You like beer? Do you have a friend or significant other that enjoys beer as much as you do? Ever wonder how much it actually cost to make beer instead of paying $6 for a pint? Or maybe much like myself someone thought that gifting you a small batch beer making kit from a novelty store was both funny and thoughtful. If you answered yes to any of the previous questions or are just curious to know what it takes to start making beer at home allow me to elaborate just a little.
First off you need TIME, like any other hobby you will need to understand the beer making process can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months end to end depending on beer style. Your actual brew day could be as little as 3-4hrs or an all day affair so keep that in mind. Next is patience for the reasons noted above also all the variables that go with the actual process of creating wort for yeast to ferment and produce alcohol in this case beer. The next 3 necessities are really left to the brewers discretion.
Gear you will need some brewing equipment luckily there are great establishments and resources that can guide you or help put together a kit that suits your criteria. The absolute minimum you will need a pot or kettle, 2 food grade plastic buckets(1 to ferment the other to bottle),rubber stoppers,airlock, a good thermometer,hydrometer, graduated cylinder,large stainless spoon,some vinyl or silicon tubing,cleaner & no rinse sanitizer, bottles, bottle capper, bottle caps. A good cooktop or stove top if you have a outdoor propane burner thats even better. There will be some disposable items that relate to the process you choose to make your masterpiece like grain bags and hop bags. It may sound like a lot but if you are content with the results it may not be necessary to add any other equipment later on.
Space you will need space to store all your gear and equipment but also counter space or floor space if you are brewing inside. Once brewing is done you will need a place to keep the beer at a constant temperature while the beer ferments. This can be any from 14 days to maybe a month so a place where it won't be disturbed is ideal. Some people use bathtubs filled with a little bit of water to help with temperature swings. A cool closet or basement works well generally a space where the room temp stays fairly constant throughout the day. Once fermentation is complete you will most likely be bottling this requires a place to store your beer until its ready for consumption. A garage or separate refrigerator is ideal or course depending on you batch size the number of bottles varies i.e. 1 gallon batch should net around 10 12oz bottles, 3 gallons = 32 , 5 gallons around 53 bottles and so on.
Last but not least you will need some ingredients there are some great recipe kits available so don't sweat it too much just pick something that you will want to drink when its all done most home brew stores will have kits or can put something together for you rather quickly. Look to spend around $150 to get yourself going with what I have just describe above.
In my next post I will go a little more in depth and supply some helpful links and resources to shine some extra light on things.