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How to Brew Your Own Beer

How to Brew Your Own Beer

At Eataly, our goal is to further promote a genuine understanding of high-quality food and drink – and that includes beer! We offer a wide selection of American and Italian craft beers for sale in our marketplaces and on tap at our year-round microbreweries, NYC Flatiron's SABBIA and Chicago's Birreria.

So: you can drink beer and shop for beer – but what if you want to learn how to brew your own beer?

Fred Avila, head brewer at Eataly NYC Flatiron, has you covered. A professional brewer since November 2013, Fred (pictured below) has been home brewing for nearly a decade. Check out his 10-step guide to "guerilla brewing" below!

Fred Avila Birreria

GUERILLA BREWING: Bush(wick) Light


EQUIPMENT
Thermometer, scale (measure in grams)
Sanitizer (Star San recommended)
Airlock
Strainer
Funnel
3 pots (large enough for 2 gallons)
1 gallon fermenter
8 swing-top bottles

INGREDIENTS
2 pounds American 2-Row Malt (milled)
0.5 pounds Crystal 60 Malt (milled)
11 grams Cascade hop pellets
1 packet Safale US-05 Dry Ale Yeast

1. MALT, MASH, AND WORT. 

As your hands shake with excitement at the prospect of making beer, take a pot and heat 3.75 quarts of water to 164°F. Once this temperature is achieved, turn off the heat and mix in the malt, ensuring that it is all dampened and well-blended. Effectively you are creating an oatmeal – but one that will be lots more fun down the road. After the malt and water – the “mash” – is well blended, take a temp reading with the thermometer. It should read between 150-155°F. Place the top on the pot, and let it rest for 1 hour. During this time, the starches in the malt will convert to sugar, creating a syrupy liquid known as “wort.” Wort is where beer comes from.

2. PREPARE TO SPARGE. (YES, "SPARGE.")

While waiting for the mash to convert, heat up 2 gallons of water in a separate pot to 170°F. This will be our rinse, or “sparge” water.

3. SPARGE! 

After the mash has  converted to wort, place a strainer over the third pot (one used to boil pasta is best) and pour the mash into the strainer. This will allow the wort to collect into the pot – our makeshift brew kettle – without allowing the grain husks to follow suit. In brewing terms, we are “lautering.” Using a measuring cup or ladle, begin pouring the sparge water prepared in step 2 over the grain that is in the strainer. Make sure to evenly distribute the water over all the grain so we can collect as many sugars as possible. Continue to rinse, or “sparge,” the grain until 1.5 gallons of wort is collected in the pasta pot (our brew kettle).

4. HOP TO IT.

Turn on the stove and bring the 1.5 gallons of wort to boil. Gentle heat is best so as not to scorch the wort on the bottom of the pot. If the wort begins to foam up and boil over, lower the heat, or gently blow the foam to keep it in check. Do not cover the pot. Once the boil begins, add 6 grams of Cascade pellet hops. This addition will serve to bitter out the beer and balance its sweetness. Wait 55 minutes before adding the second hop addition, 5 grams of Cascade pellets. This is our flavor and aroma addition. These hops will give our beer that “beery” smell. Wait another 5 minutes, and turn off the heat. 

5. COOL THE WORT.

Remove the pot from the stove and immerse it in an ice bath created in the kitchen sink. The wort needs to be cooled down to around 70°F, which is the temperature needed for the ale yeast.

6. KEEP IT CLEAN. 

Everything that touches the wort once it drops below 180°F must be cleaned (i.e. free of any debris) and sanitized (reducing the number of microorganisms and bacteria on a surface to a beer-safe level) before further use. For our purposes, this includes: thermometer, strainer, funnel, fermentor, and airlock. Clean all these items and then sanitize them with a food-safe sanitizer. I prefer Star San (a no-rinse, toxic-free, acid-based sanitizer) for 1-2 minutes. Once your equipment is removed from the sanitizer, there is no need to rinse: it is ready to use.

birreria beer

7. PITCH THE YEAST. 

Check the temperature of the wort as it sits in the ice bath. Once it reaches 70°F, it is ready to be transferred to our one-gallon fermenter. Inserting our funnel in the fermenter, place a strainer over the funnel. Gently begin pouring the wort through the strainer and into the funnel so it neatly collects in the fermenter. Pour until the wort is just above the one-gallon mark on the fermenter. Don’t worry about the hop debris or coagulated wort protein that are still in solution. The strainer will ensure they don’t make it to the fermenter. Once the transfer is complete, sanitize your hand, cover the open end of the fermenter, and shake the wort for about a minute. Next, add half a packet of the Safale US-05 Dry Ale Yeast, and apply the sanitized airlock (with about an ounce of sanitizer inside it) to the mouth of the fermenter. Fitting snuggly, this will ensure that excess carbon dioxide can be released, but nothing will come in.

8. LET THE WILD FERMENTATION START!

Place the fermenting jug in a dark spot where the temperature is consistently between 68-72°F, such as a closet, for several days. You will begin to notice that the sanitizer in the airlock will start to bubble after several hours. This is a result of the yeast consuming the sugars and creating alcohol and carbon dioxide. After a few days, this will stop. Once it stops, let the jug rest for 2 additional days. Finally, place the jug in your fridge for 24 hours. This will cause the yeast to settle to the bottom and aid in clarifying your beer.

9. BOTTLE TIME.

Once the 24 hours in the fridge have passed, the beer is now ready to bottle. Clean and sanitize 8 swing-top beer bottles (think Grolsch), and a funnel. Using the funnel, add 1 ounce of table sugar to each bottle. Again using the funnel, gently pour the beer from the fermenter into each bottle until there is about an inch of head space. Close the bottles, and set aside in the same space where you fermented the beer. Over the course of a week, as the beer warms up, the residual yeast still in solution will wake up and consume the sugar added to carbonate the beer.

10. RAISE YOUR GLASS!

After the week has passed, place the beer in the fridge to cool down, and then drink.

Pouring Beer_chicago_750x500

Salute! 

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