How to start brewing beer at home
Let's go into the details of the brewing:
- how to brew beer?
The first step of the brewing process is the milling of the grains. It starts with crushing different types of malt to break up the wheat grains. This procedure is necessary to extract the sugars during the mash that will then be responsible for fermentation.
During the mash phase, the grains are transferred to a pot and mixed with hot water (65 ° / 75 ° c) to allow the enzymes contained in the malt to break the starch into sugars. The wort is then transferred into pots for boiling.
During the boil the brewer adds the hops to make the beer bitter and give the typical hoppy aroma. If the recipe requires it, during this step spices or other aromas are added.
At the end of the boiling, the result is a sterilized wort ready to be cooled and transferred to the fermenter where the yeast will do its job.
After about two weeks, the beer is ready for maturation and/or bottling.
Now the main question is:
- can I brew beer at home?
The answer is yes!
First of all you need to know that there are different methods and techniques for making home-made craft beer and we can categorize them for "ease" into three groups:
Kit beer: it is the simplest, cheapest and fastest technique. It is particularly suitable for those who want to try making beer for the first time. It is based on the use of a can of concentrated hopped malt extract.
Partial Mash (E+G): it means "extract + grains": it is an intermediate technique between the kit and the all grain, which combines the practicality of the kit with the ability to customize the recipe;
All Grain Technique: the most advanced and complex technique, used to produce using the primary ingredients of beer: water, barley malt and hops.
The next question is:
- what is the best technique for me?
The answer is not simple. Different manufacturing techniques have different costs. Plus, each brewing method requires very different technical skills and workspace. The best choice depends on you and your financial possibilities and time to devote to it. Now we will try to understand together which of the three options is the one that really suits your needs.
- How much does it cost to brew beer at home?
The cost varies on the type of technique you choose to use and the amount of beer you intend to produce. Assuming a quantity of 20 liters of beer, making beer with the kit costs about €100 as a starting price (price of the kit and the first extract), plus €40 for each subsequent batch you make. With all grain you start from a minimum of €200 (upwards) to purchase a minimum of equipment, plus €50 for each other batch. The E+G has a start-up cost of € 100-150, plus €35 for more purchases.
Let's see in detail the 3 brewing techniques
As we said at the beginning, there are 3 different techniques for producing craft beer at home:
- Beer kit and extracts
- Partial Mash (E + G)
- All Grain
Brewing with the Beer Kit:
Brewing with the kit requires little space and can also be done comfortably in the home kitchen.
The wort is produced by diluting hopped malt extract, a syrupy concentrate commercially available in cans. We recommend to avoid this method because as simple as it is it does not lead to good results.
Brewing with the E + G
Literally "Extract and grains". Partial Mash is a mixed technique between beer kit and all grain. It is made with a wort with non-hopped malt extract to which special malts are added to add particular characteristics that contribute significantly to changing the result of the finished product. For example, they can bring a darker color, a coffee/chocolate tone, a biscuit flavor, or more.
Please note that the malt extract to buy is of type: not hopped. They are basic extracts (for example: amber, light,..) with essential organoleptic characteristics. It's like buying a blank canvas on which we can then draw whatever we like. In this case, in addition to the special malts, we will also carry out the hopping, choosing the variety and quantity of hops we want to use.
E + G is a pretty simple technique but know that you will need some small additional equipment: a mill, hop bags, etc.
Brewing with the All Grain technique
The all grain technique is the most complicated one, which requires more costs, time, space and passion. In all grain, we start directly from the raw materials of beer: water, malt, hops and yeast. No prepackaged extracts. It is the small reproduction of an industrial process. It starts by grinding the malt and letting it infuse in water following specific steps provided in the recipe. The wort is then "cleaned" and boiled with the hops, cooled and fermented.
The main difference is the mashing process which requires a series of knowledge and additional tools, which leads to an increase in equipment costs. However, there are also simplified versions of the All grain that significantly reduce the space and the necessary equipment, such as the BIAB (Brew In A Bag).
You are now ready to become a homebrewer: click on the picture, choose your favorite style of beer and start to brew!
Complete Beer Kit: Ingredients & Equipments