Making your own beer is a science experiment complete with foaming, bubbling ingredients, buckets of liquid and if something goes horribly wrong, a small explosion. (That only happened once because my husband tried to boost the alcohol content by adding extra sugar.) Brewing your own beer is also cheaper than buying beer, but that’s just an excuse.
I heard a lot of good reasons why my husband should make his own beer and, even though I like beer, I cringed at the thought of him brewing it in our kitchen. “It’s October!” was the first reason. Then, he gave me the numbers – one kit complete with all the equipment (except beer bottles) costs $90. But, the next time you make beer you just need the fermenting ingredients which are only $35. The kit makes 50 bottles of beer and if you bought that much beer it would cost about $80. (Of a similar tasting beer. My husband makes India Pale Ale.)
His first batch of beer tasted… amazing! Much better than store bought beer. Apparently, the freshness of the beer makes a big difference. My husband made his fifth batch this October and I’m looking forward to tasting it three weeks from now when it’s ready to drink.
You can make your own beer, too, with a kit from Cornell True Value Hardware in Eastchester. The kit makes beer brewing easy; it comes with all the ingredients and instructions and you can buy kits for all types of beer. The beer making process consists of three steps: brewing, fermenting and bottling.
The brewing process is basically this: boil water and add the grains in a steeping bag, steep like a tea bag for 30 minutes and add malt extract and hops (which provides the brewery smell). The ingredients will foam when you add the hops so this is a good time to let the kids watch. Let mixture cool by adding water for a total of 5 gallons. Drop in the yeast. Cool and put in the carboy (big glass or plastic bottle). Gaze at your beer for a week.
Next weekend, add priming sugar (which is what makes it carbonated) and then you bottle it. Wait three weeks and it’s ready to drink!
There are two beer making kits: The Gold True Brew Beer Equipment Kit for $89.99 and a less expensive version with the same equipment (only a plastic carboy instead of glass) is the True Brew Maestro Equipment Kit for $64.99. You can also purchase flip top beer bottles for $21.99 for 6 bottles. If you love making your own beer, my husband recommends the Cornell’s frequent flyer shopper card.
A cold glass of homemade beer is so cozy on a fall night. Especially when you saw the stuff fermenting in your kitchen for three weeks!
Cornell’s True Value Hardware Store: 310 White Plains Road, Eastchester.