Home > Food & Drink > Make Your Own Beer

Make Your Own Beer

By: Kate Bradbury - Updated: 5 Sep 2014 | comments*Discuss
 
Making Beer Homebrew Ingredients Natural

Brewing your own beer is relatively easy and a fun way of utilising the natural products available to you. You needn’t make beer from barley and hops, you can make beer from a variety of plants such as nettles or seaweed, which give the drink a different and unusual taste.

Getting Started

Most beers are made using hops. There are five basic principles to brewing beer from hops, which are exactly the same processes that are used by professional breweries. These are:
  • Malting – this involves the soaking of ground malted barley in hot water, which produces 'sweet wort'.
  • The 'sweet wort' is mixed with hops to produce 'hopped wort'.
  • The hops are removed from the 'hopped wort' mixture and yeast is added.
  • The beer is left to mature and sugar or carbon dioxide is then added to the mixture to increase carbonation.
  • The beer is then packaged in bottles or kegs.

Using a Homebrew Kit

In order to complete the five stages of brewing your beer, you will need to buy a home-brewing kit or source the equipment separately. Homebrew kits are readily available from specialist shops and websites, and make the process of brewing easy, especially for beginners. Once you have bought a homebrew kit you will only need water, as all the ingredients are supplied with the kit. However, if you want to be more creative and make beers from plants from your garden or beach, a homebrew kit may not be so useful.

Homebrew kits are great for getting you accustomed to the processes involved with making beer. All the ingredients are supplied in measured quantities, so you avoid any complicated processes such as 'half mash' and 'full mash' brewing initially (half mash brewing involves using separate ingredients and brewing them in specialist containers, full mash brewing involves extracting the malt from the grain and sourcing the other ingredients in their natural state).

Equipment

If you don’t use a homebrew kit, you will need the following equipment:
  • Brewing bin to hold the beer.
  • Kettle to boil the beer (some bins come with kettles built in).
  • Paddle to stir the beer remove malty deposits on the surface.
  • Syphon to transfer beer into kegs or bottles.
  • Thermometer to test the temperature of your brew.
You will also need water, barley and hops (if you are using them) and brewing sugar.

Making your Homebrew

Brewing your own beer with barley and hops takes just a few hours to prepare, and four-six weeks to store. However, if you want to make a different sort of beer, you don’t have to wait for so long.

Making Nettle Beer

This beer is cheap to make and follows an old English recipe.

Ingredients

  • 900g young nettle tops
  • 3.8l water
  • 230g brown sugar
  • 7.5g fresh yeast
  • piece of toast

Method

Heat the water in a large saucepan until boiling. Add the washed nettle tops and cook them for half an hour. Strain the mixture into a large jug or brewers bucket and add sugar to the nettle water.

Spread the yeast on to the piece of toast and float it on the surface of the nettle liquid. Cover the jug and leave it for a few days at room temperature. Then, strain the mixture and decant it into clean, beer bottles. Leave them for at least two days before drinking it.

Making your own beer is cheap, fun and rewarding. You don’t have to make beer with hops and barley; you can use any number of plants to flavour your beer.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
I've made my own beer but want it to be quick and easy so instead of messing around with the barley etc, I buy a jar of malt extract. Nettles are closely related to hops so have a similar bittering effect. Most of the people who tried my nettle beer enjoyed it. The one caution though, is that it has a tendency to be rather 'lively' and bottles have been known to explode in the store shed!
MBSLynne - 5-Sep-14 @ 7:38 AM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Kate br
    Re: Selling from Your Allotment
    I would recommend. Country markets as local places to sell surplus veg
    9 November 2018
  • JoJo
    Re: Foraging for Mushrooms
    @Amy - Lepiota (Dapperlings) which look like smaller versions of Parasols have an approx 7cm diametre. They can be very poisonous - so…
    3 September 2018
  • Amy
    Re: Foraging for Mushrooms
    Hello, Im wanting some advice please,ive found a fungi/mushroom in my garden...ive been searching on the internet and it seems as its a…
    1 September 2018
  • Mick
    Re: Self-Sufficient Energy
    I am looking into a thermoelectric generator to place on my solid fuel burning stove. The stove is hot all but two weeks out of the year.
    26 June 2018
  • GoSelfSufficient
    Re: What Not to Do in Your Allotment
    Giancarlo - Your Question:Hello,My name is Giancarlo Cristea, I live in Tooting, London, where I came 3 years ago.…
    24 May 2018
  • Giancarlo
    Re: What Not to Do in Your Allotment
    Hello, My name is Giancarlo Cristea, I live in Tooting, London, where I came 3 years ago. Unfortunately I cannot work…
    23 May 2018
  • Baz
    Re: Keeping a Pig
    When buying pigs do you have to buy two or would they be ok on their own
    11 September 2017
  • Coconut down South
    Re: What You Can't Grow
    Coconut down south is lit man. I grow it every day it is great!
    4 July 2017
  • Patsy
    Re: Foraging for Berries
    I'm thinking of making elderberry jam. Can this be made from elderberry syrup or concentrate, instead of picking the berries?
    3 March 2017
  • GoSelfSufficient
    Re: Keeping a Pig
    Phil - Your Question:? About how much space do you need for a pig to roam (run?) around in - assuming you are feeding it scraps etc. and not expecting
    23 February 2017