Home Brewing Beer for Beginners (October 2013)

Home Brewing Beer for Beginners (October 2013)

Making Home Brew Beer for the Beginner. HomeBrewWest gives the top tips for beginners when making your own Homebrew Beer.

Getting Started: What to Purchase

The best investment you will ever make to kick-start your homebrewing revolution is to purchase a homebrew equipment starter kit. These kits contain fermenting vessels, thermometers, hydrometers and all the technical equipment necessary. Start collecting old empty beer bottles to build up a collection. Think about the colder months of the year and purchase a heating belt or brewbelt. This will keep the temperature of your homebrew high enough for the yeast to work properly. When looking for a beer starter starter kit, compare like with like; some "complete" beer making kits are more complete than others.

You will need to buy a specific beer ingredient kit and, depending on the kit, you may also need to buy additional fermentables. The kit will contain the raw ingredients that you are going to ferment such as hopped malt extract. It will also contain yeast and other ingredients you will need. Ingredient "bundles" are often a better deal than buying ingredients separately.



 

The Importance of Sugar, Malt Extract, And Manufacturer’s Recommendations

Many beer ingredient kits will require the addition of sugar but you will get a much better result from your homebrew if you use brewing sugar. If you want to produce a beer with a maltier taste then you can substitute the sugar with liquid malt extract (LME) or spraymalt. Always refer back to the manufacturer’s recommendations when it comes to the addition of sugar and substitutions for it as replacing sugar with malt extract may alter the taste and mouth feel of the beer. As a general rule of thumb, adding a can of LME instead of sugar will dramatically improve beer kits that contain less than 3 K of malt extract. LME has recently become very cheap, so its a great option.

Home Brew Mistakes to Avoid

Even when you invest in quality homebrewing kits, there are still some common mistakes that are best avoided in the homebrewing process.

  1. Make sure to clean and sterilize your equipment properly with VWP or equivalent.

  2. Rinse the sterilising fluid from the equipment before using it.

  3. Make sure the contents of the fermenter are at the correct temperature of between 18 - 22 Celsius, before you add the yeast.

  4. Monitor the temperature, particularly during the first 36 hours. The initial fermentation is slow but it speeds up after about a day and it can create heat, raising the fermenting brew temperature above room temperature. Letting it get too hot could kill off or damage the yeast causing a bad tasting brew.

  5. Use a heating belt or brewbelt during the colder months; do not put your brew in the hotpress unless your hot water cylinder is insulated.

Beer Bottling Strategies

There are two key approaches to bottling your own homebrew beer. The first approach is to move the beer from the main fermenter into a second vessel, and then to mix in the priming sugars. The primed beer mixture can then be bottled. However, it is important to note that the process of moving the beer and then mixing in the priming sugars, introduces oxygen at a critical time, which can affect the beer.

The second approach is to individually prime each homebrew bottle and then just bottle from the main fermenter. This approach significantly reduces air contact (oxygen) with the beer and gives a better quality result. Priming each bottle by adding sugar to each bottle can be tedious, so look for sucrose / glucose tablets in packets to easily drop them into the bottles instead to speed up the process.

Whatever you decide, home brew beers have become even more popular and can result in some fantastic mixtures and choices for the beer enthusiasts out there.