Brewing beer at home is a hobby people have enjoyed for as long as most of us can remember. And yes, you can go all out and invest tens of thousands of dollars in beer brewing equipment. But you do not have to. Brewing at home is not too expensive if you know what you are doing and you’re willing to invest a little bit of time.
What do you need to brew at home? You can get away with these six basic things:
- Soup spoon
- Some cheesecloth
- Bucket w/lid
- Rubber hose
- Bottles or canning jars w/lids
If you want to invest in beer brewing equipment, you will need a fermentation tank and a few other pieces. Companies like Houston-based Cedarstone Industry sell equipment to commercial breweries, but you will probably have to go to a craft brewing hobby store to get equipment more appropriate to home use.
Along with your beer brewing equipment, you are going to need ingredients. Again, craft brewing hobby stores are good outlets. They sell everything you need in a single kit. If kits aren’t your thing, you can buy the ingredients piecemeal. You will need:
- dried hops
- ale yeast
- sugar and the malt extract
After brewing your first few batches, you may decide you want to venture into new taste profiles by adding different grains. Go for it. That’s the beauty of brewing beer at home. You can make it taste however you like by choosing the right ingredients.
The Basic Process
Now we will outline the basic process for brewing beer at home. Rest assured that craft brewers and industrial operations follow the same fundamental steps. They just do so on a larger scale in order to produce volume. If you’re ready, let’s get started.
1. Boil the Grains
Your first step is to boil your grains and malt extract in water. As for the exact formulation, that is up to you. There are plenty of starter recipes online. At any rate, you bring the water to a boil before adding the hops and other grains. With the grains added, let the mixture boil for 30 minutes. Finally, boil for five more minutes after adding the malt extract.
2. Instigate Fermentation
Your second step is to instigate fermentation. How do you do this? First, you strain the mixture using the cheesecloth. Cover the top of the bucket with cheesecloth and then pour the liquid through. It might help to secure the cheesecloth around the top of the bucket with elastic straps or a piece of rope. Now, add cold water according to your chosen recipe. Let everything sit to cool.
After about 30 minutes, you are going to add your yeast. Close up your bucket and store it in a cool, dry place for about 10 days. This is why you need a bucket with a sealable lid.
At the end of 10 days, strain the resulting liquid with cheesecloth and pour it into the bottles or canning jars. Close them up and let them sit for a couple of weeks. This is the final step of conditioning and carbonating. Within about two weeks, you will have your own beer ready for drinking.
Understand that this is a very basic introduction to brewing your own beer at home. The point is this: you can concoct your own home brew without spending thousands of dollars on industrial beer brewing equipment. Your biggest expense will be the stainless-steel kettle (yes, use stainless-steel) and, if you do not already have them, bottles or canning jars.
As well as making sure it meets all regulations, having this information will also ensure it’s safe to drink. If you’re packaging or selling at events where there might be young people consuming alcoholic beverages (like festivals), then knowing how much has gone into each bottle can help prevent underage drinking laws being broken. You could even avoid any unfortunate incidents like someone getting sick from over consumption through lack of knowledge about their intake! This applies equally if you produce large volumes; ensuring accuracy ensures consistency throughout batches. If you’re in need of equipment to ensure your home brew is safe to consume, why not check out Calibre Control.