How To Get Started Homebrewing
Brewing your own beer is one of the most rewarding hobbies in the world. Not only is it a hell of a lot of fun learning to brew, but once everything is said and done you get to drink your beer! As a hobby it's perfect for anyone who appreciates a good beer since it can be as easy or complicated as you want to make it.
In this hub I want to explain how to get started brewing your own beer. I'll do my best to keep everything as simple and straightforward as I can since this is a topic that I can ramble on for hours about. For more in depth details on techniques, head over to El Capitan Brewing.
Is Homebrewing For You?
Brewing your own beer isn't for everyone, but if you have an interest in high quality beer and what it takes to make it, it's perfect for you!
The process to making beer is a lot like cooking. Every ingredient has a special purpose in the recipe, and not everything can be cooked at the same time. Once the brew day has finished, fermentation begins. This can last anywhere from one week to several months, and the type of beer that you brew will determine fermentation time. Once fermentation has completed you bottle your brew and wait another couple of weeks for it to carbonate.
This isn't the best hobby for people who rely on instant gratification, but once you get going and brew often you build up what we call your "pipeline". This means that beers are frequently finishing up and ready to drink as others are completing their fermentation. It can be quite a bit of work to stay on top of everything, but the payoff is so worth it!
What Equipment Do You Need?
There is quite a bit of specialized equipment that you'll need to brew, but the upside is that it's not that expensive. Any reputable homebrew store (online and locally) will have a starter kit that will have everything you need to get started. These kits usually include:
- 5+ gallon pot
- One or two fermentation tanks (carboys)
- Large spoon
- Bungs and airlocks
- Bottling spigot, tubing, and filler
- Siphon and tubing
- Bottle brush
- Bottle capper
- Bottle caps
You certainly could put all of this together on your own, but it's a ton easier to get a kit.
If you live in a fairly large city there is likely a homebrew store somewhere near you. In internet lingo, these are referred to as your LHBS, or local home brew store. I recommend going to one of these for your first kit and talking to the people who work there to get a better feel for what you're getting into, rather than buying your kit online.
Once you have your equipment set up buying ingredient kits online from places like Norther Brewer is the way to go.
Like I said above, brewing is as easy or as complex as you want to make it. However, there are some things that you need to know before you get started, and there are a plethora of books out there that can help you out. There is a huge amount of information on how to brew online, but due to how scattered and unorganized it can be I feel that brewing books are the best way to get started.
Check out this awesome list of homebrew books for hand picked selections of the best, or browse the section below.
If you're still unsure if brewing is for you, find someone who already does it. One of the coolest things about being a home brewer is the camaraderie between us and our willing to help people new to the hobby. Not only does teaching bring a new brewer into the family it also helps us solidify our skills.
There are a lot more homebrewers out there than you probably think, so odds are there is someone you already know is spending their weekends brewing!
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