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Homemade Lager/Beer/Wine



  • Celtic
    Celtic Posts: 48 Forumite
    For the last 25 years I have been happily making home made beer .
    My local wilkinsons has a good home brew section with reasonable prices .
    The local home brew shop is good but bit pricey !
    Bitter is the easiest to make and seldom goes wrong just as good as pub beer.
    Larger is hard never seems work properly.
    Cider is a joke and never works well !
    Were all Dooooooooomed !
  • calleyw
    calleyw Posts: 9,822 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post I've been Money Tipped!
    Celtic wrote:
    My local wilkinsons has a good home brew section with reasonable prices .

    My husband buys a kit thing that is a tin of stout makes 40 pints for £8.99 and a bag of sugar.

    He likes it.

    Strange that only some wilkinsons for home brew and others don't.


    Hope for everything and expect nothing!!!

    Good enough is almost always good enough -Prof Barry Schwartz

    If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try -Seth Godin
  • dinerouk
    dinerouk Posts: 11 Forumite
    As an old hand of 30 years at beer-making (kits, not the real complicated stuff) I have found Coopers Bitter (It's Aussie) to be the best I have tried. But that's only my opinion. It costs me £7-60. Make sure all vessels are cleaned with proper fluid and rinsed, add 1kg sugar, Hot water off the boil, sachet of yeast and wait 2-3 weeks. 40 pints for £8.50p. Lovely!

    Pete, Doncaster
    Named after my cat, picture coming shortly
  • tim_n
    tim_n Posts: 1,607 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker - bible 4 homebrewing!

    Just made some nettle beer - is where I've written about my experience though I've not tasted it yet.
  • tim_n
    tim_n Posts: 1,607 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    as a note:

    cider does work, but it will never be as sharp as a commercial brew without filtration - there's an art involved...

    ale is easiest during the summer months to brew because of the temperature

    lager is easiest during the winter to brew as it requires a very chilly spell after primary fermentation to make the yeast work harder and slower. At other times of the year you need to have a fridge handy.

    never use the packs of yeast with a lager brew - get a slap-pack (a local homebrew shop'll know whatcha mean) as liquid yeast is better just doesn't last as long as dried.

    And with all of the above leave in the bottle at least a month before drinking - 6 months and your brew is a precious and fantastic breed of beer!
  • Thanks everybody for your help.

    I'll be going to Wilko's tomorrow to get supplies. I'll get some taste testers in (kids are too young) and let you know the results!!!
    £2 Saver Club (started 24th March '06) going towards No. 2 Son Cub trip!!
    20p Saver Club (started 11th April '06) Grand Total = £135.00 Paid to Akela
  • chillin_out
    chillin_out Posts: 13 Forumite
    I have been making beer for years and have learnt most stuff the hard way.
    My top tips are

    Get the best kit you can afford. Even with kits brewing is going to occupy a fair amount of time and effort so it makes sense to get the best ingredients. Also adding sugar and stiring it in damages your fermentation bin by scractching it so it becomes more suseptable to infection and takes longer to sterilise for future brews. I would recommend starting with Woodfordes Wherry as a kit, its about £16 but you dont add sugar and I have never been dissapointed with the results.

    Make an effort to sterilise everything thoroughly and equally as important ensure that you rinse it thoroughly afterwards.

    Buy some mineral water from Tescos or a similar supermarket. The water is great for brewing (Water is the main ingredient after all) also you have some plastic bottles to store the brew in afterwards. At 17p for 2 litres its the best investment you can make in the brewing process. Bottles are always better than a pressure barrel in my opinion as if you mess up on the sterilisation of a bottle you are only losing 4 rather than 40 pints. Also bottles seeem to condition better and are easy to chill.

    Find a local homebrew shop. Generally the prices are the same wherever you go, but they can be useful in advising you of what you need and hints and tips if you have any problems
  • I've been doing this for years,particularly since our two lads arrived and I had no money for me any more.You need to invest in the basic kit .i.e a Mash bin and a pressure barrel.You will also need either a heat mat or a belt to maintain temperature of 74 degrees approx,and float to ensure fermentation is completed.This will set you back about £30-40.You now need a can of Home Brew(Wort),and a sterilising agent (8 teaspoons to sterilize your barrel-followed by 8 teaspoons of Sodium metabisulphate to get rid of taste of steriliser).You now are ready to brew.Put the contents of your wort into an aluminium vessel along with some boiling water and one kilo of sugar.Bring to the boil and then transfer to your mash bin along with enough water to make total of 40 pints. Sprinkle on the yeast(supplied with Wort)and maintain temp for about 2 weeks.Meanwhile sterilize your pressure barrel with same 2 steps you did with Mash bin.When fermentation is completed (as indicated by float)transfer to pressure barrel,move to safe location and maintain temp for about a week or so,to allow to settle and for gas to build up.
    Drink it.
    Easy as that.
    Tips are;watch temperature and seasonal changes in ambient temp.
    It is also worth investing in a device to fizz up your beer as it very rarely produces enough put a head on for long. Get it right and it's well worth it.40 pints of tasty,strong beer for under a tenner!
  • my mums being doing this for years. there are Homebrew shops throughout the country which should help you.


    Dont know how good they are, but you could look at a library, which might have some stuff.

    A good book is "brewing beers like those you buy" or something like that, its got some good recipies.
  • tim_n
    tim_n Posts: 1,607 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    ok seeing some of the tips above, here's a simple guide to what you need and when you need it:

    1.) woodfoodes wherry kit or similar - get a version that doesn't need sugar as this impacts on taste unless you know what you're doing. Don't boil it - these kits are prehopped and boiling not only changes the flavour, but destroys some of the complexity of the finished wort. You should however boil cheap kits to remove some of the rubbish in them.
    2.) a nice big bucket - around 7 UK gallons as foam rises - homebrew plastic buckets are fine. Best to have one with a lid regardless of what people say purely because a lid, cork and airlock will stop small children dropping things into the brew or cats dropping hairs in etc.
    3.) a fairly large quick boiling kettle - about 1.7 litres as you need about 3litres for a woodfordes kit
    4.) sterlising solution - you can use baby bottle sterilising solution but this can be expensive - goto a homebrew shop and buy a big bunch of powder - cheap and easily applied with a teaspoon.
    5.) wash everything in sterlising solution and rinse with tapwater.
    6.) after warming the kit for 20mins in hot water (I use warm sterlising solution round the cans to reduce risk of infection) just tip them in. Add 3litrs of boiling water and stir with a nice big spoon.
    7.) top up with cold tap water. Shake lots with lid on.
    8.) measure temperature to make sure it's around 20-23'C and pitch (throw in) in the yeast from the kit.
    9.) lubricate the ring on the fermenting bin (if its a youngs fermentor like mine - most commonly available) with vaseline and stick on top.
    wait for it to ferment for about a week or so (two weeks max) in room temperature (no fluxuating where possible and out of sunlight) then using a syphon and _not_ your mouth (there's an art using cleaning solution) stick into bottles and cap with about 1/4 teaspoon of normal white sugar.

    It's not the best way to brew, but it's fine for a newbie. Sterilisation is key, but normal tap water in most parts of the country is fine without going to the extremes of mineral water.

    Its so easy, I don't know why everyone doesn't do it!

    Best to leave the bottles for about 6 months in a cool place - that'll allow the yeast to drop out of the brew and for it to develop character which makes it a pleasure to drink. it'll be ready for the winter! Then look at doing your first lager as the cool weather sets in.
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