Brewing your beer at home is plain easy with the knowledge of basics. The beer-making process is known as brewing, which involves fermentation and grain-derived alcoholic beverage.
Barley is a very common beer-making ingredient. Plus, you can add wheat, oats, rye, and sorghum.
Brewing is almost similar to the wine-making process. The only difference is that wine involves fruits, grapes, and fermented honey known as mead.
This post shall guide you, starting from the ingredients to the procedure of brewing beer in the comfort. You will also learn the materials you can use to brew your beer.
How to brew
To start with, beer-making or brewing involves the four essential ingredients you easily get at the market. The ingredients are malt, hops, yeast, and water. Well, these are pretty basics of the ingredients available, and if not, well, you can prepare that too.
These four ingredients go through four steps that make up the whole beer brewing process. It involves malting, mashing, boiling, and fermenting. Without further ado, let’s hop into the details!
The Four Ingredients
Let’s talk about the four basic ingredients to make beer in detail.
Malt is a grain used to brew beers through malting. You can prepare the malt or purchase it from the local maltsters, or use malt extracts instead. The reason why malt is an essential ingredient in brewing beer is that it adds sweetness to the yeast in the process.
Barley is one of the most commonly used forms of malt used to brew beer. However, some even go for an alternate prevalent malt, that is, wheat. Alternatively, you can use corn and rice as un-malted ingredients in the brewing process.
Not processing your own malt would preferably a better idea if you are not a pro maltster as that may not give you your desired beer base. As mentioned earlier, you can opt for malt extract as well.
Even beer contains spices. Why else would you have that after-taste when you consume beer right? Hops add to the bitterness of the brewed beer that balances the sweetness levels of the beer. It also may be the reason for the aromatic flavors of the beer.
Hops are taken in smaller quantities as compared to malt to add to the brewing process. You’d find tiny bits of these in even the bitterest of the IPAs. As homebrewers, you can opt for pelletized hops as they offer you the convenience of better and more extended storage periods.
Yeast is the transformation medium of the beer brewing process. It turns the wort or rather the unfermented beer into the beer while brewing. They suck up the malt sugar and transform it into alcohol and carbon dioxide.
Well, all beer freaks must know the kick of consuming beer, of course. Carbon dioxide is the reason behind their fizzy actions.
It’s true! Most beers contain water—a volume over 90% water, to give you a rough idea. Reasonable amounts of water are taken in during the process of beer brewing that does not sustain till the final product.
An important reminder here is to check the taste of the water that you add to the brewing process. Experts say the better the water tastes; the best would be the brewing results. Try to avoid water, run through a softener, or that which do not taste good. Consider using bottled water if your faucet water tastes weird.
The Four Beer Brewing Steps
The primary motive of the post will be covered in this section. Let’s learn all of the four beer brewing steps comprehensively.
Read more about How to Brew Lager.
The first step of the brewing process, malting, involves transforming raw materials into the final product. To begin with, let the grains germinate to reveal their enzymes useful for the further brewing processes naturally. Next, move on to kilning, which is the process of drying the grains.
Kilning enables the grains to have more extended storage for the development of the aromatic malt flavors. It is an essential step of the entire brewing process.
For mashing, soak the malted grains in warm water. This process dissolves the starch molecules while the enzymes get into the actions of smashing the bigger starch molecules into small sugar molecules. As a result, maltose is created. Malt sugars stimulate the growth of yeast cells in the process of fermentation.
Home-brewers using malt extract in the beer brewing process can exclude this part as it would be available to them by default. The resultant liquid is then converted to syrup through condensation or a powder by drying it.
The wort or the unfermented beer now needs to go through boiling to clear out the unnecessary particles present in it. This way, you get a stable drink.
This is the process where you add your hops into the wort. The hops release their bitterness into the wort. Next, you must cool the boiled wort so that you can add the yeast to the solution.
Add the yeast after the wort cools down. Once the contents of the yeast mix with the wort, the fermentation process is on.
Homebrewers should know that fermentation for lighter ales takes a period that may last almost a week. On the contrary, the fermentation process for lagers or strong beers takes about months. After the process of fermentation, your beer is all prepared to be bottled and chugged.
Brewing Ingredients And Accessories
Homebrewers require special equipment for brewing beer at home. Most of the shops out there have brew starter kits. The kit contains basic accessories with a bucket fermenter.
Remember, the complex a brewing process might be, the advanced the brewing equipment should be.
You must have a brew kettle or a brew pot, for starters. It can be made of aluminum, porcelain, or stainless steel; the material is of less importance.
You must look for a brew pot with a capacity of holding four gallons or 15 liters to avoid scorching. On top of that, a thermometer equipped with it would be a definite bonus.
To be precise, you need a fermenter and a bucket for bottling purposes. An ideal capacity would be 19-23 liters for a carboy. Again, the material weighs less importance here.
You will need buckets, ideally a 25-liter liquid holding capacity. This equipment is helpful for the fermentation and beer bottling processes.
While shopping for a carboy, make sure to get a #7 drilled rubber stopper. Also, if you are taking two buckets, ensure you take a lid for one and get a hole drilled in it to install the airlock.
An airlock helps release carbon dioxide during the process of fermentation from the fermenter. It also keeps the oxygen and other airborne pollutants from getting through to the beer.
This is just a whacky name for a piece of long hard plastic that ends with a curve. Along with it, you must also shop for a 6-feet long food-grade vinyl siphon hose. This is important to carry out racking, which involves transferring beer and wort from one to the other vessel.
Once you have the finished product ready, you’d want to bottle them up. For that, you must consider getting about two cases of sanitized, non-twist top-quality beer bottles. These are available at the store, or you can recycle the commercially bought beer bottles.
In addition to all the accessories mentioned above, consider getting a bottling wand, a pack of crown caps, and a bottle capper. These are essential as well if you want to bottle up your homebrewed beer.
- Malted grains, or malt extract, dry or liquid, or crushed grains, according to the brewing process
- Pelletized or leafy whole flower hops
- Yeast, dry or liquid, depends entirely on your preference, although dry yeast is more convenient for beginners
- Sanitizing chemicals for cleaning from the local store for a clean homebrewing procedure
- Additional ingredients to stimulate the homebrewing process, such as a measuring cup, a large funnel, a strainer, and a large spoon
Homebrewers may find it challenging to start with the beer brewing process when they do not have an idea about it. But, once you get the hang of it, you conclude that it is a pretty simple process once you follow the guidelines accordingly.
Beer freaks often like to have at least a can of beer every day. Some prefer storing a stack , while some go out to have one. Well, once you become a homebrewer, you’ll have convenient access to beer at the comfort of your home.
With the basic ingredients and the four basic processes of beer you just came across in this post, homebrewing becomes an easy task!