|There are a multitude of beer
concentrates available on the market to make anything from lager to
stout, milds, bitters, pilsners and pale ales. Prices can range from as
low as £5 up to a maximum of £20 for a 40 pint kit. The quality of
these concentrates varies greatly with the more expensive concentrates
usually providing the best quality final product.
When you buy a beer concentrate you usually get
a can of hopped malt extract and a packet of yeast. The simplest thing
you can do is to follow the instructions that come with the kit and see
what happens. These standard instructions might be as simple as:-
Clean & sterilise all equipment prior to use.
2) Mix contents of kit, 1 kg sugar and 2 litres of boiling water.
3) Add 20 litres of cold water, followed by the yeast, then mix. Seal
the lid on cover and ferment.
4) Syphon or tap into bottles with added sugar, cap and store.
You can, however, do things a little differently to improve the quality of the finished product by adding to or changing one or two things listed in the instructions.
Firstly you'll need a few items of equipment:-
A fermenting bin, long plastic spoon, syphon, barrel or keg, sterliser,
thermometer, hydrometer. Make sure that you sterilise all the equipment
that will come into contact with the beer. Follow the instructions on
the packet of sterilser carefully. Take your time with this, it's the
most important stage. Cleanliness is a priority when making beer or
Many people discard the packet of yeast that
comes with the kit, replacing it with quality yeast purchased
separately. A yeast starter culture can them be made which will really
get your beer fermenting quickly and properly.
Add the yeast to a cup
of warm water and cover with cling film. This should be done 20 minutes
before the yeast is required. This method will revive the yeast and get
your fermentation off to a great start.
The instructions provided with most beers kits
recommend dissolving a reasonably large amount of sugar in warm water
and adding it to the beer. This is okay, but better results can be
obtained by adding glucose or dried malt extract (like Munton’s) instead. You can
replace an equal quantity of sugar with glucose or dried malt extract (i.e. leave
out 1kg of sugar and use 1kg of glucose or dried malt extract instead).
When you’re ready to make the beer pour the
contents of the can into a large saucepan. Add some cold water and the
extra dried malt extract or sugar. Then slowly bring the whole mixture
to the boil stirring continually. Most kit beers will only require
boiling for a few minutes. Once a few minutes has passed cover the beer
and let it cool to room temperature.
Now you're ready to pour the beer into the
fermenting bin and top it up to the required volume with cold water.
Many people like to use cold pre-boiled water, especially in hard water
areas. Boiling removes any hardness and chlorine present in the water
which can affect the finished quality or taste of the beer.
Once you've given the mixture a stir you are
ready to add the yeast. Once added, give the beer another good stir to
get as much air into the beer as possible. This will help with the
growth of the yeast. Fermentation should start in a matter of hours, but
it may take longer depending the temperature, the strength of the yeast
and the amount of air you managed to get into the beer whilst stirring.
After a few days the foam on top of the beer
should have subsided and you can syphon the beer into a barrel. This
should be done carefully so as not to disturb the beer too much. The
beer can then be left for a week or so to continue fermenting. Once
fermentation has finished it is important to act quickly to prevent the
beer being spoilt by infections or bacteria. Normally these are kept at
bay by the yeast on the surface of the beer and the CO2 gas escaping
from the beer. Check the beer regularly with a hydrometer to ensure that
the specific gravity of the beer is changing on a day to day basis. When
the hydrometer signals that the fermentation has stopped you can
transfer is to bottle or a clean barrel and prime it with sugar. Add the
required amount of sugar to the barrel or individual bottles and then
syphon in the beer. Seal the barrel or bottles and leave in a warm place
for the second fermentation to start. After a few days you can move the
barrel or bottles to a cooler place to allow the beer to clear. Leave
the beer to mature for a few weeks and you should have a good tasting
beer that pours nicely and produces a good head.
We sell all the equipment you need to get
started brewing beer from concentrates:-