A Very Ancient Craft
BASIC BEER RECIPE
1 Ib. extract of malt
1 oz. hops
1/2 Ib. sugar
1 gallon water
This is a very simple beer to make and the results are guaranteed to please. The extract of malt is obtainable from Boots the Chemists, among others, and also from the usual suppliers listed in the appendix. The hops are equally readily available from Boots or from the suppliers. The sugar will no doubt already be in the home and the best yeast to use is the granulated variety made by Allinson's.
The sugar and malt are dissolved in a quart of tepid water while the hops are being boiled for ten minutes in another quart of water. The hop liquor is then strained on to the male and sugar solution and then the hops are again boiled in another quart of water for a further ten minutes. This liquor is also strained on to the wort and the hops are boiled fox the third time in a final quart of water. When this, too, has been added to the wort it is covered to keep out the dust and placed somewhere to cool. It is often convenient to leave it overnight. Next morning a teaspoonful of granulated yeast is sprinkled on the top of the wort and fermentation will begin within a few hours. The yeast can, of course, be started earlier in a little of the malt solution, which has been quickly cooled, so that it is already fermenting when added to the main brew.
It is worth while saving a few of the hops to add dry to the wort at this stage, since this sharpens the flavour of the finished beer. After three days' fermentation skim off the scum that has arisen and leave the beer to finish fermenting right out. If you are using a hydrometer a recommended starting gravity is from 1.036 to 1.040. This will ferment, or attenuate as it is called in brewing, down to 1.004 or lower. The gallon of beer should now be strained into eight clean screw-stoppered beer bottles, each being filled to about 1 1/2 in. from the bottom of the screw. A small teaspoonful of sugar must now be added as priming to each bottle and the stoppers screwed in firmly. Corks and ordinary bottles are useless for beer making. The corks permit the admission of too much, air and a skin forms on top of the beer, which loses its life and looks and tastes flat and lifeless. There is also a danger that the bottle may burst under the pressure of the carbon-dioxide gas formed during the bottle fermentation of the priming sugar.
The beer quickly clears to brilliance in a week and the yeast deposit settles firmly on the bottom of the bottle. It is fully matured in two weeks and ready for drinking. If it is cooled in the refrigerator for a short while before serving at about 55"F. it will pour easily and cleanly from the bottle without the sediment rising. The bottle should be handled carefully so as not to shake up the deposit, and all the glasses and mugs into which it is to be poured should be stood together. When the stopper is unscrewed the beer should be steadily poured slowly down the side of each glass in such a manner that the bottle does not have to be moved from its horizontal position until the last of the beer has been poured. In this way it is perfectly possible to pour out all the beer clear and bright, leaving no more than a quarter to half an inch of lees in the bottle.
This priming is all-important to the finished beer. Insufficient sugar means that the beer will have a poor head of froth, if any, and that the beer will not have enough twinkling bubbles of carbon dioxide rising to the top whilst it is being drunk; it will taste soft and rather lifeless. Too much priming sugar, on the other hand, causes so much additional carbon dioxide to be formed that when the stopper is unscrewed there will be an almighty gush of froth and Ices over everyone and everything. It will be quite impossible to pour out a glass of drinkable beer. It is better at first slightly to under-prime than to over-prime and it: is always safest to let the beer ferment right out before bottling. Otherwise there will not only be the priming sugar to ferment in the bottle, but the residue of sugar in the wort. Don't bottle too early, then, and don't add more than a small teaspoonful of priming sugar per pint.
Various suppliers sell ready-made packs of ingredients, which only require water and sugar to be added, but there is no recipe simpler than the one above and none surer of pleasing. It has been tested successfully many thousands of times by countless people.
It is not difficult, of course, to vary this recipe in many different ways to secure variations of texture and taste to suit different palates and occasions. A few of the most effective are given, but you can make up others if you feel so inclined by varying the quantities of each ingredient in an almost endless permutation.