Well now, it’s been a while since we posted but that’s not to say we haven’t been busy! December was fairly mental, Christmas was very relaxed and New Year came and went with a small but
perfectly formed house party.

Today marks the opening day of Monty’s Alehouse, a unique micro brewery specialising in traditional, hoppy English bitters and the odd cider. Santa bought me a brewing kit and I started on the first brew today. I’ll be making this:

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So here’s a quick guide (because no doubt the quality of my ale will spur you onto making your own…!)

You need a brewing kit, fermenting bucket and lid, spoon, siphon tube, thermometer, steriliser and ageing barrel (or 40 pint bottles and caps). Santa seems to do his brewing kit shopping in Wilkinsons… 😉

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So first step is to sterilise everything (EVERYTHING! Including thermometer, malt tins and tin opener!) I used 4 teaspoons of steriliser and 5 litres of warm water in the fermentation bucket. Make sure you wear gloves and ensure everything is dipped in the solutions. Put the lid on the bucket and swirl it round so the lid gets done too. Good to do this in a utility room, to stop the missus moaning (!)
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Put the sterilised tins of malt in a sink of warm water to make the malt more fluid. Do this for ten minutes while you rinse evening with cold water thoroughly. Lots of cold water!
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So, the fun bit. Open up the tins and poor them into the bucket. Boil a kettle and fill the malt tins with boiling water, leaving for a minute, then poor them into the bucket. This should get nearly all the malt into the bucket. Then put the bucket in the sink (you need a big sink!) and stir the malt so it’s well mixed with the water.
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Top up the bucket with cold water to the 17 litre mark or there abouts. Use the thermometer to check the temperature. It needs to be between 20 and 25 degrees. Use either boiling water or cold water then to top up to 23 litres making sure the temperature stays at this level.
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Give the wort a really good stir to get lots of air in it, then sprinkle the yeast over the top. Don’t stir this in. Snap the bucket lid on.
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Finally, find a warm place for the bucket. Everyone uses the airing cupboard! It needs to be a fairly constant temperature and free from cold spells. Put the bucket here and open up the lid a tad so gasses can escape.
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And that’s it! 6 days or so in the airing cupboard, then it will be time to siphon into the barrel or bottles. So we’ll catch up next week and tell you how this goes!