Thursday, April 21, 2011

Brewing my 1st Beer

Thursday 14 April 2011

I finally started on my beer brewing which I've been 'too busy' to do. Funny huh that I'm so busy taking into consideration that I don't have a job. Well, been busy going on trips, learning my body balance routines and doing some freelance writing on the side plus cooking & grocery shopping and stuff so I'm forgiven right? Hmm bought the kit in Rotorua on 11 March 11. It's 14 April now, just over a month. What excuses people can give huh?

My home brew starter kit
So first things first. Cleaned all my equipment with some Cold Water Cleaner Detergent and sterilised it with a No Rinse Steriliser. Used the bath tub as it was the only place big enough to put my fermenter in. Took me ages to clean everything plus my 30 bottles. Whole process can be found at Brewcraft's website. Quite a good one I might add.

Cleaning & Sterilising all brewing equipment is important

Warm the can of beer concentrate in warm water for 10 minutes so that the contents will soften. My kit came with a can of Mangrove Jack's Munich Lager. There are many variety available at the supermarket. Add 2L of boiling water into the fermenter and add in 1kg of Beer Enhancer. Stir to mix. Open the can and pour the entire contents in. Extract the rest with warm water and mix everything well.

The Mangrove Jack's Munich Lager (left) and Beer Enhancer

Top the fermenter with cold water up to the 23L mark. Keep an eye on the temperature as you want it to be between 18 - 30C. 24C is the ideal temperature. Sprinkle the beer yeast on the surface and stir well. Do not put your yeast in if the temperature is above 32C it will kill your yeast and spoil your beer.

Fill the airlock with water to protect the brew while its fermenting and fit it on the lid. Screw the lid tightly on and there you have it! Now wait for 5-7 days for your yeast to turn the sugar into alcohol. The secret to a good beer is constant temperature so pick a spot where the temperature doesn't change much. I chose my water heater cupboard.

Now what's that brewing in my closet?

The airlock protects your brew during fermentation

If you want to determine the alcohol content, take the Specific Gavity (SG) readings before and after the entire process with a hydrometer. There's some complicated calculations involved and it's explained on the hydrometer sheet. My initial SG reading is 1.0448 at 24C. Let's see what the alco content will be after everything's done.

Hydrometer - tells you the SG, alcohol & sugar content

Tuesday 19 April
Temperature fell to around 20 so I put a small standing heater to warm it up just a bit to 22.

It's day 6 today. My yeast seem to have stopped working as its not bubbling anymore. Took a reading with the hydrometer and it came to 1.018. It should be approx 1.009 or 1.010 if you used a Beer Enhancer which I did so not sure if it's still on the high side.The reading has to be stable for 2 days in a row before I can bottle it.

Using the hydrometer to take the SG reading. 1.018 on Day 6.

Wednesday 20 April

Day 7. SG reading is 1.018 so I guess it's time for bottling. Still on the high side though as it's supposed to be 1.010/2. That means my alcohol % will be lower. Damn. Using the calculator on the website, my alcohol % is 4.1%. Supposed to be 5.2%. Hopefully my reading was wrong then the % will be higher. Fingers crossed.

So before the bottling process - A good brew needs clean bottles so take time to clean and sterilise properly. Use your kitchen sink to clean your bottles. For a clearer beer, add Beer Finings and stir well just before bottling.

Cleaning & sterilising the bottles in my sink

Use Beer Finning to clear your beer and carbonation drops for priming your beer

Adding sugar into the bottles will produce bubbles or carbonation. This is called priming. Easiest way to do it is with Carbonation Drops (basically sugar balls) coz then you'll get a perfect level of carbonation. I use 2 drops for each of my 750ml bottle. The drops produce less sediments too compared to sugar.

Bottling process

Managed to get 30 750ml bottles filled. The bottles must be stored in a warm place (21-27C) for 7 days before moving it to a cool dark place to mature. Your beer will be ready to drink in 2 weeks but if you can wait, 3 months down the road would be better.

Brew well my sweets

Happy brewing!


  1. Great blog! Perfect for first time brewers!What did you think of the beer?

  2. it tastes really good actually. Not bad for a home brew. not bad at all.

    1. Great blog.

      I have just used the same kit and have got a an SG reading of 1.10 two days running but my beer is very cloudy. What did your beer look like before you bottled?


  3. Hey there, looking at your gravity, the hydrometer for that kit (I bought the same Copper Tun one) is calibrated to 20 degrees C. You did yours at 24C so the second SG won't be match.. you might well have a stronger beer than you think :)

  4. Hey Mine is very cloudy also. I'm just hoping it will come right. I guess ya live and learn.

  5. Hi, I would like to brew some beers also. Can you please tell me where I can buy these brewering kits?

    1. Hi, where are you living? You can get these kits anywhere in New Zealand at brew shops. None in Malaysia. The closest is Singapore.

  6. Oh Thanks Jojo :) I might need to go to Singapore to buy. I stay in JB. Anyway, I think I might have problem to bring in these things from the custom. hahaa.

  7. hmmm so this kit is sold in Singapore? Not in Malaysia? Where can I get it in Singapore bros?

  8. Anyone looking to take over my Cooper fermenter kit?
    Fermenter vessel (with temperature tape stick on)
    Bottling valve
    As for ingredients, need to buy and I will guide you where to buy in SG

    1. Hey man I'm interested. Still selling? My number 0124959282

  9. Cool. i just done my first batch of beer.

  10. Hye,guys! Happy to see many brewers are here.
    I'm lot more interested on this,and ordered my 1st brewing kit from Ebay. Almost 5 months passed by and still never get my goods. Looking for your kind suggestions.Thank You.

    1. It might have been confiscated by customs! Have you checked with your ebay seller?

  11. I wish i can buy this for my boyfriend..but the postage & handling costs are way too much.


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