Homebrewing gives you a chance to explore taste profiles and develop unique beers. When you start learning how to brew beer at home, though, you need to take a minimalist approach to the hobby. After you gain some experience, you can start writing your own recipes and upgrading your home brewery.
For your first batch of beer at home, follow these tips to get tasty results.
Get the Essential Homebrewing Equipment
Before you can start brewing at home, you need to collect some basic equipment. For your first batch, you don’t need to worry about fancy gadgets. Just keep things simple. If you decide to brew regularly, then you should pick up extras like a hydrometer or wort chiller. Until then, make sure you have:
- A 4-gallon pot that you can put on the stove.
- A cooking thermometer.
- Two 6-gallon buckets.
- Bottles, bottle caps, and a capper.
- An airlock and stopper.
- An auto siphon.
- A spigot for one of your buckets (you can buy buckets with spigots built in or drill a hole yourself).
- About 5 feet of 3/8-inch beverage line.
- A muslin bag.
- Bottling wand.
This may sound like a lot, but you can get everything you need for less than $100. You may already have some of these items in your kitchen.
Buy a Beer Recipe Kit
With your first brew, you should use a beer recipe kit that includes all of the ingredients you need. Much like you go to an expert to get an upscale haircut, you should rely on a brewing expert with experience making beer recipes.
Northern Brewer Supply is a good option for online shopping. The company has more than 300 recipes that it will deliver to your door.
If you prefer buying from a local store, visit places like South Bay Brewing Supplies, Chef’s Toys and The Home Wine, Beer, and Cheesemaking Shop. Building local relationships will come in handy when you want to start making your own recipes.
Sanitize Your Equipment
Sanitizing your equipment is one of the most important steps in a successful brew. It doesn’t matter whether you’re brewing 5 gallons at home or thousands of gallons at Stone Brewing. Assume that all of your equipment is filthy. Sanitize everything from the bucket to the airlock to prevent wild yeasts from making your brew funky.
Make the Wort
Set aside about 90 minutes to make your wort (unfermented beer). While making the wort, you’ll:
- Drop a muslin bag full of grains into your water.
- Maintain a steady temperature specified in your recipe.
- Add hops, malt extract and yeast at certain points during the process (refer to your recipe).
You’ll spend most of your time standing around. Or, you could burn some calories so you don’t get fat from drinking your beer.
Give Your Beer Time to Ferment
Once your wort cools, put it into a bucket, close the lid and attach the airlock. Most beers take about 14 days to ferment. After that, you can transfer your brew from the primary fermenter to the secondary fermenter for an extra two weeks. Whether you need to do that depends on the type of beer you make. Again, pay attention to your recipe. It will guide you to success.
Bottle Your Beer and Taste the Results
Feel good about this accomplishment! Not everyone can make a good beer at home. A little extra self-confidence from learning a new skill will also improve your sex life.