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GettingStartedWithHomebrewing

Getting into homebrewing beer

Getting into homebrewing can be a bit daunting. Luckily it’s quite easy to get into, but might take some time and effort to master.

The first dilemma if you’re looking to start brewing beer at home, should I start with a beer kit, extract brewing, or all-grain brewing? We’ll run you through the differences and why you want to choose for either one of these.

Beer kit

Beer kits are the easiest way to get into homebrewing. In general they are sold as a liquid that has all the flavouring in it. You add the content of the beer kit, water, and sometimes sugar in a container that will be used to ferment the beer. Next you add yeast and sit on your hands until you have beer.

Pros:

  • Beer kits are often sold in a set with all the required equipment included
  • The simplest way to get to learn some basics, like the process of fermentation
  • Does not require a lot of upfront investment in equipment
  • The most time-efficient way to homebrew beer

Cons:

  • Beer kits come in a limited recipes
  • Almost no room for creativity for the brewer
  • Cost per liter of beer is the highest of the three methods
  • Some people claim that they can tell beer kits apart (negatively) from beer brewed with extract and all-grain methods

Beer kits are where most people started their homebrew hobby – but there are also a lot of people that skip this step in favour of extract or all-grain brewing (see below). To learn more about the steps involved in a kit beer click here.

Extract brewing

Extract refers to the malt (grain) extract, and is sold as a very concentrated liquid or powder. By buying extract instead of whole grains you skip a large number of steps in the brewing proces, namely crushing the malts and mashing them. This makes extract brewing a good compromise for novice brewers or those that have less space or time.

All the other steps of the brewing process are largely the same as all-grain. You still need to boil the beer, you can add any hop or addition during this boil, you need to cool it down, and you need to ferment your beer.

Pros:

  • Strikes a good balance between ease and creative process
  • Requires less upfront investment in equipment when compared to all-grain (but more than beer kits).
  • It’s more time-efficient compared to all-grain (but less than beer kits)

Cons:

  • Less creative freedom when compared to all-grain brewing
  • Some recipes are hard to make with the selection of extract malts
  • Malt extract increases the price per beer a lot when compared to all-grain brewing

Extract brewing is the sweet spot for most people that want to get into homebrewing, but feel that beer kits simplify the process a bit too much. From here the jump to all grain is not that big though. This is where most brewers aim to be at one point.

All-grain brewing

All-grain refers to using malted (or unmalted) grains as a basis of your beer. You will need to crush them (or buy them crushed) and to steep them in warm water to extract flavour and sugars; the so-called mash.

After these steps the process is largely the same as extract brewing; boil the wort, add hops and other additions, cool down, and ferment the beer.

Pros:

  • Gives you full creative freedom over the brewing process
  • It’s the most cost effective way to brew beer
  • Almost all recipes shared online or in the group are all-grain
  • With the rise of electric all-in-one brewing kettles all-grain became a lot easier and more accessible

Cons:

  • Requires the most upfront investment in equipment when compared to other methods
  • Your brewing day will take longer than other methods

Our members almost exclusively brew all-grain. We consider this the most fun way to brew since it gives us a lot of freedom to experiment. The reason for most of us to get into the hobby is that we like to tinker with adjusting variables. You can start very simple but soon you will realise that the possibilities are literally endless.

If you are on the fence about getting into homebrewing and are doubting where to start we ‘d like to invite you to come visit one of our monthly meetings. Speaking face-to-face with some of our members will give you a lot more information than we can give in this summary. You can check if your line-of-thought makes sense, get some help with your first brew, or see if you can join a member on a brew day.

The best advise we can give you is to just start brewing and stop worrying. Many people are daunted about the process and the possible mistakes they can make. The truth is that your first beer will most likely not be the best beer you ever make – but it will fill you with pride and will teach you a lot of things. Only by brewing will you get a better brewer. Bring your beers to our meeting to get some feedback – and we’ll try to advise you how to brew an even better beer next time.

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Page last modified on December 18, 2021, at 04:05 PM