Make Beer at Home

A guide to home brewing, including keeping costs down, equipment and advice.

| July/August 1976

Five bucks won't buy a heck of a lot these days (as anyone who's been to the supermarket lately can attest) . . . but I can show you how to stretch a five dollar bill so it'll buy a full 28 quarts—that's 12 six-packs—of beer. My secret: brew it yourself.

When I talk about homemade suds, I'm not talking about some vaguely beer-like concoction, but a heady, thirst-quenching brew that'll stand up to the best that Milwaukee—or even Munich!—has to offer. And you don't have to be a graduate chemist to put up a seven-gallon batch of the amber beverage.

To make your own beer, you'll need the following ingredients: Water (seven gallons), malt extract (one 2-1/2-pound can), sugar (a five-pound bag), and yeast (one package).

Because the quality of water you use will be reflected in the taste of the beer, try to obtain the purest, best-tasting water you can find. Soft tap water is OK. If you can come across some clear, Rocky Mountain spring water, so much the better.

You can purchase hop-flavored malt extract at the supermarket or at any wine or beer making supply outlet. (The last time I checked, a 2-1/2-pound can was still less than $3.00.) Look for the word "Light" or "Pale" on the label and remember, you don't want malt. You do want malt extract.

Five pounds of granulated sugar will run you about $1.18. As for yeast, be sure to buy only brewer's (not baker's, not vintner's) yeast, unless of course you want your brew to taste distinctly yeasty. One package—containing enough dried Saccharomyces to make seven gallons of beer—can be bought for about 75¢ at your local wine making supply store.

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