Millions of people are interested in brewing their own beer at home. Craft brewing may start as a hobby or curiosity, and once successful, turn into something individuals do again and again. While it’s possible to eventually make money by brewing, most people engage this hobby for the pride that ensues after sipping their own ales, pilsners and stouts and sharing them with friends and family.
Those ready to engage in home brewing will be happy to learn that there are plenty of resources available for getting started. Even with a simple set-up, it’s possible to brew a decent beer. Here are the items to consider.
Brew pot: Home brewers will need something in which to boil the wort, which will eventually become the beer. This vessel should be made of aluminum, stainless steel or enamel-coated aluminum and be large enough to handle the size batch of beer.
Fermenter: Fermenter vessels will hold the beer while it is going through the fermentation process. Food-grade plastic buckets or glass carboys are options. The fermenter should seal tightly to keep out air and microorganisms, but have a space for an airlock that will allow the carbon dioxide to escape.
Tubing and siphon: A siphon and vinyl tubing is needed to rack the beer from one fermenter to the next or from the fermenter to bottles.
Hydrometer: A hydrometer, according to Beer Tola, a resource on brewing and beverages, is a tool that measures the density of liquid, known as specific gravity. This helps one calculate when fermentation is complete as well as the alcohol content of the finished product.
The basics of beer recipes include hops, grains, water, and yeast. When the hops and grains are boiled down, one has wort, which essentially is sugar water. The yeast will feed on this sweetened water to produce carbon dioxide through fermentation.
Sanitation is essential when brewing, and all equipment needs to be sanitized correctly so that the beer is not introduced to microorganisms that can affect taste or even the fermentation process. Only the yeast used for fermentation should be present. Many experienced brewers say that sanitation is the most important part of the process. Brew shops sell specialized chemicals for sanitizing all equipment, but some home brewers also stand by boiling water for cleaning gear.