Brewing Your Own Craft Beer FAQ

Brewing Your Own Craft Beer FAQ

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  • What is Craft beer making?

Craft beer making/ brewing is the brewing of beer and other beverages through fermentation on a small scale as a hobby for personal consumption, amateur brewing competitions or other non-commercial reasons.

Brewing on a domestic level has been done for many thousands of years, but has been subject to regulation and prohibition during some time periods in certain places. Modern Craft brewing is now convenient, easily accessible and yields excellent results from the very first batch.

  • Why should I get into Craft beer making?

People make their own beer for a variety of reasons. It can be cheaper than buying commercially equivalent beers; it allows people to adjust recipes according to their own tastes, creating unique beverages that aren’t available anywhere else; entering your own beers into competition is a wonderful challenge and gives great feedback. But mainly you should get into Craft brewing for the same reasons you learned to prepare your own food: you can control the flavour and aroma of your beer, the ingredients that go into it and take pride in making a great beer—and sharing it with others.

  • What will my Craft beer taste like?

The answer might surprise people who have never brewed before: it will taste excellent! Most non-brewers haven’t had the good fortune to taste really fresh beer, and fresher is better! The flavours are lush and bright, with rich maltiness, bright grainy notes, crisp hops and refreshing carbonation, all true to style, from dark, luscious stout to tangy German Hefeweizen.

  • Is it hard to make?

If you can successfully make a pot of tea or coffee, you already possess all the skills necessary to make your own Craft beer. The only two things that are out of the ordinary for most people are sanitation—keeping everything clean and sanitized ensures good beer—and a small amount of patience you’ll need as you wait a few weeks until you can drink your beer.

  • What styles of Craft beer can I make?

There are dozens of styles of beer available, from standards like American lager or English Pale Ale to Imperial India Pale Ale and Robust Porter: you could make a new beer every week and not repeat yourself for a year! You can make your favourite commercial style or try something new and delicious.

  • How long does it take?

Your first brew day will take a little bit longer as you sort your way through equipment and ingredients, but when you’ve got that under your belt you can make a standard batch in just a few hours, from start to finish. If and when you try all-grain, there’s more commitment in time, but most people finish in four hours or a little longer, and treat it as a hobby day.

  • Do I have to age my beer before I can drink it?

Fresh beer is best! Once your beer has completed fermentation, you’ll have to wait two to three weeks for it to carbonate in the bottle, and then you can enjoy delicious fresh beer.

  • Is Craft beer making popular?

It’s no exaggeration to say that Craft beer making has exploded in the last decade: tens of thousands of people now brew their own beer, with more starting every day, and interest in new styles and brewing techniques, beer festivals and beer clubs continues to grow.

  • I have to use sanitizers on my equipment – Why and are they safe?

Cleanliness is next to goodliness: as with any food preparation, it’s important to keep your working areas and equipment both clean and sanitary. One of the reasons that beer ferments so well is the highly nutritious makeup of the wort (unfermented beer). Yeast grow well in beer, and so would other micro-organisms. Cleaning to remove soils, stains or other matter, followed by the use of a sanitizing treatment will ensure that only the yeast get a chance to act on the beer.

The sanitizers used in beer making are as safe and useful as any home cleaning product—in most cases they are actually much less harsh, as they are designed to be safe for use with food products.

  • Is it expensive to make Craft beer?

Not at all! You’ll need to by the equipment and come up with a brewing pot, which should cost around $100 dollars or so, but that will pay for itself with your first batch. In fact, you’ll find that even a standard beer recipe will save you at least half off the commercial price, and when you start making bigger and bolder styles, you’ll cut your beer budget my more than two-thirds!

  • How many bottles does it make?

Standard recipes make 19 litres, or about four Imperial gallons of beer, which yields 4-dozen standard 330 ml bottles—eight six-packs.

  • What do I need to make beer?

Most people start out with an extract+grain kit, which is a great way to get going and requires little investment in equipment and time Aside from ingredients, you’ll need some basic equipment: a primary fermenter, a carboy, siphon rod and hose, bung, airlock, a spoon, a thermometer and a hydrometer—which are all available packaged into one box so you don’t miss any items.

Other than that you’ll need to purchase some sanitizing agents and obtain a brewing pot of 12 litres (three gallons) or larger in size, which most people already have. 

If you decide to up your game to 100% all-grain, you’ll need a mash tun and a full-sized brew pot, or a brew-in-a-bag setup. It’s too much to explain it all here, but It can help you make better beer, at the trade-off of taking a lot more time and requiring more skill and guidance in the beginning. But it will all pay for itself in a couple of batches, as the ingredient costs on a regular brew are much lower than buying beer!

Finally, depending on how much beer you want to make you could purchase extra carboys, or a kegging system (draught on tap in your own home), but you can start with the basics and get brewing right away!