Brew Beer in your Backyard

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With summer approaching, why not get outside to practice brewing your own beer?
Home brewing is definitely an investment, but here’s a pitch: How much do you spend on a beer out at a restaurant or a six-pack to bring home? The average price is about $4 to $5 a pint, with even higher prices for craft or specialty beers. The price per beer if you brew at home is about 50 cents for one pint.
Brewing beer is a fun afternoon activity that is rewarding for months after (well, depending on how often you drink) and allows the brewer tons of choices in regards to taste, bitterness, hoppiness and so forth. It’s definitely an art that takes practice, but any beer is good beer, right?

Do some reading and research before you brew. Don’t worry, this will be fun. Go out and taste-test some craft beers in order to determine what kind of beer you want to make.
The provided directions and recipe is an example of one brewer’s technique. The supplies can be found at home-brewing stores or at websites like or Feel free to explore your options and brew in your own style.

Step 1

Recipe: “RoseBerry Wheat” (about 5% alcohol content)
This recipe was put together and tweaked by an experienced brewer, but anyone can do that. Base your timing and measurements on your taste preferences, and by the smell of the beer as it’s brewing.
Turkey fryer or propane stove
5+gallon pot
Mesh bag
Wort chiller & hose
Glass carboy
Sanitizing solution
(Optional) Hydrometer
(Optional) Keg
Water: About 5 gallons will be used for the base of the beer.
Grains: This batch was made with “C15” or Crytal 15, which is a lighter, caramel malt grain.
Hops: These hops are called nugget hops. We used about two ounces of frozen-from-fresh hops that were grown in the backyard! The “hoppiness” of the beer depends on when and for how long the hops are added to the wort.
3.3 lb. Briess CBW Pure Malt Extract- Golden Light
1 lb. Briess Bavarian Wheat dried malt extract
32 oz. Honey: adds a distinct honey-sweet taste to the beer.
Raspberries: These could come from the backyard as well! We used a bag of frozen raspberries, but any available fresh fruit would be even better for this beer. Think apricot, blackberry, peach…
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
Yeast packet

Step 2

Preparation is very important for the process to go smoothly, as it depends on time, sanitation, and safety. Read through all of the directions fully before beginning the process.
Set up the turkey fryer outside away from anything that shouldn’t get hot. Set up an extra sink or bucket with the sanitizing solution, and let all tools soak for at least 30 minutes before use. This includes the mesh bag, stirring spoon, funnel, wort chiller, hydrometer, and the carboy. Prepare the ingredients: put grains into mesh bag, thaw any frozen ingredients, measure out quantities you’d like to use, and in this case, soak honey containers in hot water so it can be poured easily. It’s important to keep an eye on that hot turkey fryer, and hanging out in the kitchen to gather your ingredients probably isn’t the safest idea. Set up an area where you can attach the wort chiller to a hose, and then funnel into the carboy. This will take some muscle and probably a mess, so be prepared! The beer will need a dark place to ferment at around 68 degrees. This could be a basement or closet, and a blanket or towel over the carboy is perfect for keeping it shaded.

Step 3

Okay, let’s brew! Set the pot with 1 gallon of water on top of the turkey fryer and bring to a boil. You will want to keep the water at a slight boil for the whole process. Add the bag of grains and leave to steep uncovered for 20 min. Swish the bag occasionally to get full effect. Remove and add about 4 more gallons of water, or as much will fill the pot about 90% full. Cover, and let boil 30 min., stirring occasionally.

Step 4

After 30 min., uncover and add 1 oz. of hops, ¼ of the malt extract, and the clarifier. Continue stirring mixture at a light boil. After 30 min., add the rest of the ingredients, in order, one at a time: the rest of the malt extract, clarifier, wheat extract, hops, honey, raspberries and rosemary sprigs.

Step 5

As soon as everything is in the wort, turn off the fryer and remove the pot. Insert the wort chiller, connect to the hose, and run cold water through the hose until the mixture is chilled to less than 80 degrees.

Step 6

Ready for some heavy lifting? Dump the wort into the carboy using a funnel, which will strain out the hops and rosemary sprigs. Cork the carboy to seal it, and then shake away! Shake, roll, and mix the beer for about 10 minutes. Add the yeast and shake for another 10 minutes, or until your arms let out.

Note: We added a little bit of Bacardi Limon at the end to make sure we killed off all the bacteria. We also tested the alcohol content using our hydrometer (1.042 OG) and had a little taste test before beginning the fermentation process. This particular brewmaster described it as a “fruity spring zipper” with strong hints of rosemary and honey. He knows his beer!

Step 7

Cover the carboy with a towel or blanket and let sit for about three weeks, or until you can’t wait to drink it. A kegerator is a great option for carbonating the beer once it's fermented.

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