Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Preserving is fun - but not in a South Australian Summer!

In fact, South Australian summers are best reserved for .... making beer!

Well, sometimes.

I thought I would just blog a little about the making of beer. I have a standard Coopers brew kit and I really like it. I also have a few non-standard things that I prefer to use - like glass bottles instead of PET.

Making beer in the Coopers kit is really really easy. The main dramas to be aware of are cleanliness and temperature control.

Once you've got a sterile fermenter (the big round thing with the lid on it and the tap at the bottom) you pour in the can of premixed malt and hop extracts, add a kilo of your choice of extra fermentable goodness (white sugar, dextrose, malt, a combo.... hell, if you're making stout chuck in a can of condensed milk *droool*), stir it all up with some hot water, fill up with tap water to the 23 litre mark, throw in your yeast and stick the lid on.

It CAN get complicated. Different types of beer use different types of yeasts, which have a different ideal fermenting range. Keep in mind that if you aren't at all fussy about your beer, and you just want something vaguely beer flavoured, with a bit of an alocholic boost, for drinking after a hot day in the garden - temperature control aint that important.

If you want something specific, like a german lager clone, you need to get fussy both with your yeasts and possibly whether or not you go the whole hog and malt and mash your own grains to get the goodies to brew the beer from in the first place.

I'm lazy, I use the can options above. I have a heat mat for brewing when it's cold. Somewhere I have a thingy that you plug in between the powerpoint and a fridge, with which to set the fridge temp to about 12 degrees which is perfect for lager brewing. I've not used it, because my brew fridge died.

Anyhow once your beer has fermented as much as it's going to (there's a small art to determining this effectively - it uses a thing called a hydrometer. It comes with the kit, and is fully explained, so I"m not going to!), put it in sterile bottles with a little extra sugar (comes in handy pre-measured doses in tablet form from - you guessed it - Coopers!), stick on your lids, and let it sit for a couple of weeks. Then drink it.

Another thing I've been doing lately is brewing some cider. It's quite possibly even EASIER to do than beer. All you need to do is get yourself a set of these and then you can follow said directions to your heart's content. I use bought long life juice. Apple and blackcurrant is the preferred choice here, because it's quite difficult to find Apple and berry where I am. Sometimes I spice it up with some nutmeg and cinnamon when I add a little bit of sugar in it - for extra kick.

So enjoy the hot water by making your own cooling beverages!

PS despite the heat, it will soon be tomato time again. I'll be taking 2 weeks off work this time round. We ran out of sauce, pasta sauce and soup, and I'm also down to my last jars of passata, so I really really need to do more this time! I shall endeavor to take photo blog type things of this mammoth tomato effort!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, those Oztop kits look great! Never knew they existed, will definately be trying them!