Do you think it’s hard to brew your beer? Maybe but with a little practice and patience, you can make the world’s best beer at home!
What else could a beer lover want more than a fridge full of your very own homemade beer? If you think it’s super easy to make beer at home, it’s not. It takes quite a while to learn this art, but once you master it, you’ll be brewing a drink of heaven.
People have been drinking beer for thousands of years now, and the history of beer has had a great influence on our society. So, what makes this drink so popular? The answer is quite simple. The refreshing taste of beer, its numerous health benefits, variety in flavors, cheap price, and low alcohol content let it stand out among other beverages of the world.
According to a report by Jan Conway, “Beer is the most popular alcoholic beverage in the United States, with light beer being the most consumed drink in the category.”
So why not make your favorite drink at home? The steps are technical and must be read with full concentration. It starts with sanitizing your equipment and ends with refrigerating your bottled beers. By the end of this article, you’ll get to know everything about brewing the perfect beer and what tools are required in the process. So, let’s make some beer!
Equipment Needed to Make Beer
- Carboy-The most essential component you need is a 5-gallon plastic container to prepare your beer. The size of a carboy will vary on how much beer you wanna brew.
- A large Pot– You need a large pot that can hold at least 5 gallons. The bigger the better. But if you are a total beginner, start small. You can even use your medium household pots.
- Airlock and a stopper– It is an essential component placed on top of the carboy. It allows CO2 to escape from the carboy (Fermenter) and prevents bacteria from entering and contaminating your fermenting beer. It also protects from high-pressure build-up.
- Hydrometer– It is a must-have tool to continuously check the progress of the beer. With its help, you can find the initial specific gravity and final specific gravity of the fermenting beer. This will help in finding the alcohol content of your beer.
- Thermometer – It helps to know the exact temperature at which sugar is being converted to ethanol. You can also use a beer thief along with a thermometer to make things easier.
- Bottle filler
- Glass bottles
- Glass Caps
- Bottle Capper
Other Essential Items
- Long Spoon
- Grain Bag
- Bottle and carboy brush
You can buy all of these things separately or purchase a complete brewing kit from any online store like Amazon. But all the equipment mentioned above is crucial in brewing your beer, so you don’t wanna miss out on anything.
Steps in Brewing Beer
There are 5 steps involved in brewing a beer at home, but let’s check out the ingredients you will need to brew an amazing and refreshing beer.
The number of ingredients will depend on how much beer you want to prepare.
Step # 1 – Sanitize and Clean
This is the most important step in making beer. You need a good sanitizer or a mild detergent and a cleaning brush to clean all the equipment, including fermenters, siphons, bottle fillers, and anything that will be in contact with the beer.
Do not miss out on this step; otherwise, you will face some serious health issues. Cleaning is necessary because it prevents your beer from getting infected by bacteria that ruin the taste of your beer. Makes it bitter, but not in a good way!
Step # 2 – Let’s Brew some beer
Once all the equipment is cleaned, it’s time to brew the beer. It is a little complicated process and must be done with full concentration to get a fine finished product. If you’re brewing for the first time, then it is highly suggested to buy a recipe kit, as it will make things simpler for you.
Brewing is done in 3 steps: mashing, sparging, and boiling.
- Take your large stainless steel (5-6 gallon) pot and pour around 3 gallons of water into it. Boil the water till the temperature reaches 160-170 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Put your crushed grain in a sack and steep it in hot water for about an hour. Pull it once or twice to make sure that the sack is completely hydrated.
- During the mashing process, starches are converted to fermentable sugars, which act as a feed for the yeast and create alcohol. The color and overall flavor of the beer are prepared during the mash process.
- Take out the sack of grain after an hour. Avoid squeezing the grains. Instead, pour 4 cups of hot water on the sack and let it drain completely. This will help to remove leftover sugar remains in the grains.
- You may discard the sack of grains, but it can be used for other cooking recipes. Now you must add the liquid malt till they are completely dissolved. This mixture is called wort or unfermented beer.
- Boil the wort for 1 hour while adding the hops. First, add the bittering hops to balance the extra sweetness of the malt. Then add a second type of hops which is the aroma hops, during the last 15 minutes of the boil.
- The addition and quantity of hops will depend on the style of beer you’re making. Hops protect your beer from harmful bacteria and give the desired taste to your beer.
Step # 3 – Cooling
Now you are done with your brewing phase. The next step is to cool down the wort as soon as possible. This can be done in two ways.
Use your kitchen sink as an ice bath. Pour ice into the sink and gently place the pot. Don’t let it touch anything that might have bacteria.
Use a wort chiller to remove heat from the wort.
Step # 4 – Transferring
- Use a funnel to transfer the cooled wort into the sanitized fermenter. Add more cool water to reach a 5-gallon mark. At this point, you can take a gravity reading with your hydrometer, which should be about 1.050. Brewer checks this to know the exact alcohol content of the finished product.
- The next step is to add yeast. You can use liquid yeast or dry yeast. Both are easily available in the market.
- Lock the fermenter with an airlock and stopper.
Step # 4 – Fermenting
After locking the carboy, you can see a lot of foam on the top as a result of CO2 being produced. The airlock allows CO2 to escape from the bottle and keeps your fermenting beer safe from infection.
You can store it in a dark place at room temperature. The fermentation process takes at least 2 weeks or 14 days.
After fermenting for 14 days, the final specific gravity should be around 1.009, but it may vary. You can determine the alcohol content by subtracting the final gravity from the first reading and multiplying it by 131 to get the exact ABV. The ABV of the beer should be about 5.3%
Step # 5 – Bottling
- Sanitize all your bottles and caps before use. Add 4-5 priming sugar tablets to all the bottles for carbonation.
- Attach a racking cane to a siphon and the other end to a bottle filler. Don’t touch the bottom of the fermenter with a siphon.
- Fill all the bottles to the top with a siphon.
- Use a bottle capper to lock the bottles and store them in a dark place for 3 more weeks.
- After 3 weeks, take them out and refrigerate them for at least 24 hours, and voila, your perfect chilled beer is ready to drink.
What is the easiest beer to brew at home?
You can make a lot of different beer styles at home, but it’s best to stick to the easy ones if you’re a beginner. These simple beers are easy to make and save. You can easily hide all the mistakes that occurred during the process
Make sure to pick ones that have strong color and bold flavor and don’t require a second fermentation. In short, Ales are easier to brew than lagers, so you can try out Ales for a few months and later level up to harder drinks like Lagers and Imperials.
American Amber Ale
This drink is easy to brew and salvage. It has a strong malty flavor with medium-range bitterness. It has a light 4.5-6.2% ABV. Additional flavors can also be added to give a sense of a full-bodied drink with high carbonation. American Amber Ale is a popular choice for most brewers.
American Pale Ale
The second most preferred drink by brewers is American Pale Ale. So if you are planning to have a drink with your lunch and supper, American Pale Ale is a great choice. You can enjoy this medium-bodied drink having low caramel and toasted maltiness. It is a beer with English origins and later became a popular drink among Americans. You can experiment with a lot of ingredients to make the perfect pale ale.
Porter is a dark-colored beer with a light-mouth feel. It has a rich flavor with chocolate and toffee-like aroma compared to its bitter version, stout. It has an ABV range of 4.8 – 6.5%. Porters go well with a beef stew. The best part is it does not require secondary fermentation, which is great for first-time brewers.
American Brown Ale
Similar to American Pale Ale and Porters, American Pale Ale also has a British background. It is a medium-bodied drink with a high malty flavor and a medium level of bitterness. American brown ales are usually drier than English Brown Ales. It has a low ABV of 3.6-4.4% with dark brown or copper brown color. It may take up to 14 days to fully ferment this beer.
American Wheat Ales
Wheat has been a major contributor to making beer. American Wheat Ales have a lighter mouth feel. It has a pale look and little bitterness in the flavor. Similar to porters, they are easy to brew and quick to prepare as they don’t need a second fermentation. It has an ABV of 3.5-5.6%. It tastes great with salads and sea foods.
Is it worth it to brew your beer at home?
Making beer at home is a difficult but achievable task. With practice, you can learn brewing in a short span. Making beer at home makes you more creative and lets you play with ingredients. If you are a beer lover, you can make the world’s finest beer just by adding or adjusting a few ingredients.
Compared to buying it from the market, brewing at home is a cost-effective method to make a refreshing beer. Once you purchase all the necessary equipment, you can brew your beer again and again for a lower price.
Imagine inviting your friends over and offering them your home-brewed beer. Your friends will love it, and the feeling of satisfaction, happiness, and appreciation received from your friends is simply unmatched.
Final Take away
Now you know the basic steps to brewing a beer. You can find tons of recipes on the internet to brew an easy beer like American Amber Ale or American Wheat Ale. Beer has many health benefits, from anti-aging to preventing cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, brewing beer at home can be highly beneficial from a health perspective.
By refrigerating, you can enjoy a full stock of healthy beverages without the need to go outside. You can mix and add a few spices to add flavor to your beer. But always keep in mind you may encounter many health hazards due to excessive drinking. So, keep your alcohol urge to a minimum and remember to “Drink in moderation.”
An important note: You might not be able to make a great beer on the first attempt, but eventually, with trials and errors, you’ll be able to perfect the technique in no time.
I am a passionate beer connoisseur with a deep appreciation for the art and science of brewing. With years of experience tasting and evaluating various beers, I love to share my opinions and insights with others and I am always eager to engage in lively discussions about my favorite beverage.