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Food & Drink

How to make beer at home

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It's a life skill that every student would love to have in their armoury, but despite our fervent love for beer, very few of us have ever tried to brew beer at home.

different kinds of beer ipa heineken guinness

Credit: (background) Love the wind, (left) vengerof, (centre) DenisMArt, (right) Nuchala Baba – Shutterstock

Brewing your own beer can save you a sizeable fortune, working out at around 90p a pint*.

You can opt for a home brewing kit (which we would advise), which will set you back between £20 to £50. But if you're planning on making your own beer regularly, you'll definitely see a return on your investment.

To start you off, here's our step-by-step guide to making a 24-pint batch of homemade beer in your very own kitchen. Enjoy!

Trivia: How many people in the world are drunk at any given time? Scroll down to find out.

What goes well with beer? Drinking games!

Beer ingredients

You can buy almost all of the ingredients online from sites like Amazon or even your local supermarket:

  • Water (free)
  • 50g dried hops (flowers from the hop plant, beer's main component) (£3.99)
  • 750g of sugar (£0.82)
  • 1kg of malt extract (£14.25)
  • Ale yeast (see instructions on the packet for quantity needed for 24 pints) (£2.50).

And now for the heavy lifting!

Surprise, surprise! Beer makes an appearance on our list of the best Father's Day gifts.

Equipment to make beer at home

people clinking beer glasses

Credit: Syda Productions – Shutterstock

Now you've got the ingredients, here's a list of household items you'll need to make your own beer. Most of these should be included in homebrewing beer kits (and many already come with ingredients so beware not to double up!).

  • Large pan (big enough for 12 pints)
  • Muslin cloth
  • Large bucket (big enough for 25 pints)
  • Sterilised siphoning tube
  • 30 to 40 glass bottles and caps (with a crown capper) or plastic bottles.

If you're looking to save even more money on your brewing then you can always reuse old beer bottles – just make sure to sterilise them first.

Make sure you use bottles that can withstand pressure (after fermentation) like beer bottles or plastic bottles that hold fizzy drinks. If you use the wrong type of glass bottle, it could explode and send glass shards shooting across the room!

The beer brewing process

Brewing your own beer can be done in just a few stages. Bear with us here – you'll need to be on hand for at least three weeks, but it is totally going to be worth it, we promise.

Here are the three stages of brewing your own beer:

  1. Boil water, hops and malt extract

    Firstly, you'll need to fill up a big pan with 12 pints of water and bring it to a boil.

    Then, add your 50g of dried hops and leave to boil for another 30 minutes.

    Once this is done, slowly add the kilo of malt extract along with 750g of sugar and boil for another five minutes.

  2. Add ale yeast and leave to ferment

    Cover a sterilised food bucket (or very large pan) with a clean muslin cloth then carefully strain the contents of the pan into it.

    Pour in a further 12 pints of cold water and then leave your mixture to cool for 30 minutes.

    Add a packet of ale yeast and then fully cover your bucket and leave it to stand in a cool, dry place for 10 days. We know it's a bit of a wait but just think how happy you'll be when you remember you've got 30+ bottles of your own beer waiting for you patiently!

  3. Siphon the beer into clean bottles

    A crusty layer should have formed on the top of the mixture by now – make sure it has started to degrade. Then just pop half a tablespoon of sugar into each bottle.

    Siphon the beer (this will get rid of any bits) into separate bottles and cap them off.

    Then wait another 14 days before the party can begin. We know, we know, it's a bit of a stretch, but afterwards, you can enjoy your very own beer.

Once you've got the hang of it, a case of home-brewed beer can also make for a really cheap and thoughtful gift for that special someone. The sooner you become a pro, the sooner you can start attempting to brew ciders, mead and other types of beer. Result!

Answer to trivia: 0.7% of the world's population is drunk at any given moment. That means that roughly 50 million people are drunk right now.

Not up for making your own beer? Don't worry, there are other ways to save money on a night out.

* Prices were correct at the time of writing (using Tesco and Amazon prices as guidelines).

Owen Burek


Owen is the founder of Save the Student, the leading student money website he started in 2007. He's passionate about educating young people about personal finance and ways to make extra money. Owen has appeared on BBC News and writes for major publications including The Guardian, Entrepreneur and HuffPost.
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