Homebrewing has never been more popular in South Africa. Since people can’t legally buy beer, they are choosing to make their own at home. But not everyone wants to invest in homebrewing equipment and not everyone has the time to brew a batch of beer from scratch. Luckily, the homebrew suppliers and craft brewers of South Africa have come together to bring you the absolute easiest way to make beer at home.
As you might know, beer is made with four ingredients: water, malted barley, hops and yeast. To get the sugars, which will later help create alcohol, you need to steep the malted barley for an hour. The sugary, malty liquid then needs to be boiled for a further hour, during which time hops are added. This whole process, including the time it takes to cool the liquid down, can take upwards of four hours. At the end, what you have is a non-alcoholic, malty liquid called “wort”. And now, you can go to your local brewery or homebrew supply store and simply purchase the wort, cutting out virtually all of the work.
Once you have your pre-made wort, all you need to do is ferment it at home, and in a couple of weeks you will have your very own batch of homemade beer. As well as the wort, you will need:
- a clean, sanitised plastic fermentation bucket or glass carboy
- food-grade sanitiser
- an airlock
- hops for dry-hopping (optional)
- sanitised bottles and caps
- tube or siphon for bottling
Wort is a highly perishable product, so when you purchase it, you need to be sure that it is either very fresh (ideally brewed that same day) or has been sterilised prior to packaging. Sanitation is extremely important in the fermentation of beer, so be sure to clean and then sanitise anything that will touch the wort. Suitable sanitisers are sold at homebrew stores (check out Brewing Ingredients on the Directory page for some local suppliers).
Yeast are finicky beasts and as well as a clean, sanitised environment, they do their best work within a certain temperature range. If you don’t have the capacity to control the temperature of your fermenter, I’d highly recommend opting for kveik yeast, which performs well at high temperatures without contributing a load of nasty off-flavours. Bloem-based yeast lab Liquid Culture stocks various strains of kveik yeast and you can also purchase it through homebrew supply stores like BevPlus.
New to homebrewing? Check out this guide to getting started.
Where to get your wort
Breweries around the country are now offering customers the chance to purchase wort. It’s a perfect solution that allows you to legally produce beer at home (it is not illegal to homebrew in South Africa as long as you don’t sell it) and also offers a way to support your local brewery. They can’t sell beer at this time, but they can sell wort, which is a non-alcoholic product. Here’s a list of breweries and homebrew suppliers that are now selling wort:
BevPlus (Delivery nationwide)
Cost of wort: 20-litre kits including yeast and hops start at R516 and vary depending on the beer style
Extras: Fermenters, bottles, caps – everything you need to produce that first batch is available on their site
How to order: Check out the “Brew in a box” kits on their website
Availability: Ongoing, while stocks last
At Hops End (Modderfontein)
Cost of wort: R25/litre
Extras: We’re doing a ‘Build your own IPA’ which includes 20 litres of wort, a choice of two yeasts and a choice of three different hops.
How to order: SORRY – SOLD OUT!!
Availability: Book ahead and collect on 11 August
Copperlake Breweries (Lanseria)
Cost of wort: R840/20 litres, includes fermenter
Extras: Choose from lager, English ale, weiss, IPA
How to order: Call 083 633 1706
Lazy Hunter (Kyalami, with local and national delivery available)
Cost of wort: R600 per 20-litre kit
Extras: Kit comes with a packet of yeast and a cap that allows you to ferment your beer in the container it ships in.
How to order: https://lazyhunter.co.za/
Richmond Hill (Port Elizabeth)
Cost of wort: R15/litre (minimum 20 litres)
Extras: Yeast is also available
How to order: Email Niall@richmondhillbrewing.com
Availability: Brewday is 8 August – collect on the day
Featherstone Brewery (Grahamstown)
Cost of wort: R300/20 litres
Extras: We can supply hops and yeast – just get in touch in advance
How to order: https://featherstonebrewery.co.za/product/sa-wort-challenge-20-litres/
Availability: Brewday is on Saturday 8 August – collect on the day
Clockwork Brewhouse (Bothas Hill)
Cost of wort: R15 – R20/litre depending on the beer
Extras: Yeast is also available
How to order: https://chat.whatsapp.com/L2x4W7y6k8dGJCDJp607Mb
That Brewing Co. (Durban)
Cost of wort: Details TBC
How to order: Bookmark this page and check back for update
Availability: Coming soon!!
Hopman Brewery (Milnerton)
Cost of wort: R10/litre (minimum sale 10 litres)
Extras: We can supply hops and yeast on request while stocks last
How to order: Email firstname.lastname@example.org, Facebook @hopmanbrew or Instagram @hopmanbrewery
Availability: From 3 August
Long Beach Brewery (Noordhoek)
Cost of wort: R700 for 20 litres, includes fermentation bucket and yeast
Extras: New recipe available weekly. You can also bring your own fermenter and buy wort for R30 per litre. Extra hops available.
How to order: Order online at schoolofhops.co.za/shop
Cost of wort: R10-R35 per litre depending on volume and variety. Custom malt bills also possible
Extras: Hops and yeast for sale. Also, same malt bill in all grain form.
How to order: WhatsApp Craig on 078 414 2698
Shackleton Brewing Company(Salt River)
Cost of wort: R20/litre
Extras: Hops, yeast and equipment also available – orders must be 2 days before the brew day
How to order: Contact Steve – 071 347 4089 / email@example.com
Availability: Get in touch to find out when we’re next brewing a batch
Buchanan’s Brewery (Tulbagh)
Cost of wort: R400 for 20L including yeast
Extras: Yeast is included
How to order: firstname.lastname@example.org
Looking for a few extra tips to help you get started? Check out this list from pro brewers around SA.