Reasons to Start Homebrewing and Why You’ll Love It
Homebrewing is a fun and social activity, challenging and rewarding at the same time. Some people prefer to brew alone and use some time out, while others brew with friends or join brewing clubs. Homebrewing has been inspired by the craft beer revolution and the need for homemade over mass produced products. It is a popular hobby, an artisan pursuit, which is all about creating your own beer in your favoured craft beer style. Here are a few reasons to brew this idea to fruition…
Good Quality Beer
If you’re thinking about becoming a brewer, I assume you care about the quality of your beer a lot. And that’s great because it can help you brew amazing beers, beers you want to taste, and use as many different types of ingredients as you wish. Commercial brewers can’t do that because they care about mass production and recipes that sell to a huge customer base. You don’t have those worries and you can adjust the molt, hops and yeast to suit your taste.
Beer lovers don’t care about the price of a good beer, however, it’s good to know that you can brew at half the price you would pay for a commercial beer. Depending on the ingredients, it may not always be the case, especially if you’re going to use expensive ones, but it still pays off when you combine the pleasure of making your own beer and tasting it. That’s a priceless experience!
Homebrewing gets even better when you realise you can go for any beer idea you’ve ever had and start exploring various beer styles, flavours and techniques. It’s a lot of fun and allows you to experiment with recipes while learning about beer and beer making throughout the whole process.
Homebrewed beer contains a large quantity of yeast, vitamin B, antioxidants and more. Vitamin B helps in reducing the effects of a hangover, and that’s probably the main reason why many of us appreciate homebrew. Commercial beers are usually filtered and pasteurized, which strip vitamin B from the beer and lead to hangover the next day. According to some studies, dark beers provide similar benefits as dark wines, which can help to promote a healthy heart. Also, brewing can be therapeutic in a way, once you get yourself into it and let yourself enjoy the process, forgetting about your everyday worries.
What You Need to Start Making Your Own Beer
First off, let’s make one thing clear – it can get messy. That’s why it’s a good idea to start with a homebrew starter kit that contains all the supplies, equipment and instructions you’ll need. Even if you make a mess, you can treat yourself with your very own cold beer at the end. Over time, you’ll realise how simple it is and double the fun.
The four basic steps you’ll need to follow are prepare, brew, ferment and bottle. For the first step, you’ll need to gather all your brewing equipment, such as brewing kettle, fermenter, sanitizer, stir spoon, etc., and a beer recipe, of course. You need to make sure to sanitize all the equipment before you start brewing. The brewing process depends on your recipe, and usually, it takes a couple of hours and a lot of mixing.
Now, fermenting is when magic happens. You add the yeast, then seal the fermenter and partly fill the airlock with boiled, cooled water. Leave it for about a week at a temperature of 20°C to 22°C. When the airlock stops bubbling, the brew clears and you can leave it for 48 hours more until it’s ready for bottling.
Before you start the bottling process, you’ll need to sterilise all the bottles and caps you’re going to use. Add a teaspoon of sugar to every bottle and use a bottling valve to fill each bottle up to 40mm below the top. Then you can cap the bottles and tilt them to dissolve the sugar. After this, store them in a warm place for a few days and then move them to a cooler place for a few days more. In a week or so, your beer will be ready to taste it.
In essence, beer is a simple product, it’s water with malt added to it, which gives the sugar that the yeast feeds off and creates alcohol and carbon dioxide. Hops are used to give some additional flavour to it. So, here are a few things you should know about the basic beer ingredients. You can find all of these in your nearest homebrew shop or purchase them from a homebrew online store.
Malt gives your brew complexity, colour and flavour. Different malts can be used for different types of beer. If you start experimenting, be careful with some malts that can be overwhelming and result in an unbalanced beer. If you’re going to use grain, keep in mind that it needs to be cracked.
Yeast gives the main characteristics of any beer out there when it comes to flavour. To make it right, stay within the recommended fermentation temperature on the yeast pack and you can’t go wrong with the final beer result.
Hops add bitterness and aroma to the beer. You should know that the longer you boil the hops, the more bitter and less aromatic beer you’ll get. If you care about aroma, boil for a couple of minutes in approximately 200 ml of water and then leave it for 10 minutes. After this time, you can add the hops liquid to the brew. Some cans of concentrate are pre hopped, which means there is already bitterness in it, and you can only add aroma hops.
Don’t worry if you don’t get it quite right the first time. It’s part of the fun and you can always try new styles and techniques, upgrading yourself and enjoy the time spent making your own beer.
Happy brewing and don’t forget to drink responsibly!