water and sugar into beer, ale and wine is a lot easier than all the
shops who would sell you expensive equipment to brew with would have
you know. Stopping water and sugar from fermenting is hard, which is
why we have to keep fruit juice in the refrigerator, and why it "goes
off" if you leave it too long. That is fermentation; the same process
that will give you beer and wine.
first thing you need to consider to make beer is yeast. Or you don't
have to consider it. Yeast is a fairly modern invention. Long, long
ago, they just set out the water and sugar, usually in the form of
either juice pressed from fruit or water mixed with grains that had
been sprouted to make them sweeter, and after a few days, it began to
ferment, as if by magic.
Some cultures in South America believed that
the pots the liquid was kept in was responsible for creating the spirit
that brewed their ale, and that this was a learned skill. After a clay
pot had "learned" to make ale, it would do so much quicker with each
successive brew. This was no doubt because the invisible yeast was able
to find a home in the porous clay of the pot.
more recent long ago times, they made a form of yeast by letting stale
bread get moldy and then scraping the bread and mold into crumbs and
using that as we do yeast. Yeast and mold are the same organism at
different stages of their evolution.
The purpose of adding yeast
is to get the fermentation started more quickly. Adding yeast also
insures you get the fermentation started with a yeast rather than some
other unwanted microbe, although many cultures brewed specialty ales by
exposing the liquid to the air because the other microbes were
desirable and added a different taste. If you made yeast with the
stale, moldy bread crumbs, those other organisms would already be in
You can get the yeast started
before you begin to make the beer by mixing some yeast, sugar and water a
few days ahead of time. This mainly serves the purpose of waking the
yeast up, letting it know food will be coming for it and to be ready to get
to work. If you didn't make a yeast starter several days ago, you can
skip that step and just add the dry yeast to the liquid and then wait
till it begins fermenting in your liquid.
days before you start making your
beer, put a tablepoon of yeast in a
half a cup of warm
water. Add 4 Tablespoons of sugar, stir, cover and leave in a warm
place. Stir occasionally.
2 or 3 days, or when foam has begun to form on the yeast starter:
Get a 1 pound (454 gram) jar of malt
extract. You can find this at the
health food store,
sold as a sugar substitute.
Put a quart of water in a non-metallic
saucepan. Add 1 1/2 pounds of
sugar and bring to a boil. Add
the 1-pound jar of malt extract and stir until
dissolved. Take off heat, cover and let cool to lukewarm.
Pour the sugar and malt mixture into a large
food-grade plastic container. A 2-gallon bucket is good. Several jars
to make up
the 2 gallon size is okay. It is better that the liquid be brewed in
containers that are taller than they are wide.
5 quarts of warm water to it.
As long as the
water is warm and not hot, add
mixture and shake or stir vigorously.
Cover with a
piece of cloth and put in a warm place. Stir or shake once a day.
When liquid shows signs of fermentation,
container with an airlock. This
is something that will keep bugs out but lets gas escape. A piece of
plastic secured with a sturdy rubber band, or any other form of
elastic, will do. Put in a warm place.
Let the mixture set for 2-6 days,
or until fermentation is finished or nearly finished.
liquid into another container,
taking care to leave behind as much of the sludge as possible. Cover
Add another 1/4 cup of sugar dissolved in 2 tablespoons of hot water, or 1/4 cup of prepared sugar syrup, to the
Gently pour or siphon
into plastic soda pop
bottles with screw-on tops. Leave
1-2" of air space in each bottle. Screw
caps on tightly.
When bottle is firm to
the touch and cannot be squeezed, the beer is fully carbonated.Chill,
and drink. Do not shake bottle and be
to aim cap away from face or anything breakable, as it may be under a
lot of pressure. Unscrew cap
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