Everything you need to know about home beer brewing
Congratulations on deciding to make your own beer at home. You are going to be engaged in a rewarding and wondrous task that is as old as humanity itself. But there is no reason to be scared. For a long time ago, people have been brewing beer in different ways but the basic process has remained almost the same through the ages. In this article, we will know about the beer brewing equipment that you re required to get started as well as the process of brewing beer at home and the cost of home beer brewing. So you just have to relax and have a homebrew.
The basic home beer brewing equipment
You may have seen people who have transformed his or her whole garage or basement into what looks like a professional brewery that is full of shiny tanks and kegs, washing stations, welded pipework, and fridges having foamy beer pouring out of its taps. But fortunately, you don’t have to invest a lot of money to start brewing beer at home.
The easiest way is to purchase a basic home brewing kit for beer making. You can buy fancier home brew supplies after you have started brewing and decided it is something you love. The basic home brewing kit consists of a 6.5-gallon "Ale Pail" bottling bucket with spigot, 6.5-gallon "Ale Pail" primary fermenter with lid, easy clean no-rinse cleanser, airlock, Hydrometer, Bucket clip, Bottle cleaning brush, Liquid crystal thermometer, Twin lever bottle capper and siphon and bottling set-up.
There are various home brewing supplies you can found on the market. Some of the commonly used home brewing kits are discussed here.
5-gallon brew kettle
The 5-gallon brew kettle can easily handle 3 gallons of boiling wort which makes it the right choice for extract brewing at your home. Its full capacity is 5 gallons and 3 gallons while boiling. It is the perfect size for beginners.
Beer ingredient kit
The majority of beer brewing kits are made of 5 gallons of beer and available with all the ingredients required for beer making.
Fermentor is a container, where the liquid is cooked on the stove and turned into beer with the help of yeast. Any 5-gallon bucket can be used which have a lid with an airlock but don’t use buckets that you use for house cleaning or yard work.
The specific gravity of the beer tells you the percentage of alcohol. If you want to measure the specific gravity of your beer, you need to use a hydrometer.
There are some points where an exact temperature measurement of liquid is important. It can be steeping grains step or cooling of beer to add your yeast where you need a thermometer. A long prove thermometer does the trick well.
Sanitizer or cleaner
Sanitization is required at every step in the brewing process. A standard dishwashing soap won’t serve the purpose, so ensure that you have brewer sanitizer or cleaner that guarantee to kill all the germs that could spoil your beer.
The Basic Beer Brewing Process
The brewing process can be classified into two types i.e. all grain and extract. The sugars from partially germinated grains are used to prepare beer. In the all-grain brewing process, a person needs to extract these sugars from milled grains via a set of steps. While in the extract brewing process, the homebrewer utilizes ready-made malt extract, hence skipping the sugar extraction step as it has already been done.
Let's learn about the step to step home beer brewing process.
Step 1: Make the wort
The very first step before you start brewing is to clean your kitchen. Try to clean major spots like stovetops and counters. Further, sanitize all the equipment. You can add a sanitizer in the bucket and soak your supplies in it.
Now you can start making a wort. Wort is an unfermented beer. Throw any steeping grains in a mesh bag in the pot and boil it. Once it is boiled, remove the grain bag. Now add malt extract and stir the mixture. Add another grain bag packed with hops. Boil it for an hour or so. Now take out the hop bag and pour the hot wort into a cold water-filled bucket.
Step 2: Brew the wort
The mixture of hot wort and cold water should balance out the temperature. Wait a bit more to let the combo cool down even more to room temperature. Record the specific gravity with the help of a hydrometer, once it is cooled down.
Now add yeast and cover the container. Fill up the fermentation lock halfway with sanitizer or water and plug it in. It will allow carbon dioxide to escape and keep microorganisms away from beer. Let it sit for 1-2 weeks.
Step 3: Time to bottle the beer
Now we need to bottle the beer to reactive the yeast to start carbonation. To start this, we will add sterile priming sugar to the beer. Dissolve sugar in water, boil it, and pour it to a bottling bucket. Now add fermented beer to the bottling bucket containing priming sugar. Mix them and pour the mix into beer bottles with the help of bottle filler. Now cap the bottles and leave them for a week or two to continue carbonation.
Step 4: Enjoy the home-brewed beer with friends
Your beer is ready, put some bottles in the refrigerator for a few hours to cool down. The beer will have some fine yeast sediments settled at the bottom of the bottles but they are edible. You can pour beer in a clear glass leaving about half an inch of beer along with sediment in the bottle. Now drink the awesome homebrew.
Now you know well about the basic process of beer making at your home. Over time, when you gain confidence and experience, you can work with advanced things like using gypsum to harden brewing water or adding Irish moss to your boil to increase the clarity of the beer.
Cost of home beer brewing
You may wonder about the cost of home beer brewing that is this really cost-effective? Or Is home brewing worth it? The simplest answer to your question is that home-brewed beer costs half as compared to store-bought beer. Let's see an explanation.
The average frugal price of beer comes out to be $1.33/bottle. For 5 gallons batch of homebrew, the cost of ingredients came $38.73. Since we can make 48 beers with 5-gallon batch, the price becomes $0.81/bottle. The price of each ingredient is $1.85 for 1 lb crystal malt, $21.70 for 7 lbs liquid malt extract, $0.88 for 0.5 lb two-row barley, $4.25 for2 oz Hops, $8.50 for yeast, $0.05 for gypsum, and $1.50 for bottle caps.
When you begin with your second batch with the help of a 5-gallon kit, you have hit the profit territory. You will be required to brew the other five 1-gallon batches to start breaking even. Most of the home beer brewing recipe kits are made of 5-gallon batches. It means that your ingredients cost less than $5 if choose cost-effective recipe kits. Since you are getting 10 bottles per batch, you would be saving a few dollars over store-bought beer.
Home beer brewing can be resource-intensive at the start. You should go for several batches with your equipment to lower your costs. You can buy a 1-gallon brewing kit but it is cost-effective to do 5-gallon batches. Each 5-gallon batch results in approximately four and a half gallons of drinkable beer or almost eight 6 packs. The process gets cheaper over time and you will get better at it as well.
Why beginners should start brewing with a home beer brewing kit
There are several levels of homebrewing that separate the occasional brewers from the real hobbyist. The starter level is brewing with the homebrewing kit and brewing equipment. In a home beer brewing kit, you will have everything handy including yeast, malt extract, hops, and bottle caps along with the step to step detailed recipe that makes it easy to achieve an enjoyable and drinkable bottle of beer.
With the enhancement of taste, skills, and budget, a homebrewer can work their way up and make high-quality beers. Eventually, you will become an expert, creating your own recipes, pounding your own grains, and having more control over the process. While making beer from a kit, you are basically mixing ingredients on the stove in a specific order, sustaining cleanliness, and confirming that directions are well followed.
Brewing beer from a kit may feel like a bit cheating as it has everything ready to use and pre-measured, but it offers a great way to get started brewing and provides you with a feel for the steps necessary. Beer making kit is something you will only do once a year or so and it will be hard for you to find it worth investing in more than just some basic home brew supplies. If you think you love the home beer brewing process and want to go for more creativity and control, then you can take things up a notch.