Germany's precious beer has been tainted by plastic particles
Beers from Germany's top brands have been found to contain microscopic particles of plastic.
Germany’s precious beer has been tainted. Under Germany’s famously strict beer laws, beer can only contain four ingredients: water, hops, malt, and yeast. But for all that strict, government-ordered protection, new research indicates that even beers from Germany’s biggest brands have been tainted by microscopic plastic fibers.
According to The Local, Markt, a consumer rights program, tested beers from Germany’s top producers, and microscopic bits of plastic were found in every one. Paulaner wheat beer from Munich, for example, had an average of 70 particles per liter.
Water bottles were also tested and found to contain microscopic plastic bits, but at much lower levels than the beer.
It is not yet clear whether or not the plastic particles can cause health problems, but some researchers believe the problems could show up in time. A few filaments here and there might not be a problem, but if they build up over the years in an organism’s tissues, it could be potentially dangerous.
“Micro-plastic will sooner or later represent a danger to us,” said Stephan Pflugmacher, an ecological toxicologist from Berlin’s Technical University, who studied the effects of microscopic plastic fibers on mussels and found that over time the micro-plastic could build up enough to kill the mussels.
The German Brewing Federation said it would begin an investigation into the issue.
The Food We Eat Contain Micro and Nanoplastics
Plastics should be a food group all on its own since most of the food we eat contains micro- and nanoplastics. Whether we like it to or not, plastics have become a hidden part of our diet. Fruits, vegetables, meat, seafood, or bottled water are becoming laced with tiny pieces of plastics. While microplastics dominate the oceans, they along with nanoplastics dominate the soil. Microplastics have made waves in environmental awareness of their impact on the oceans and the aquatic life that consume them. However, they’ve been affecting us right on our plates in the terrestrial environment and in the air. Only recently have studies shown that they are indeed in our fruits and vegetables due to plastic contamination of soil and water used for crop irrigation.
Plastics have now been proven to be found inside fruits and vegetables
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), microplastics are plastics 5 mm long. Whereas, nanoplastics are smaller than a micron, according to the Nature Research Journal. That’s the size of a grain of rice compared to that smaller than a human red blood cell (5 microns), respectively. The latter is smaller than the diameter of a human hair strand (75 microns)- that’s microscopically small. Nanoplastics can, therefore, have a greater negative impact in the environments that they exist as they cannot be seen with the naked eye like microplastics.
Classic Honey Beer Recipe
If you stick to the recipe your homemade honey beer will turn out yellow or amber with a delicate floral aroma, light hints of hops, lush foam and bitter aftertaste. It’s hard to compare its taste with other beverages. You’ll have to try it at least once.
The method of brewing beer from honey is simpler than traditional brewing since it does not require saccharification of malt (as it’s not used at all). This eliminates the need to adhere to a narrow temperature range during brewing. We will set aside disputes on whether you can consider a beverage without malt a beer. Honey wort is called “honey and water.”
The following recipe was built upon the technology proposed in the book “Mead brewing or the art of making beverages from honey and fruits” by Professor T. Tseselskii, published in 1906. The characteristics of hops and yeast have been specified, and the stage of carbonization and aging has been added.
It is advisable to use fresh floral or buckwheat honey. The amount of hop is approximate and depends on the desired bitterness. If you don’t have any experience of brewing go by the proportions and alpha acidity specified in the recipe. In this case, the bitterness will be just below the average (for my liking). You should use only brewer’s yeast. Using bakers or distillers yeast will result in wash, not beer.
Top fermentation yeast can be replaced by bottom fermentation yeast, but then you’ll have to maintain the temperature (step 10) in 5-16°C range.
In order not to infect the wort with foreign microorganisms all used tools and containers must be boiled for safety or sterilized in any other way beforehand.
Honey Beer Recipe
- If necessary liquefy sugared honey: leave a honey jar in warm water for 25-40 minutes.
- Boil 8 liters of water in a boiling vessel (the recommended volume for the recipe proportions is no less than 15 liters).
- Slowly pour liquid honey into boiling water while constantly stirring to make a homogeneous mass and prevent honey particles from sticking to the bottom or sides of the saucepan.
- After the honey is fully dissolved, measure the initial volume of the wort (remember it or put a note on the saucepan exterior).
- Boil the honey solution for 60 minutes without a lid on medium heat, constantly skimming the froth.
- Pour some boiled water to get the initial volume, compensating the losses from evaporation. Add hops and mix.
- Boil for another 60 minutes. Don’t skim the froth for the first 30 minutes to let the wort better absorb the hops. You can skim the froth during the last 30 minutes. Pour some boiling water to bring the volume to the initial state.
The total boiling time is 2 hours after the boiling starts: 1 hour of wort boiling and another 1 hour of boiling wort with hops.
- Cool the honey solution to 18-22°C as soon as possible to avoid contamination with pathogenic microorganisms. If you don’t have any special brewing equipment like wort chillers you can dip the saucepan into a bathroom with cold water or ice.
- After cooling, filter the wort through sterile gauze to remove the remnants of hops, and then transfer it to the fermentation vessel. At least 20% of the volume should be left empty for foam and carbon dioxide. Add the diluted beer yeast (top fermentation yeast for this recipe), and then mix.
- Transfer the fermentation vessel to a dark room (and cover it) with an unvarying temperature of 24-25°C. Install a airlock of any design on a bottleneck. Leave it for 7-9 days.
Plastic fermentation tank with airlock
Active fermentation will begin in 8-12 hours and will last up to 5 days. Then the intensity will subside, and after 7-9 days it will stop altogether: the airlock will stop emitting gas, the beer will become lighter, and a layer of sediment will appear at the bottom.
- Add 1 teaspoon of honey, dextrose or sugar (the worst option) in each storage bottle (plastic or glass) per liter of volume. It’s required for carbonization – the process of saturation of the drink with carbon dioxide as a result of repeated fermentation. Thanks to carbonization the beverage will have thick foam, and its taste will improve.
- Pour the honey beer from the sediment through a tube into prepared bottles (fill them up to 2 cm before the bottleneck) and hermetically seal them.
- Transfer the filled bottles into a dark room with a temperature of 20-24°C and leave them there for 10-12 days.
- Honey beer is ready, but the beverage is still slightly harsh and bitter. To improve the taste, you should put it into a refrigerator or basement for 25-30 days of maturation.
The color depends on the type of honey. Depicted on the photo is buckwheat honey beer
At a temperature of 3-16°C, the shelf life is 5-6 months. An open bottle should be consumed within one day.
Six Tips for Minimizing Beer Brewing Losses
This week I have 6 tips for minimizing your beer brewing losses when home brewing:
- Bag or Strain Your Hops – Hops matter is one of the largest contributors to trub losses in your brewing kettle, particularly given today’s highly hopped beer styles. Whether you are boiling, whirlpooling or dry hopping it is best to bag your hops or use some kind of hop strainer device (this is the one I use) to reduce the losses from hops.
- Use a Refractometer – While it does require some extra calculations to determine the gravity of fermenting wort with a refractometer, you need only a few drops to take a reading, while a hydrometer requires roughly 8 oz (0.25 l) of beer to get a good reading.
- Do a Vourlauf for All Grain – The “vourlauf” is a step taken at the beginning of the sparge process in all grain brewing where you draw the first few quarts of wort and place it back in the mash tun. This is generally done until you get clear wort coming from the lauter tun with no visible grain bits. The purpose of the vourlauf is to allow your grain filter bed to “set up” so it is ready to filter out grain particles. This will result in less grain trub in the wort during and after the boil.
- Minimize Transfers – Every time you transfer your beer from one container to another you will lose some wort or beer. Unless you are aging your beer for an extended period, a secondary fermentation may not be needed. Even if you are transferring from pot to secondary you can, consider transferring the trub with the wort. Brulosophy did an interesting exBEERiment on this here.
- Consider a Conical Fermenter – Conical fermenters for beer brewing help by compacting your trub, yeast and sediment in the bottom of the fermenter, and also make it easy to remove it. This means you will have less wasted beer when using a conical. Here are some advantages of conicals and there are a wide variety of plastic and stainless conicals available now.
- Cold Crash Your Beer – Dropping the temperature of your finished beer will aid in the flocculation and settling process. It will help yeast, proteins and polyphenols to settle out of the beer more quickly and will reduce the required aging time. A compact sediment layer results in less waste when ready to bottle. In addition, cold crashing can improve your beer clarity.
Those are six useful tips to help minimize your beer brewing losses so you can enjoy more great home brewed beer! Thanks for joining me on the BeerSmith blog! Please subscribe to the newsletter or podcast on iTunes for more articles and sessions on home brewing!
Beer tasting professionals have developed practices over decades that can easily be used by anyone wanting to maximize their tasting experience.
Begin with a fresh brew. Beer older than a few months, with some notable exceptions, are less than ideal candidates. Use a clean, air-dried glass. Cotton and paper particles can introduce unwanted character, can interfere with head production and oils and dirt can interfere with aromas and alter head retention.
Pour slowly into a glass tipped at a 45 degree angle, until about half-full (not half-empty, there are no pessimists among beer tasters!), then straighten and finish pouring. For extra foamy brews, pause mid-way then finish.
Observe the appearance.
Some beers, such as yeasty Wheat beers, have a cloudy haze. This isn't necessarily undesirable. All the professional experience in the world doesn't alter the fact that taste is an individual affair.
Note the color and degree of carbonation. Different styles will have their own characteristics. Light lagers are golden with large heads, dark ales are chocolatey and some form no head at all. Like dogs, they can vary. But within a 'breed' they should exhibit the character of their type well.
Experience the aroma.
Smell is a sense with much greater complexity than taste. According to studies carried out at the Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago and elsewhere, 90% of perceived taste is the result of smell.
Use it to enhance your pleasure by noting the odor. Swirl the glass to aid vaporization and hold the nose directly over the rim. Hoppy or malty? Fruity or phenolic? Some have hints of lemon, others are more iodine-like.
Chamomile, pine, pepper and a wide variety of other secondary scents are found in brews. Take the time to search for them.
Test the mouth feel.
Taste and touch combine to produce distinctive mouth feels. Proteins in beer don't ferment and contribute strongly, for example. Hardness or softness of the water used makes a big difference, too.
Search out alkalinity or metallic feels. Decide if the brew is astringent or gentle. Carbonation plays a part, obviously. The bubbles interact with special receptors on the tongue to impart a distinctive sensation, flat or 'zingy'. This kind of flat isn't necessarily bad - some stouts aren't intended to be as fizzy as a pilsner.
Thick or thin, viscous or smooth, dry or tart, soapy or oily and other characteristics all play a part in the overall mouth feel. See how many you can distinguish.
Taste the flavor.
Not for nothing is this considered the centerpiece of the beer drinking experience. Tastes range from the sweet Lambics to the almost tasteless mass-market brews that shall go unmentioned.
High-alcohol brews often have a spicy taste. Test first by wetting the lips with the liquid and inhaling slowly through the mouth, then sip. You'll also get the double-whammy effect of aroma evaporating off the lips into the nose.
Flavor and the Brewing Process
Six elements in the brewing process determine the differences among all beers, German beers and otherwise:
- — the type of grains used for malting (base flavor)
- — the duration and temperature of the malting process (color)
- — the type of water, soft or hard (mouthfeel)
- — the wort content, aka the amount of dissolved particles in the mash (malty flavors)
- — the type, terroir and amount of hops in the beer (bitterness, hoppy, herbal flavors and froth crown)
- — the type of yeast used for fermentation, i.e. top-fermenting or bottom-fermenting yeast (fruity or spicy aromas)
- — the duration of and temperature during fermentation (alcohol content)
Plastic fibres found in tap water around the world, study reveals
Microplastic contamination has been found in tap water in countries around the world, leading to calls from scientists for urgent research on the implications for health.
Scores of tap water samples from more than a dozen nations were analysed by scientists for an investigation by Orb Media, who shared the findings with the Guardian. Overall, 83% of the samples were contaminated with plastic fibres.
The US had the highest contamination rate, at 94%, with plastic fibres found in tap water sampled at sites including Congress buildings, the US Environmental Protection Agency’s headquarters, and Trump Tower in New York. Lebanon and India had the next highest rates.
European nations including the UK, Germany and France had the lowest contamination rate, but this was still 72%. The average number of fibres found in each 500ml sample ranged from 4.8 in the US to 1.9 in Europe.
The new analyses indicate the ubiquitous extent of microplastic contamination in the global environment. Previous work has been largely focused on plastic pollution in the oceans, which suggests people are eating microplastics via contaminated seafood.
“We have enough data from looking at wildlife, and the impacts that it’s having on wildlife, to be concerned,” said Dr Sherri Mason, a microplastic expert at the State University of New York in Fredonia, who supervised the analyses for Orb. “If it’s impacting [wildlife], then how do we think that it’s not going to somehow impact us?”
A magnified image of clothing microfibres from washing machine effluent. One study found that a fleece jacket can shed as many as 250,000 fibres per wash. Photograph: Courtesy of Rozalia Project
A separate small study in the Republic of Ireland released in June also found microplastic contamination in a handful of tap water and well samples. “We don’t know what the [health] impact is and for that reason we should follow the precautionary principle and put enough effort into it now, immediately, so we can find out what the real risks are,” said Dr Anne Marie Mahon at the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, who conducted the research.
Mahon said there were two principal concerns: very small plastic particles and the chemicals or pathogens that microplastics can harbour. “If the fibres are there, it is possible that the nanoparticles are there too that we can’t measure,” she said. “Once they are in the nanometre range they can really penetrate a cell and that means they can penetrate organs, and that would be worrying.” The Orb analyses caught particles of more than 2.5 microns in size, 2,500 times bigger than a nanometre.
Microplastics can attract bacteria found in sewage, Mahon said: “Some studies have shown there are more harmful pathogens on microplastics downstream of wastewater treatment plants.”
Microplastics are also known to contain and absorb toxic chemicals and research on wild animals shows they are released in the body. Prof Richard Thompson, at Plymouth University, UK, told Orb: “It became clear very early on that the plastic would release those chemicals and that actually, the conditions in the gut would facilitate really quite rapid release.” His research has shown microplastics are found in a third of fish caught in the UK.
The scale of global microplastic contamination is only starting to become clear, with studies in Germany finding fibres and fragments in all of the 24 beer brands they tested, as well as in honey and sugar. In Paris in 2015, researchers discovered microplastic falling from the air, which they estimated deposits three to 10 tonnes of fibres on the city each year, and that it was also present in the air in people’s homes.
This research led Frank Kelly, professor of environmental health at King’s College London, to tell a UK parliamentary inquiry in 2016: “If we breathe them in they could potentially deliver chemicals to the lower parts of our lungs and maybe even across into our circulation.” Having seen the Orb data, Kelly told the Guardian that research is urgently needed to determine whether ingesting plastic particles is a health risk.
The new research tested 159 samples using a standard technique to eliminate contamination from other sources and was performed at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. The samples came from across the world, including from Uganda, Ecuador and Indonesia.
How microplastics end up in drinking water is for now a mystery, but the atmosphere is one obvious source, with fibres shed by the everyday wear and tear of clothes and carpets. Tumble dryers are another potential source, with almost 80% of US households having dryers that usually vent to the open air.
“We really think that the lakes [and other water bodies] can be contaminated by cumulative atmospheric inputs,” said Johnny Gasperi, at the University Paris-Est Créteil, who did the Paris studies. “What we observed in Paris tends to demonstrate that a huge amount of fibres are present in atmospheric fallout.”
Plastic fibres may also be flushed into water systems, with a recent study finding that each cycle of a washing machine could release 700,000 fibres into the environment. Rains could also sweep up microplastic pollution, which could explain why the household wells used in Indonesia were found to be contaminated.
In Beirut, Lebanon, the water supply comes from natural springs but 94% of the samples were contaminated. “This research only scratches the surface, but it seems to be a very itchy one,” said Hussam Hawwa, at the environmental consultancy Difaf, which collected samples for Orb.
This planktonic arrow worm, Sagitta setosa, has eaten a blue plastic fibre about 3mm long. Plankton support the entire marine food chain. Photograph: Richard Kirby/Courtesy of Orb Media
Current standard water treatment systems do not filter out all of the microplastics, Mahon said: “There is nowhere really where you can say these are being trapped 100%. In terms of fibres, the diameter is 10 microns across and it would be very unusual to find that level of filtration in our drinking water systems.”
Bottled water may not provide a microplastic-free alternative to tapwater, as the they were also found in a few samples of commercial bottled water tested in the US for Orb.
Everything You Need To Know About Isinglass
People who merely drink beer may not give much thought to all the ingredients that go into it. If you brew your own craft beer, however, knowing all the ingredients is essential, especially if you are picky about what goes into it. Not all beer ingredients contribute to the taste or aroma. Some are included to improve the appearance of the brew, and isinglass is one of them.
What Is Isinglass?
Isinglass is derived from the swim bladders of certain fish. The swim bladder is a balloon-like organ that fish use to control their buoyancy. It allows them to swim at a certain depth without expending too much energy in swimming. Isinglass is a thick, colorless solution consisting primarily of collagen that forms when swim bladders are soaked for several weeks in dilute food-grade acids, causing them to dissolve.
What Does It Do to Beer?
During the fermentation process, protein and yeast can build up in beer, causing it to be cloudy in appearance. Isinglass finings may be added to beer to remove this haze by causing the proteins and yeast to sink to the bottom of the barrel. The beer that remains on top maintains a clear, attractive appearance.
How and When Was Isinglass First Used as a Beer Ingredient?
No one knows for sure how people first got the idea to add isinglass finings to beer for clarification purposes, but it probably happened by accident. One theory is that a fisherman and home brewer, perhaps taking inspiration from the practice of using animal skins to store wine, took advantage of a fish's swim bladder as a vessel to hold beer and noticed that it was exceptionally clear when he poured it back out.
Where Does It Come From?
Originally, isinglass was made from the swim bladders of sturgeon. Now it is more often derived from tropical or subtropical fish living in estuaries, which are transitional areas between freshwater and saltwater bodies. Lake Victoria in Africa has been plagued by an invasive species called the Nile Perch, which have been harvested and used to make finings in an attempt to control the spread.
Is Isinglass Necessary to Beer Making?
The presence of isinglass is of concern to beer drinkers who are also strict vegetarians or vegans. With the exception of certain cask ales made in the United Kingdom, many commercially produced beers do not contain isinglass. Instead, a process of filtration and pasteurization is used to remove the haze without the need for added ingredients.
Isinglass use is still common among craft brewers. However, part of the advantage of brewing your own beer is that you get to control what does and does not go into it. If you want to brew a clear beer without the use of isinglass, alternatives containing carrageenan, a polymer chemical, are effective at removing proteins, though less so with yeast. An example of this type of vegetarian fining is a type of red algae known as Irish moss. There is also products like Silafine or Biofine that utilize negatively charged fining agents that bind with positively charged haze active proteins and polyphenols. If you have any questions about beer fining agents, please give us a call or email.
And it is also headquarters in Colorado with New Belgium Brewing that is tackling climate change with beer.
The new Torched Earth is to remind consumers of what climate change will do to ingredients and conditions needed to brew a tasty beer.
'Torched Earth' is a limited-edition ale is made from smoke-tainted water, dandelions and drought-tolerant grains – the last ingredients that may survive a warming world
The ale was mad using 'some of the less-than-ideal ingredients that would be available and affordable to brewers in a climate-ravaged future without aggressive action now to confront the climate crisis,' according to the company.
Smoke malts were added 'to mimic the impact wildfires will have on water supply,' along with drought-resistant grains such as millet and buckwheat as opposed to barley.
'The resulting dark starchy liquid with smokey aromatics is not likely to win any awards but does highlight the stakes of climate change for beer lovers everywhere,' the company said in a release.
The Torched Earth Ale logo features the company's iconic red bicycle in a denuded landscape, its rubber tires melting.
And the print ad marketing the brew reads: 'The future of beer is here. And it tastes awful.'
New Belgium Brewing's iconic Fat Tire Amber Ale was certified last year as America's first nationally distributed carbon neutral beer.
The ale was mad using 'some of the less-than-ideal ingredients that would be available and affordable to brewers in a climate-ravaged future without aggressive action now to confront the climate crisis,'
The firm released a separation promotion to address the urgency of climate change, but this time it hiked up process to $100 for a six-pack.
This dramatic, one-day climate action emphasized how disruptions to agriculture caused by climate change are likely to affect the price of beer and other agricultural goods unless concerted efforts to stabilize the climate are taken now.
However, brewing beer possess threats to the environment from pulling the grains to the moment it is poured into a glass.
Barley farming and beer production are the largest consumers of water.
Breweries that are environmentally committed can have carbon emissions that hover around 5 percent of the beer's total carbon impact.
WHEN DID HUMANS START DRINKING BEER?
Humans have had a long history of consuming alcohol.
It is believed the primitive cultures of Mesopotania could have been brewing malted barley scraps as far back as 10,000BC but there are no records of it.
The earliest proof of beer-drinking dates back to Northern China 9,000 years ago.
This ancient brew was made using hawthorn fruit, Chinese wild grapes, rice and honey, and is the oldest known fermented beverage in history - older even than wine.
The earliest proof of beer-drinking dates back to Northern China 9,000 years ago
To make it the corn was milled and moistened in the maker’s mouth to convert starches in the corn into fermentable sugars - before it was ‘spat’ into the beer.
Throughout history, the consumption of alcohol may have helped people become more creative, advancing the development of language, art and religion.
This is because alcohol lowers inhibitions and makes people feel more spiritual.
It is believed the Egyptians started brewing beer around 5,000BC, according to the papyrus scrolls.
They were brewing things like dates, pomegranates and other indigenous herbs.
At around 3150 BC, the Egyptians used industrial-scale breweries to provide beer for the workers who built the pyramids of Giza.
Eventually beer made its way from the Middle East to Europe where an abundance of barley crops provided lots of raw ingredient for brewers.
Experts have now found evidence of brewing in Greece during the Bronze Age.
Researchers believe that these prehistoric people enjoyed getting merry with alcoholic drinks for feasts all year-round and not just when the grapes were ripe.
Not only was it considered nutritional it was also a safe alternative to drinking water.
It was in the Middle Ages that malted barley became the main source of fermented sugar and beer became the beverage we are familiar with today.
Homemade Beer recipe a Traditional Recipe
Homemade beer compares favorably to cheap store-bought counterparts due to its intense flavor, dense foam, and lack of preservatives. You get a beverage that contains nothing unnecessary. I’ll show you how to brew beer following the classic recipe, using only traditional ingredients: hops, malt, water, and yeast. To preserve the original taste we will not resort to the filtration and pasteurization.
It is believed that to make real beer you need to buy a mini brewery or other expensive equipment. This myth is imposed by manufacturers of such products. With a brewery, they will gladly sell you beer concentrate, which only needs to be diluted in water and fermented. As a result, you will pay an exorbitant price for the beer the quality of which will be slightly above the store-bought ones at best.
Actually, you can make homemade beer with only materials at hand: a bit cooking pot, fermentation container, bottles, and other accessible things, a full list of which is written below. You’ll only need to buy hop, malt, and beer yeast. I don’t recommend any brand in particular. The range of choice is quite wide, and you can but any raw material you like.
Theoretically, malt and hop can be grown in home conditions. But such practices are outside the framework of this article. From here on I will conceive that you have all of the required ingredients, whether homemade or store-bought. The only thing is I don’t recommend experimenting with beer yeasts, you should buy the best one right away, because beer is distinguished from grain brew by its unique yeast.
• Water – 7 gl/27 liters
• Hop (alpha acidity 4.5%) – 1,5 ounces/45 grams
• Barley malt – 6.6lbs/3 kg
• Beer yeast
• Sugar– 0,2822 ounces/8 grams per liter of beer (it is needed for natural carbon dioxide enrichment)
• Enamel pan for 8 gl/30 liters or Brewing Kettle– the must is cooked in it
• Fermentation container – is required for fermentation
• Thermometer (necessary) – moonshine or wine can be made by just approximately maintaining the temperature, but for beer that would be doomed from the beginning
• Bottles for bottling prepared beer (plastic or glass)
• Silicone tube of a small diameter – for taking beer from the sediment
• Bath with ice cold water or beer must coolant
• Gauze (9,84 -16,40 feet/3-5 meters) or a cloth bag
• Iodine and a white dish (optional)
• Saccharometer (optional) – a device used to determine the saccharinity of the must
Steps – Homemade Beer recipe
1.Preparation. The first phase, in which the brewer checks the ingredients and his equipment. Also, I advise paying attention to the following points.
Sterilization. All containers and tools that will be used must be washed with hot water and dried. Before working with ingredients brewer thoroughly washes his hands with soap and wipe them dry. It is important not to infect the beer must with wild yeast or instead of beer you will get a brew. Neglecting sterilization will eliminate all further efforts.
Water. It is best to use spring or bottled water. In an extreme case, usual tap water can be used too. Before brewing tap water is settled for a day in opened containers. This time is enough for chlorine to get out and for heavy metals and salts to gravitate to the bottom. Then settled water is carefully drained from the sediment into another container through a thin tube.
Yeast. For normal fermentation, beer yeast is activated with a small amount of warm water 15-30 minutes prior to adding them to the must. There’s no universal method for diluting beer yeast. That’s why you have to follow the instruction on the package.
2. Mashing the must. This term is used to describe mixing milled malt with hot water for amylolysis in grains. Sometimes malt is sold milled for brewing and that oils the path a bit. Otherwise, you’ll have to crush it yourself by using a grain grinder or mechanical meat grinder.
Caution! Crashing does not mean grinding into flour. You just need to crush grains into small pieces, keeping the grain skin particles, which then will be used to filter the beer must. The correct version of the grinding is shown in the photo.
Pour 6.5 gl/25 liters of water into an enamel pot/brewing kettle and heat it up on a stove to 176°F/80°C. Then pour ground malt into the mesh bag 1ࡧ meter in size made out of 3-4 layers of gauze. Put the bag in water, close the pot and boil it for 90 minutes, maintaining the temperature of 141.8-161.6°F/61-72°C.
Malt grout at 141.8-145.4°F/61-63°C facilitates a better sugar recovery, increasing the ABV. At 154.4-161.6°F/68-72°C the density of the must increases, although the alcohol contents will be slightly lower, but the taste will be more saturated. I recommend maintaining a temperature range of 149-161.6°F/65-72°C. As a result, you’ll get a tasty thick beer with 4% ABV.
(Optional) After 90 minutes of boiling you should do an iodine test, which will help you make sure that there’s no starch in the must. For this you need to pout 5-10 milligrams of the must on a clean white dish and mix it with a few drops of iodine. If the solution is dark-blue, you have to boil the contents of the pot for another 15 minutes. If iodine didn’t change the color of the must – it is ready. You can pass iodine test by simply increasing boiling time by 15 minutes. This won’t hurt the quality of the beverage.
Then you drastically increase the temperature to 172.4-176°F/78-80°C and boil the must for 5 minutes in order to stop the fermentation. Then you take out the bag with the remains of malt from the container and wash it with 0.53 gl/2 liters of boiled water of temperature of 172.4°F/78°C. In this way you wash out the remains of extractive materials. Then you add cleaning water into the must.
This method of boiling is called “in a bag”. It helps avoiding filtration – removing brewers’ grains (malt particles that didn’t dissolve) from the main must. In its turn filtration requires specific equipment (purification system) and pouring the must from one container into another many times. Boiling in a bag has no effect on the beer and takes far less time.
3. Boiling the must. Pot contents are brought to boiling. That’s when the first portion of hops is added (in our case it’s 0.52 oz/15 grams). After 30 minutes on intense boiling another 0.52 oz/15 grams are added. And after 40 minutes the remaining 0.52 oz/15 grams of hop are added. Boiling continues for another 20 minutes.
Depending on the chosen recipe the time periods and amounts of hops may vary. But if you follow the specified sequences and proportions, you will surely get a great result. Boiling takes up an hour and a half. It is important to maintain intensive heating for the must to bubble.
4. Cooling. The beer must has to be quickly (in 15-30 minutes) cooled down to 75.2-78.8°F/24-26°C. The sooner this is done, the less the risk to infect the beverage with bacterial and wild yeasts, which are harmful for the fermentation.
You can cool down the must with special wort chillers (one of the possible designs is in photo) or by carefully taking the container to a bath with ice cold water. Most novices use the second method. The main thing is not to turn the hot pot upside down and scald yourself with hot water.
The cooled must is poured through gauze into the fermentation container. This is done 3 times to enrich future beer with oxygen (there’s not much of it left after boiling), which is needed for a normal yeast development.
5. The fermentation. Diluted beer yeasts are added to the must and stirred up. It is very important to observe the temperature and the proportions specified in the instructions on the label. There are top-fermenting yeast, which are added with a temperature of 64.4-71.6°F/18-22°C, and bottom fermenting yeast, which work at 41-60.8°F/5-16°C. From these two types of yeast different types of beer can be made.
Put the filled fermentation container into a dark place with a temperature recommended by yeast manufacturer. In our case it’s 75.2-77°F/24-25°C. Then install airlock and leave it for 7-10 days.
In 6-12 hours active fermentation will start, and it usually lasts for 2-3 days. During this time the airlock is bubbling intensively, and then the frequency of carbon dioxide emitting is slowly dropping. In the end of the fermentation new homemade beer becomes bright. Its readiness is determined by two methods: with a saccharometer or airlock.
In the first case you should compare the data of two saccharometer tests for the last 12 hours. If the values differ slightly (by two decimal places), then you can proceed to the next step. Not everyone has a saccharometer, that’s why at home you can just look at the airlock. No bubbles for 18-24 hours indicate the end of the fermentation.
6. Bottle sealing and carbonation. Carbonation of beer is an artificial saturation of carbon dioxide which contributes to improving the taste and appearance of thick foam. Despite the complicated title, the process is very simple.
Sugar/carbonation drops are added to the bottles for storing beer (preferably dark) on the basis of 0.28 oz/8 grams per 0.3 gl/1 liter. Sugar causes a small secondary fermentation which saturates the beer with carbon dioxide. Then the beer is poured from the sediment through a silicone tube, filling the prepared bottles.
One end of the tube is immersed up to the middle of the container with beer, another is sunk to the bottom of the bottle. This minimizes the contact of beer with air. It is important not to touch yeast, which, depending on the type, can be at the bottom or on the surface. Otherwise, your beer will get cloudy. Bottles are filled up to 0.7 inches/2 cm of the bottleneck and tightly sealed.
It is easier to use plastic containers, because you can screw the caps by hands. For glass bottles, you need wire-bale tops or a special device for corking usual beer caps (in the photo).
Bottle with easy to close top Device for corking beer bottles
Bottles filled with beer should be placed in a dark room with a temperature of 68-75.2°F/20-24°C and left there for 15-20 days. Once every 7 days they should be shaken well. After that you can put them in a fridge.
7. Maturing. The homemade beer is ready, you can drink it. But if you let it mature for another 30 days, the taste will greatly improve. Beer can be stored in the fridge for 6-8 months, opened bottle – 2-3 days.