At some point in their lives, all beer lovers aspire to brew their own concoctions and with the recent boom in popularity afforded craft brewing in general and the affordability of ‘grow your own kits’, who could blame them. However, there are certain things that all aspiring brewers should take into account when planning their first lager, bitter or IPA.
The kit – The kit itself is arguably the most important part of the process and should always be your first port of call. Home brewing kits have been popular birthday and Christmas gifts for years now, but it’s only in recent years that they have become more approachable and affordable to those simply wishing to dip their toes into the hobby. From kits that contain everything from the yeast and the hops to kits that just give you the basics, there are plenty on the market ranging from £20 al the way to £100. So shop around for the kit that’s right for you.
The bucket – Beer needs to ferment – that’s what makes it alcoholic and also what makes it so tasty! Generally, for home brewers, the options will be limited by space, but a decent plastic bucket should suffice as long as it’s clean and has a close-fitting lid. More expensive demijohns and carboys are also an option, but id you’re just getting started, it’s a needless expense.
The cleaning – One thing many people don’t realise about beer brewing is just how just cleaning is required. To create safe and tasty brews, however, it’s imperative that no-rinse sanitisers are prepared in order to keep it safe and drinkable. Whilst it’s brewing, beer is quite susceptible to spoiling, so always be on your guard!
The ingredients – Keep all ingredients in airtight containers and store everything in a cool, or at least room-temperature environment where possible. Malt, meanwhile, which will give your beer a lot of its flavour, should be used within 6 months, regardless of how it’s been stored, otherwise, it can lead to a stale and lifeless flavour. Yeast, meanwhile, will keep a lot longer as long as it’s sealed and when it comes to hops – the fresher the better!
The internet – There might have been hundreds of books published on the subject of home brewing in recent years, but the internet is a constantly expanding source of information. It’s also wealthy with resources when it comes to ingredients and tools – with sites such as RS Components stocking industrial grade liquid analysis tools and more general sites like Amazon and the specialist Brew Store boasting a wide range of kits, ingredients, books and more besides.
There has truly never been a better time to be a beer brewer, but remember – just because your first batch ends ups tasting like bathwater, that doesn’t mean your third batch won’t end up tasting like the nectar of the gods!