Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Mother and son Bonding.

Mother and son makes home brew together

Gosh James started his garden when he was 14 and one of the plants he planted was hops  (female vine) now he is older it's time to have a go at making home brew.

Before children I used to be the head home brewer - but when kids came along that task was let go - so gosh I haven't made homebrew in over 22 years. It's funny how things come back to you though.

Historically it was the woman who made the beer in the house.

 "Beer has been brewed for at least 10,000 years and for most of that time it was women who were the brewers. Beer was made at home and all of the family drank it – including the children. It was a safe source of drinking water; and it contains soluble nutritional elements (carbs, proteins, vitamins, minerals and amino acids). Gender roles of the time meant that the home and everything that happened there, including the preparation of food and drink, was the responsibility of women. Men's duties were hunting and gathering wood. Even today in remote parts of Africa and the Amazon women are still the primary brewers, and in those cultures, for men to be involved in anything other than drinking beer would be very odd.

During the medieval era when witch hunting was rife, hundreds of women were accused of witchcraft and executed. Many of those women were brewers. The visual motifs we associate with female witches date from this time. The extraordinary thing is all of them - cat, bubbling cauldron, broom, pointed hat - are also symbols associated with brewing beer.
A cat would keep vermin at bay that would otherwise eat the malted barley; the bubbling cauldron is the vessel in which the ingredients are boiled. When the brew cools down, yeast lands on it and ferments the sugars, creating a dramatic froth. The broom was used for sweeping up but also by law, anyone selling beer was required to display an ale stake above their door as a sign that beer was on sale. An ale stake was a wooden pole with a bunch of twigs tied on the end. It doubled as a broom. Hanging foliage above the door to proclaim that alcohol was available for purchase dates back to Roman Britain. In a society where most people were illiterate, visual signs rather than written signs were used. The pointy hat was a practical way of being seen. Women with surplus beer would go to the marketplace to try and sell it, or a middle woman known as a huckster would act as an agent and flog the beer. They wore the pointed hats to make themselves prominent in a crowd.
So everything associated with a cartoon witch is actually the semiology connected with a female brewer in the middle ages. Some academics argue that women were accused of witchcraft so that others could profit from the local beer production. It was very rare that a woman accused of being a witch escaped with her life."

How to make Home Brew  (lager) the old fashioned way without a beer kit.

1 tin of Black Rock Light malt extract (1.7kg)
Hops (fresh off female vines) 50 grams
1 tin of golden syrup (1kg)
400g sugar
1 pkt of dry lager yeast (11.5g)
Sodium Percarbonate - a no rinse steriliser - our brand was CopperTun most homebrew places and supermarkets sell this.
An airlock
A home brew fermenting container.
Bottle caps
Cap machine.

Note everything must be kept very clean. Hygiene is very important when you are fermenting anything.

Sterilise all equipment.
Wash out your fermenting container and then sterilise it by putting 5 litres of hot water in it and add 2 tablespoons of sodium percarbonate - swish it around, make sure it gets in airlock. Leave for 10 minutes - give it another swish around and tip out. Do not rinse.

Heat 3.4 litres (6 pints) of water in a preserving pan add the malt extract, golden syrup and sugar. Heat until it has all melted and dissolved. Pour into fermentation vessel - place lid on as you don't want any airborne bugs getting into your brew.

Place the hops into a muslin bag or soup sock (don't have to but it saves you straining the hops)
Boil the hops in 3.4 litres (6 pints) of cold water and simmer for 10 minutes

Strain the hops making sure you squeeze as much hops juice out as possible and add this into your fermenting vessel (put lid back on)

Top up your brew with cold water to 18 litres (4 gallons) stir well.

Now let  the brew cool till blood temperature about the same heat as you need for making bread when adding the yeast - not too cold and not too hot. Sprinkle over the packet of yeast and stir well.

Place lid on and leave.

You should hear the airlock bubble away - it should be working briskly by the following day.

Day 2 skim off the head from the brew

Leave the brew for 3- 4 days it should start to clear. When the brew is clear its time to bottle.

I'll post our bottling system when we bottle.

Excessive consumption may result in side effects of  dizziness, vomiting, nausea, irritable bowel symptoms, diarrhoea, headaches, disorientation, short term memory loss and behaviour problems.


  1. Ha - I love the disclaimer!

    Great to be brewing your own beer from home grown hops! We have never tried home brewing but have made all sorts of country wine in our younger days. Elderflower wine was the favourite.

    In UK we have a lot of small breweries, often family run or associated with a particular area, so we try to buy our local beer rather than the mass produced kind.

    1. Elderflower cordial is on my list of wants to make.

  2. Mother and Sone Home Brew sounds like a perfect label name!

    1. chuckle yea it does - or blow your socks off depends on how it tastes.

  3. I am sure it will be a nice drop!!

    1. with home brew made from scratch one can never tell -

  4. Great disclaimer, do you suppose it puts anyone off? lol My OH doesn't really care for beer, his preferred drink is cider and we are always on the hunt for new small producers. Next step is homemade I think :)

    1. I'd like to try making home made cider a friend has an apple orchard and I always want to pick up the tree fallen ones and use them