For some people, home brewing can conjure up some idea of a bunch of rednecks in the woods brewing their own beer. This isn’t entirely true.
The old adage goes, “if you can boil water, you can brew beer”.
Many of your neighbors or friends may have home brewed at one point or another. This is actually how I got into home brewing. My friend was home brewing and I thought I would give it a try.
I’ve been hooked ever since.
According to the American Homebrewers Association, estimates say 1 million people brew their own beer or wine at least once a year in the United States alone. There are many reasons to brew your own beer, but let’s get started with the bare bones basics: how to brew.
If you want a more in-depth guide to brewing beer, try one of these free guides:
The beer making process is relatively easy. In order to make beer you need a few main ingredients:
- Sugar (Dextrose)
And that’s it! Although many people add much more ingredients to add to their beers, including spices and fruits, the above ingredients are the bare essentials to getting started in this obsession…I mean hobby. Now let’s move on to:
At the simplest level, brewing the beer consists of these 5 steps:
- Let’s Mix it Up: For extract, you will combine dry malt extract and water then boil. Some recipes may require steeping grains (like using a tea bag) to add flavor or aroma. Your first brewing experience may or may not involve hops (but it should!)
- Be Cool and Pitch: After the mixture (now called wort) is boiled and hops have been added, it is time to cool the wort down. Once it is in the mid 70s, you can add, aka pitch the yeast. Now it’s ready to be placed into your primary fermenter. You will let it wait out for a period of time between 4-14 days. On occasion, I have let my wort ferment for 3 weeks but it is purely up to the individual brewer which is the art of home brewing.
- Wait it Out: Time is one of the most important ingredients in your beer. So patience, young grasshopper, while your beer ferments. Once fermentation is finished, your beer will need time to clear the yeast and allow it to settle. This can take anywhere from 2-4 weeks. I recommend not to use a secondary fermenter although that’s completely up to you and what works best for your style. If you have suggestions on this, please comment below.
- Bottle: Bottling day requires some basic steps. You must sanitize your bottles, prime your sugar and add the wort to your bottles. Although this looks intimidating, once you nail your process down it is much easier. Read about how not to ruin your beer with oxidation.
- Enjoy: The most enjoyable step. You open that first beer and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
And that’s it. You now have your own beer brewed by your very own hands to enjoy with friends and family.