When the stores and restaurants are closed and leisure options are limited, DIY is in vogue – especially when the result is through the stomach. But it doesn’t always have to be a cake or a delicious dish to please your loved ones. How about a home-brewed beer? In keeping with the approaching barbecue season, we tell you how this can also be done at home. Cheers!
Beer – especially Pilsner – is our favorite alcoholic beverage. In 2020, around 95 liters of hop and barley juice will have been consumed per capita. This puts consumers in third place behind the Czech Republic and Austria in a European comparison.
It’s no wonder that it’s trendy to make the “liquid gold” at home. If you want to make it easy, you can use a ready-made beer brewing kit, but the individual ingredients are also readily available in (online) stores.
Recipe: Brew 20 liters of Pils beer yourself
Clearly, what the brewer can do, only the brewer can do. But you can also try your hand at brewing beer at home, although you should allow a few hours for it. And: You can’t drink your own creation right away. Once the freshly brewed beer is bottled, it must ferment there for about three weeks. We do recommend you get a home beer brewing kit.
- 4 kg malt (crushed)
- 30 g of hops
- a beer spindle to measure the original wort of the beer (available in stores for about 15 euros)
- 40 g brewer’s yeast
- two large, clean buckets
- a boiling thermometer
- a cotton sheet (as a filter)
- a 20-liter boiling pot (mulled wine pot, boiling kettle)
- 40 beer bottles with swing tops
IMPORTANT: The pots, buckets, bottles and utensils used must be sterile!
Grist (coarsely crushed) is not ground! Brewing malt is a malt specially designed to meet the requirements of beer production. You can buy it ready-made – and that’s exactly what you should do as a beginner.
Tip: If you like your home-brewed beer a little stronger, you can use a little more malt. Then you get more alcohol or quantity.
2 Mashing and saccharification
During mashing, malt and water are mixed together and brought to temperature. Mashing converts the starch contained in the malt into sugar, and the contained protein flocculates and forms longer protein chains. Mashing takes place in three steps:
Mashing in: The water is heated to 65° Celsius, then the malt is added with constant stirring. After that it’s a matter of: Keep stirring!
Protein rest: Keep the temperature constant at 63° Celsius for about 15 minutes. This causes protein chains to form from the protein molecules. They later provide a stable foam crown, the carbonic acid and clarify the mixture.
Maltoseast: Now heat the mixture to 71° Celsius and continue stirring for another 15 minutes. The lighter the malt and the longer the maltose rest, the more tart and stronger the beer will taste later. If you prefer a sweeter and more full-bodied beer, you can shorten the time. Background: During the maltose rest, the long-chain sugar is converted into short-chain sugar. This is necessary for the yeast to convert the sugar into alcohol.
3. iodine sample
The iodine sample is used to test whether starch is still present. To do this, place a few drops of the water and malt mixture on a saucer and add a few drops of iodine.
If the sample turns blue/red, the maltose rest must be extended a little. If the sample remains brown/yellow, the process can continue.
Finally, heat the mixture once again to a maximum of 77° Celsius while stirring, this ensures the final saccharification. The temperature should not exceed 78° Celsius!
During lautering, the boiled malt is separated from the mash (= the liquid). The easiest way to do this is to pour the cooked mixture over a cloth or sieve into a bucket to separate the solids from the liquids. The liquid is called “wort” and the solids are called “spent grains”.
This process is repeated until the wort running from the spent grains is no longer cloudy. After lautering, return the wort to the boiling pot and refill it with boiled water to the original level.
Measuring the original wort
Measure the original gravity with the beer spindle. The value indicates how many grams of sugar and other components are dissolved in one kilogram of liquid. The original wort therefore does not indicate the alcohol content, but describes the proportion of dissolved unfermented wort.
For a Pilsner, this should be about 11%. If the value is too high, the remaining extractives must be washed out again with hot water (not above 77° Celsius!). If the original wort is too low, more water should be evaporated in the next step. 6.
6. wort boiling and hopping
Then boil the wort at 100° Celsius for a total of about 60 minutes. After about 30 minutes, add the hops (the “yellow”).
The hops give the beer its flavor and make it durable through their tannins and bitterness. The longer you boil the hops, the more tannins and bitterness they give off.
Remove a small amount of the brew and let it cool to about 20° Celsius. Use the beer spindle to determine the original wort content again. If the original wort is too high, add a few ice cubes later (before yeast).
8. hot trub removal
The hops and fine suspended solids must then be removed from the wort. To do this, the brew is again poured over a cloth into a bucket. And keep doing this until all the “green stuff” has been filtered out. The brew should look dark and clear.
9. cooling, yeast and fermentation
The best way to cool the brew is to put it in the bathtub and pour cold water all around. Cool the brew in a cold water bath, so to speak. If the temperature of the brew corresponds to the temperature of the yeast, the yeast can be added. For a Pilsner, it is between 9 and 15° Celsius.
If the original gravity was previously too high, the ice cubes can be added before the yeast.
During the first 60 minutes, the brew should be stirred regularly to aerate the yeast. After that, let it rest, covered, to allow the yeast to work – until the beer spindle reads four percent wort.
Father’s Day is written on the snap cap of an empty beer bottle lying in a meadow.
10 Bottling and waiting
The beer can then be bottled. Do not fill them to the brim! The secondary fermentation takes place in the bottles and lasts about three weeks.
For two weeks, the bottles should be stored at room temperature. Some brewers recommend opening the bottles from time to time during this period so that carbon dioxide produced during fermentation can escape. However, this is not absolutely necessary.
After the bottles have been stored in the refrigerator for another week, the home-brewed beer can be enjoyed.