A Joyful and Rewarding Hobby Ready to try home brewing? Here is some home brewing 101 to help you get started! By Jeff Louella First Things First If you are reading this magazine, you are probably someone who enjoys variety in your selection of beer. You may love the bitterness and flavor of the hops in IPAs, but also admire the malty sweetness in a doppelbock. But, did you know that you could create beer at home that is just as good or even better than many craft breweries? Home brewing as a hobby has been catching fire lately. Finding and buying brewing equipment and ingredients has never been easier, and the Internet is helping to spread brewing information at a rapid pace. If there was ever a time to start home brewing, it would be now. Brewing beer at home can be very easy. The beauty of the hobby is that it can grow with you. While most people start with plastic buckets and some used Dogfish Head bottles, many brewers grow into complex brewing setups and draft beer systems to serve their homemade brew. Many of these systems are built piece-by-piece and batch-by-batch. While having a fancy system is nice, awardwinning beer can still be produced on a minimal budget and with basic equipment. This article will guide you through some of the initial decisions when taking up the hobby and walk you through the first brew day.
While this article is intended to inspire and help guide you through brewing your first batch, it’s limited in information due to the nature of a magazine article. As mentioned above, home brewing can be as simple or complex as you want to make it. Before you start, do some reading and research. I personally recommend buying the book “How to Brew” by John Palmer. Even after my 100th batch of home brewed beer, I still refer to this book and always learn something new. It covers all of the basics, but then, transforms into a reference manual as you grow into a well-rounded brewer. Another thing that I recommend is to watch someone else brew a batch of beer. Though brewing is not rocket science, it is a great time to ask questions and get familiar with the equipment.
Basic Brewing Equipment Needed Before you start brewing, you will need some basic equipment. Some of this equipment you may have already and others you can buy as a kit at your local home brew shop. Things You May Already Have at Home
• Stove • Sink with running water • Boil kettle (stockpot) • Cooking spoon • Can opener • Strainer • Measuring cups • Small bowl
Boil Kettle (Stockpot): Seems obvious, this is for boiling the wort (unfermented beer). As a rule of thumb, bigger is usually better. Most brewers start in the kitchen using about a 16qt (4 gallon) stockpot. Sizes and shapes may differ. The goal is to boil at least half of the batch of beer (2.5 gallons). So, you need a pot that can at least handle that comfortably.