The Basics of Home Brewing

To home brew your own beer there are first a few things you need.  First and foremost, you need to love beer.   With this love, you must have the drive and will power to take drinking and experiencing beer to the next step.  Home brewing allows you to brew it at home with the ultimate goal of making that perfect beer.  The beer that combines appearance, aroma and taste, to give your fellow beer drinkers and yourself a chance to experience the ultimate satisfaction as you lift the glass of beer and have it slide down your throat.   

Beer is basically made up of four ingredients.   Malt, hops, yeast and water.  Malt is the grain that provides color, body and taste of the beer.  It also provides food for the yeast.  Yeast eats the sugar from the grain, converting it to alcohol and carbon dioxide.  Hops are flowers that provide spice in the beer.  They provide aroma and flavor.     Water makes up close to 92-95% of the total ingredients of beer.  The water coming out of your tab is fine in most cases.

Mixing these four ingredients together is not enough to make beer.  You need the proper equipment to do it in.  Since most homebrew recipes are based on producing five gallons of beer, the following equipment listed is based on creating five gallons of beer.  To get started, you will need a large three to five gallon stainless steel pot, a five gallon plastic bottling bucket, a five gallon glass carboy, an airlock and six feet of plastic siphon hose.  In approximately two weeks after fermentation, you will need two cases of bottles, caps and a bottle capper.

The secret to home brewing is cleanliness and sanitation.  You don’t want some of those bad microbes sneaking into your brew, ruining it.  Start out with a clean kitchen and utensils that will come into contact with your brew.  The basics to brewing your brew is you boil malt for approximately an hour.  Add about an ounce of hops to the wort – what the malted liquid is called after it begins to boil –for about ten minutes.

Remove the kettle, quick cool down the wort.  Once cool downed, filter the wort then transfer it to the primary fermenter, the five gallon carboy.  Toss in the yeast and cap it with the airlock.  For approximately the next two weeks, the airlock will be a bubbling as the carbon dioxide is released as the yeast and malt converts sugar into alcohol.   After two weeks, the bubbling and the process will end, you will need to siphon the beer into the five gallon plastic bottling bucket.  The bottling bucket has a spigot on the bottom of it.  The carboy will have thick sediment on the bottom of it. You will try not to disturb this sediment and not siphon any of it into to the bottling bucket.   Once the flat beer is siphoned out of the carboy, you need to add about two thirds a cup of corn sugar.  Begin to pour beer in each bottle, cap it and store the bottles in a cool, dark place for an additional two weeks.   During this two week, the beer will naturally carbonate because of the addition of the corn sugar. 

Now, it has been approximately a month since you began the process, you beer is ready to sample and enjoy.  Sounds easy, doesn’t it?   This is a very simplified version of home brewing to “wet your whistle”.  But, actually it really is a rather simple, easy and relatively inexpensive to do.   You can get into a homebrew beer kit, that has all the hardware needed to brew your beer, ranging  $50 to $100.  You can buy recipe kits that come with a malt extract, hops, and yeast, everything you need to make a couple six packs of beer. 

As you brew a couple of batches, you will find yourself, expanding in techniques to the point where you are actually creating your own recipes, tailoring ingredients toward your tastes and likes.  To think a hobby where you get to indulge into your created masterpiece.  What more could you ask for? “CHEERS”.