The section on home brewing, which will go over the steps to take on how to make beer from the comfort of your home. There is a similar guide on how to make wine at home that can also be followed, if you prefer the taste of wine to beer, as many do. The first thing you should know is that home brew (or homebrew) is not a difficult process. It takes some hardware, and some nice ingredients, but beside that, the hardware and things are not too difficult for the first-timer to experiment with.
Much of these home brew supplies can be purchased on their own, but there are also convenient home brew kits that you can buy with things in them suitable for beginners or intermediate brewers. Which route you take is up to you, but note that buying each piece of equipment individually gives a brewer more versatility in creating his product, but a kit can be more convenient for a novice if he or she does not recognize what is needed in the process – as there are often instructions included in those.
Home Brewing: The Process
Step #1: Preparation. Get your home brew supplies and ingredients ready. By now you should have went over both topics concerning the tools and ingredients you will need, but a quick rundown would be: brewer’s yeast, hops, water, a clarifying agent, grain, and a malt. If you are knowledgeable enough to choose between these factors, then you are good to go, but if not, you should consider getting a pre-made assortment of ingredients for the process.
Anyone at a local brewery or alcohol market can advise you on this, so do not be afraid to ask. There are also online sources to go to for advise on how to choose ingredients and utensils for your purposes, so check those out as well.
Step #2: Malting. Malting refers to the process of having grains (such as wheat, rye, barley and the like) harvested and prepared for extraction in home brewing. The grain should be heated and left out to dry completely, then cracked open. If done correctly, the dryness should make each grain easily crackable. What this does is it isolates a certain enzymatic reaction inside of the grain to better prepare it to release its sugars.
Step #3: Steeping. This process still involves the grains. It is also known as mashing in home brewing nomenclature. Put on a pot of water on medium-low heat. As soon as it heats up, place the cracked grain inside of it. Allow it to heat through, but do not allow it to boil just yet. Boiling comes later. Periodically remove it from the heat to prevent the enzymes from being destroyed before they are distributed into the wort. After the sugars and things are extracted from the grains, and this sort of “pre-beer” substance is made, the next step takes place.
Step #4: Boiling. Your liquid should be sticky and adhesive to a stirrer. This is a sign of a good wort, or non-alcoholic proto-beer that home brewing is based on. Keep the wort in the pot once all of these sugars are released from the grain, and then set the pot to a full rolling boil. This is the time to introduce the hops and malt to the liquid at random periods; how they are introduced can change the flavor strength of the beer, so keep this in mind.
Step #5: Fermentation. After the wort has been boiled for about an hour, allow it to sit out on the stove top and cool. Strain it completely, and send it through a filtration system to remove any bits and pieces. This is the section where the clarifying agent is recommended to make it clearer and non-murky.
Draining over a sterile cheesecloth should be fine. It is at this point that the wort is placed into a (still sterile) containment vessel, preferably air tight. Introduce the yeast to it and close it up. The yeast are active microorganisms that will devour every bit of sugar in the wort and release carbon dioxide (the fizz) and alcohol (what people get drunk from).
The final step of home brewing beer is bottling it up and allowing it to age.