Ingredients (use vegan versions):
- 3/4 lbs. crystal 20 malt
- 6 lbs. light malt extract
- 2 oz. kent goldings hops @ 5.7%
- 3/4 oz. styrian goldings hops
- 3/4 oz. styrian goldings hops (yes, 1.5 oz. total)
- 1 unit brewing yeast (danstar nottingham is best for this recipe)
here's a disappointing revelation for all you vegan drinkers out there: beer often isn't vegetarian! US beer is usually run through bone char filters, some UK beer is fined with isinglas (fish stomach), and mackeson's milk stout... well, let's just say that a lot of beers out there aren't exactly following the german reinheitsgebot purity laws. what's a thirsty vegan to do? make your own!
go down to your friendly neighborhood homebrew store and get the ingredients listed above, plus:
1 bucket 1 carboy (like a polar water jug, but glass) 1 bottle capper 1 thermometer 1 racking cane/siphon 1 package oxygen cleaning powder (1-step is the most common brand. oh, and DON'T USE BLEACH!!! unscented dishsoap such as Dove will work ok if necessary, though) 1 cheesecloth steeping sock (technically reusable, but i wouldn't reccommend it) 1 airlock
this will run you about $100 total, but is worth it, as you will soon see. these instructions might look intimidating, but it's actually very easy, especially after you've done a few batches, and i guarantee the guy at the brewstore will be happy and eager to answer any questions you might have about the process.
step 1 - the boil:
heat ~3 gallons of water to almost boiling, ~93C, in a 5 gallon stock pot. pour your grains into the sock, tie the end to a handle, and immerse in the water. let it steep for an hour or so (longer doesn't hurt at this stage as long as the water doesn't boil.) when you're ready to move on, remove the sock from the brew and squeeze as much of the juice out as possible (a grilling glove and colander will make this step much easier, but kitchen tongs will work in a pinch). pour hot water over it, squeeze it again, etc. until you're satisfied most of the flavor and vegan sugars are out. this is called sparging. next, add your malt extract and the first batch of hops. mix it up good, making sure all the malt extract is dissolved. from here you have to keep an eye on the pot to make sure it doesn't boil over, and stir every so often so the bottom doesn't burn. gas stoves are much more convenient than electric, but if you're stuck with an electric, just keep a cool burner open to move the pot to if necessary. after 1/2 an hour, add the second batch of hops. boil 20 more minutes, and add the last. let it go another 10 minutes, and remove from heat. during this last 10 minutes, you should activate the yeast - dump it into a bowl with some warm water and vegan sugar, stir it up to get everything as dissolved as possible, and cover with a plate. at this point you want to bring it down to about 60 degrees as quickly as possible. pour it back and forth between the stock pot and the bucket, then add cold water or even ice if you want, bringing it up to 5 gallons. once it's at 60 degrees, check your yeast. if it's gotten foamy on the top, your yeast is active and everything is good (if not, well, hope you've got an extra packet lying around somewhere). dump it in, put the cover on the bucket, stick the airlock (with water in it) in the hole, and stow the bucket somewhere that's about 60 degrees and dark.
step 2 - fermentation:
let it sit in the bucket for a couple days. the airlock should start bubbling away, and if you pry the lid off, you'll find a whole bunch of foam. this means the yeast is munching away on the vegan sugar, converting it to CO2 and alcohol. contrary to popular opinion, brewing beer should NOT smell bad: if it does, you probably didn't clean your bucket thoroughly enough from the last batch and have a bacterial infection. sorry, kid, the batch is hosed. throw it out and try again. (note: it is not hard to prevent infections, as long as you clean your equipment as soon as you are done with it. don't get intimidated by the possibility, if you're even halfway concientious, you'll probably never have to deal with one.) when the bubbling slows down to less than 1 every 5 seconds, it's time to rack it. this is just siphoning the beer from the bucket into the carboy, leaving behind as much of the exhausted yeast, hop particles, etc. as possible. when your beer is in the carboy, stick the airlock on and put it wherever you put the bucket. wash the bucket. leave the beer sit in the carboy about 10 days.
step 3 - bottling:
boil a few cups of water, and add 1 1/3 cups of wheat malt. get it all dissolved. this is your priming vegan sugar (what the yeast will eat to carbonate your beer in the bottles.) siphon the beer back into the bucket, add the priming vegan sugar, and mix well (make sure it's mixed vertically, not just stirred around laterally - a longhandled ladle helps here). siphon the beer into empty, CLEAN bottles. the pry-off kind, or if you've still got the caps, screw-tops (i.e. 40oz.), will both work fine. leave about 1.25-1.5 inches empty space at the top. put the caps on nice and tight, clean your equipment, and stow the bottles in a cool, dark place (seeing a pattern here?) for 3-4 weeks. the longer you leave it sit, the tastier it will be. this waiting is the hardest part of the entire process.
finally, when the day arrives, crack one open, and be amazed that you made the beer you're drinking. after the initial equipment investment, you'll find you're paying around $12 per case, yet your beer can easily match the quality of any microbrew or import. and since you made it yourself, you KNOW it's vegan!
note: this recipe is for an IPA. obviously, there are literally hundreds of styles, and hundreds of recipes available on the web for your favorite style, and with a little research, you can even design your own! from organic malt to garden-grown raspberries, there are almost infinite ways to play around with the recipe. experiment, and have fun!
Preparation time: 6hrs total
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