I love beer. I’m also a hands-on, do-it-myself kind of guy. It makes sense, then, that I would enjoy making my own beer although I have never tried anything like it. So, I’m going to do a little experiment.

I’m going to try making my own beer and document the process here. I’ve done some research and the process seems simple enough, although there are a lot ways to screw it up. There are many books on home brewing but I’m planning on getting my information from the Internet. Breworganic.com has a virtual home brewing class that will serve as my primary source of information, though I’ll use some other sources as well.

Since I am a first-time home brewer, I’ll have to acquire all of the necessary equipment and supplies. I’ll probably get some things locally and order some things over the Internet. I know that with beer making, as with anything else, having good equipment makes the job easier but I’m going to try to do this as cheaply as possible. If I find beer making is not something I want to continue doing, I won’t be out too much. On the other hand, if I really enjoy it, I can invest in better equipment down the road.

The basic equipment for beer brewing is

  • A brew kettle – I have a canning kettle that should work as long as I clean it thoroughly.
  • A fermenter – A 5 gallon jar seems to be the container of choice. Should be easy enough to acquire.
  • Funnel – I have several that should work.
  • Strainer – A regular kitchen strainer should do the trick.
  • Siphoning tubes – They have to be “food grade” so I guess a garden hose is not a good idea.
  • Cleanser – You can use dish soap but it can be hard to completely rinse it. I don’t want soapy beer so I’ll probably buy an iodine cleanser.
  • Hydrometer – This measures the density of the beer. I’m not sure why this is necessary at this point.
  • Thermometer – I’m pretty sure my wife’s candy thermometer will work.
  • Wort chiller (optional) – This is basically like the coil in an air conditioner or refrigerator and it helps cool the beer more quickly after the initial boil. It looks like it could be made pretty easily with some copper tubing but I think I’ll just let the beer cool naturally since I’m not in a hurry.
  • Bottles and bottling equipment (optional) – This is definitely something I can put off buying until I know I will be brewing regularly.

Beer has 4 main ingredients:

  • Water
  • Barley malt
  • Hops
  • Yeast

Good water = good beer. The water needs to be free of chlorine and other chemicals and have some minerals in it. The yeast needs minerals in order to ferment properly apparently. My filtered tap water should be fine. I’ll shop around to find the best deal on the other ingredients.

Once I have gathered all of the supplies and ingredients, I’ll post again.

Let the experiment begin!