Guests appreciate the unique aspects provided by their hospitality host, so why not try brewing your own craft beer. Brew master Dean Langkilde shows Tourism Tattler how.
You have two options here: buy the beer kit, which provides all the basic brewing equipment, and lets you skip the mashing process and jump directly to the boil (pick one up for around R1,000 from thebeerkeg.co.za). Or, jump straight in the deep-end with all-grain brewing, which is more complex and expensive.
A typical beer kit will produce between 19 to 26 litres per batch. An all-grain set up will yield anywhere from 20 to 40 litres. Basic equipment includes a boiling pot, mash tun, airlock, fermenting container, syphon hose, thermometer, bottles, capper and bottle caps. The basic ingredients are; water, malted barley (the grains), yeast and hops.
The process can be broken down into three main stages:
1. BREW DAY
The first step is the most important: cleaning and sanitation. Wash and sanitise all items of equipment that will come into contact with your beer, then fill up your hot liquid tank and heat it up to get the right water temperature for mashing it.
Mashing is the conversion of your grains from starch to sugar. You can but your grains pre-ground or grind them yourself. Add the grains to the container you’re using as your mash tun. Soak at a temperature of approximately 67 degrees Celsius with the pre-heated water from your liquor tank. During this stage, enzymes from the barley break down starch into sugar. An average home-brewed beer will have converted all the starching it needs in about an hour-long mash.
3. LAUTERING AND SPARGING
Lautering is the process of removing the liquid from the grains. Once most of the starch has been converted to sugar, drain the sugar solution from the grains. Sparging is the process of adding additional hot water to help rinse out the sugar and reach your final brewing volume. A sparging water temperature of less than 70 degrees Celsius should be sufficient.
The mixture is boiled to sanitise the wort (what you get after all the mashing) and to extract the aroma and flavour of the hops. Add your bittering hops at the beginning of the boil. Once the wort has finished boiling, it needs to be cooled quickly to avoid contamination and to reach the ideal temperature for fermentation. Plunge the whole pot into some icy water.
Once cooled, add the wort to the fermenter. Now it’s tie to add the yeast – dry yeast needs to be rehydrated first. Make sure the yeast temperature is either cooler or the same as that of the wort, and that the wort is not too warm, as this may kill off the yeast cells or produce unwanted flavours. Make sure to aerate the wort as much as possible by pouring it back and forth between the fermenter and the boiler – this will give the yeast the oxygen it needs for fermentation. Now, close the lid of the fermenter and insert the airlock. The airlock ensures that gas can escape throughout fermentation and that no bacteria can find its way in. Ferment your beer in an environment with a stable temperature of between 18 and 24 degrees Celsius.
By now the yeast will have converted all sugar to alcohol, but you’re sitting with flat beer. Carbonation happens by adding sugar at the bottling stage. You can make a priming solution by working out the amount of sugar you will need per bottle, boiling it in water, then cooling and adding to your beer before bottling. If you’ve bought a kit, the priming scoop allows you to add sugar directly to each bottle before capping. Cap your bottles by placing the cap on the bottle and clicking in with the bottle capper. Store in a cool place for two weeks and your beer’s ready to drink!
Of course, if the process described above is just too much hassle, you can get a brew master to craft a special brew for your hospitality establishment – and brand the beer label as a unique memento for your guests.
For more information, Dean Langkilde can be contacted on +27 79 212 9531