How Long Does it Take to Brew a Beer?

Brewing your own beer is a fun and enjoyable hobby many people worldwide enjoy. However, if you are starting out in this hobby, you may have many questions about the brewing process. The most common question we get asked by newbies is, “how long does it take to brew beer?” In this article, we will walk you through the entire process and review the timelines for each step, including the brew day itself, fermentation, and carbonation.

Understanding the Brewing Process and Time Involved

Brewing beer is a complex process involving several steps, each with specific time requirements. From preparing the ingredients to fermenting the beer, every step plays an essential role in determining the taste and quality of the beer.

Preparation and Setup: Time Required to Get Started

Before brew day even begins, it’s vital to make sure you have all the necessary equipment and ingredients. This includes selecting the proper malt, hops, and yeast and setting up your brewing equipment. Depending on how much experience you have and how complex your brewing system is, this part of the process can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days.

The Brewing Process: Understanding Each Step

The actual brew day, where you make your beer, can take several hours, with each step requiring a specific amount of time. This includes the mash, boil, and cooling processes; again, depending on your recipe and equipment, this brewing process can take four to six hours.

Fermentation and Aging: How Long to Wait for the Perfect Beer

After the brewing process, the beer must ferment and age. Fermentation usually takes about one to two weeks, with some beers requiring longer. 

Photo of people making beer next to the words how long does it take to brew beer.
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Depending on the style of beer you are making, you will age your beer for a few days or several weeks and even months.

Carbonating Beer: How Long Does it Take to Bottle or Keg

After the fermentation and aging process has finished, the next step in the process is to carbonate it. Carbonating beer involves adding carbon dioxide (CO2) to it, which gives it its characteristic fizziness and head. There are two main methods for carbonating beer: bottling and kegging.

Bottling Beer: After the beer has finished fermenting, it is transferred to the bottling bucket, to which you will add a small amount of priming sugar to. The priming sugar will react with the remaining yeast in the beer, creating a small amount of CO2. The beer is then bottled and sealed with a bottle cap. The bottles are left at room temperature for one to two weeks, allowing the yeast enough time to consume the sugar and creating enough CO2 to carbonate the beer adequately.

Kegging Beer: Some brewers prefer to carbonate beer in kegs. With kegging after it has finished fermenting, the beer is then transferred to a keg and pressurized with CO2 gas. The pressure forces the CO2 into the beer, carbonating it. The keg can be tapped, and the carbonated beer can be served immediately.

The time it takes to carbonate your beer will vary depending on three main factors; the temperature of the beer, the amount of priming sugar you use, and the amount of pressure applied during kegging. However, typically it takes one to two weeks to carbonate beer in bottles and one to three days to carbonate beer in a keg. However, it’s important to note that different beer styles and personal preferences can affect the desired level of carbonation because some beer styles call for more carbonation than others, and people enjoy varying carbonation levels in their beer, making it a personal choice.

Last Call

Although brewing beer is enjoyable and rewarding, making good beer requires time and patience. On average, it will take 4-6 weeks to brew beer at home from start to finish, which includes the time needed for fermentation, conditioning, and carbonation.

If you are new to brewing, remember to follow the instructions carefully, and as tempting as it is to do, don’t rush the process. The key to a good brew is to give the yeast enough time to work its magic, let your beer condition, and mature to develop its flavors. While it may be tempting to taste your beer early, you will be rewarded with an excellent beer if you wait until it has fully matured before trying it.

Overall, brewing beer is a fun and rewarding hobby that can save you money in the long run. By getting the answer to the question, “how long does it take to brew beer” you are now prepared to create delicious and unique brews that you and your friends will be sure to enjoy!

P.S. Be sure to pick up your gift of Big Robb’s top 5 favorite beer recipes from his brewpub; details are on the side of the blog or at the bottom if you are on your phone. Cheers!

13 thoughts on “How Long Does it Take to Brew a Beer?”

  1. Wow awesome article Robb. I’m not a beer drinker but I find your article impressive. It is so well written that It tempts me to learn the skill but time it takes though to complete the whole process..hmmmm.

    I was going to ask about bacterial infection but then you answered that question already when you emphasized on the danger of transferring the beer from primary fermentation to the secondary one.
    It tells that you really have years of experience doing this.

    Keep up the good work

    • Thanks Maggie, yes beer is highly susceptible to bacteria if you are not careful. Proper cleaning and sanitizing is required plus paying close attention when transferring beers between vessels is important to make sure no bacteria gets in.

  2. Hi Robb,

    Thanks for this post, I’m an ale aficionado but I’ve never actually brewed beer myself. You do make it seem very straight forward and something that I definitely have to try.

    I’m not surprised to learn that beer often tastes best a few weeks after it has been bottled. Although I’ve never made beer I did spend some time working on the setup, launch and growth of a new wine bottling facility. I had n’t appreciated until then that wine actually gets “bottle shock” when it’s bottled and it can taste fairly foul. In wine that usually resolves within about a week of bottling (just enough time for the commercial packhouses to positively release it from laboratory testing and get it onto the shop shelves).

    I’m going to go check out what I need to get started!

    Thanks again.

    • Hey Lisa yes no question that allowing your beer to bottle condition will greatly improve the taste. Thanks for dropping by.

  3. Hey Big Robb, Great post. I work in the restaurant industry myself. I don,t own or brew myself, but I’ve been getting education and training for about 8 years. So, I can definitely say it sounds like you know your brew. Good article on some home brewing tips. I like how you stressed, “time is your ally” and to be patient when it comes to brewing your own beer.

    Thank you

  4. Wow, this is such a process! I knew that making beer and other beverages were complex but I had to read over your article a few times to fully absorb all the details. I had a friend who tried to make moonshine once and wow it came out pretty bad, I should recommend to him to try making something a little lighter than that like beer instead sometime! Thanks for sharing your knowledgeable guidance and wisdom 🙂

    • Glad you enjoyed Rowan, there is a whole lot more involved with making moonshine!

  5. What a wealth of knowledge about how to make a beer. I don’t drink any alcohol but how you’ve outlined how a beer is made is so professional and I’m so tempted to take the lessons and learn the skill. The effort and the passion that you seem to put in when making your beer is amazing. If you have have that kind of patience, it shows how much you love your craft. Thanks for sharing

  6. Hi Big Rob my name is Luke and I’m getting back into home brew, how do I sign up for you tips and tricks for home brewing, I tried it before but time nor finances were on my side, with time and finances settled I can get back into brewing beer, I’m also getting into wine and liquor, my state allows me to own a still and produce liquor for home consumption only. I’m very interested in making my beer the toast of the cook outs I host, yes I also grill and smoke meat when I do my cook outs.


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