Once your mixture is cooled, you need to pour it into the fermenter through a funnel and at this stage, splashing is encouraged as it produces oxygen throughout the mix which will improve the performance of the yeast once added.
Pouring through the funnel from a slight height will allow the mixture to splash as it hits the base of the fermenter, creating the oxygen you need.
- Strain the Hops Out
Once your mixture is in the fermenter, you need to use a larger strainer to remove the hops from the mix.
These have now released all their flavour and aroma during the boiling process and the physical bits of the hops need to be removed for a smoother brew.
- Add Your Yeast
Once all the hops have been strained and removed, you need to add enough water to make your mixture 20 litres in volume. It’s at this point you can add your yeast to the mixture. Take note of the instructions on the yeast you buy as some require activating with warm water before adding where others do not, however, most yeasts will work faster if activated, so it’s worth doing.
- Seal and Leave to Ferment
Put the lid on the fermenter and ensure it is airtight. For ales, you need to pop these in a dark, room temperature environment that is consistently one temperature, however, to ferment lager, this will need to be in the fridge.
You should see the mixture visibly fermenting, such as bubbling, after 24-48 hours. If this isn’t happening, the yeast in your mixture may have died, in which case your mixture will not taste right.
- Prepare to Bottle
Fermentation will slow down after about a week but bottling can’t begin until two weeks after fermentation began.
Once your mix is ready for bottling, you need to boil some priming sugar in a little water and add this mixture once cooled to a sanitised bucket.
You now need to transfer the brew from the fermenter to your bottling bucket where you’ve just added your sugar solution. This needs to be done using your sanitised plastic tubing and should be done as gently as possible without causing aeration to the mixture and without transferring any of the sediment from the bottom of the fermenter.
- Transfer to Bottles
Add your bottle filler to the bucket of mixture, place the other end into your sanitised bottles and add the mixture until it starts to slightly overflow. This will provide the perfect airspace at the top of the bottle before capping
Add your caps and ensure each is properly sealed.
- Leave to Age
It’s not quite drinking time yet as once your beer is bottled, it needs to return to your dark, room temperature environment for 1-2 weeks to age before being placed in the fridge until you’re ready to serve it up.
Your bottles of homebrew are now ready for your wedding guests to enjoy, so add a personalised label and get them stacked in a fridge behind the bar ready for your nearest and dearest to sample!
Once your mixture is made, the rest is down to the beer to do, so brewing your own ale really isn’t too much of a challenge to have a go at in the run-up to the wedding!
Are you going to give this a go? If you serve up your own brew at your big day, let us know on Twitter or Instagram!