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Beer Brewing At Home
Making beer at home is simply that. It’s the process of making any kind of beer you like in your home. This means you can completely customize your homemade beer to your personal preferences. Prefer a pale ale? Fancy a porter or stout? Love a good lager? Whatever type of beer style you like, you can make it at home easily with home brewing techniques.
Home brewing has been around as long as beer has. And, people have been making beer at home in unique and creative ways for just as long. It’s a great way to enjoy your favorite craft beer whenever you want. Plus, you don’t have to worry about not having a beer that you enjoy on hand. Even better? It’s a great way to save money on beer. If you’re hosting a party or just hanging out in the backyard with friends and family -- you won’t have to worry about not having beer options on hand. So, there’s a lot of reasons to brew your own beer at home.
Probably one of biggest reasons most people don’t make their own homemade beer is that it sounds like it could be complicated or tough to do. But, believe it or not, making beer at home is easier than you think. With just a little bit of equipment, you can get started on your own brew adventures easily and quickly. There are tons of home brewing kits on the market that make it as easy as 1-2-3 to get started and on your way to the perfect home brew.
Not sure where to get started? Or, just want to find some more information to help you explore home brewing? We recommend checking out some books to help you on your way. Here are some excellent home brewing books that cover the basics and everything you’ll need to know about making beer at home.
How To Brew:
Everything You Need to Know to Brew Great Beer Every Time
Homebrew Beyond the Basics:
All-Grain Brewing and Other Next Steps
The Beer Bible
If you’re looking for just one book to get you started, this one is it. From tips for beginners to seasoned home brewers to recipes and even brewing methods, this book is your one stop shop for all things home brewing. And, bonus. You can get this book in print form or even add it to your Kindle for a portable option you can read just about anywhere.
If you’ve already dabbled in home brewing and want something a little more advanced, check out this book. This is the perfect book for those with some experience who want to get a bit more advanced in their home brewing style.
For anyone who loves beer, you’ll love the Beer Bible. The book is organized by beer styles: ales, lagers, wheat beers, and sour and wild ales. So, you’ll become a true beer expert after reading this book. As a added bonus, if you’re newer to home brewing, you’ll appreciate the beer comparisons in the “if you like X, try Y” section. And, seasoned home brewers will love this book too for its detail.
Home Brewing Starter Kits
Home brewing doesn’t have to complicated at all. In fact, with modern technology and equipment, it’s easier than ever to make your own homemade beer. One of the very first things you need to do when you are ready to start home brewing beer is to decide on what equipment you want to use. If you’re a beginner or don’t want anything too complicated, using a home brewing kit is a simple and easy way to get started.
Home brewing kits include everything you need to get started making beer. They usually include things like a fermenting bucket, fermentation thermometer, siphons and other tubing, bottle brushes and caps, stainless steel spoons, buckets, and other home brewing essentials. They range from kits perfect for beginner home brewers to master brewers. And, kits come in different styles including those ideal for apartments or smaller homes to those perfect for large home brewing spaces. So, it’s easy to use a home brewing kit wherever and however you want to make your own beer.
Not sure which home brewing starter kit is right for you? Here are three types of categories of home brewing kits that you’ll find on the market. We’ll take a look at who each of these types are made for and some of the features each one brings to home brewing.
Department Store Kits
These are the types of kits you see at stores like Williams Sonoma, Crate & Barrel, and others. They don’t necessarily come with a lot of equipment or require a lot of home brew know-how. But, they are perfect for the beginner home brewer or someone who just wants to try home brewing out. If you’re a more experienced home brewer, these are not the best home brewing kits for you. You’ll want to look for a starter kit that’s a bit more advanced. But, for beginners, these can be a great way to start your home brewing hobby. Looking for a great start kit in this category? Check out this Beer Premium Gold Edition 2 Gallon Home brewing Craft Beer Making Kit.
Small Batch Home Brew Kits
If you’re a bit more experienced or want to experiment a little with your beer styles, look for a small batch home brewing kit. These small batch starter kits let you make any type of beer style you like, but on a smaller scale. This means, it’s the perfect type of kit if you’re looking to build up your home brew collection with different types of beer or if you want to perfect a particular batch. We especially like this BrewDemon Signature Beer Kit, which produces small batch beer using the world's first 2-gallon conical fermenting system -- making for an exceptional small batch of home brew.
Classic Home Brew Kits
If you’re looking to home brew and want a starter kit that’s tried and true, stick with a classic home brew kit. These are the types of kits you’ve probably seen a lot. And, it comes with all the essentials you’ll need for the perfect home brew. Make beer in larger quantities, up to 5 gallons, at a time. Classic home brew starter kits are typically best for those with intermediate to advanced home brewing experience or for those who really want to invest in home brewing equipment. That’s because classic home brew kits can be a bit pricier than other categories of kits. Our favorite in this category? It has to be the Deluxe Home Brewing Equipment Starter Kit which really does have everything you need to get started.
Basic Brewing Equipment
The key to creating home brew is the right kind of equipment. Without good equipment and other beer brewing supplies, your results might vary. That means good basic brewing equipment really is important to getting the best tasting beer at home. But, what type of equipment is essential? Now, that we know a bit about starter kits that include the basics you need, let’s take a look at what those basics are. These are the types of equipment you need to take you through the brewing process from start to finish.
In order to understand the type of equipment you need to make beer at home, we need to understand the beer making process. Beer is basically made by a series of steps that help extract sugar from a specific grain, usually barley, so that yeast can help turn it into alcohol and carbon dioxide to create beer. The first step in this process is called Malting.
Depending on your experience, the Malting process can vary. If you’re a beginner, you’ll skip the malting step and start your home brew with malt extract. If you’re an intermediate home brewer, you might use a combination of malt extract and specialty grains. Those who are master brewers will typically follow the more complicated Malting process.
The next step in the home brewing process is the Mashing process. This is where you actually begin to start your home brew. This process is where you heat up water and steep your grains (or malt extract) to help release the sugar of these grains. A sticky sweet liquid called wort comes from this steeping process. For beginners, this means you’ll be heating up water and adding in malt extract during Mashing. For intermediate home brewers, you’ll use a combination of steeped grains and malt extract. For advanced home brewers, you’ll use grains only during the Mashing process. For all of these different home brewing experience levels, you’ll want to make sure you have some type of heat source to heat water, a large stainless steel boil pot, a large stainless steel spoon, measuring cups, strainers, a thermometer, and steeping bag if you’re using grains.
Once you’ve created the wort, you’re onto the Boiling process. This is where you add hops and spices to your beer. This is a pretty simple process. And, it’s pretty much the same no matter what your experience level is. After the Boiling process is complete, the Fermentation process can begin.
The Fermentation process is where the home brew magic begins. You’ll use a large 5 gallon bucket or other type of requirement to store your beer during the process. It’s important to make sure all equipment used during this process is fully sanitized and cleaned before adding the wort to it. This is because the wort can end up getting infected with microorganisms and cause spoiled beer. So, this is a pretty important piece. With this in mind, all home brewers should have sanitizer on hand for this. Home brewers will also need a fermentation bucket, sanitized airlock and bung.
The final process is bottling and aging. This is where you will add in either artificial carbonation or follow a natural carbonation process to add in those classic beer bubbles, we’re used to. During this process, bottling bucket, bottle filler, bottle brush, bottles, caps, and a bottling capper.
If you’re looking for more information on home brewing equipment, check out our article on Beer Making Equipment Basics.
Common Beer Brewing Ingredients
With a starter kit, basic equipment, and other beer brewing supplies on hand and an understanding of the beer making process, now it’s time to think about the ingredients we need to brew beer. There are a few key ingredients that home brewers need to have on hand before starting to make beer at home. These are the ones you’ll need to create your favorite beer style and add other flavors to it. Here are some of the common ingredients used in the beer making process.
- Water: Often overlooked as a key ingredient, water is the most essential ingredient to any home brew. Water is what you will use to start and complete your beer. Depending on what type of water you use, it can also affect the flavor of your beer. So, when starting your homemade beer, you’ll want to make sure you use filtered water for the best results.
- Malt Extract: Typically used by beginner or intermediate home brewers, malt extract can be a dry or liquid ingredient that can be used in place of grains usually used during the malting and mashing processes. Both the dry and liquid versions can be used for most home brewed beer. But, you’ll want to make sure you check the ingredient ratios before starting since dry and liquid ingredients require different amounts of water and other considerations.
- Grains: Traditional beer is made using grains like barley, which is the most commonly used grain. But, you can also brew beer using grains like wheat, rye, corn, sorghum, and rice. The different grains that you use will impart different flavor to your beer. So, it’s important to consider how you want your beer to taste before adding certain grains to your home brew. If you’re gluten-free and want to create your own gluten-free home brew, you can actually do this by using grains like corn, sorghum, and rice which do not contain gluten. Since most beginner home brewers use malt extract, choosing and using specific grains is usually done at the intermediate and master brewer experience levels.
- Hops: In order to have a beer that’s not too sweet, hops are added to the mix. Hops are actually a flower that adds certain elements to your beer including bitterness, flavors, and even aroma. It’s most well-known purpose in beer is to add some bitterness to help balance out the sweetness of the sugar produced during the malting process. But, different types of hops, like flavoring and aroma, actually affect other parts of your beer besides bitterness.
- Yeast: Without yeast, you can’t have beer. It’s what helps convert the sugar produced in the malting process into alcohol. Yeast is a pretty delicate ingredient because it’s a living organism. This means, you’ll want to make sure your yeast stays at the right temperature and doesn’t get too hot or too cold. You can also find both dry and liquid forms. So, you’ll want to make sure you follow what your home brew recipe calls for.
- Other Ingredients: In addition to these common ingredients for making beer, you can also other ingredients, like spices, powders, and extracts to help flavor your beer. The possibilities are endless. And there are lots of recipes for homemade beer that includes specialty flavors and ingredients.
With these ingredients on hand, it’s easy to make your own unique home brew. Looking for beer recipe inspiration? Check out our article, Easy Home Brew Recipes You are Going to Enjoy.
Brewing Beer At Home
You have your supplies, equipment, and even some recipes on hand. Now, it’s time to start brewing beer at home. Beer making at home is a process. And, it takes some time. But, with a good game plan, you’ll be brewing beer in no time. Let’s take a look at some of the steps you’ll need to take to brew beer at home.
- Preparation: This should be your first step you take when you start to make beer at home. Your objective is to make sure you all everything you need to make beer from start to finish. This includes all the necessary equipment and ingredients you need too. Once you have all of the equipment and ingredients on hand, you’ll want to start to prepare your equipment. This means it’s time to sanitize. As we learned, microorganisms can get into your beer, and that can cause spoiled beer. So, make sure you sanitize your buckets, spoons, and basically anything that comes into contact with your beer after the boiling process. After you’ve gotten your equipment and sanitized it, now it’s time to get organized. Your final preparation step should be to make sure you’ve read all of your home brewing recipe directions and have all of your ingredients measured and ready to go.
- Get to Brewing: Now it’s time to brew your beer. There are several steps in the brewing process. And, this one is one of the most important. Here is where you will create the boiled liquid from malt and hops called wort. This liquid is the basis for your beer. This is also the part of the brewing process where you can add in any spices, extracts, powder, or other flavors you want to put into your beer.
- Fermentation: Once your wort is created and chilled, it’s time for fermentation. This is where the yeast is added to create alcohol. Wort should be placed in an airtight container where it can spend time fermenting. Fermentation happens in two phases: Primary Fermentation and Secondary Fermentation. Primary fermentation begins a few days after your beer has been brewed. This lasts for about a week or two. After that, you may want to do a secondary fermentation. This is when the beer is siphoned into another fermentation bucket for another period of time. If you do a secondary fermentation, it’s important that you make sure your second bucket is completely sanitized before adding the beer.
- Bottling: Now, the big day is here. It’s time to start bottling your finished product. It goes without saying that before you start bottling, be sure that all of your bottles, caps, and other equipment are fully sanitized. Once that’s done, you can begin siphoning your beer and priming it for the bottling process. This is where you will want to make sure any unwanted brewing materials left over from the brewing and fermentation process are removed. After this, you can start filling and capping your beer. But, that’s not the end of your brewing process. Your beer still needs time to be the perfect beer. This is where you’ll want to make sure the condition and proper storage takes place. Conditioning is where carbonation is added to your beer. And this is important. You wouldn’t want a flat soda. The same process applies to beer. Adding in carbonation and letting your beer rest helps you get the best taking home brew possible.
- Enjoy: The wait is over. You’ve spent several weeks working on your home brew. And, now it’s time to enjoy the fruits of your home brew labor.
Now, you’re on your way to brewing the best homemade beer. Want to get more information on how to get started. Check out our article on How to Home Brew Beer for even more beer brewing tips.