Making quality beers in your kitchen is a doddle. For anyone wishing to start flexing their brewing muscles we’ve got a bunch of easy recipes in our new book, Brew it Yourself. These small batch brews use ‘malt extract’ as a base – proper malted barley with the beery good stuff extracted on your behalf, ready for you to add the additional hops, specialist grains and any other flavours that allow you to turn it into any number of beer styles.
The quality of these beers is outstanding, but some people may wish to emulate their brewing heroes by starting with the actual malted grains before the creative fun begins. ‘Full grain brewing’, as it is known, is a little more time consuming and a touch more complicated, but not by much. However, dip into a professional recipe and you might think you need to enrol in your nearest brewing school in order to proceed.
But help is at hand. A new home brewing business, Home Brewtique, is encouraging people to start small, with perfectly formed brewing kits containing all the ingredients you need and some kitchen friendly equipment to help you on your way (including a natty little fermenting bucket with a tap and a clever, elasticated grain bag with handles that aids tidy brewing). Last month we got hold of one of their kits, diligently followed their brewing instructions and we’re now drinking the fruits of our labour. The results are so good we’re featuring it as our ‘Beer of the Week’, an accolade we don’t dish out to any old bottle of grog.
The instructions were extremely well thought out, with alternative text explaining how to adjust the volume of your brew depending on what size pots and pans you have, and more quickly accessible notes for the experienced brewer. Most of the work extracting the sugary goodness from the grains (known as ‘mashing’) is done in the oven to a set temperature, but they reinforce our beliefs that precision isn’t vital (my oven is ancient, with a temperature dial that mostly involves guesswork, but apart from producing a beer slightly weaker than predicted, it performed the task admirably).
They’ve got plenty of beer kits to choose from; we went for an IPA called Hoppilicious. So how does it taste? Don’t be surprised, but it really is just like a proper American style craft IPA, and we reckon you’d have to be pretty daft to fail to make it taste anything but great. The smell is amazing, thanks largely to the late dry hopping using a small bag of hops that’s stored in the freezer and added during fermentation. The hop goodness continues with every sip, casually mingling with the slightly sweet, clean malt taste before summoning a richly flavoured, bitter encore. It’s right up there with some of the best IPAs you can buy, and all the better for knowing you have brewed it yourself.
Brewery: Home Brewtique. And you.
Beer name: Hoppilicious Multi Hop IPA
Strength: Roughly 5.7%
Hops used: Zythos, Chinook, Citra, Magnum, Cascade, Perle