Is the thought that making beer at home is to complicated stopping you from getting started in this great hobby? If so let me set the record straight for you on this my friend, brewing at home is not difficult at all, especially when you have the right guidance from the start.
In today’s post we are going to run through 5 quick and easy steps to get you up and brewing some delicious beer quickly. Let’s call it a Home Brewing Beginners guide.
And let me be upfront with you from the start, this is going to be a quick and short overview. So if you are looking for more in depth information and details I recommend you check out this post here.
OK let’s get you started…
Step #1: Get the Right Equipment
Having the right equipment in place is paramount to your brewing success.
Like anything else in life if you have the wrong gear you cannot expect to do a good job. Starting out you do not have to go crazy with the equipment you pick up. You can get a good starter kit for around $100 and even less in some cases.
A good kit should come with all of the equipment to allow you to brew your first batch of beer. A good kit would include a fermenter with air lock and bung, all of the bottles you need, a thermometer, a hydrometer, a spoon, bottles caps, siphon or bottling wand and a good cleanser/sanitizer.
Outside of these item’s anything else you require you should be able to find in your home.
Step #2: Get Good Beer kit.
Now in this case when I say beer kit I mean the actual ingredients and recipe to brew up a batch of beer.
Starter kits for beginner homebrewers would be malt extract kits. Some of these kits require that you boil the ingredients of the kits. However, I personally recommend that you look at the kits that do not require you to boil them. I prefer the kits where you simply mix the ingredients into the fermenter with water and add the yeast.
Back in the “old” days most of the kits required that you boil the ingredients. But nowadays the kits have come a long way and have improved significantly and some of the best on the market are like I just described. Simple add water and off you go.
Coopers and Mr. Beer make the best kits you can get. Plus they not only come with the ingredients to make a batch of beer, they also come with all of the equipment you need to get you started.
You can learn more about them here:
Step 3: Brewing the Beer
The first step is to clean and sanitize your equipment. A batch of beer can go bad quickly if you neglect this step, and poor sanitation is the number one reason people lose a batch.
You want to clean and sanitize your whole brewing area and all your pieces of equipment that will come in contact with your beer. This includes the fermenter, bottles, spoon, everything!
Here is a very detailed overview of how to clean homebrew equipment.
After you have sanitized everything, place the can of goo in a sink filled with hot tap water. Can of goo is what I call the beer kit that comes in a can. Clever eh?
Placing the can in the hot water will liquefy the ingredients in the can (malt extract) and make it easier to pour into the fermenter and will also allow it to dissolve quicker.
Now add 3 liters of hot tap water to the fermenter. Then pour the ingredients of the can into the fermenter. Take your sanitized spoon and mix it up good. Keep stirring until the malt extract from the can has dissolved.
Now add cold tap water to your fermenter. Fill it up to the 18 liter mark on the fermenter. Coopers fermenters have the markings on the side of them. With other fermenters you may have to add the markings yourself.
Now take a thermometer and check the temperature of the liquid in the fermenter. You want to get it to around 21 C or 71 F. So if the temperature is low you now start adding warm/hot water to bring it up to the right temperature. If the temperature is too high you start adding cold water to the fermenter to bring it up to the right temperature.
You want to fill the fermenter up to the 24 liter mark.
Once you have filled the fermenter up to the 24 liter market and it has reached the correct temperature you will simply sprinkle the yeast on top of the liquid and put the cover on.
Step #4 – Ferment Your Beer
Now simply put the fermenter in a room in your house that is set at around 68 – 72 degrees F.
You should start to see active fermentation within 24 – 48 hours.
What is happening is the yeast is going to work turning the sugars in the malt into beer. Initial fermentation; i.e. the fermentation that you can see happening will go on for about 3-4 days. After that it will slow down, but it is still fermenting.
You can tell when it is has finished most of the fermenting when all the visible action has stopped in the fermenter. Leave it for at least another 3-4 days after this.
I recommend letting your beer ferment for at least 2 weeks if you want really good fermentation and a better tasting beer.
Another way you can tell that fermentation has finished is to take a hydrometer reading.
You can learn how to that here: How to Read a Hydrometer
Step #5 – Bottling Your Homebrew
Ok so the last step is bottling your homebrew and priming it. Priming it means adding sugar to it in order to carbonate it.
This is typically done by adding dextrose (corn sugar) to each bottle or by batch priming.
However, I highly recommend that if you are going to bottle your beer that you do so using what is referred to as Carbonation Drops. These are basically little sugar drops, they look like something a farmer would give to his horses.
They make priming your homebrew a much simpler process. Simply add one drop to each bottle and cap the bottles and let the yeast and sugar do its work.
Leave your brew to carbonate in the bottle for at least 7 days and longer is always better. I let mine go for at least 2 weeks. But 3-4 months is even better.
If you want to learn more about bottling you can go here: How to Bottle Beer
If you want to up your game and learn about kegging you can go here: How to Keg Beer
And to see the differences between using Carbonation Drops and priming with Sugar like Dextrose I recommend you check out this post: Carbonation Drops Vs Priming Sugar
Time to Enjoy Your Brew
And that my friend is your Home Brewing Beginners guide.
I trust you enjoyed it and more importantly I trust you found it helpful.
There is no question that what we just covered is the basics of making beer from a kit, and there is much more involved in homebrewing. However, if you follow what you just learned you will make a good beer.
If you want to up your homebrewing game a bit further, then check out this post: How to Home Brew
Cheers my friend