For many people, enjoying a cold beer after work or as part of a nice meal provides more than simple satisfaction of a craving. Beer enthusiasts enjoy not only drinking, but exploring what goes into brewing their favorite beverage. Available tours of craft breweries and events like beer festivals allow one to better understand the science of making a quality brew, and perhaps inspire a true beer lover to try out a home brew kit.
If you spend more time browsing the beer aisles filled with offerings by microbrews than the big name brands, you may want to try making your own at home. With a home brew kit, you can control the taste and alcoholic content of your beer. Enthusiasts with a taste for bolder styles like stouts or porters, for example, can create a drink to suit their taste buds. If you prefer a flavor that is only available seasonally, like a raspberry ale, you need only acquire the right ingredients to enjoy the drink you love any time you want. Question is, with all the beer-brewing equipment on the market, how do you know which kit is best for you?
If you have never before brewed at home, you may do well to produce your first few gallons with a kit that comes with all the basics. For under fifty dollars, you can purchase a set that includes a reusable fermenter to hold your beer, a DVD or booklet with thorough instructions, and bottles and caps in which to dispense the finished product. With these kits you also get the malt extract needed for brewing and ingredients to add alcohol content. These home kits are not large, and you can make the beer right in your kitchen.
As you become more proficient in beer-making, or desire to create beer in greater quantities for gift-giving or personal consumption, you can look into buying advanced equipment. Visit your local beer and wine brew shop, or browse an online equipment distributor, and you’ll discover a selection of primary and secondary fermenters that can hold five or more gallons of beer. Fermenters may resemble large paint buckets or plastic drums you’d see on a water dispenser. Supplemental items like pH strips help you determine if your beer is ready to drink, and special cleaning solutions ensure that your equipment is always safe every time you brew.
When it comes to ingredients, you can buy malt grains in bulk – smoked or caramel, pale base or wheat malts depending on your desired flavor. If you are unable to find a good fruit flavor for your next batch, brew shops also offer a variety of flavorings, everything from apple and peach for pale lagers, to chocolate for a rich stout.
It is best to choose a home beer brewing kit according to your level of experience in beer making. If this is a new hobby to you, something you intend to do once in a while for fun, stick with a ready-made kit with all the ingredients and equipment needed for one to two gallon productions. If you are serious about your beer and have mastered making small quantities, make some room in your workshop for larger fermenters and shelves to stock bottles. Once you’re set, you can toast your endeavors with your own private label.