Brewing beer at home is not only a fun hobby, but one that will also save you money in the long run. However, since many people don’t know how to make beer, I’m going to devote this post to giving everyone a crash course. With a little patience and practice, you can make brewery quality beer at home in no time.
Ingredients Needed to Make Beer
Beer is 99% water, so of course you are going to need good quality water. What most beer drinkers don’t know is commercial breweries enhance their water with all sorts of water treatments. Because of that, we would recommend using either reverse osmosis water or bottled water to start. As you learn how to make beer in time, you can toy around with adding salts.
Malted barley (grain) is the next most important ingredient used when making beer at home. There are several different types of grain available to the home brewer, and each recipe calls for different blends. The grain is what is used to mash in and create ferment-able sugars. These sugars will later be consumed by the yeast to create alcohol.
The next ingredient needed to brew your own beer at home would be hops. Hops are added at several different stages throughout the boil and give the brewer unique flavors. There are hundreds of different hops varieties available, and these would vary by the recipe.
Yeast is the final ingredient needed to make your beer. Many don’t realize, but it’s the yeast that actually does most of the work. Home brewers make the wort (or sugar water) but the yeast is the ingredient that consumes the sugar and produces the alcohol. We recommend either Imperial Yeast or Wyeast as both are commonly used by commercial breweries.
Equipment Needed to Brew Beer at Home
In order to brew beer, you will need a few items to get started. Fortunately, most home brew stores sell beginners kits such as this one found at Amazon. Typically, you are going to want a brew kettle to boil the beer, two plastic buckets to clean and ferments, and some sanitizing solution.
As your brewing skills progress, so will your equipment needs. Once you learn how to make beer, you may want to progress to all grain brewing. With this method, you will need a mash tun (typically a large Igloo cooler found at Home Depot), a larger boil kettle, an outdoor burner, a hydrometer, and possibly a stainless steel fermenting vessel.
Methods for Brewing Beer at Home
There are two primary ways home brewers use when making beer at home: all grain or extract.
Extract brewing is suggested for any new home brewer learning how to make beer. This method requires the brewer to simply boil a pre-made wort typically for 60 minutes, add the hops according to the recipe, pitch the yeast, ferment for two weeks, bottle, and enjoy. This is by far the easiest method and by no means does it produce a lesser quality beer. I personally was an extract brewer for almost five years before switching to all grain and still use extract occasionally to save time. Expect to spend about 2-3 hours total on brew day using the extract method.
All grain brewing is the advanced method and one used by mostly all commercial brewers. This method typically takes about 6-7 hours on brew day because of the mashing step. With this, the brewer is essentially making their own wort from scratch by sparging. There are two methods of sparging, batch or fly which will both be covered in another post. Other than the mashing of grains, all grain is essentially the same process once the boil starts.
Learning How to Make Beer Should Be a Fun, Creative, and Enjoyable Experience That Takes Time to Master
This was just an intro post for anyone looking to learn how to make beer. In future posts, we will explore steps in detail, view professional brewery recipes, and cover topics related to home brewing. Please leave a comment below on what type of information you would like covered and I will be sure to make content based on your requests.