The more beer I make the more I am amazed at the gaping chasm between how easy it is to brew ale and how complicated all the instructions to make it are.
Elephants can make beer by knocking down palm trees, stomping on the trunk to make a depression so the sap collects in it, and then waiting for it to ferment. That is how simple it is to make beer.
I now have a "perpetual beer" brewing in my kitchen. I mix the sediment from a bottle of ale with more water, sugar syrup, malt extract and some fineground flour and let it ferment for a few days. I then pour it into plastic soda pop (fizzy drink) bottles. When the bottles are firm to the touch, it's ready to drink. I refill the larger bottles with more water, sugar, malt extract etc. and the process continues.
This bottle is not ready to drink yet.
I had originally started to make an "ongoing" batch, (directions at http://yankeeharp.googlepages.com/7dayale.html ), where I would start one batch with the sediment from the previous batch, but I found it was easier to just keep one single batch going and bottle from that. I use two 2-liter bottles and transfer from one to the other so the brew will ferment a couple days in those and then a few more days in the smaller bottles. I suppose it is a lot of pouring from one bottle to the other. Its main convenience is that I don't have to keep track of how long it has brewed or which batch is which.
I have also begun flavoring the water with wood and other spices. I have used sassafras (the flavor behind root beer), birch, maple and oak. Right now I am using hawthorn, and it gives the final brew a very nice, smooth taste. I just cut some branches off the tree, break it into smaller pieces so it will fit in a heat-proof glass jar, fill it with water and set it on a hostess warming tray for a couple days until it turns a beautiful, deep reddish brown. I can re-use the same wood about 2 or 3 times. When it no longer colors the water, I go out for a walk in the woods to gather some more. I also add some spices like whole cinammon, ginger, nutmegs, cloves and anise to the water.