Home brewing beer can seem like a daunting process for the beginning brewer. However, home brewing kits make it remarkably easy to brew craft-quality beer in your own kitchen.
The equipment needed is relatively simple and is usually packaged as a beginning kit that can be obtained at your local home brewing supply store or online through websites such as Midwest Supplies or Williams Brewing. Needed supplies include the following:
Along with this equipment, order your favorite ale-brewing kit. Most beginner kits provide the basics of crushed grains, malt extract, dehydrated hops, and priming sugar. It is definitely worth buying the liquid yeast to go along with the kits. This will ensure that the beer you want is the beer you get as yeast imparts certain flavors.
You always start the home brewing process by “popping” the liquid yeast. The yeast comes in a bag with a small bag of sugars inside that needs to be popped. This gets the yeast going by giving them something to eat. They reproduce quickly by eating up the sugars and leaving beer and carbon dioxide behind. It takes a couple of hours for the yeast to reach a point where they can be added to the cooled brew.
After an hour or two, it’s time to open a beer in order to better enjoy the brewing process. There’s nothing more motivating during the brewing process than enjoying a good beer. Start by heating about two gallons of water in the brew pot. When the water gets to about 150 degrees, add the crushed grains in the provided grain bag. Keep the water at this temperature. It’s a bit like brewing tea that smells like grape-nuts cereal and colors the water based on the type of crushed grains.
After about a half hour, remove the grain bag and add the malt extract, which can be either a dry powder or a liquid syrup. Stir in the malt extract while the water is heated up to boiling. At this point, keep an eye on the brew as it could boil over. Once the brew gets to boiling, add the bittering hops. The hops and malt water is called wort. It should be boiled for about an hour to best utilize the hops. For the last five minutes or so, add the aroma hops.
The wort then has to be cooled. You can put the pot in the sink with some ice to accomplish this. Adding cool water to the brewing bucket along with the warm wort can help cool down the mixture as well. After adding the wort to the bucket, add enough water to fill the bucket to the five-gallon mark. Once the wort has cooled to around 70 degrees, add the yeast.
It takes about two weeks for the beer to finish brewing. More advanced kits like lagers require certain temperatures to ferment. The easier ales just need to be at 65-70 degrees for a couple of weeks. You can see carbon dioxide escaping into the airlock when fermentation is in full swing.
Now you have five gallons of flat beer in a bucket. Boil up the priming sugar in a couple cups of water, and add it to the bottling bucket. Transfer the beer to the bucket being careful not to stir up the yeast husks on the bottom of the brew bucket. The tubes and hoses in the beginning brewer kit are important here to transfer the beer to the clean bottles. After capping the bottles, it takes about two weeks for the beer to be well-carbonated and finished.
The upfront costs for the beginning brewer kits run $50-$60 plus bottles, but then a kit is about $30, and this makes about 50 bottles of beer. Not bad on cost considering a six-pack of quality beer can run $8 at the grocery store. Of course, the quality of fresh home-brewed beer is often superior to store bought beer.