If you’ve ever tilted back a nice frothy, cold mug of handcrafted super rare beer, a very common thought probably crossed your mind. In fact, if you were to look into the eyes of fellow craft beer fans and homebrew aficionados, a look of familiarity greets you. Both of you are thinking the same thing.
I am of course talking about the idea, as crazy it may seem to some people, of you brewing your own beer. Let’s get one thing clear. As awesome as your local corner store microbrewery may be, there’s always room for improvement.
If you live close to a microbrewery, they probably bend over backward coming up with very small batches of beer that are almost hand-brewed just for you. You can’t get more customized than that until you take the next step.
That next step is obvious: brewing your own stuff. The idea of beer fans buying a homebrew kit and coming up with all sorts of concoctions in their basement or garage is an old one. Again, this boils down to your curiosity as to how far craft brewing can go.
While you may have fallen in love with local or district microbreweries beer brands, you still have that curiosity because everybody’s different, everybody has their own preferences as far as taste or aftertaste go. This is where homebrewing comes in.
It’s Not As Easy As You Think
It’s important to keep in mind that beer-brewing on the surface seems straightforward. How complicated could it be? You just have to have the right ingredients, basic equipment, and as long as you follow a sequence, you should be good to go.
For the most part, this is correct. You need grains, hops, yeast, and water. That’s it. That’s the basic recipe for beer. That’s true today and was true thousands of years ago. But just like any recipe, it’s how you go through the process, and the little bits and pieces of ingredients that you experiment with that go a long way.
This is how custom brewing experts cut their teeth in the industry. They start with a basic recipe and once they get it down cold to the point they can consistently produce this beer, they then start experimenting.
This is how you should approach your home-brewing project. It’s supposed to be a learning process and the key is to get everything down correctly so you can reach a place where you can experiment with all sorts of ingredients that are off the beaten path.
You can explore different taste accents that would truly make your homebrew concoctions taste out of this world. But to make the magic happen, you have to start with the basics.
Picking the Right Homebrewing Supplies
The great thing about crafting beer is that you don’t need much in terms of equipment. You need a siphon, a place to collect the mash, some sort of pot to heat the grains and mix ingredients. As you can tell by this, there are so many different pieces of equipment that can stand in.
A lot of people who have tight budgets would use buckets. At the end of the day, it’s not your equipment that dictates the quality of your product, it’s your attention to details. Now, this doesn’t mean that you can use just any piece of equipment and let things fall into place. It doesn’t work that way.
If you can find only smaller containers then you have to improvise. Or if you have a pot that is not the right size then you have to have some sort of a workaround. That’s what I mean by paying close attention to details.
The good news is if you buy the right homebrewing supplies, you can focus less on the workarounds and improvised solutions. Instead, you can invest most of your attention and focus on the ingredients as well as following the right brewing sequence so you can be assured that the stuff you’re brewing will be top-notch.
Put simply, when you buy the right home brewing supplies, you are buying peace of mind because you can now focus your attention on where it needs to go.
Basic or Essential Equipment for Homebrewing
As I mentioned above, there are many different workarounds or improvised solutions as far as homebrewing equipment goes. But if you want to make things as easy on yourself as possible, try to stick to the following list.
It’s as open-ended as I could make it but the more precise you are, the higher the chance you’re not going to hassle with improvisations or workarounds down the road.
You would need at least six gallons of storage capacity or more. It should also have a built-in hole for your airlock.
Airlock and Stopper
This is a very important piece of equipment. This releases the carbon dioxide produced by the mash during the fermentation process. It also does double duty in keeping the air out. You don’t want any air contaminating the fermentation chamber.
You need at least a six-gallon capacity bucket for the sanitizing and the bottling process
This is important. You need these bags to seep your hops into boiling liquid.
Racking Cane and Siphoning Tool
These tools are needed to transfer the beer from the container
This must be food grade and iodine-based
Water-Proof Thermometer, Hydrometer Bottles with Bottle Caps, Bottle Capper
Bottle capper is an important tool so you can put the bottle caps quickly and easily on your bottles. You don’t want to injure yourself trying to manually force caps onto your bottles.
This is used for filling your bottles.
When it comes to the basic ingredients for the homebrewing process, you need grain which is normally barley, hops, yeast, and water. If you are a beginner, there are shortcuts available. You can buy a homebrewing kit from an online brew shop.
The kit will have all the equipment you need and would also have pre-prepared extracts or pre-malted packages which you can cut and mix with water so you can get a headstart on your homebrew journey.
A lot of students who try to master homebrewing advise against this because the farther away you get from purely fresh ingredients, the higher the chance that the taste of your final product would not be what you expected.
Still, if you just want to get a fast, quick and straightforward overview of the brewing process, you might want to consider the prepared packages that you just open and mix so you can get a big-picture view of how the homebrew process works.
Once you get the hang of it, you can start using fresher ingredients so you can then start working on that specific taste you are looking for.