Far from being undrinkable apart from by impoverished students, tramps and eccentrics,
home brewed beer can appeal to the drinks connoisseur
, equalling or exceeding the quality
of what is available commercially. It's also a fun hobby, which gains many friends.
- Get the co-operation, sympathy and/or support of your partner and flatmates.
- You will need undisturbed space to keep the beer while it is fermenting, and for the bottles
- Start hoarding your empties! Whereas normally, you would be taking your bottles to the
bottle bank, store them so that you will have something to put your beer into.
- Patience. Beer is a living organism, it needs time to grow.
- See also the list of equipment below.
Obtaining the ingredients
As with cookery
, there are different levels of sophistication required depending on the
starting point, and amount of preparation. It is as well to start with brew kit
to gain confidence and experience, then get some help or do some research to obtain different
- Brew kits. These are available from specialist stores, and available
internationally via the Internet.
Kits comprise of a can of wort concentrate (malt extract with hops already added), and a
sachet of brewer's yeast. It is a good idea to study the recipe (or ask) before purchasing the kit.
The best kits do not require additional sugar for the brew, nor contain non-malt sugars, such
as invert sugar, molasses. Sugars add to the alcohol content, but not to the flavour, whereas malt does both.
- Malt extract brewing. Source your own hops, brewer's yeast and malt
extract. You have much more control of the flavour as you are deciding the ingredients and
- Mash tun brewing. This is smellier, and requires considerably
more effort than using malt extract, but afficionados will tell you that the results are worth
it, usually turning their noses up at malt extract brews. This requires buying special equipment,
which is available from suppliers to the micro brewery industry (malt mill, mash tun, sparging hose, wort cooler).
The legality or otherwise of brewing beer at home varies between countries and states. It is
worthwhile checking what the status is. In the UK
, home brewing is 100% legal (distilling
isn't), but the resulting product cannot be sold to members of the public, without incurring
. People have found many ways around this, including forming a beer club, raffling
the bottles (with 100% chance of winning) etc.