How To Make Beer
Fermenting 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.

The 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.

In 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 there.

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.  

To make a 
yeast starter 2-3 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.

After 2 or 3 days, or when foam has begun to form on the yeast starter:

Malt extract
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 glass or 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.

Add 5 quarts of warm water to it.

As long as the water is warm and not hot, add the yeast mixture and shake or stir vigorously.

Cover with a piece of cloth and put in a warm place. Stir or shake once a day.

airlockWhen liquid shows signs of fermentation, cover 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.

Gently pour liquid into another container, taking care to leave behind as much of the sludge as possible. Cover again.

Add another 1/4 cup of sugar dissolved in 2  tablespoons of  hot water, or 1/4 cup of prepared sugar syrup, to the brew.

Gently pour or siphon into plastic soda pop bottles with screw-on tops. Leave about 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 careful to aim cap away from face or anything breakable, as it may be under a lot of pressure. Unscrew cap slowly.

More Pages on Brewing:
Make Root Beer With Roots: Potatoes, Carrots and Beetroot By The Bottle To Try Out A Real Ale Recipe
Real Ale Is Brewed Raw And Is Good Food
How To Brew Your Own Soda Pop
How To Harvest Wild Yeast
How To Make Raw Beer
Brew In The Sun -- Fermented Sun Tea
Brew Like A Sumerian -- Make Beer From Bread
Grow Your Own Plants for Flavoring Herb Garden
Make Your Own Hard Tea or  Fermented Iced Tea

Book Suggestions:

Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz. 
Truly Cultured Rejuvenating Taste, Health and Community With Naturally Fermented Foods
Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers by Stephen Harr Buhner

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