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Lugh Ildánach

Home Brew Instructions

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It is extremely easy to do. Basically all that is required is a bucket, hop and malt extract, and yeast. For wine, you replace the hope and malt extract with grape concentrate (or I suppose you could even use actual grapes!!!). For cider you use, yes, you guessed it, apples! Depending on how much sugar is in the mix that you're using, you may need to add sugar.

 

To make it even easier, there are plenty of ready made kits (which have the hops and malt extract in a liquid form), that you just empty into the bucket with water, and then add your yeast. It takes about two to three weeks to ferment and then you can either put it into a keg or bottles where it carbonates.

 

The science behind it is cool too. Apparently yeast likes to eat sugar, and when it does so in an anaerobic environment (ie, no oxygen) it creates alcohol (and Carbon Dioxide). You can either leave the lid loosely on your bucket to ensure that Carbon Dioxide can escape (don't worry, Carbon Dioxide is heavier than Oxygen so your beer will still ferment), or you can attach an airlock to it and have hours of fun watching the bubbles go.

 

It takes about 2-3 weeks for the yeast to eat all the sugar in the malt extract (you can add extra spray-malt or just plain glucose depending on the type of beer you want to make). Once the fermentation has stopped, you transfer it into bottles (this is the only tricky part) using a siphon. You add a little more sugar at this stage, and then when the bottles are sealed, the Carbon Dioxide can't escape and carbonates the beer!

 

The key is to make sure that your bucket, and everything that touches your brew is is sterilsed. There is home brewing steriliser you can buy, but its just as easy to make a bleach and vinegar steriliser yourself.

 

Anyway, that's the basics. There are little tricks to improving the quality that I'll let you all know in due course!!

 

There are three shops that I know where you can buy the kits and all the gear that you need. There's one "My Beer and Wine" in Rathmines, "The Homebrew Company" in Mountmellick, Co Laois and there's one in Galway too. There's also countless sites where you can order the kits off the internet.

 

I'm not there yet, but you can take it a step further and buy the grain and hops yourself and make the extract by cooking them at various temperatures for certain lengths of time. When I get that far, I'll let you all know!!!

 

Anyway, here's a link to the three shops, the lads working there are all very helpful, and I particularly find the shop in Mountmellick very well stocked and super friendly.

 

http://mybeerandwine.ie/

http://www.thehomebrewcompany.ie/

http://www.homebrewwest.ie/

 

And feel free to post any questions or PM me if you need a hand setting up your first brew!

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Guest Connolly

Think I'm going to try this myself to see how it works, it sounds a hell lot easier than sitting outside an off-licence waiting for someone to go in to buy cans for me lol.

 

Might taste like poison though :lol:

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Guest IsMise

I would definetely recommend giving it a go, and certainly the taste is far better than the commercial slop being doled out by Diageo and the likes :-) Plus you have the advantage of knowing exactly whats been put in, together with the fulfilment not just of your thirst but the fact you have done it :-)

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Can you control the alcohol volume in it?

 

To a certain extent you can. Basically, the more fermentable sugars you put in the mix, the higher the alcohol content there will be. But its not recommended to buck a load of sugar into it just to boost it, as you'll ruin the flavour. Most regular beer yeasts will also only ferment up to about 8%, after that the yeast will be killed off. But you can buy special yeasts that can tolerate higher alcohol levels, up to 20% or so!!!!

 

Most of the beers that we have fermented are between 4-6%, with the cider a little higher.

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Might taste like poison though :lol:

 

Seriously, some of the brews that we've done are equal to any shop-bought beers. The Pilsner that we did was a match for any expensive Czech or German Pilsner that I've tasted!

 

The only ones that haven't tasted good were the two Scandinavian Ales, which taste pretty much like medicine! But we've done nearly 20 batches now, and only 2 haven't been tasty!

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To a certain extent you can. Basically, the more fermentable sugars you put in the mix, the higher the alcohol content there will be. But its not recommended to buck a load of sugar into it just to boost it, as you'll ruin the flavour. Most regular beer yeasts will also only ferment up to about 8%, after that the yeast will be killed off. But you can buy special yeasts that can tolerate higher alcohol levels, up to 20% or so!!!!

 

Most of the beers that we have fermented are between 4-6%, with the cider a little higher.

 

Good stuff. When I free up some time I will have to have a rattle at it.

Aye when the Continental market was in Belfast, the beer tent did a 15% beer and it was top notch.

 

A bad tasting beer can be undrinkable. Its the head on it I find can be dodgy.

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