Limit of Liability and Disclaimer: Reference to "this blog, website and media herein" refers to the blog and website, "concoctingbrews.weebly.com, and the email associated with the blog/website, concoctingbrews.weebly.com. This blog, website and media herein are designed to provide opinion, accurate and authoritative information, not legal advice in regard to the subject matter covered. This blog, website and the email associated with this blog/website aredistributed/displayed with the understanding that the author is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service. Before acting on any suggestion presented in this blog, website or media herein, professional assistance may be advisable. Cooking and brewing of beer can be dangerous and injuries may occur. The author specifically disclaim any liability, loss, or risk, personal or otherwise for application, directly or indirectly, of any advice or information presented in the blog, website and media herein. The author in no way guarantees the accuracy of any of the information appearing in this blog, website or media herein and the opinions stated in this blog, website and media herein. The opinions stated herein are not guaranteed or warranted to produce any particular results, and the advice and strategies contained in the blog/website and media herein may not be suitable for every individual. The website, blog and media herein shall not be liable for any loss of profit or any other commercial damages including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.
Here's the start of my beer instructions from start to finish. I have covered a lot of general topics but now am getting over to my specific operating procedures when it comes to brewing. Sometimes it helps to start the day before to do prep work and cleaning. Here are some of the basics:
1. CLEAN: All bottles and tubes I use to transfer beer need to be cleaned. The best stuff is what is pictured above: Oxy Clean. Look around for the best price you can find. I soak my used beer bottles to get the labels off with Oxy Clean and it does a good job cleaning the inside also. I use my bottling bucket, from the store where I get my brewing supplies, to soak my bottles and utensils. I've heard where one batch got contanimated because the glass carboy hadn't been cleaned. You will need to get a bottle brush to clean any carboys you use before they get used for your next batch. After rinsing, I then use bleach which also must be rinsed. On the day of the brew, everything gets soaked in Star San (pictured above). It's an acid that is used a lot by homebrewers.
2. SUPPLIES/GRAINS/HOPS: Most of my brewing is all grain brewing. If you use a kit you are saved by getting some form of malt extract which will have its own instructions. Kits give you most of everything you need to make a recipe. In the future, I will cover liquid malt extract. I don't use it yet and it needs prep work of its own to make. If you are into grain brewing you'll need to go to your local brew store to get your grains and hops too. If not you'll need to order your grains or hops through the mail and some of those services will grind the grains for free. The grains will have to be ground because you'll need to harness the enzymes from them. Lots of library books will show you you'll need a big spoon, funnel, rubber stopper, airlock, measuring cups and a carboy. Some items may be in your kitchen but your local brew supply store can help you with what you don't have.
3 MEASURE HOPS: I try to weigh my hops the day before. Hops creates the bitterness in the beer you taste. My postal scale, leftover from my past auction sales, doesn't seem to be as accurate in measuring small amounts as it used to be. I use a less precise method by using pinches of hops for recipes. There are other methods out there - I had seen a library book that had circles inside the front cover that give you an approximation as to how much hops you have. I'm not a "hop-head" and am after the sweet taste of malt. If you like bitterness you may need to get a good scale to measure your hops. There are formulas out there to help you calculate bitterness. Those formulas are outside the scope of this blog because this is addressed to the beginner. I generally use 2 pinches of hops in my batches. If I feel a recipe has no hop taste I may increase the number of pinches next time.
4. RECIPES: You can go out to www.brewtoad.com or other websites to get some ideas of the recipes out there. You can get recipes from books at the library. My biggest mistake was not converting a recipe for 5 gallons into 1 gallon. I ended up with 5 times the amount of grains I needed; I've now had to make 4 more batches than I needed too. I didn't want to waste the grains and the money.
5. HOW TO MAKE IT: My first step was to buy the book Homebrewing for Dummies. If you are still overwhelmed about how to make a batch try to buy a kit first. Mr. Beer was my first batch and I gained confidence in making beer with extracts. I did buy other kits to to compile my instructions on how to brew. Mr. Beer gives you a nice booklet of instructions and they have the instructions on their website also. There are videos out there on the websites of craftabrew.com and brooklynbrewshop.com that helped me too. I took a free class at my local brew supply store - Capital City Homebrew Supply in Lansing Michigan. The owner and associate gladly answered any questions I had about brewing beer while I watched them make up a batch. Once I saw all that I knew brewing was easier after all!