Homebrewing is a regular conversation in our household. Brandon has been an avid brewer since 2010 and I have been his assistant brewer and dabbled in my own homebrewing ever since. Recently, I’ve jumped on the bandwagon and have now focused a lot of my free time to making recipes, learning about ingredients, and making as many batches as I can. Like many hobbies, homebrewing can be a bit overwhelming to get started. Today, I thought I would share some tips to get in on the fun and a few things I’ve learned along the way.
Research, research, research
While the ingredient list for beer is straight forward…water, grain, hops, and yeast…you will find that each ingredient deserves extensive research and knowledge on your homebrewing journey. There will always be more than one way to brew beer. I recommend starting small whether with 1 gallon batches, extract batches on your kitchen stove, or brew in a bag method. We started brewing extract batches on our stove and now on a homemade 3-tier gravity system. We also started out with bottling all our beer and now keg with a few exceptions on age-able and sour beers. There are a ton of online courses, articles, and books to explore.
Join a local homebrew club
We have been a part of our homebrew club since its conception. It is a great place to meet people who are passionate about craft beer and homebrewing. It is also a great place to try multiple homebrews and get feedback on your own. Some clubs can be very structured with dues, boards, and presentations, while others are just some friends who sit and talk homebrew for an hour. Each has their merits and just depends on what is available in your area. Our club is a nice blend of just getting together to try each other’s homebrews along with an optional organized competition that spans throughout the year. We try to give helpful advise and honest opinions to each other as the main goal is better beer for all.
Start building your equipment stockpile
Christmas 2010, I bought Brandon a homebrewer kit from our local supply shop and it has been a crazy pandora’s box ever since. We knew little about homebrewing but knew we liked craft beer and making things from scratch. So we brewed our first batch in the kitchen and fermented it in the spare bathroom shower. We now have an entire garage filled with our brewing system, buckets, kegs, water baths for temperature control, kegarator, spare kegs, grain bins, grain mill, and countless small items along with adequate spares all for homebrewing. It is a little crazy but remember this has definitely been built overtime and now serves 2 homebrewers.
I’d start with a simple kit, ingredients for 1 batch, and bottles. Do a little research and make a batch, don’t overthink it. Like most hobbies, you can get big and crazy like we have or keep it small. Either way is still fun and can make great beer!
A great place to find these starter kits is on morebeer.com . Here are a few options to get you started:
Make beer you like
I have recently started crafting my own recipes for beer, but it can be especially overwhelming for anyone starting out. Luckily, there are lots recipes available at your disposal. I highly recommend starting with a clone and/or kit recipe available online. Also, keep it a basic recipe. It will be a few weeks before you can taste your first homebrew batch, don’t make yourself wait longer with a barrel-aged barley wine. But most of all, make sure it is a beer you will like. Most batches will make 5 gallons of beer. If you don’t like Belgian beer and make a Belgian pale, that is a lot of beer to have in the fridge or kegarator no matter how many friends you try to give it away to. You can find a bunch of recipe kits to get started at morebeer.com:
5-Gal Extract Kits
1-Gal Extract Kits
Are you a homebrewer? What was your first batch of beer? How did you get started? Comment below and let me know if there is anything that helped you get started I might have missed.
These are just a few things to think about when you are starting your own homebrewing adventure. While it certainly can be overwhelming at first, just remember to start small, basic, and take it one step at a time. There will be mistakes made along the way and maybe even the sad day when you have to dump a batch. Don’t fret too much, have fun and remember…
“Relax. Don’t worry. And have a homebrew.”
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