Your First Brew

Congratulations on the purchase of your first brewery. This kit will help you to take your first steps into the exciting world of fermentation and before you know it, you will be crafting your own world class beverages from the modest surrounds of your kitchen, laundry or garage! 

The Equipment and Ingredients

Fermenter
This is a 30-litre container made of food grade Polyethylene, it will guarantee an airtight fit for all of your brews. The fermenter comes complete with a graduated volume scale and an adhesive thermometer. An airlock and grommet which are to be fitted into the lid. During fermentation the airlock allows carbon dioxide to escape while maintaining a seal against airborne contaminants. In the base of the fermenter is a tap fitted with a sediment reducer, which restricts the amount of sediment being drawn into your bottles or secondary fermenter. Be sure to clean well immediately after use. We recommend Oxyper as a terrific cleaner.

Capper & Crown Seals
The capper is used to fix the crown seals to your bottles, ensuring an airtight and pressure resistant seal. To use, place the sanitized (a quick spray is fine) crown seal on the bottle and the capper on the seal and give it a few firm blows with a hammer. Always cap on a solid surface, preferable a concrete floor with a thin layer of cardboard over it (never on a springy surface). If you have purchased a Super Brewery, any flat, sturdy surface which you can attach your capper to is fine.

Brewers Bottler
This serves to make bottling much easier. The bottler is fitted into the spout of the tap in the fermenter. When the tap is turned on, the weight of the beer snaps the valve on the bottler shut, and the beer won’t flow. When the bottle is brought up over the bottler and pushed upward, the valve opens and the bottle is filled. To stop the flow, simply lower the bottle. This also helps to reduce splashing which in turn lowers the risk of oxidization, responsible for a stale, cardboardy flavour in affected beer.

Spoon/ Paddle
No matter how complex or advanced your brewing becomes, a long handled stirring tool will always come in handy.

Hydrometer & Test Jar
This is one of the most important devices in a brewer’s arsenal. With this tool, and a bit of due diligence, you can measure and record every aspect of your fermentation, calculate alcohol percentage by volume, achieve repeatability and consistency and, perhaps most importantly, avoid nasty bottle bombs.

The hydrometer will float at a different level in your wort/beer depending on the amount of dissolved solids in the solution. Most of these dissolved solids are sugars, and as the yeast works its way through them, the solution becomes thinner providing less resistance to the hydrometer, enabling it to sink lower in the test jar.

To take a sample, pull enough liquid from the fermenter into the hydrometer's jar with the paper insert removed and allow the hydrometer to float freely in the solution (a level surface is important for accuracy). Read where it comes to on the scale at eye level (you are looking for the specific gravity section of the scale) and record it. As a bare minimum, you should be taking a sample before fermentation, and two at the end (over two days) to ensure fermentation has finished and to calculate alcohol percentage. By taking your starting gravity and finishing gravity and punching it into an online SG-ABV calculator you can determine the amount of alcohol in your brew to a reasonably high level of accuracy. If you bottle a beer that has not finished fermenting, it may build up too much pressure for the bottle to stand and result in a messy, sometimes dangerous, bottle explosion. It is important to note that hydrometers are designed to be read at an exact temperature, usually 20 degrees Celsius. Check your own hydrometer to determine this.

Carbonation Drops
These are measured amounts of simple sugar for the yeast in your beer to consume, creating trapped CO2 in the bottle with nowhere to go but back into the beer. Each packet of these should be enough to carbonate a 20 Litre batch of Beer.

Sanitiser:  Phos-San
This is a no-rinse, acid based sanitizer which can be used to kill bacteria on everything that will come in contact with your brew. It is important to note that cleaning and sanitizing are two separate steps, and ensuring everything is clean before sanitizing is vital to a successful brew.

Bottle Brush
Used for cleaning bottles.

The Kit
Our breweries come standard with a Grain and Grape “Artisanale Fresh Wort Kit”. These are all grain, craft brewed worts, made onsite in our microbrewery for you to ferment at home. All that is needed is yeast, and a bit of healthy germ paranoia, and you will have a premium quality, professionally brewed craft beer at home to show off to your friends.

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The Brewing Procedure

Sanitising and Starting the Brew

Step 1
Wash out your fermenter with a cleaner (we recommend Oxyper but warm soapy water is fine) and then rinse with hot water.
Step 2
Sterilize all items which will come in contact with the beer i.e. fermenter, spoon, tap etc. with the Phos-San according to the instructions on the container. 
Step 3
Add the contents of the Artisanale Wort kit into the sanitized fermenter. 
Step 4
Boil 3 litres of water, allow to cool a little and then add to the fermenter.
Step 5
Top up fermenter with cold water to the 20 litre mark on the fermenter.
Step 6
Add the contents of the yeast packet into the fermenter as per instructions and replace the lid. Half fill the airlock with boiled water or, better yet, cheap vodka as it will kill any contaminants in case some gets sucked back into the fermenter.

Fermentation
This is where the magic happens. The yeast will get to work on the available sugars in the wort and turn them into delicious beer. You should see some airlock activity or Krausen (frothy head on the surface) within the first 24 hours. If not, DON’T PANIC. The only way to be sure of fermentation is with hydrometer readings, if you are concerned something is wrong, pull a sample and compare it to your starting gravity. If it is dropping, it simply might mean that the CO2 is escaping somewhere other than the airlock. This is not a problem. 

If you are using an ale yeast, you want to keep the temperature as close as possible to 20 degrees. Lager yeasts are happier around the 12 degree mark. Ales will normally ferment in about a week, Lagers in 2, but yeast is a living thing, and sometimes has a mind of its own. So let it do its thing, and you will be rewarded with delicious beer.

Bottling
Clean beer bottles are essential for good beer, if you don’t have enough on hand you can purchase new ones from Grain and Grape, we stock a strong, heavy bottle, which works well with all capping devices. 
Make up a solution of Phos-San according to the instructions on the container. Half fill the first bottle with the solution, shake vigorously and the tip into the next bottle, and repeat the process until all bottles are sanitized. After each bottle is sanitized place on a bottle tree and allow them to drip dry. Dose each bottle with the required number of carbonation drops. Fill each bottle by attaching the brewers bottler to your fermenter tap and pushing the valve open with the bottom of the bottle. Once filled, cap away. If you can get a production line set up of fill, cap and place in box, the whole process becomes much faster and less stressful. Having a friend who will work for homebrew makes the process very easy indeed!

Maturing
Store your bottles in a warm dark place to mature. The same place as your fermenter is a great option as you also want a fairly consistent temperature for your beer’s second, mini fermentation. In 4-6 weeks, your beer should be fully matured and ready to drink. If your beer hasn’t carbonated, inverting the bottles can help get the yeast back in suspension and chewing through the sugar.

Important: Never store bottled beer in direct sunlight.
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Tried a few kits but you’re looking for that certain something?

One of the great things about home brewing is that you can make unique and interesting beers that nobody has ever tried before. By playing with different ingredients and processes, you can apply your creativity and flair to create all sorts of delicious twists to standard recipes. You can also try and approximate certain commercial examples. Here are a few ideas for tweaking our Fresh Wort Kits.

Chocolate oatmeal stout
Add 500g Lactose and 60g Dutch Cocoa powder to 3 Litres of water. Boil for 10 minutes, then cool slightly and add to the “Ferg’s Oatmeal Stout” wort kit and top up to 20 Litres. Ferment with Wyeast 1084 “Irish Ale” at about 18 degrees. Try it with a scoop of ice cream for a “Grown up Spider” or use instead of Coffee to soak sponge fingers in a “Beeramisu”

Hoegaarden style Witbier
Add 10-15g each of sweet and bitter orange powder (available in store) and no more than 10g Indian coriander (lightly cracked with a spoon) in a sanitized hop bag to 3L of water and boil for no more than 5min. Add to our “Bavarian Weizen” wort kit and top up to 20L. Ferment with Wyeast 3944 “Belgian Wit” at about 20 degrees. If you want to experiment further, the zest of any fresh vibrant citrus fruit is a great addition in the place of the orange powder. 

Australian Style Premium Lager
Boil 20 grams of Hallertau hops for 10 minutes in 1 litre of water. Turn off the heat. Add 20 grams more Hallertau hops and leave to soak for 1-2 minutes. Pour through a kitchen strainer into your fermenter.
Add 2 litres of cold water, a “Type 1” Fresh Wort Kit and pitch the yeast. Saflager 34-70 or Wyeast 2124 would be good choices. Ferment at 10 – 12 degrees. Alternatively you could use a Safale US05 yeast and ferment at 18 – 22 degrees

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Stepping it up

Temperature control
Whilst some ales are achievable in a temperature stable cupboard or air conditioned room, most styles will see vast improvements with some kind of temperature control. A second hand fridge with a simple dual control thermostat is a really easy way to control your fermentation to within a degree of temperature. We sell some great options at very reasonable prices in store when you are ready to take that step.

Bulk Priming
This is basically a method of adding the sugar for carbonating in one large dose to the entire batch. The best way is with a second fermenter. Determine the amount of sugar needed (there are plenty of great online calculators which factor in style considerations as well as different types of sugar), then boil in a pot with some water to make a syrup. Once this cools to around 50 degrees, put it in the bottom of your bottling fermenter/bucket and use a hose to transfer the beer on top of the syrup. Make sure to run the hose right to the bottom so you fill from below, avoiding splashing and oxygenation. Bottle immediately as usual.

Dry Hopping
Throughout the last 9000+ years, just about every herb and spice imaginable has been used to flavour beer and provide balance to the sweetness of the malt. About 1000 years ago, the preservative benefits of hops were discovered and they have been a staple ingredient in beers the world over ever since. Now the variety and diversity of different hops is mind bogglingly awesome, and they have become an integral part of the flavour and aroma of beer. In many styles of beer, adding hops after fermentation is finished is necessary to give the big fruity explosion of hop flavour associated with the style. To achieve this, wait until the airlock slows to almost a stop. Place the hops in a sanitized hop bag into the fermenter and reseal. After 2-3 days, remove the bag and bottle as normal.

 

Yeast Starter
Liquid Yeast offers brewers a fantastic array of choices for how to ferment their beer, however due to it being a live culture it is more perishable and can lose its vitality as it is stored over time. Yeast starters are a way to greatly improve the health and vitality of the yeast whilst simultaneously increasing the number of cells to ensure both adequate pitching rates and a good, healthy fermentation with minimal off flavours or stress for the yeast.

Boil some Dry Malt Extract in some water at a 1:10 ratio (100ml per 1L) with a bit of yeast nutrient for 10 minutes. Put in a sealed, sanitary container (Erlenmeyer flasks are fantastic) and allow to cool to optimal pitching temperature. Once cooled, pitch an activated liquid yeast culture and allow to ferment for 12 hours to a day, swirling vigorously at regular intervals. When this is fermenting vigorously it can all be poured into your beer 

If you are making a large starter you can use a different method so your beer is not diluted so much with the starter. This method allows you to make a starter with malt extract and adding very little of the malt extract to your beer. Allow the yeast to fully finish fermenting. Once done, allow the yeast to settle to the bottom by chilling overnight, then pour off most of the liquid, leaving enough to swirl the yeast into solution and pour the starter directly into your wort. A magnetic stir plate will greatly improve the effectiveness of a yeast starter.


STANDARD BREWERY CONTENTS
Drum Tap         Spoon        Thermometer        Phosphoric Sanitizer 250 ml    
Sediment Reducer        Brush        Carbonation Drops        6 ml Syringe & Tube    
Airlock        Brewers Bottler        100 Crown Seals        Atomizer Bottle 500 ml    
Grommet        Hydrometer        Hand Capper        30L fermenter    


SUPER BREWERY CONTENTS
Drum Tap         Spoon        Thermometer        Phosphoric Sanitizer 250 ml    
Sediment Reducer        Brush        Carbonation Drops        6 ml Syringe & Tube    
Airlock        Brewers Bottler        100 Crown Seals        Atomizer Bottle 500 ml    
Grommet        Hydrometer        Heat Belt        Superautomatica Capper