Introduction to Home Brewing.
So you want to start brewing beer but you’re asking yourself, where do I start? How much will it cost? How long does it take? These are some pretty common questions that I will cover below. When I first started brewing I had to fly by the seat of my pants through the first few beer making attempts but with time and knowledge, I’m nearly ready to get a nice white lab coat to complement all the scientific research that goes into making a perfect beer. There are a few different methods when it comes to home brewing, which are kit and kilo, extract brewing or all grain brewing but today I will just be talking about kit and kilo style brewing.
Where do I start?
First of all, you need to get some equipment, I suggest that you go to your local homebrew store if you have one in your area. Pick up a beginners kit which would typically include the following as a minimum to start brewing:
- Bottling Wand.
- Some kits may also include a kilo of brewing sugar, beer kit can, carbonation drops, crown seals and PET or glass bottles.
If you don’t have a local homebrew shop you could simply order a Coopers DIY Beer Brew Kit from Dan Murphys or stroll into your local Big W for the same thing. This kit includes everything to brew and bottle your first batch of delicious beer. The only items not included in this kit are cleaning and sanitising solutions which you will need to source. If you’re near Melbourne, KegLand or KegKing are also good options. My next post with cover the importance of cleaning and sanitising, as this is the most important process when it comes to brewing beer.
How much will it cost?
The initial outlay is around $120 which I assure you it will pay itself off in no time. For example, a coopers pale ale kit and kilo brew as it’s often referred to, will cost you around $23 and yield around 21 litres of bottled beer. At the time of writing this, a slab of Coopers original pale ale would cost $55 for 9 litres. I don’t really need to break this down any further because you can already see the difference brewing your own beer will make just from that. Plus brewing your own beer is so much more rewarding than buying someone else’s.
As you progress!
Once you decide to step up your brewing operation the options are endless. There is other equipment and more ingredients that can be used to immensely improve your beer. I started to progress after just doing 2 batches. Let’s face it, once you start playing around with adding more hops and speciality grains you’re completely addicted to raising the bar on the next brew.
The extra optional equipment you will require is the following:
- 19-litre boil pot
- Hop Bag
The next step to kit and kilo brewing; is boiling or steeping hops to add extra flavour or bitterness and addition of speciality grains for flavour profile. The first advanced step people try is dry hopping to add aroma. Dry hopping is adding hops to your beer when fermentation has finished to take your beer to the next level. This is when the fun starts because once you start developing your own recipes and flavour profiles, you’re hooked. Brewing will be extremely rewarding and you will ask yourself, why didn’t I start this sooner.
How long does it take?
One thing I hear from my friends is that they are way too impatient to wait for beer to brew. They don’t have the time so they just buy beer from the shop when they need it.
The reality is that the initial process to put on a brew can be done in under 2 hours. The fermentation period is 2 weeks and once you have bottled your beer it takes another 2 weeks to condition and carbonate.
If you constantly have a batch of beer fermenting just like I do, then you should be able to build up a stockpile. Having an arsenal of different beers means that they will have a chance to age and get even better over time. You will never have the problem of running out of beer which is every mans dream. If you do this, never admit to your friends that you have an unlimited supply of beer or they will forever be on your doorstep empty handed begging for some of your liquid gold.
If you’re new to brewing or yet to begin and you have any questions or comments about what I have discussed so far I would love to hear from you in the comments or the forum. If you would like us to put a beginners kit together for you to suit your needs feel free to Contact Us.
If you have been brewing for a while, what would be your best bit of advice to a beginner?