Make your own beer
The art of home brewing.
October is the perfect month for settling down with a group of friends and popping the top off a frosty bottle of beer. And you don’t even have to venture to the store. You can easily make your own flavorful craft beer in your kitchen through the art of home brewing.
“There’s a whole world of beer styles and ingredients to play with,” says Dave Knott, owner of High Gravity Homebrewing and Winemaking Supplies, 7164 S. Memorial Drive. “You can faithfully brew examples of many of the world’s styles of beer at home, and have a lot of influence over what you’re doing.”
All you need is a stove for brewing, a little space for fermenting and bottling, and a touch of adventurous spirit.
“People brew because it’s interesting,” Knott says. “People who like to brew beer are creative. They like tinkering with the process and ingredients.”
The initial investment in your mini-brewery is $80 for equipment and $30-$47 for a recipe kit, which yields five gallons of craft beer. High Gravity also offers a beer-making class in the store.
The basic procedure
Now that you’ve set up the equipment and have your tried-and-true recipe kit at hand, it’s time to start brewing. Follow these steps:
- Put the hops and grains from the recipe kit in a muslin sock, similar to a tea bag. Bring 1 gallon of filtered water to a boil, remove from heat and add the extract and bittering hops, also from the kit. Add other ingredients per recipe and bring back to boil.
- Cool the wort — what the beer is called before fermentation — to about 70 degrees Fahrenheit with a cooling coil or an ice bath.
- Transfer wort to fermenting vessel containing about 3 gallons of cold water. Add yeast and bring volume up to 5 gallons, leaving 2-4 inches of headspace above liquid.
- Fit with airlock and cover with a paper sack to keep out light. Maintain at room temperature and ferment for 7-10 days. Make sure the yeast is working by looking for carbon dioxide bubbles in the airlock and for “krausen,” the foamy head of yeast that forms at the peak of fermentation.
- Transfer beer to secondary vessel, leaving behind the settled yeast, which can be immediately reused for a second batch. Let sit for 1-3 weeks.
- Move beer to bottling bucket, add priming sugar and then bottle. Leave at room temperature for 7-10 days and then transfer to cold storage. Knott recommends letting the beer age for 2-12 months to make it stronger, better tasting and fuller. “Give it some time,” Knott says. “A lot of people don’t have any idea how good their beer could have been because it’s gone way before it gets a chance to develop.”
The basic home brewery includes:
6.5-gallon primary fermenter
6.5-gallon bottling bucket with spigot
Siphon and bottling setup
Home beer-making book
Bottlebrush and capper
A 20-30-quart stockpot
Visit www.highgravitybrew.com or call 461-2605 for more information. Other resources are available via the American Homebrewers Association, www.beertown.org, and the Fellowship of Oklahoma Ale Makers, www.alemakers.com.