Have you ever wondered, "How do I make homemade beer?"
Making beer (also known as ale) at home is actually very simple and fun. Home brewing is neither difficult nor complicated, once one has gotten the hang of it and learned all the steps.
Brewing ale at home is becoming more popular and has grown significantly in recent years. Different people take on the hobby of home brewing for different reasons. Many have learned that setting up and obtaining good homebrew equipment/supplies is truly not very expensive or problematic.
Some of us love the social aspect of joining a community (both local and international) of brewers, whether it be via the Internet or in their hometown. Others just find it very enjoyable assembling the equipment, learning the recipes, and following the steps for making their own homebrewed batch of delicious beer, not to mention taking that first taste of a fresh brew that is homemade! Even if a batch of beer does turn out to be a disaster (which it may or may not your first time around), just consider it part of your learning process, which will help you to make even better beer next time!
Another reason people turn to home brewing their own beer is the power of choice one has when home brewing. There are tons of different recipes available out there, in addition to being able to make a variety of strengths, light versus dark beers, flavors of beer, etc.
Not only do people who have started this hobby discover how much fun it is doing their own home brewing, they have also discovered that homebrewed beer is unquestionably much more fresh and better tasting than any they have ever bought from a store or ordered at a bar/pub!
It is absolutely beyond gratifying for many, including myself, to serve freshly homebrewed beer to guests, followed by the words of praise one gets when his or her friends rave about the freshness of the homebrew beer that has been served!
Making your own homebrewed beer does require some patience, and although it does not take forever for a batch of homebrew you have made yourself to be ready for you to consume, that first batch will seem to take absolutely forever before it is ready for you to enjoy!
You will also be delighted to learn that there is some, but not a whole lot, of beer brewing equipment needed for brewing ale from home! You will need to invest in some specialized equipment to use for home brewing your own beer, but once you have invested in this, your only expense thereafter will be your ingredients for your next batch of fresh brew!
With the continued development of new web sites, eBooks, articles, and forums available on the Internet about brewing beer at home, you will definitely have any assistance you may need at your fingertips, to either help you get started or help you along the way after you get started. You will also find it rewarding, after you have become a seasoned homebrew maker, to provide your knowledge to others who have just started embarking on this adventure!
I have listed below some primary steps needed for brewing beer at home. (Please be aware that the information below contains the basics only, and you will need more information than what I have provided. Please choose a recipe and then follow the detailed instructions as per that recipe.) Before you begin the actual brewing process, you will need to do the following:
Gather and measure needed amounts of all your ingredients, which will include malt extract, hops, specialty grains, and yeast - the type of yeast you will use will be dependent on what type of beer you are brewing.
Sanitize all of your equipment. You can do this a couple different ways - my suggestions are that you either use your home dishwasher set at high heat or use a sanitizing agent such as Powdered Brewery Wash (PBW). Make sure if you are using an agent such as PBW that you rinse all of your equipment thoroughly. Use of bleach on your home brewing equipment is not advised, as this can cause your brew to have a different flavor than it otherwise would have. Use of bleach will also necessitate you to rinse your equipment, which is not advisable, as tap water can allow microorganisms to form on your "sterilized" equipment, thus making it no longer sterilized.
Be prepared to take notes of all steps you take during the entire process. This will help ensure you avoid repeating something next time that you should not have done, or will help you to duplicate a great batch when you do brew a good one!
The actual brewing involves the following: (Please note again that these are not complete instructions, just the basics to give you an idea of what you will be doing when you homebrew beer. Please refer to your recipe of choice for more detailed instructions.)
- Steeping the grains in a grain bag (also called a sparge bag) (similar to a tea bag, only much larger and more heavy duty) for approximately ½ hour, then removing the grains and allowing the water to drip out of the bag into your kettle/pot.
- Adding the malt extract to the kettle/pot and bringing everything in there to a boil, with hops added at varying times depending on the flavor you are trying to achieve (which will be determined by the recipe you choose). Please note that adding hops to the kettle too early will cause a more bitter-tasting final product. Most recipes you will come across will let you know when hops should be added, and how much you will need to add for any particular recipe.
- Chilling the wort (your liquid) after it has finished boiling. Chilling the wort as fast as possible is very important. You can either purchase a wort cooler made specifically for this purpose, or you can simply dip the kettle containing the wort into a sink of ice water. If you wish, stirring will also assist in cooling the wort down quicker, but to avoid a change in the flavor of your final homebrew, try to avoid splashing or aerating the wort. You will want to cool your wort off to approximately 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Centigrade), at which time you can transfer your brew to the fermenter.
- Transferring the cooled wort to the fermenter. During this transfer, please feel free to splash, splash, splash the wort all you like. Splashing the wort is actually recommended, as doing this when it is being transferred into your fermenter will aid the yeast in "doing its thing."
- During the fermentation process, there are several things that will need to be done, including scooping out the hops with a strainer, adding water to make the amount you are going for (5 gallons is a good starter amount), sealing up (putting the lid on and air-sealing) the fermenter, and putting the fermenter in a dark room or closet that will keep a somewhat consistent temperature. In addition, some recipes for ales or lagers will require that you complete this process in a refrigerated container. Please refer to what your particular recipe calls for regarding whether or not you need to refrigerate your brew during the fermentation process.
- Approximately 24 to 48 hours after you have placed the lid on the fermenter and sealed it, check the fermenter. You should see your air-lock gurgling (bubbling). If you do not, it is likely you have dead yeast. As a result, you will need to attempt the above process again with new ingredients and freshly sterilized equipment. This is not a common occurrence, but it does happen from time to time.
- After about 1 week, you will be ready for bottling and then aging the bottled brew at room temperature for about two weeks, after which you can refrigerate and ENJOY!
Please note that the above instructions are very, very basic instructions, just to give you an idea of what the home brewing process consists of. Please refer to more detailed information (such as that you will find in the actual recipe you will be using) before attempting to brew.
Article written by Carrie Lee, Author of "The Complete Guide to Home-Brewing Beer," a complete starter guide to brewing your own beer (ale) at home. Discover the benefits of brewing your own tasty and inexpensive beer in the comfort of your own home!
Domain: http://www.brewbeerhowto.com - go here if you would like to obtain a FREE copy of my eBook, "The Complete Guide To Home-Brewing Beer."
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