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Author Topic: Beer Kits  (Read 3251 times)

Norfolk Newby

  • Joined Aug 2009
  • West Norfolk, UK
Beer Kits
« on: August 21, 2010, 03:04:27 pm »
My local home brew shop owner says a lot of his customers are really sensitive on price.

I started that way, buying a can of malt for about 5 and making beer with that and a 1kg bag of sugar. The resulting beer was OK and worked out at about 6 for 25 litres. However, I felt I wanted something which tasted better.

I've been working in The Netherlands and Belgium where the local beer is A1, sharp (not acid) clear tasty lagers and dark strong beers. I tried to make something similar.

Initially I bought the raw ingredients and spent hours boiling and straining (the brew mix, not myself!) but the results weren't wonderful. Better than the 5 can but not what I wanted.

I then went for more up market canned malt mixes. Paying about 13 gets me a good lager mix from Coopers (European Lager) or similar, to produce a nice lager drink for a summer day. Not very alcoholic (4%?) but refreshing and tasty.

But my current favourite is a can of Belgian Brewferm malt for Adbij, Triple or Old Vlaams Bruin which is meant to make a 9 litre batch of strong dark deer (a bit like Gold Label but less sweet, about 8% alcohol). However, when making the brew, I then add a can of Coopers light malt and 1 kg sugar and dilute to make 25 litres of beer mix. I use the yeast from the Belgian brew.

The result is a dark strong beer which is delicious, plenty of taste and enough alcohol to keep me happy(!).

The mix is very easy to make. I use a King Keg as it is easy to manage any foaming. Just pour the cans of malt into the keg, add the sugar and top up with water and yeast. After a week, the beer can be transferred easily into 2 litre plastic bottles which are fine for storing and can go into the fridge door to cool the beer if the weather is warm. I usually leave the bottles for at least a week to clear but longer is better.

This beer works out at about 22 for 25 litres so is still only 1/litre which is a bargain for a really good drink. I notice the difference when I run out and have to buy my beer in the supermarket. Anything I fancy works out at more than 2/litre so the effort of making my own is more than worthwhile.

Do you have anything similar as a brewing favourite?

I am willing to have another go at mixing malted barley and hops in a pot on the cooking stove but my previous efforts were not impressive and it was hard work.

Novice - growing fruit, trees and weeds


  • Joined Aug 2010
  • Grow your own - veg and chooks!
Re: Beer Kits
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2010, 05:14:35 pm »
Thanks for this post NN, I fancy having a go at brewing some wheat beer but have never attempted beer before. I used to make country wines but that was years ago.
I have no equipment and so am looking for a whole new set up, can you advise which equipment is best for a beer newby please?
Also, where do you keep yours for warmth? I think I may have to invest in a heater but if I can get away with it I'd rather not. I don't have an airing cupboard - was thinking about sitting the barrel next to the fridge freezer and hoping it gives off enough heat to keep the yeast happy - what's your thoughts on this?

Norfolk Newby

  • Joined Aug 2009
  • West Norfolk, UK
Re: Beer Kits
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2010, 10:27:50 am »
You can make beer in any easily cleaned plastic or glass container able to hold 20-25 litres (about 5 gallons). So a large plastic bottle would do. However, they are not so easy to clean. I use a couple of small nail brushes and a cup of water and then shake the bottle with them inside for about 10 minutes.

The best container I find is called a King Keg which you can get from most home brew shops. The are tough and can be pressurized but have a large cap so you can your hand inside to clean thoroughly. I use the pressure to force the new brew out into 2 litre fizzy drink bottles once the fermentation is complete. This doesn't disturb the sediment (dead yeast) and gives you a stock of beer in bottles which are also tough and easy to clean but will fit in the fridge!

In summer, the fermentation works well enough outdoors. So the king Keg sits in a corner of the patio till the brew is ready. In winter, it sits in the bath! If that sounds a bit like storing coal there, it does have the advantage that the bathroom is usually quite warm and any spills can be cleaned easily without leaving a sticky mess on the carpet. You need a daytime temperature of 20 to 25 so it is probably too late to brew outdoors this year.

Other than a large container, the only other gadget worth having is a hydrometer. this is a little glass tube which you use to measure the strength of the alcohol. With it you can see whether the brew is ready for bottling. If you bottle too early, there is a risk of the bottles bursting as the remaining fermentation generates gas.

Good luck with your brewing

Novice - growing fruit, trees and weeds


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