Celebrate the day by brewing up a batch of beer in just a few easy steps.
You've already explored our guide on how to make wine at home in your Instant Pot. Now I have another oddball project for you: Brew and sour beer in your Instant Pot. And since today is National Beer Day, what better way is there to celebrate than making and drinking beer?
Just like Instant Pot wine, I can't take credit for this process. All that goes to the inventive James Spencer at Basic Brewing, a home brew enthusiast website, whose clever video inspired me to give this hack a try.
This method uses the Instant Pot's yogurt function to promote the growth of bacteria (the good kind) to create refreshingly tart flavors in unfermented beer (wort). That procedure typically takes months, even years, but with the help of my Instant Pot and a few workarounds, I can make it happen in just 24 hours. Here's what I did, and how you can try it too. (For more, learn how to open a beer bottle without an opener, and check out these nine cooking hacks that actually work.)
Your main piece of equipment, at least for this phase of beer making, is your Instant Pot. You'll also need a few more items and supplies.
Unless you want your brew to harbor foul bugs or germs, take sanitizing seriously. Mix sanitizing solution inside a large tub or bucket. In my case I used an old plastic fermenter along with StarSan. Now place everything that will come into contact with your beer inside. These would be the glass jar, its lid and plastic airlock.
They only need to be submerged in the solution for 3 to 4 seconds. Remove these items from the tub and allow them to air dry.
The first step of brewing beer is called "the boil." Essentially you'll be making "wort," the raw ingredients of unfermented beer. Begin by adding 1 gallon (3.8 liters) of water to either a stovetop stockpot or your Instant Pot's inner pot.
Stir in 1 pound of dry malt extract, or DME, while you bring the water to a boil. Boil this mixture for 5 minutes. This sanitizes the liquid. Next, cool the wort down to 110 Fahrenheit. Do that by placing the pot in a sink filled with ice.
Now pour the probiotic juice shot into the sanitized glass jar. Next add the warm wort (at 110 F) to the jar and cover it. Place the glass jar inside your Instant Pot's inner pot, then fill the pot with water. This is a good time to attach the airlock to the lid too.
With that done, activate the Instant Pot's yogurt mode. Also select the "less" adjust toggle. This sets the heat level lower. What you should have now is a temperature self-regulating water bath perfect for your probiotic bacteria. Let the Instant Pot run for 24 hours. During that period, the bugs should start eating the sugars in your wort, and produce souring compounds as a byproduct.
Pour out your soured wort into a pot. Next add 1 packet of cascade hops (1 ounce) and heat the liquid up to 180 degrees. Hold this temperature for 10 minutes. What you're doing here is sanitizing the wort of bacteria (and anything else). You're also developing flavors from the hops you just added. While you do that, preheat your oven for 180 F.
After that, place the pot in the oven and keep it there for another 10 minutes. This step should further encourage the infusion of hop essence. Next remove the pot from the oven and quickly chill it down to 65 F. The idea here is to cool your wort down to an optimal temperature for your yeast. The faster you do this, the less chance another opportunistic organism will set up shop before your yeast does.
Now that your wort has cooled down, add it to your clean and sanitized fermenter. Sprinkle in the beer yeast -- I used Safale US-05 -- over the wort and button up the fermenter. Do that by closing the sanitized lid. Lastly, attach the airlock (also sanitized) and seal it with a few ounces of water. Store the jar in a room temperature location away from direct sunlight.
With the wort fermenting, you should notice some airlock activity within a day or so. I did after 24 hours. Water inside the airlock's water trap began a steady, rapid bubbling. This is caused by the yeast eating the sugars in the solution then producing alcohol and CO2 gas as byproducts. I plan to let my beer ferment for at least 10 days, then transfer it over to a secondary fermentation vessel.
From there I'll bottle my brew and condition it for another two weeks, or longer. Will I have some fruity, crisp and refreshing sour NEIPA on my hands? I sure hope so. Summer is fast approaching.