Time Makes The Wine

On Saturday afternoon, with the help of a friend I made homebrew beer (opens new window) for the first time (for those of you who are unawares, it’s not illegal to make homebrew in New Zealand). The homebrew kits come with instructions but my friend, who is an experienced homebrewer, knew a better methodology that results in a better tasting beer.

For future reference and for the benefit of my readership, here are the steps we followed (these instructions are for making a 23 litre homebrew):

  1. Place the fermentation lock (opens new window) inside the fermentation vessel (opens new window). Then mix 1 teaspoon of sterilising powder with 2 litres of water and pour into the fermentation vessel.

  2. Swirl and rinse out the sterilising liquid from the fermentation vessel and then rinse out the fermentation vessel and fermentation lock with water. Using the same method, clean all the homebrew equipment (i.e. the brewpot, cutlery, measuring containers, your hands, etc). It’s imperative that all your equipment be sterilised prior to making the brew! After rinsing out the fermentation lock with water, fill a wine glass with sterilising liquid and place the fermentation lock inside the mouth of the glass balanced on the rim with its bung in the liquid (this is to ensure the fermentation lock remains sterilised).

  3. Fill the brewpot with 1.5kgs of sugar and 1 litre of water and place on a stove element. Turn the element up to half heat and allow the sugar to slowly melt into the water. We want the liquid in the brewpot to get just slightly warmer than body temperature.

  4. Fill a sink with hot water and place the homebrew can on its side in the hot water - this is to warm up the malt in the can so we can more easily pour it into our brew.

  5. Pour the malt into the brewpot and mix slowly until the malt is completely dissolved into the liquid.

  6. Pour 19 litres of cold water into the fermentation vessel and then pour in the contents of your brewpot.

  7. Pour the yeast sachet over top of the liquid in the fermentation vessel and seal up the lid and put in the fermentation lock.

  8. Place in your brewing fridge or brewing cupboard and leave for 4 days. In our case we used an old fridge (that wasn’t turned on!) with a heat pad underneath the fermentation vessel.

An update will follow with the next stage of our homebrew process.