My housemate in Joburg does make his own beer with a few of his mates so I had a approximative idea of the process. Almost a month ago, some of my Capetown friends invited me over to make beer. I wasnt too sure what to expect, and when i got there i saw 6 guys drinking beer in a garage with some big pots around. Cool – i like that 🙂
It may look fun but these guys are doing it very seriously and you can tell by all the equipment + the volume of beer made at the end of the day. After 10 hours of work, we ended with 80 literes of beer ! Best part is we were finishing the previous batch of beer they made a few months ago, and it tasted amazing so i took this as a very promising sign.
Making beer is like following a cooking recipy, the beer taste will depend on the ingredients (malt type / yeast / hobs, the dosage of each, and the cooking time for each phase). There are also different brewing methods which can alter the beer.
In our case, i have no idea how the method is called but i know the main steps now:
– boil a lot of water in a big pot (the one on top in the picture)
– a second pot contains all the malt and has a filter at the bottom. Once the water reaches a certain temperature, we pour it in the second pot and leave it mixed with the malt for something like 45 min.
– Once the time is reached, we pour the filtered mixture in the 3rd pot where it is reboiled again and that is when we also add the hobs and yeast. It is boiled for quite some time, and then cooled down.
It takes a few hours to go through these 3 phases and then the beer is ready to be poured into large buckets, from then you need to be very careful with microbs and it becomes like surgery.
You then need to leave the beer for a few weeks for fermentation, this is when the alcohol gets created.
So a couple of weeks later, we had another session to do the bottling. At that stage, the beer already tastes like the final product but there is no gas in it. So you had sugar and then bottle it. And you leave it another 2 weeks. Just to give an idea, we bottled 150 beer bottles, super clinical process where you keep your hands clean at all time. That’s when you can still screw things up.
Now another 2 weeks for the beer to be ready so this week end is tasting !
Overall a great experience and although it is cheaper than buying your beer (less than 1 euros a litre) I dont think it is worth doing to save money as this is quite a long process. It is for beer lovers who want to give a shot at making their own craft beer and try different kinds.