Might as well repost this old TR since it's lost in the archives and the pics are down. Fish, brewing is really easy. It's more or less boiling water. All-grain is a little more complicated: you have to build a mash tun, you have to worry about proper temperatures, proper volumes, etc. Those things are all easy to understand and figure out, but they can definitely be intimidating for someone who hasn't ever brewed, and I was even a bit confused before I did all-grain the first time. That's why almost all homebrewers start by using extract, not grain.
To brew with extract, the steps are this: Bring 6 gallons of water up to about 160, and steep some specialty grains for about 30 minutes. This is like making a tea. Then bring the water to a boil and add the extract. Add the hops according to whatever hopping schedule the beer calls for. After the boil, usually an hour, cool the wort down to 70 or so. Pitch your yeast into the wort. Ferment. Carbonate. Enjoy. Very simple process. Here's the old TR.
Today I brewed up a hefeweizen. Since this is the end of the booze forum, I thought I'd document the process with some pictures. This is my third batch of homebrew, so I'm still using extract.
The ingredients! From left to right, its the wheat dry malt extract, some specialty grains, one ounce of hops, and then, above the hops, irish moss. The malt extract and grains will provide the sugar my yeast will feed on, hops will give some flavor, and irish moss is an additive that acts as a clarifying agent.
Its important that I have a homebrew to remind myself why I'm doing this. This is a bottle from my last batch, an ESB.
I've already cleaned my equipment and sanitized everything that's going to touch the wort after its done boiling, so to get started in the actual process, I put my grains in a nylon grain bag and steep them in about 2.5 gallons of 155F water.
I let that steep, occasionally dunking it like a tea bag, for 30 minutes. Then I add another 3 gallons of water, for 5.5g total, and bring it to a boil. This takes about another 30 minutes on my electric stove. Once its boiling, I take the pot off the heat, dump in the DME, stir to make sure it gets dissolved, then put the pot back on the heat.
Once it gets back to a boil, I throw the hops in (in another bag) and set a timer for 60 minutes. After 35 minutes, I'll throw the irish moss in. After the hour of boiling - and you want to make sure its a vigorous boil that whole time - its time to cool the wort down. The fastest way to do that is with an immersion chiller. It hooks up to your sink and runs cold water through the copper coils. While that's cooling, I make sure my fermenter and lid is sanitized
and make sure my yeast starter is ready to go.
Once the wort is cool, about 70F, I siphon it into the fermenter and pitch the yeast. I also take a sample of the wort to check with the hydrometer. Since the wort has all these dissolved sugars, it has a different density than water. As the yeast eat the sugar and convert it into alcohol and CO2, the density will change yet again. The hydrometer measures the density (specific gravity) of the wort. This batch came out to 1.052 starting gravity, which is right where it should be. After fermentation, it should end up around 1.010 or so, meaning my beer will be around 5% ABV.
I'm going to leave the fermenter out for a few hours, until I know that the yeast have started partying. Then its time to put it in my kegerator that I've turned into a fermentation chamber since I started brewing. I'll be able to keep the beer fermenting at just the temperature I want, which is important to maintaining good flavor.
So that's it. Pretty simple process. From cleaning/sanitizing at the start to cleanup at the end, it took me right about 4 hours. Hefes are pretty quick beers, so I expect it to ferment within a week, and then I'll put it straight in bottles for bottle conditioning for two weeks or so. Hope you enjoyed.