If you’re a true beer lover, you’ve probably considered trying to make your own. And you’ve probably had second thoughts because homebrewing can seem intimidating and complicated.
Making your own beer is honestly not that difficult, and you can start with an initial investment not higher than a hundred bucks!
Since President Carter sanctioned the practice of home brewing in 1978, homemade beer has advanced significantly.
The American Homebrewers Association (AHA) claims that there are more than a million homebrewers in America. It looks like the hobby is gaining more popularity as more people realize how doable it is.
Read on to find out the general process of making beer and some beginner errors to avoid if you’re thinking of taking the plunge into the world of homebrewing!
It’s Not Without Its Challenges
Homebrewing is one of those straightforward yet hard-to-master pursuits that provides limitless opportunities for experimentation and technique improvement.
It’s simple to produce small batches with not much room and equipment. Still, homebrewing will provide you with plenty of possibilities to buy, build, and collect various types of hardware for bigger and more complex batches.
This could be exciting if you’re a gadget, gear, and hardware enthusiast. That’s why so many homebrewers are engineers!
There is no one right way to produce beer; therefore, coming up with your own methods and recipes can take up a lot of time.
Here’s a little introduction for those of you who are absolutely new to beer-making. Don’t worry if contemplating which beer to order from the bartender is the farthest you’ve ever thought about beer.
Malt, yeast, hops, and water are the four primary components of beer. However, many popular variants incorporate extra ingredients, such as coconut, cocoa nibs, oak, and oysters!
I won’t go thoroughly into the specifics of the brewing process or the effects that every ingredient makes. I’ll just go over the basics.
All-grain brewing and extract brewing are the two basic processes for turning raw components into finished beer.
The first involves steeping crushed malted grain in hot water to extract sugar. The former involves dissolving malt syrup or powdered malt sugar in hot water.
Extract brewing is speedier and requires less equipment upfront than all-grain brewing, which offers more flexibility and creative freedom.
There’s no reason to look down on extract brewing. It really saves time and can yield excellent beer.
Still, many brewers would say it’s better to start out with only whole grains if you think brewing would be a passion you’ll pursue.
In addition to being far more cost-effective in the long term, doing so provides you with much greater control over the factors that affect the flavor and color of your beer.
If you’re pressed for time, you can use specialized equipment to produce extract beers in the future.
How Beer Is Generally Brewed
SANITATION is where the fundamental concept of making beer initially starts.
Almost every item you need to use to make beer needs to be sanitized!
This includes the bucket you use for home brewing, your siphoning hose, the pot you’ll need for ingredients, and more.
All of the components will blend better if you combine your brewing kit ingredients before boiling, warming, and adding the malt extract and hops.
The wort created by mixing the quick malt kit in a pot and bringing it to a mild boil will be ready for yeast activation.
Then you have to cool the wort, add it to your brew bucket or carboy, and add some filtered water along with the yeast.
Most of Beer Brewing Is Waiting
Many kits suggest giving beer at least two weeks to ferment before drinking it.
As the yeast begins to ferment, you’ll continue to see bubbles in your bubbler or airlock.
It’s best to get ready to wrap things up after the bubbles have stopped for good, which usually happens after ten days.
Priming sugar is often a part of beer kits because it is used in the final step of the brewing process.
You can create a carbonated and ready-to-bottle beer by mixing together sugar water and the brew.
In most cases, you can get between 50 and 60 bottles of beer out of a regular carboy or brew bucket.
Prior to filling a bottle with beer and sealing it, make sure it has been well cleaned and disinfected.
It’s advisable to wait a few weeks after bottling beer before opening the bottles.
As you can see, it’s a bit of a waiting game after all the boiling.
Mistakes To Avoid When Brewing Beer For The First Time
Making mistakes is not necessarily bad. They give you the chance to study, practice, and ultimately master the brewing process.
However, I’m sure you don’t want to squander your time or money. That’s why crucial for every novice to understand as much as they can before brewing their first batches.
Not only to guarantee you’re producing the best-tasting product but also to avoid creating undrinkable waste.
So, here are the common errors that first-time home brewers are likely to make. Avoid these, and you’ll get it right the first time!
Brewing Too Much or Too Complex of A Brew
It’s easy to get carried away as a novice brewer. You’ve got all your equipment and ingredients, and now you want to attempt to brew a huge batch of beer to share with friends.
Maybe you’re getting a bit too ambitious by wanting to brew something complex like a Pilsner. That might not be the best idea for now.
You have to wait for your talents and instincts to mature and advance. A lot of brewing is waiting, but there’s a fun aspect to that. You gain the most knowledge of the craft by experimenting and waiting.
Beginners should start with a straightforward recipe and prepare a modest amount. Prior to starting a batch, make an effort to prepare ahead and determine the equipment you will need for brewing.
Don’t go splurging on fancy equipment just yet. Start off slowly, hone your technique, and then ramp up as necessary. In this phase, patience is crucial.
Neglecting to Sanitize
I can’t stress enough how vital sanitation is to home brewing! The key to brewing is fermentation, and fermentation can go south pretty quickly.
Introducing bacteria and other components that can contaminate your batch can be encouraged by dirty hands, surfaces, and equipment. If you don’t clean your stuff, it’ll be a disaster.
All of the surfaces and brewing gear used by skilled brewers are cleaned during the whole brewing process.
It is advised that you use a cleaning or sanitizing solution intended especially for brewers.
Brewing supplies that are scratched or broken should also be changed out right away because they tend to harbor more bacteria.
It is impossible to overstate this. If you want your finished product to taste the way you intended it to, your equipment must be thoroughly cleaned. The tiniest contamination will change the beer’s overall flavor, clarity, and color.
Using The Wrong Type of Water
Even though water is the most affordable yet crucial element in brewing, many brewers continue to use regular tap water.
The foundation for quality and flavor is water. Consider the water as an empty canvas.
As it contains chlorine, dissolved solids, and numerous other contaminants that are proven to alter flavor significantly, tap water is anything but an empty canvas.
Many brewers opt for spring water or water from another source that has been filtered using reverse osmosis or de-ionization system.
Not Following Instructions
One thing that all seasoned homebrewers share is accuracy.
Even though brewing involves much trial and error, you must first have a firm grasp of the foundations of brewing before you can experiment.
Owing to impatience or a failure to read the directions carefully, beginners frequently create inaccurate measurements of the ingredients.
Extra sugar or even components that have recently expired might overcarbonate a batch of beer.
It is crucial to follow your recipe precisely and keep notes along the way. This is not the time to get super creative.
Not Monitoring Temperatures
Temperature management is another crucial aspect of the beer-making process. Novices frequently neglect to keep an eye on the room’s temperature during fermentation, which is dangerous if you live in extreme climates.
You can expect the fermentation process to raise the overall temp by up to 7°F. Any higher than that, you run the risk of increasing the alcohol content and oversweetening the brew.
Have a thermometer handy because they are a home brewer’s weapon of choice. Ideal temperature ranges for fermentation and storage, as well as any other necessary guidelines, are usually typically included in yeast packaging.
Last but not least, novice brewers should develop the habit of watching the wort as it cooks because it has a tendency to make a massive mess when overboiling.
Not Getting Over Mistakes
I know this section is about mistakes and how to avoid them, but bad batches happen. No one out there has a squeaky clean brewing record.
So, on top of your equipment, I recommend getting a notebook or a notetaking app. It’s best to outline what you’re doing as you go through the brewing process. Then you can reflect on what you could have done better afterward.
When you make adjustments as you try again, you’re likely to produce higher-quality beer. Then you tackle the more complex brews that you’ve been dreaming of sharing with friends.
Remember, even when one follows the instructions to the letter, there are always unforeseen variables along the process.
As you refine your process, you’ll immediately notice that your initial batches are improving!
Related Reading: Craft Beer vs Beer: What’s The Difference Between These Brews? – Check Them out Here
Final Thoughts: Practice Makes Perfect
There are several methods to get started with craft brewing if you want to give it a try for yourself.
Anyone can brew beer, and with the amount of information available in numerous kits and internet resources, you’re set up for success.
Just don’t be discouraged when you encounter some speed bumps along the way. It’s all just a part of mastering the craft of brewing.
If you’re still unsure of yourself, it’s smart to pick the brains of someone with previous brewing experience. Join a local homebrew club and swap tips with folks who share your new hobby!