When you decide to try your hand at making a batch of fresh homemade beer, there are four main ingredients that you will definitely want to know about. Water, Malt, Hops and Yeast are the four most important ingredients that are a must in every beer making kit. When choosing these four ingredients, you will want to know exactly what to look for.
1. Water – Homemade beer is made up of over ninety five percent water. That is why it is very important to use the right kind of what. You are probably asking yourself, “There is a difference in water?”. The answer is yes. Tap water requires a great deal of testing to determine the amount of chemicals it is made up of. You must make sure that if there are too many minerals and chemicals present you must filter the water to the proper level, so that your brew is not damaged or wasted. Never used distilled water because the natural elements that are beneficial in the beer making are removed. The best water to use is store bottled water.
When purchasing store bottled water, you will want to make sure you are not just buying bottled tap water. You can purchase a cheap water testing kit that is available where beer making supplies are purchased. This simple test will help save you from wasting your time needed to make homemade beer, only to find out that the brew is wasted.
2. Malt – The malted barley that is used in making brew is the result of soaking barley grains in water until they begin to sprout. When they start sprouting they draw on the starch reserves that they have and it is transformed into simple sugars. These simple sugars are what the yeast that is used in the beer making process will feed on later in the process. When the barley is dried and cured, it will produced the necessary soluble starches and sugars that are used for fermentation. When you begin the brew process, malted barley must be cracked and then boiled in water to create the mashing process.
Barley is not the only grain that can be used, however it is the most common among beer makers. Some other brewers will use wheat, rye, oats or other grains during the brewing process.
3. Yeast – The yeasts used in brewing homemade beer and ale are single celled living organisms that feed on sugars which they convert to carbon dioxide and alcohol. This process is done during the fermentation of the brew. Yeast is the one ingredient that makes the whole beer making process happen.
There are many different types of yeasts that are available. However, when producing ales and beers, you must use a yeast that is labeled “Beer Yeast”. There are two major types of beer yeast available on the market which consists of lager yeast and ale yeast. These different yeasts will affect your desired taste in the final beer product.
4. Hops – Hops are used in the beer making process to spice the brew. They are responsible for the enhancement in flavor and the smell of your product. Hops are cone like flowers that are part of the cannabis family of plants. There are currently over 50 different varieties that are known about today. Hops are used to balance the sweetness of your homemade ales and beer. They also play an important role in helping to clarify the brew and acts as a bacterial inhibitor to prevent the growth of bacteria in the beer.
Purchasing an inexpensive guide to the different varieties of hops available to determine which one may be your preferred choice. These guides can be purchased at book stores, online or at the stores where you purchase your beer making kits and supplies. There is no specific right choice. It is all dependent on your individual preference.