How to start homebrewing?
Making beer at home is something a lot of people aspire to do. Although many believe it to be a complicated process, the reality is that it is as simple as cooking your favorite recipe, it only takes a bit longer. Typically, it takes four to six weeks for you to be able to taste your masterpiece.
In order to guide you through your initial steps, we prepared a few tips you can follow as you embark on this brewing adventure.
1. Knowledge is power
Before starting this adventure, it is essential to grab all the information you can. It can be online courses, videos, articles, and books. For the latter, John Palmer wrote a famous brewing guide: How to Brew: Everything You Need to Know to Brew Great Beer Every Time. In this book, Palmer presents a full-range of knowledge you need in order to make your beer at home with clear language that is easy to understand. Another book with a step-by-step guide to making your own brew possible is The Complete Joy of Homebrewing, by Charlie Papazian, a former president of the Brewers Association. The book has easy-to-follow instructions and a lot of information about the brewing world.
It doesn't matter which one you choose, our tip here is: read, watch and consume every piece of information you can to prepare yourself to make the best beer and enjoy the process.
2. Let's go shopping
Ok, so you already know theoretically what you need to do. Now, it is time to be practical. The first thing you need is the essential equipment and ingredients for your homebrew journey. A lot of companies sell brewing starter kits for those who want to jump-start their hobby. These kits can help the beginner and save a lot of time in the process. Some of the information you must know are:
The essential equipment
- A stove;
- A kettle;
- Stainless Spoon;
- Bubbler Airlock;
- Measuring cup (preferably made of glass);
- Gallon fermenter (graduated plastic or glass-strengthened bucket);
- Cleaner and sanitizer material;
- Bottle brush;
- Thermometer (optional).
The essential ingredients
It all depends on the recipe you choose, but the main ingredients are:
- Malt, even though it is possible to brew with malt extract;
3. It's cooking time
First of all, clean everything! A neat cleaning process is key to the success of your product. If there is contamination with any dirt or bacteria, all your work may be compromised. Therefore, take care to clean all the equipment and ingredients, and sanitize your hands throughout the process.
Then, organize your recipe and your mise-en-place. if you are using an ingredient kit, most likely everything is already measured and in the correct amount. Just double-check to avoid any surprises.
Now, start the fun part: follow your recipe, put the kettle on and start cooking. After boiling, just cool the wort as fast as possible, shocking it, as this process is called. You’ll want to do this as quickly and cleanly as possible to avoid any unwanted spoilage or contamination.
After that, with the help of a thermometer, check the temperature and, when the wort reaches the one specified in your recipe, you can transfer it into the fermentation bucket. Then, seal it with the airlock to the lid.
4. Time to chill
Now, your preparation needs time to rest. Normally, it takes around one to two weeks in the refrigerator. However, one more time, it depends on your recipe and the yeast used. Usually, the recipe will specify the proper temperature and how long the process will take.
Your beer is (almost) ready! Before bottling, you need to make sure all your equipment is well sanitized and do the last step of the process, the priming. Here, you will add the fermentable sugar indicated in your original recipe. After this process, your beer is ready to be bottled and stored in a cool dark place, check your recipe to verify the appropriate temperature, and wait for two weeks. This is the time your beer needs to get carbonated and ready. If you have the right devices, you can also carbonate your beer artificially, but this is probably something you will try after quite a few batches of homebrew.
5. It's ready!
So, after you have cooked, fermented, primed, and bottled, voilà!, your beer is now ready to be consumed. Cheers!
After these steps, your first beer is ready. Are you proud of the result? How about sharing your experiences with other passionate people by joining a homebrew club near you? These are places where you can improve your skills with people who are as fascinated by beer as you. You can learn from each other and build a brew-friendship. In the future, you can also start to participate in beer competitions. In these events, you will learn more about the process and improve your skills with feedback from judges and other brewers.
You can follow the active amateur and professional competitions around the world here with us - click here and choose the right ones for you to get started.