Are Home Brewing Kegs Better?

When most people think of making beer at home, they think of a long and complicated process that looks something like a chemistry experiment, involving hundreds of dollars worth of equipment bought at specialty shops. This is not necessarily the case. Home brewing kegs, or fermenters, are widely available, the most popular being the Mr. Beer home brewing kits made and sold in North America. This type of fermenter involves a piece of durable food-grade plastic, usually made to hold two gallons, with a gasket on top or a specialized lid designed to let carbon dioxide out while keeping the liquid free from contaminants and protecting the fermentation process, which can take anywhere from five days to two weeks. These are usually made with bottom-fermenting beer recipes in mind, where the yeast settles to the bottom as it becomes used and the sugars are converted into alcohol. This is, by far, the simplest method for making beer at home, and ready-to-use ingredients can be purchased for each batch, such as hopped and un-hopped malt extracts, and dextrose for added body and alcohol content. These usually cost in the neighborhood of $10 to $20 a piece. Alternatively, ingredients can be purchased in bulk from brewing stores and food stores, from grain to barley and rice. These ingredients can be added according to preexisting recipes, or advanced brewers are free to invent their own concoctions. If you are just starting out with home brewing, the ready-to-use ingredient kits are the best choice. They usually include a packet of brewer’s yeast and sanitizing chemicals, so you have everything you need to get started. This is a great way to go through the brewing process for the first time, learning as you go, and a successful first batch is a great encouragement to continue in this wonderful and inexpensive hobby. Not only are you saving money on beer and wine, but you have the opportunity to express yourself as you craft beers to taste according to what you like and think is good.

After you’ve acquired some experience with these home brewing kegs and simple recipes, you may want to invest in some more sophisticated equipment that will give you better control over the brewing process and let you brew bigger batches instead of only two gallons at a time. Most standard brewing equipment requires you to make a minimum of five gallons. Or, you may well want to continue making beer with your home brewing kegs, instead. This is a perfectly reasonable choice for those who enjoy dabbling in this hobby, but don’t want to spend hours steeping grain, simmering ingredients over a hot stove, and spending large amounts of time cleaning and sanitizing your equipment. Another reason for sticking with the home brewing keg fermenters is that you may not have enough room in your house or apartment for a lot of equipment, or don’t want to spend the money. Whatever your reasons, the plastic fermenters that come with brewing starter kits are a great way to make some great beer while staying within your budget. It teaches you all you need to know about how beer is made, giving you firsthand experience, but like any hobby, requires patience. The standard amount of time you will need to wait for a two gallon batch of beer to mature is one to two weeks for fermenting, two weeks carbonation and secondary fermentation in individual bottles, and two weeks for conditioning, to get the fullness of flavors from your beer ingredients. It is well worth the wait. As you crack open your first beer, remember the time and dedication that went into crafting that beer, and the fun you had making it. Home brewing is a matter of simple chemistry, but for sheer flavor and delight, nothing beats a well-crafted beer made from home using your own equipment. If you’re interested or even mildly curious about home brewing, you could do much worse than to get started with a home brewing keg.