Chisholm Trail Cervesas
Jesse and Alexandra Chisholm
"Let's see, the recipe starts this here way:
First, pour two cups of wine into the chef.
Hoo! Now I like that!"
-- Justin Wilson, the Cajun Cook

General Comments

If you aren't already a home-brewer, look in the phone book or search on the Internet to find a beer / wine maker's supply store in your area. You can generally get the equipment you need for under $100. You can probably get the essentials for about $75. (You can, of course, spend up to $3000 if you want to get the top of the line equipment. ;-) This basic set includes a 6.5 to 7-gal primary fermenter (either plastic bucket or glass carboy), a fermentation lock, a boiling pot (30 quarts if you can get one, but a 10 quart will do), thermometer, hydrometer, long handled spoon, and various other items. The store will have some kits of various prices with everything you really need. Don't forget - to put it in bottles you will also need a bottle capper and new caps.
The people at the store are also a great source of advice and answers. They are very friendly and they enjoy sharing their knowledge of beer-brewing.
A 5 gallon batch makes about 50-55 of the twelve oz bottles of beer. It only makes about 30 if you use the 22 oz bottles. You could also choose liter bottles, party-pigs, pony kegs, soda-kegs, half or full kegs. These instructions assume you are using 12 oz bottles of the pop-top variety. The screwtop variety are a little harder to work with.
For the instructions in this site, I am going to assume you got the 30 quart (7.5 gal) boiling pot and the 6.5 gal glass carboy for fermenting. This is part of a medium priced setup. If you got the smaller boiling pot, then you will have to boil all your water ahead of time to sterilize it. Then boil your malt with 1.5 gallons, then add remaining pre-boiled water to the primary fermenter. The 7 gallon plastic fermenting buckets are easier to clean than the glass carboys, but I started with glass, so that's what I talk about.
I am further going to assume, that if you want to know more of the details that you will buy one of the many excellent books on home brewing. This is an overview of the whole process as I do it for these recipes. Among the details the books cover that I don't cover are the steps you do to estimate how alcoholic your brew really is. My recipes will be anywhere from 4% to 8% depending on how fully you convert the starches to sugar and how fully the yeast converts the sugar to alcohol and how long you let it ferment. Once I got the taste the way I liked it, I stopped worrying about those details.
See my links page for other sources of information.

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