Until not many years ago, and despite being a very popular drink, beer did not enjoy the same status as wine or gin, for example. Its quality was not so relevant and, in fact, the knowledge about the different brands and origins was far from what we had about wine, or about the most suitable garnishes for a gin. Fortunately, this inequality is being mitigated thanks to a renewed interest in this drink, mainly driven by its artisanal version. This trend has not gone unnoticed by many manufacturers who, with a special relevance in Spain, They have begun to produce various varieties of artisans that are being found by their consumers in breweries, specialized stores and even supermarkets. Even breweries with great implantation among consumers in the industrial world have been encouraged to open a line of artisan products. A study ensures that the artisan sector in our country will grow almost 40% this year. Many have even dared to make them at home, a very practical hobby if you are among the lovers of this drink.
Water, malt, hops and a little sugar. This is all that is needed to make our own craft beer. Once we have all the materials and ingredients we will be one step closer to surprise our friends. What better detail than organizing the perfect game of cards, preparing some appetizers and accompanying them with a light, healthy and natural beer. The varieties that we can obtain are multiple, and here is one of the great advantages of home cooking: we can adapt the production to our tastes . Bitter, lighter or less citrusy. The possibilities are numerous. The most substantial changes in flavor will be obtained, first of all, with the combination of different types of malt and hops. Time and temperature are also key factors in brewing.
As we get to it, we are going to see what we need to make 15 liters, and the steps to follow. To start, the ingredients: 30 liters of water without chlorine, 4.5 kilos of barley malt, 25 grams of hops, an envelope of special yeast for making beer and sugar. The first thing we are going to do is cook the barley malt in water. The proportion is 3 liters of water for every kilo of malt. The temperature of the water during cooking, which will last an hour and a half, should be between 67 and 70 degrees. It is important to stir the mixture frequently to avoid the generation of lumps. In this process, the starch turns into sugar, which becomes the must. This is the moment when the hops (the flower of the hop plant) appear, which is what gives the aroma and bitterness to the must . Another added benefit of this flower is that it protects the mixture from mold and bacteria. The production of this plant is curiously concentrated in a Leonese town, Carrizo de la Ribera, where more than 90% of the hops used in Spanish beer are made . Once the cooking time is over, we must wait for the residues that have been generated to settle on the bottom.
Next we will have to do the fermentation, transferring the must to a pot (a jerrycan or a camping fridge is also worth it). At this point it is very important that the mixture cools down as quickly as possible. It will be convenient to use containers and strainers (if used) that have been previously cooled with ice. Now we add the yeast so that the sugar in the must turns into alcohol . However, the yeast is not enough for fermentation to take place: the container must have a hole through which the air escapes but does not allow it to enter. A punctured plastic balloon can serve this purpose. We will place the container in a room with a temperature of 20 degrees and dark. After about ten days, we will be able to check the state of the mixture, which should be a beer, although still without gas, which we will obtain in the next step from the sugar.
Now we must pass the mixture to another container, where we will clean the yeast layer resulting from the fermentation process. Afterwards, we make a syrup (heating sugar in a little water) and add to the container with the mixture with a proportion of approximately 8 grams per liter of water. We must stir gently and avoiding that the liquid comes into contact with the air so that it does not oxidize. Now comes the bottling process, at which point the mixture will finally get gas . We will wait another ten days with the beer in the bottles (not in the fridge, since the cold could affect the yeast) to open one of them: if it has gas, all the others will have it. If not, we will wait two more days to recheck. We are finally ready to taste our own beer at home!
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