Home Brewing, Part I: What You'll Need

>> Thursday, June 3, 2010

We didn't lie. We know it's been a while, but we wanted to wait until we knew our own creations were worthy before sharing this whole process with all of you. If you're curious -- yes, they taste GOOD! We have learned that it's incredibly possible to brew your own tasty beverages at home!

But before you can begin this wonderfully rewarding and creative process, you'll need to gather the essentials. We were able to purchase/amass these items for only a couple hundred dollars (less if memory serves us right). And though this may seem like a lot at first, once you have all your tools together, you'll be on your way to making gallons upon gallons of your own IPAs, pale ales, stouts, porters, etc.

(We'll even teach you how to make one of these, below, so you won't need to suffer with the $80 price tag!)

In Part I of our Home Brewing Series, we'll focus on the essential beer-making components and provide a brief description of their purpose. Though not listed below, one of the most valuable things you can find is a person who has either done this whole process before or a friend who also shares your passion and enthusiasm. It's not only easier to figure everything out together, it's also more entertaining.

For us, this person was our neighbor Shelby. You may remember him from our first post about home brewing. Shelby and his lovely wife Leslie moved to TX this week . . . and we already miss them dearly. However, our beer adventures will live on forever. And we hope to continue brewing together virtually.

So, here's what you'll need to get started:

And of course, a beer kit! We started with the Hop Scare IPA w/Munton's Gold Dry Yeast, waited two weeks, and staggered in the Oatmeal Stout w/ Munton's 6 gm dry yeast. Inside each kit you will find grains, yeast, malt extract, hops, priming sugar (for bottling), and of course, step by step instructions.

We love to support our local homebrew store, but decided to buy our brewing supplies and ingredients online from Midwest Home Brewing and Winemaking Supplies because of their vast inventory and lower prices. Keep in mind, though, that for last minute supplies like extra yeast, hops for dry hopping, extracts for flavoring, hitting up your local store is your best bet.

Some definitions:
  • Primary fermentation is when the wort finally becomes beer through the conversion of sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide. This conversion is done by the yeast which "eat" the sugars; you just need to provide the right conditions for the yeast to do its job. (source)
  • Secondary fermentation is the process of transferring, or "racking," your beer from one carboy to another, leaving the dead yeast and other sediment behind, to allow it to continue aging and fermenting. (source)

Be sure to check back next Thursday for Home Brewing, Part II: How Do I Brew Beer?

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