporate desert.
We are proud to be an intrepid David in a desperate ocean of insipid Goliaths.
We are proud to be an alternative.”

Or that the guy running the show dresses in a penguin suit?

For me it is the fact they were once criticized for making an 18% beer so they immediately responded by producing a 1.1% beer called “Nannie State”. Now they have followed it up with the highest alcohol content of a beer ever.

(By the way before you go rushing out to buy a case it was a limited run, and costs £50 a bottle)

That was the easy one because it has been in the news recently and was easy to track down. The following beers are in some cases rather rare and also from small breweries so I will give all the info I have been able to glean.

 2. Schorschbräu Schorschbock 31% (30.86%)
Brewed by Kleinbrauerei Schorschbräu,
Munich
Type: Eisbock

One reviewer described the beer. “The bottle looks great, the beer in the glass light brown, no head. Complex fiery-alcoholic aroma. Starts the same: incredibly strong, very alcoholic, like fire on the tongue. Goes down burning, like an earthquake, shows interesting fruity notes, like apricot. Very warming but also well balanced finish. Very prickly aftertaste. Really an incredible beer, a hot beer.”

3. Südstern XXL (27.6%)
Brewed by Brauhaus Südstern
Berlin, Germany
Type: Eisbock

To try to brew the strongest beer in the world, according to German Purity Law, Thorsten Schoppe had only 21 days time. 5 Tage vor Ablauf der Frist wird der Braumeister ungeduldig. 5 days before the deadline, the brewmaster was getting impatient. Er nimmt eine erste Probe und reicht sie zum Testen bei Professor Methner ein. He took a first sample and handed it to a Professor  Methner to test. Das amtliche Ergebnis aber zeigt, das war es noch nicht. The official result showed, however, that the higher alcohol content was not there. Thorsten Schoppe und sein Lehrling geben aber so schnell nicht auf. However Thorsten Schoppe and his apprentice, did not give up easily. Sie wechseln zum Eisbockverfahren, dabei wird das Bier gefroren. The beer was refrozen and the ice removed. This time the sample reached 27.61 per cent, in accordance with the German Purity Law, as the above certificate shows.

(This tale of how this particular brew came to be made shows one of the methods behind making these strong beers. It is to “freeze” the beer, and take away the ice thus removing water from the mix and leaving a higher percentage of alcohol.)

4. Samuel Adams Utopias (27%)Samuel Adams Utopias (27%)

Brewed by Boston Beer Company
Boston, Massachusetts USA

Type: Barley wine

Brewers description: “To create Utopias, the brewers at Sam Adams used traditional brewing ingredients including all four types of Noble hops, which add a slightly earthy, herbal taste. The spiciness of the hops really comes alive. In fact, Utopias MMII has even been described by some as almost “fiery” — a fitting description for the strongest beer in history. Great at a space funeral!

Beyond the special brand of hops, Utopias features ingredients that truly set it apart from other varieties of beer.

Utopias MMII contains caramel and Vienna malts for its rich amber color and several different types of yeast including a variety found in champagne. $100 a bottle and it’s limited to 3000 bottles, which look like copper brew kettles (learn more).”

5. Struise Double Black (26%)

Brewed by De Struise Brouwers

Oostvleteren, Belgium
Type: Imperial Stout

This has been described as being made from the brewery’s Black Albertthat had been frozen to remove some water: “was just mind-blowing, like a silky smooth chocolate/coffee/dried fruit liquer, only ten times better”

 6. Mühlfelder Stärkstes Bier der Welt (25.4%)

Brewed by Mühlfelder Brauhaus
Herrsching am Ammersee, Germany

Type: Eisbock

The world’s strongest beer in 2005 at 25.4% ABV. “Fermented 12 weeks with sherry yeast.”

7. Bos Solar Eclipse Imperial Stout (22.5%)

Formerly brewed at Bos Brewery and Bistro
Style: Imperial Stout
Pontiac, Michigan USA

In the book Michigan Breweries by Paul Ruschmann and Maryanne Nasiatka

“Michiganders enjoy living large……and Bo’s Brewery and Bistro makes the biggest beers in the state. First let us introduce you to Bo. His real name is Burgess Young, the now semiretired owner of the brewpub. If you see a gent inside Bo’s who looks a lot like Kris Kringle, that’s him.”

They described a tasting of the beer  “ smooth – incredibly so for 21% ABV.”

8. Applewood Farm Iced Cider (22%)

Brewed by Applewood Farm Winery

Stouffville, Canada

Type: Ice Cider

Ice cider is traditionally made by leaving apples on the tree into the winter, picking them only when they are frozen. This results in highly concentrated apples, from which juice is pressed and then fermented

Brewers description:
“Honey in colour, medium weight with a soft sweet vanilla spice nose.”

Despite making one of the world’s strongest beers I love the “homey” feel of this brewery that offers

Fine Wine – Apples – Strawberries – Pumpkins – Gift Baskets – Petting Zoo

We are pleased to offer group tours and wine tasting upon request.”

9. DuClaw Colossus (21.92%)

Brewed by DuClaw Brewing Company
Abingdon, Maryland, USA

Type: American Strong Ale

(Who also make the intriguing sounding Bare Ass Blonde Ale!)

Brewers description: “The name says it all! This unique brew comes in officially at 21.92% abv. This was accomplished by the use of 3 different strains of yeast and a lot of TLC. Technically an ale, but this monster has complex flavors and aromas that suggests characteristics of mead and fruit wines. Be sure to sample Colossus at several different temperatures including heated. That’s right!…heat it up to about 105′F for yet another unique experience of flavors and aromas”

If you are ever in Abingdon they have an intriguing sounding “Pint club”. Or look out for Colossus during DuClaw’s event catering in Houston.

10. (20%)

There are six beers that hit the number ten spot with an alcohol content of 20%. Bos is there again with Bos Oak Aged Imperial Stout, there is another iced cider Vergers Pedneault La Grande Glace, Hoppers 38 Special  an American strong ale, Lijiang Yinjiu a traditional ale from China, and  Mikkeller Big Worst Barley Wine.The last is another Barley wine, which Grand Lake Brewing Co., knowing what  brewers and drinkers are perhaps both  in search of, is most appropriately, called Holy Grail.

Quick Tips for Efficient Cleaning

cleaning out my refrigeratorBeing able to clean the house quickly and efficiently is a skill that would benefit every beer man.  After all, there are other more fun things we can do with our time like sampling the latest brew from your local beer club, right?

And although this may seem out of place, I know I’d want a nice clean place to store my suds in. And it’s not like the wife seems to care about a clean fridge!

Though there is no magic formula, there are a lot of tips we can incorporate into our chores.

Here are some, from Houston property tax protest:

Dust fast by using both hands and old tube socks. Slide a sock on each hand, spray one sock with cleaner or polish, and then pick up an object with one hand and dust with the other.

Spray a lint-free towel with window-cleaning solution and toss it over one shoulder so it’s ready to clean any glass tables or cabinets.

Place good-quality floor mats in front of doors. They prevent 80 percent of the dirt from being tracked through the house.

Switch from bar soap to liquid or natural soap to cut back on scum.

Wipe inside frosted shower doors with lemon oil to prevent soap scum from sticking.

Shine stainless steel sinks with pure lemon oil.

To prevent a tub ring around a porcelain tub, apply a light coat of car wax to the sides. Never wax the bottom of the tub.

Beer Pong Tables: Make Your Own?

Let’s be honest…you can make your own beer pong tables. Unless you’re scared of splinters, anyone that can throw a ping pong ball CAN make their own beer pong tables. But do you really want to?

playing beer pong

Check out this video explaining exactly how to do it and what you will need.

Here’s a quick synopsis:

I don’t know what this would cost to create a table this way but figure $5 for plywood, $20 for supplies (brushes, tape, paint, etc.), $20 for the folding table legs, and if you get stickers to add some charm you’re probably into the table for $50 or so plus the time it takes to get it done.

  • Stop by Home Depot and get an 8’x4′ piece of plywood
  • Have the nice people at Home Depot cut the plywood in half the longway (so you have two 2’x8′ pieces)
  • While there, get a set of folding fiberglass unistrut by Champion Fiberglass table legs, screws, sand paper, paint brush, primer paint, polyurethane, and painter’s tape
  • Go home and sand the hell out of the plywood to get a nice smooth finish
    Screw in the folding table legs
  • Cover the ground with newspapers so you don’t drip on the ground
  • Paint the plywood with the primer (wait about 2hrs for it to dry)
  • Paint the plywood with paint (wait about 2hrs for it to dry)
  • Use painter’s tape to create a design for your beer pong tables surface
    Paint again
  • Pull off the painter’s tape to reveal the basic design
  • Apply stickers if you’d like
  • Cover the table with polyurethane for waterproofing (you don’t want to spend all this time and ruin your beer pong tables with beer!)
  • Several days later, you’ll be playing beer pong!

So just who plays beer pong? Check this video out, awesome 🙂