So you think you want to get into brewing beer? I totally recommend it, but there are a few things you need to know and do your homework about before making the addictive plunge! The list could be pages and pages deep, but here is a list of the top seven I think are important.
1. Brewing is 90% cleaning and sanitizing, 5% brewing, 4% bottling or kegging 1% Drinking. Take a second to think about that.
2. A “Starter Kit” with extract is an ideal way to start your home brewing journey. Depending on if you start with a 1 gallon kit or a 5 gallon kit, you will need to have a few things that are not included in typical kits.
- A large enough brew kettle. You will need one that can hold and boil 3-5 gallons of water/wort.
- Powerful enough stove or propane burner for boiling large volumes of water. Anywhere from 3 to 5 gallons of water is typical. You have to account for boil off, hop / trub / protein coagulation, and the fallout after the boil.
- Palatable Drinkable water. You do want good beer don't you? Either a nice water filter or just purchasing a few gallon jugs of reverse-osmosis water.
3. Brewing a batch (depending on size and efficacy) can take anywhere from 2 hours to 6 hours. Shorter times are estimated for one gallon extract batches while longer times are needed for all grain brewing.
4. Yeast is your friend! Your kit should have come with some yeast. If not, you will need to get some brewing yeast before you can make beer. (Don’t use bread yeast.)Yeast is alive and needs to be treated with some respect. Before you brew, its recommended to keep it in the refrigerator and limit how long it sits. The longer it sit hinders the health and effectiveness of the yeast. On brew day, take it out of the fridge a few hours before it is going to be pitched (put into the wort to make beer).
5. You will need some ice and a big enough sink or bathtub to place the boiling pot of wort into. After the boil, it is important to bring the temperature below 100 degrees as quick as you can. Some advanced brewers typically use a wort chiller or chiller plate, but since this might be your first time, a good cold bath and a little patience will go a long way.
6. Brewing can get expensive. Not really the ingredients, but the equipment. A Basic set up can $300 to an elaborate set up for Thousands of dollars. The nice thing is you can add as you go and upgrade as you see fit. The value of the equipment seems to keep is value, so worst case, you could sell it to someone else looking to brew. Either way, you have been warned!
7. While it can be a little overwhelming, brewing beer is not that hard. It can be as simple or as technical as you want it to be. Realize that brewing was done several years prior to todays science. Think of it like brewing tea or coffee, just a lot more cleaning and sanitizing! Once you make the jump though... you might be hooked. Brewing can be very addictive!
Feel free to share these tips with someone you know that might want to enter the beer brewing world. Thanks for reading.