Getting that First Batch of Beer Brewing

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Beer is such a popular beverage because it has such a deep earthy flavor and because the variety of flavors, brands, colors and textures of beers is so diverse that you can explore a new brew each and every time you want a beer and never get bored. And yet most of us pretty much settle on one taste and stick with it. That is until we discover brew pubs. That is when our eyes are opened to the idea that we don’t have to depend on Budweiser and Miller for good beer. It can be made right at home.

Some of the finest beers you could hope to taste are not made in the big commercial factories but in small brew pubs all around the country. So if you have discovered some particularly flavorful home brewed beers, it isn’t long before you might decide to take a stab at brewing a batch yourself. Be careful because once you start experimenting with brewing your own beer, you may become hooked into an addictive hobby that will provide hours of fun as you tinker with your recipes, get new and better equipment and become a true beer expert in brewing your own custom blends for the best flavored beer.

But it all starts with that very first batch. You might approach that moment when you decide to make your first batch of beer with some fear and trembling. But keep your spirit of adventure and experimentation because, after all, if you bought good equipment, you will get the hang of it. As the wise man said, that the journey of a hundred miles begins with the first step. So too your journey toward becoming a master brewer starts with your first batch.

The process of brewing that first batch is pretty simple actually. Here are the steps to go through to get your first brew underway.

. Gather the ingredients to have them on hand as you step through the brewing process. You don’t’ want to have to stop and go dig something up so have them ready to go when they are added in as the brewing process is underway.
. It all starts with water. One gallon of good water will do. You don’t need specialty water as tap water in most areas of the country does well due to a good combination of minerals that actually makes the beer taste better. So get a gallon of water boiling in a large pot capable of holding 2-3 gallons of water. You need that extra space for adding ingredients.
. The first ingredient to add to the boiling water is the brewing yeast that you bought just for this purpose. The yeast will have specific instructions but in essence you will mix the yeast with piping hot tap water and stir it in a separate pot or pan until it becomes a thick paste.
. You can prepare the yeast while the water boils and when it’s ready, add the mixture to the water.
. Once the yeast is mixed in well, add the malt extract that you bought for this brewing process. Make sure the malt is mixed in well and dissolved before moving on.
. Hops will come as pellets when you bought them from the supplier so add them when the water is boiling again and allow the entire mixture to boil for another five minutes.
. During this preparation time, get your fermenting equipment sanitized and ready to go. As the brewing process approaches completion, fill the fermenter about three quarters full with cold water from the tap.
. The strong beer you have boiled is called the “wort” which is now ready for fermenting. Pour the hot wort into the cold water in the fermenter. What you are looking for is an end result of five gallons of mixture in the fermenter so if you don’t find you are at that level, add more water.

The brewing process is done and you can follow the directions for fermenting that are provided with the equipment or that you learn from other resources about the fine art of fermenting beer. Now it’s just a matter of letting nature do what it does to ferment your beer. Enjoy the anticipation as you allow the fermenting to continue and then enjoy the flavor of your very own first batch of home brewed beer.

Leaving Your Beer Alone to Become Great

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To become a real “master” of brewing beer, you have to understand every aspect of what happens during the brewing process. When you get home from the beer brewing supply store with your kit or your little baggies with the supplies to make a fresh batch of beer, it is sometimes hard to imagine that those raw materials will result in a delicious batch of beer that you made yourself. But by understanding each step, you can become quite adept at making beer at home.

The cycles of making beer are each important as you take them order. From sterilizing your equipment, to purchasing the supplies and then on to boiling and brewing and fermentation, each step is important. But that last step, fermentation and aging is unique from the rest because it is the step that calls for you to not be interacting with your beer, adjusting the equipment or preparing the brewing ingredients. It is the step that calls for you to use patience and tender loving care to leave your beer alone as it ferments. But the fermentation process is just as crucial if not more important than any of the preparation steps. That is because it is fermentation that genuinely turns the mixture you have cooked up on the kitchen stove into a wonderful tasting beer you will be proud to serve to friends and family.

There are two phases of fermentation which is the primary stage and the secondary stage. Both are important. During primary fermentation, the yeast and the sugars that are in the wort you so carefully prepared go through a long chemical interaction which releases carbon dioxide as a byproduct. Now during this phase, you want to get that CO2 out of those fermentation bottles because if you leave them in there, the bottles will explode.

The need to get that carbon dioxide out of the fermentation bottle without opening up the fermentation to outside air entirely is one good reason to buy specialized fermentation equipment because they will come with air release devices that will utilize an airlock system to release the CO2 buildup but keep a level of separation between the outside environment and your fermenting beer.

Once you have the bottles prepared and the wort in place, its time to find a cool dark place in the house to place the fermenting bottles. Don’t give in to the urge to put them in the refrigerator because that will just stop the fermentation in its tracks. A room that sustains a constant 65-75 degree temperature is good. Now that the fermentation process is underway, you do what is often the most difficult maneuver for any home beer zealot. You leave the beer alone and let the ingredients make magic in those bottles for about two weeks.

Secondary fermentation is the next and final phase except if you choose to age your beer to enhance the flavor. But the second fermentation is where you add some additional sugar and you strain out the sediments from the primary fermentation and trap the mixture in sealed bottles this time. The CO2 build up is not as extreme so the danger of exploding beer bottles is gone and the carbon dioxide creates that bubbly attribute to your beer that will give it a wonderful head and taste. Both phases are necessary and you will give your beer another couple of weeks in this stage before it will be ready to drink. But after you have a little taste, if you want to let the beer continue to process and age, maybe even in wood containers to add a rich flavor to the brew, this is just you being the Brewmeister that will result in wonderful tasting beer to serve to your friends and family.

Waiting for Your Home Made Beer is the Hardest Part

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The rock music artist Tom Petty had a hit song that went, “The waiting is the hardest part”. And when it comes to brewing your own beer, maybe the most difficult step of them all is the fermentation and aging process. After all, the steps leading up to the time when you wait for beer to mature is full of activity. From shopping for new equipment and ingredients, to cleaning and preparation to boiling the wort to cooling and preparing for fermentation, it’s a fun process. And that is what you want from a great hobby.

But once you have used all of your skills (so far) to make a great wort that is ready to ferment and age, storing and waiting for that process to finish seems to take forever. If this is one of your first batches or if you tried a new grain or hops, you are eager to see how good the beer will taste. And you are eager to serve ice cold home made beer to friends and family. But you also know that if you break in and interrupt the process too soon, the beer you drink will be unsatisfactory and not nearly as rich and flavorful as how it will be when the aging process is done. So you wait, sometimes impatiently.

One way to continue enjoying the “fun part” of home brewing is to have fresh batches of beer in production each week. If you went that route, you would eventually end up with a lot of beer in various stages of fermentation and aging and you would have to date and mark the storage bottles so you know which beer is ready to use and which needs more time to reach maturity. And when you consider that an average minimum size of a home beer brewing cycle results in five gallons of beer, that can mean you will have a lot of finished beer around unless you have a big audience of beer drinkers to help you drink up the stuff.

The time between when beer is bottled after the brewing process is complete until it is ready to taste can be anywhere from six weeks to six months if you include both fermentation and aging. The actual aging process is pretty fascinating and understanding it helps you develop patience for nature to take its course. During fermentation, the yeast will work to change the structure of the sugar that was part of the brewing process. As the fermentation continues, carbon dioxide is created and this gives your beer that bubbly quality that is a big part of the appeal of the beverage.

Fermentation also pushes sediments from the yeast and proteins and these sediments would hurt the taste of your beer if the cycle were interrupted. It’s worth it to let the process naturally cure the beer so these unwanted byproducts naturally work their way out of the finished product. It does take a lot of patience to be a brewer, even a home brewer because allowing the aging process to produce perfect beer may take over a month or even longer. But this waiting is just as much a part of making great beer as the boiling and fermenting so you have to nurture the patient side of yourself to get a great outcome.

Part of your preparation for brewing is preparing a place for your beer to be housed in optimum conditions for fermentation to work its magic. As opposed to perhaps your impression before you became a home brewer, you will not store the beer in the refrigerator during this phase because colder temperatures actually stop the fermentation process. That is why you keep milk in there.

Instead plan to set up a “fermentation room” that wills stay at a constant cool temperature between 65 and 75 degrees any time of the year. This should be a room where you can achieve some temperature control so the beer stays in a stable environment to reach a perfect flavor. It is also a room you won’t feel the need to go to and interrupt the fermentation process. You can draw some of the beer out as early as 4 weeks from the start of fermentation. But for the best possible taste for your beer, you should give this process two to four months for adequate aging.

The Many Paths to Great Home Made Beer

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Before you really get oriented to what home brewing is all about, it’s easy to think it is a process that is set in stone and there is only one right way to do it. And it is true that the brewing and fermenting process has some steps that must be followed with some discipline if you wish to enjoy a great home made beer. But one of the reasons that home brewing is such a passion to many people who enjoy this way of making beer is that there as so many varieties of recipes and styles of making.

You can easily get a feel for what a huge variety there is in ways to brew beer and in recipes for ingredients when you visit your local beer supplies retailer, go to home brewing web sites or sit in at home brewing club meetings in town. And the great thing about the social side of the home brewing culture is that you will come home with a notebook full of ideas of things you can try on upcoming batches of beer. The odds are you will have months of ideas to try out and you may never run out of new approaches, blends and recipes to try to make your home made beer interesting and tasty for yourself, your family and your friends.

For that first time home brewing recruit, one of the best ways to help him have the fun of making beer at home without so much investment and mess that will come in due time is to go with a home brewing kit or machine. Beer making machines literally take all of the thinking and planning and risk out of trying out home brewing to see if you want to make the investment in a full set up. The machine comes with a full set of ingredients for one batch of beer and the equipment is automated so the novice home brewer can make the beer and move it through the fermentation and aging process and know the fun of having real home made beer a few weeks later.

Similarly kits simply the process of buying and using the equipment and ingredients to get started in home brewing. Unlike the beer making machine which is used once and discarded, the beer maker’s kit gives you the basic equipment which will be the beginning of your collection of the tools of a beer maker to be used over and over many times. But the kit provides the ingredients and the instructions to make the process of learning to make your own beer easy and fun to learn.

Even for seasoned home beer makers, there are variations on the home brewing method that will give you more flexibility and range of choices that will affect how unique your beer will be. But each may have a greater investment of work and effort to use effectively so it’s worth getting familiar with them in advance so you know your investment of time and effort and what you might expect with a new brewing method.

Probably the most common brewing method most amateur brewer’s use and the one that is taught in most home brewing guides is the extract method. And even though it is well known, because you are truly brewing beer yourself as opposed to using a kit or a machine, you can alter the consistencies and flavors of your beer and get a wonderful brew each time you use this approach.

You can settle on the extract method for a long time or perhaps use it exclusively for your brewing career and get great beers with it every time. But if you want a greater challenge and the possibility for even more unique beers as a result, you can explore the Mini-Mash method and the Full Mash Brew styles of home brewing. Each is more complex and takes longer to finish the brewing process. But they also give you a lot of flexibility and even more ability to make your own beer unique and distinctive.

It’s up to you where to start in your beer brewing hobby and the paths you take. You can explore new approaches through networking with other brewers. But you will never get bored brewing beer at home because the variety of methods and ingredients are virtually limitless.

Home brewing options in saving money

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Home brewing is a method of making beer at home. If you have ever tried a few different types beer while you are at a party or while you are celebrating life, you will notice that some are heavy and some are light. You should also remember that some are dark and others are light and clear, while some are bitter, and some are not. A home brewing kit is going to give you the ability to make and try your own beer so you can find that one special taste you love.

When can you use the home brewing systems?
You can use a home brewing system to make beer for a summer party, for a small get together or you can use the home brewing system just to have fun and keep you own brand of beer on the shelf in your home. Making beer at home will be easy as you follow the directions and the instructions that are included in any home brewing kit. As you experiment, you should also be writing down every thing you do step by step, as you create different types of beer.

As you continue writing down what you do, and any variations in what you do, you will be able to replicate that process for the final beer that you do like the taste of. Remember, every variations, every tiny fraction of difference in measuring, in how long you boil, or even what type of container you are using is going to make a difference in the final taste of the product you are enjoying.

Where are you going to store the beer?
Storing your beer is actually going to be an easy part of making the beer! I know you are thinking that you have to store all the beer that you make in a refrigerator but actually, that is not the case. You can store the beer in the buckets (that are sealed) that you made the beer in. As the beer is sealed tight is going to stop fermenting and the beer will stay good until you open it. When you are ready to open that bucket and pout it into glasses or containers so it gets cold you will need to put some type of lid on the beer while it gets cold to prevent it from getting flat tasting. Flat beer is worse than warm beer to many people are the world.

By brewing your own brand of beer, you are going to be able to save up to fifty percent of the cost of buying beer from a store. If you are having a large party that can be a huge, overall savings if you just think about it! Now it is time to get busy and start making your first batch.

Making your own beer really is fun. You can make beer, while your friends are over for the day, or you can make a batch of beer a few nights before that big party, you are going to attend. One thing is for sure, when you make your own beer, you will know exactly how much you have, and that you are not going to run out. If you store beer in the basement, where it is going to ferment and cool at the same time, you are always going to be prepared for visitors.