So you want to be a brewer, but you’ve been to breweries and seen all the high-tech equipment and are a little intimidated. RELAX! If you can boil water, you can make beer. With just a few basic pieces of equipment, some basic ingredients, and time, you can make some pretty good brew to enjoy with your friends. Beware, once you start brewing, you tend to not be able to stop…not that that is a bad thing, of course.
Here we will cover extract brewing, which is the way many beginner homebrewers make beer and how many of the most experienced homebrewers got their start. Extract brewing is the process of using concentrated malt extract (liquid or dry) allowing you to skip the mashing process. Extract brewing takes considerably less time and equipment than all grain brewing. The catch, extract brewing doesn’t allow for the full range of the brewing process that all grain does…but never fear, we’ll be covering all grain later in the month.
To get things started, malt extract is added to a pot of water and boiled, along with hops, to create wort (liquid containing sugars used for fermentation). The equipment you will need to extract brew is:
- Boil pot (at least 20 quarts)
- Fermentor (at least 6 gallons plastic bucket with airtight lid)
- Large stirring spoon (non-wood)
- Airlock (get from homebrew shop)
- Sanitizer (chlorine bleach or other)
- Bottling bucket (same as fermentor but with a spigot and no lid)
- Bottle filler
- Some food grade plastic tubing (5 feet should be more than enough – attaches to spigot and filler)
- Bottles (about 50 12oz bottles for a 5 gallon batch)
- Bottle caps
Going to make this easy for you. Find a local homebrew shop or go online and order yourself a homebrew starter kit, most include everything you will need to get started. You will probably have to buy a large stirring spoon and boil pot separately, along with the bottles. Don’t want to buy the bottles? Have yourself a little party and invite your friends to empty 50-60 bottles for you, just make sure the bottles are not twist-offs.
Next you’ll need your extract, hops, and yeast. Again, you are going to get this from your local or online homebrew shop. I recommend you check out their pre-packaged recipe kits. The kits come with everything you need to make a delicious beer.
Come back tomorrow and we’ll take you through the steps of extract brewing.