Over the past decade the popularity of craft beer has skyrocketed with nearly 8% of beer purchased in the United States coming from craft breweries. First there were micro-breweries then nano-breweries and now it is possible to brew your own beer right at home.
Brewing your own beer may sound like an overwhelming task, but the truth is that anyone can start brewing at home with just some basic supplies, some creativity, and some patience.
Before you can get started brewing, there are a number of supplies you will need. These include:
– A Fermenting Bucket
– Means of Sanitation
– Ingredients (malt, hops, yeast, etc.)
– Means of Carbonation
– Resealable Bottles
– Various Utensils (large bowl, measuring cup, spatula, etc).
Luckily, there are now many affordable home brewing kits that include most of these elements. The most popular manufacturer of these kits is Mr. Beer which offers a variety of kits ranging in size and price.
The Home Brewing Process
Though it’s probably the least exciting part of the home brewing process, sanitation is paramount in the creation of your beer. Proper sanitation is not only important from a health safety standpoint but also because any bacteria or wild yeast could alter the taste of your beer for the worst.
Once everything is cleaned and sanitized, the brewing process can begin. This involves combing hopped malts, water, and yeast. As it ferments, the yeast will eat the sugars in the malt to create alcohol as well as carbon dioxide. In order for this process to work, the bucket you store your beer in must be properly sealed.
Your sealed fermenting bucket should be placed in a dark area where the temperature is a steady 68 to 76 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature is important because if the beer is too cold it won’t properly ferment and if it’s too warm it could create off-flavors. During the process you will notice foam accumulating in your bucket especially in the first five days. It may look a little disturbing but it is nothing to worry about, as it’s a part of the natural fermentation process. The full fermentation process takes about two weeks.
After two weeks it’s time to test your beer. If it tastes overly sweet it may need more fermentation time. Otherwise it should taste like flat (non-carbonated) beer. If so then it’s time to bottle.
Bottling might sound like it’s time to drink, but that’s not quite the case. The bottling process also doubles as the carbonation phase. There are a couple of methods for achieving proper carbonation including using carbonation drops or adding sugar to the beer so that the yeast will create CO2 for you. Either way the bottles should then go back to that dark, cool area for one to two more weeks.
When the bottles are firm to the touch, your beer should be properly carbonated. You’ll probably want to refrigerate them for a day or two, but otherwise it’s ready to enjoy. Congratulations home brewer!
Craft Your Beer
The great thing about home brewing is that once you have all of the tools you can brew again and again. Plus there is no limit to the kinds of beers you can create with your new home brewery.
For example, Mr. Beer offers hundreds of beer recipes on their website for use with their kits. These packs include all of the ingredients you’ll need to make a delicious brew. Some options include:
Just because home brewing can start off easy doesn’t mean you can’t get more advanced with your hobby. As you gain experience with home brewing your techniques, recipes, and equipment can be upgraded to meet your skill.
Brewing Your Own Beer is Easy
Thanks in part to the craft beer revolution, home brewing continues to grow in popularity. Setting up your own home brewery is easier than you probably think. Learning how to make beer at home will not only impress your friends but it could also save you money in the long run. Check out some home brewing kits today and happy brewing.