If you or someone you know appreciates beer, you should try and make your own beer. It does not really matter if you are an expert brewer or just learning how to brew. It is a great pleasure brewing beer, and with a home brew kit - it's easier than ever to get started.
These brew kits must be chosen with care depending on the type and style of beer you want to brew. Even if you are choosing a kit to give as a gift, it is essential choosing the right kind depending on the favorite brew of the brewer.
Beer ingredient kits come in three main categories namely all-grain kits, extract with grain kits and extract-malt kits. If you are just a beginner, then it is highly recommended to choose the malt extract kits as they are easier to handle and user friendly. With these kits, you do not have to struggle with any technicality related to mashing the grains in a proper manner.
Mashing is a process where the starch in the grains is converted to sugar. This sugar is used by the yeast to make alcohol. Most home brewing kits are tailored to brew basic beers such as brown ales, red ales, stouts, porters and pale ales. In extract kits - you do not need to mash as the extract is already the sugars derived from the grain.
With the help of the extract with grains kit, home brewers can experiment with mini-mashing the grains. The sweet malt extract ensures superb quality and great tasting beer. With this home brew kit, you can experiment with a variety of subtle flavors by mini mashing. You can use specialty malts to add in exact flavors.
If you are a highly dedicated home brewer, then you may want to step up to the all-grain brewing kits. These home brewing kits require additional home brewing equipment for mashing and sparging the grains properly. The beer you will be brewing with these kits will contain a variety of grains skillfully integrated to offer that unique and precise taste.
Different types of home brewing kits come with different equipment. Most kits do contain the bottle caps and priming sugar. No kits include bottles. If you have to make a gift package with smaller kits, make sure to note if the kit contains the bottle caps and priming sugar or if you should purchase them separately.
Home brew kits are usually available at local home brew shop. They can also be ordered online on any of the sites offering a variety of tools and brewing equipments such as bottle brush, starter kits that are offered with fermenting vessels and other tools.
Guest Post by By: Jeff & Greg Kuper
Remember all of those classes in high school that you though were irrelevant to life at the time? What could chemistry, history, and math possibly be used for simultaneously, while still having fun with the guys? In one respect, brewing beer involves most of the so-called useless information you learned while in high school. It is an elaborate chemistry experiment that dates back thousands of years, and must be made with a finely measured set of ingredients. Here is an abbreviated set of helpful hints on brewing your own beer.
Before you even start, here are a few basic key points. 1. It’s a hobby, have fun and don’t put too much pressure on yourself. If it’s not fun, it’s not worth it. So, don’t get stressed no matter what. 2. Have a few, or more, while you are doing this. See point number one. 3. Get good water. Beer is 99.9% water and it needs to be good water to get good beer. Chlorinated city water is no good, hard water is no good, highly salinated soft water is no good either. If you have to, go buy good water. 3. Get yourself a good brewing book. Several different resources are always a big help. 4. Keep a notebook. This way, you can keep track of your mistakes as well as your successes. Repeat the successes and you will always improve your batches.
- Before starting, find yourself a local home brew supply shop (find home brew supplies in your state). Home brew upply companies will get you all the necessary equipment and ingredients (home brew kits) you need to get started. They also offer a choice of hundreds of different kinds of beers.
- The key to brewing beer is sanitation. Your equipment must be operating room sterile or you’re wasting your time. In your kit you will receive directions pertaining to the style of beer you are brewing. Follow them exactly. They are very self-explanatory; however, there are a few things they don’t tell you.
- For instance, in the beginning of brewing, you have to boil all of the ingredients. Boil-overs happen in a matter of seconds. They are not only messy but they can also affect the outcome of your brew. Do NOT leave the stove area. Also, each kit makes five gallons of beer, but you don’t have to boil all five gallons. You can boil three gallons and add two frozen gallons after you are done boiling. This will considerably cut down your brewing and cooling time.
- First time brewers may feel brave enough to use extravagant yeast strains. Stick with the dry yeast packets until you get more experience. The dry yeast packets are very easy to use and are fairly reliable. After the boil and yeast is added, your wort (not beer yet) will be fermenting. Check the following day for bubbles in the air lock, and then try to forget about it for a few days. Let the yeast eat in peace for a few weeks.
- Now it’s time to bottle your beer. Again, operating room sterilization is crucial. Clean everything before using it, especially the bottles and caps. After bottling, find a cool, dark place to store your bottles of beer. You’re going to be inpatient, so go ahead and have one in two weeks. However, try to put the rest out of sight and out of mind for at least a month. The longer you wait, the better the beer will taste. Patience will pay off in the end. Once it does come time to enjoy your homebrew, pour it into a mug, and try to leave the settlement in the bottle.
More than likely you would have picked up on these tips after a few batches, but helpful hints never hurt. The most important thing (other than cleanliness) is to have fun and don’t rush. If you let nature take its time, you will finish with a product that you can take pride in, is good to drink, and is also a good conversation piece. Hopefully, this advice will improve your home brewing experience.