If you’re one of the millions of people who enjoy beer, then you may have considered making your own. Homebrewing has rich traditions and many people enjoy making their own brews at home. The good news is that over its history, brewing beer has largely remained the same process. To get an idea of how to get started, we’ll cover what you need to brew at home.
There are two primary types of brewing: all grain and extract. As you may know, beer is made from sugar that has been extracted from malted grains. In all-grain brewing, the homebrewer does the work of extracting the sugar while extract brewing uses an extract and skips this process. You can learn more about the brewing process on this page.
If you visit a professional brewery, you’ll notice shiny tanks, extensive pipework, and an entire operation that can be intimidating to the new brewer. However, you don’t need all of this fancy equipment to get started. A basic home brewing kit is that’s needed. You can always add onto your equipment later on if you want to expand.
Purchase or Obtain:
- A 6.5 gallon bucket with lid
- 6.5 gallon bottling bucket with a spigot
- No-rinse cleaner
- Siphon and bottling set-up
- Brush for bottle cleaning
- Twin lever bottle capper
- Bucket flip
- Equipment and home beer instructions
- 3.5 gallon stock pot
Although you do need a fair amount of equipment, the main ingredients of beer are simple: hops, grains or malt extract, yeast, and water.
Hops are the flowers of a plant and play a role in the bitter taste of beer. The higher hop concentration, the more bitter your beer. Hops are used during the boiling part of beer making and may also be used in the finished beer for additional aroma and fragrance.
The grains or extract is primarily responsible for adding flavor and depth to the beer. You can use either milled grains or purchase malt extracts for a more convenient option. Brewer’s yeast is the final ingredient other than water that you’ll need to purchase. You can find yeast in a liquid or dry form. The yeast will ferment the beer so use a high quality for the best results.
Although each recipe will have different variations, you’ll start by boiling water with submerged grains. Add the hops and then cool the mixture as quickly as possible. You can transfer the mixture to the fermenter vessel and measure the original gravity to calculate the beer’s alcohol content. Adding the yeast to the mixture, you’ll then allow the mixture to ferment and then bottle the beer. The aging or conditioning process is the final step before enjoying the beer.
Now that you have an idea of how to make your own beer, you’re ready to get started. After you master this basic recipe, you can start to experiment with recipes and make your own brews. Use this advice to get started learning the basics of homebrewing.