Everything You Need To Know To Brew Perfect Craft Beer At Home
by MiniBrew Team, on May 13, 2020 4:21:36 PM
Craft beer has become an increasingly popular industry globally, with many people taking up homebrewing as a fun and immersive hobby. Homebrewing now offers such great results that some homebrewers have been able to transform their hobby into a profitable endeavor, via amateur competitions and challenges. It is estimated that 3% of the UK population now brews its own beer, with similar trends found in the US.
Creating a great craft beer takes work, and getting it right at home takes time and experimentation. For those just starting out on their homebrewing journey, there is much to learn and discover about this fascinating, booming industry.
At the start of your craft beer brewing journey, research is essential. Not only will adequate research provide you with a knowledge base for sourcing the right materials and learning all the important stages of the craft brewing process, it will also give you added confidence should something not go quite to plan!
Thankfully there are lots of fantastic resources out there, each catering to the developing home brew market. Research needn’t be time consuming or dull.
These resources range from home brewing books which cover the topic in detail and provide step-by-step guidance, to information on different brews and flavors to consider. Some key examples include The Complete Joy of Homebrewing by Charlie Papazian (a classic in home brewing circles) and How To Brew by John J. Palmer.
It is worth noting that while the scale of a home brewing operation is certainly going to be smaller than that used by an independent brewery, many of the same basic principles can be applied for quality control and procedural processes. Investing in the best equipment possible and doing a little reading or research before you get started will ultimately result in safe working conditions and a tastier beer.
Choosing your craft beer brewing equipment
One of the major barriers to home brewing is simply sourcing the right craft beer brewing equipment. Finding out what kit is needed to brew craft beer correctly is frequently time consuming, and it can also be expensive. There is so much potential equipment out there, with prices ranging from as little as €30 at the most basic end of the market right up to €20,000+.
A typical set up might involve lidded Fermenting Buckets, Hydrometers, Sanitizers and Large Spoons. Add in an Airlock, Racking Cane, Waterproof Thermometer, Bottling Wand, bottles and of course the ingredients needed for home brewing and it’s easy to see how costs (and confusion!) can quickly mount up.
Some people opt for a DIY approach to their craft beer brewing equipment at first, using pots and pans to avoid the cost of professional kit. The problem with this is that while it’s easier on the pocket, the results are often inconsistent at best which can be frustrating for the novice brewer and lead many to give up their new hobby before they’ve had chance to really develop a passion for it.
If this all sounds far too complicated, there is an easier option which gives great results without costing thousands up front. The MiniBrew CRAFT system is the first all-in-one system for brewing at home.
It has been designed by experienced brewers to simplify the traditional process and make home brewing easier and more enjoyable for home brewers of all abilities. The system ensures consistent results and full temperature regulation, so even total newcomers can brew their first batch with confidence. This simplicity also allows much more room for early experimentation with flavors, and cuts down on the expenditure which DIY set-ups often require. What’s more, as you become more confident, you can adjust the settings to have more control over the process, meaning MiniBrew CRAFT will go with you on your journey to becoming a master craft beer maker.
Home brew set-up ideas
Many first time home brewers decide to set up their craft beer brewing equipment in the kitchen. While this is practical, it can lead to inconvenience and mess with limited room for everyday activities.
For smaller brewing kits and ingredients packs, it is possible to achieve results within a few hours simply by boiling on the kitchen stove. Intermediate brewers who enjoy the process can invest in a kettle which will allow them to filter liquid and malts, as well as a gas burner for heating the liquid. These systems are better suited to areas with more space such as a garage or garden, as they often take several hours to set up and then clean down after use.
Automated beer brewing systems take the hassle out of the time consuming setup process, but they often still require users to remain at home to monitor while the beer brews.
Ultimately the various stages for obtaining and setting up a system and the time that will take are determined by the seriousness of your intentions and your dedication to creating tastier beer.
The craft beer fermentation process
The craft beer fermentation process is key to achieving great results from your home brew so this is one area where you don’t want to skimp on your initial research. Dedicating a little time to understanding what happens at this stage and how will help you make your own great tasting beer and stand you in good stead when you’re ready to begin experimenting with your own recipes.
Fermentation is one of the most complicated aspects of making beer, and for home brewers it often takes a little while to get to grips with how it all works. Primary fermentation begins after yeast is added to the wort, a process known as pitching. The yeast can be added either dry or in a liquid form. There are only small differences between the two from a results perspective. Dried yeast takes slightly longer to ferment as it must rehydrate first.
By adding yeast, ethanol and CO2 are created with the brew. After pitching, it is important to leave the brew for a while so it can grow. The primary fermentation process ends with what is commonly known as ‘young beer’. The flavors then continue to develop and mature during a second fermentation. If the temperature is too high at this stage, the beer is likely to develop a slightly unpleasant taste.
Common craft beer ingredients mistakes
Trying anything new, whether that’s starting a new hobby, learning a new skill or even starting a business, is often a case of trial and error. Homebrewing is no different.
One of the most common conundrums that new brewers will encounter is how to select and use appropriate beer brewing ingredients. The right ingredients will make the difference between a great tasting craft beer and one which is less than palatable.
Beer needs four basic ingredients. Grains such as barley are essential and then you need water, yeast and hops. The right ratio of these ingredients, used in the right combination and introduced at the right time, is what makes a truly delicious beer. Knowing when to stop brewing them is also key.
There is a specific time each ingredient should be added to the mix for best results – another common pitfall for novice brewers.
The temperature of your brew must also be carefully monitored, unless you’re using an automated temperature regulating system.
Some of these issues are overcome by trial and error. You can set yourself up for success by sourcing the best ingredients you can find and doing a bit of research before you set out to make your first batch of craft beer.
Homebrewing craft beer machines
With demand for homebrewed craft beer continuing to grow, there are new ways to get started as a novice home brewer without investing a small fortune. Home beer brewing machines take a lot of complexity out of the process, making them a great choice for novice brewers.
While a traditional setup requires a great deal of equipment and a lot of space, a well-designed craft beer machine will be compact, affordable and provide consistent results every time.
Individual kits work well for hobbyists who only see themselves making a limited number of brews, but if you’re serious about indulging your love for craft beer by making your own, an all-in-one system gives you lots more potential, almost guarantees a better quality end product and makes life much easier. They also allow for far less mess, and are easier to clean than alternative systems. This is the ideal solution for anyone who wants to gain precise and professional results at home.
Choosing the right equipment
Selecting the right equipment is largely determined by both your intended outcome and the amount of time and effort you’re willing to invest in the process.
The initial financial outlay you’re willing to make will also play a role in deciding which set up is most suitable for you. The space you have available and precisely how much craft beer you intend to make at any given time are also important factors. For some, compact all-in-one home brewing systems are the perfect way to experiment safely, while removing many of the pitfalls associated with home brewing for those just starting out.
Beginner’s craft beer recipes
There are almost infinite options for crafting a flavorsome craft beer as you find your feet and start to experiment. You can find countless home brewing recipes online which will not only help you to whip up a delicious craft beer, they’ll also help you to understand the building blocks of flavor and how different flavor profiles are created.
As with food, using different combinations of ingredients in different ways will totally transform the taste of your brew, so experiment with different recipes to ease yourself into this world of possibilities.
The technique itself is open to a certain amount of interpretation and versatility, with recipes sometimes using ingredients such as vanilla, or fruits like mango to help add sweetness. Slightly unusual ingredients like oatmeal can also be incorporated into the mix for a refreshing change to the usual flavor profiles.
Download a few home brewing recipes of different styles and flavors and then work your way through your selections as you set out on your journey to become a craft beer pro!
How to brew all-grain beer at home
You may be wondering precisely what is meant by the term ‘all grain’ beer. Quite simply, it describes a comprehensive approach to making your own craft beer at home.
Home brew novices can start out by adding water to malt extract, which is then boiled to create wort – the term given to beer prior to its fermentation process. Afterwards, yeast is added, fermentation completed, and the end result is now drinkable, in a process which is known as extract brewing.
Alternatively, you may want to learn how to brew all-grain beer. This still uses all of the raw materials associated with the beer making process – namely water, hops, malts and yeast – but the method itself is slightly different. All grain is often referred to as the ‘traditional’ method of brewing beer. In its simplest form, the grains are mashed together, allowing the starch to be converted into sugar by enzymes.
Achieving the perfect craft bier brew
The secret to getting fantastic craft bier results largely lies in adopting a consistent and methodical approach. Craft beer is both an art and a science, which is why the basic DIY brewing kits cobbled together from existing items often fail to produce a palatable craft beer.
One way of achieving the consistency needed for your brews to thrive is to invest in a complete beer brewing kit – this takes much of the guesswork out of getting the process right, allowing you to focus on the art of brewing and the fun of developing different flavors.
While more traditional methods call for greater trial and error, a compact all-in-one system such as the MiniBrew CRAFT means you can create a tasty beer from your very first brew.
The quality of your ingredients and temperature control can both make or break your craft beer which can be overwhelming for a novice brewer. An all-in-one is a shortcut to creating the perfect beer by removing these complex considerations. The smaller size of the system comparable to some other options means there’s also far less potential wastage.
A complete home brew kit
There are many concerns which keep people from starting out as home brewers, even if they have a keen interest in this fun and creative hobby. One barrier to entry is cost, with a traditional, complete home brew kit costing far more than is feasible for an amateur home brewer. The large number of tools needed and the difficulty in keeping them at home is another major issue which home brewing enthusiasts frequently encounter.
If you want to keep it as simple as possible, but also want to understand the brewing process, create tasty beers and have the option to experiment without blowing a hole in your budget, a complete craft beer brewing kit is a compact, effective and fun solution.