Cooking Tips | 12 May 2016The Homebrewing Process in a Nutshell Share article facebook twitter google pinterest Home brewing your own beer is a dream. Who wouldn’t want to brew their own beer? The only thing stopping most of us is the dedication and complex process required. The following excerpt from Homebrew All-Stars offers a simplified overview of the process. The Homebrewing Process in a Nutshell Brewing is easy to do, but a brew day also includes plenty of hard work. (One of our brewing pals describes brewing as two hours of hard work crammed into eight hours of time—that sounds about right!) Okay, before we get into any specifics, let’s take a real quick look at the brewing process from the outer space level. DANGER! DANGER! GROSS OVERSIMPLIFICATIONS AHEAD! We have to post that warning lest we’re inundated with eleventy billion emails saying “How could you forget this?” or “That’s not how I do it, and I make fantastic beer!” STEP 1: DISSOLVE First things first: We have to create a sugary liquid for our yeasts to snack on. Most of the world’s alcoholic beverages start with simple sugars (fruit juice, honey, and so on). With beer, we start with malted barley, extract the starches in it, and break them down with a long hot steep. Either that or we start with malt extracts created by manufacturers who performed that task for us. STEP 2: BOIL Once the sugars have been dissolved into our “soon-to-be-beer” water (a.k.a. wort), we have to boil it. The boil kills any native creepy crawlies (like Lactobacillus harbored on the barley husk) and extracts the aromatic and bittering compounds of beer’s constant companion, hops. STEP 3: CHILL Freshly boiled wort is a clean playground for yeast to get their feast on, but the same heat that killed the other microorganisms would do a number on the good guys. So we need to chill the beer down to the optimum temperature range for our yeast. In most cases, that’s going to be in the 60 to 70°F range. Ideally, you should strive to do this as fast as possible with the resources on hand for better clarity and less chance of a creeper taking root. STEP 4: FERMENT Now we reach the magic stage where you and I step back. As the old brewing slogan goes, “Brewers make wort. Yeast makes beer.” After you pitch the yeast, they get busy reproducing until they have enough buddies to tackle the smorgasbord laid out in front of them. Once they start eating, they break sugar into alcohol, carbon dioxide, and other flavorful compounds. This goes on for a few days to a few weeks until the food is gone, the energy is all spent, and the yeast need a good long nap. DENNY: Keep in mind that the stages of fermentation actually aren’t this distinct. Technically, all that reproduction is going on at the same time that alcohol is being produced. Sounds kinda like a yeast party, huh? STEP 5: PACKAGE Before we can call the beer done, it has to be packaged. In modern contexts, since we like carbonated beer, that means getting it into a sealed bottle or keg. This allows us to capture or inject carbon dioxide, which will dissolve into the beer. Later, when the beer is served, the carbon dioxide will come rushing back out in the form of bubbles and foam. Both serve to promote the aromatic nature of the beer. STEP 6: CONSUME This is far and away the most fun step: grab a clean, unfrosted glass and pour your beer down the side. Keep the yeast in the bottle. Sniff, sip, and enjoy! That’s it! Everything else about brewing is details and noise and exceptions to the “rules.” This goes for extract versus all-grain, ales versus lagers, and yeast versus wild critters. Once you internalize those six steps, fermentation is your orchestra to guide. Buy from an Online Retailer US: UK: Shake up your homebrewing routine with the masters. From the mad scientists who brought you Experimental Homebrewing comes an all-new type of brewing book. For the first time, drop by the garage – err, we mean brewery – of 25 of today’s most talented homebrewers. Pick their brains about ingredients and equipment, learn their techniques, and of course, try their recipes. Among the brewers in this book, you’ll find traditionalists and rule-breakers, gear nerds and the science-obsessed. Start a solera with Mike Tonsmeire, talk temperature control with John Palmer, or tweak your pH with Martin Brungard. Featured brewers also include: Fred Bonjour, Amanda Burkemper, Chris Colby, Kent Fletcher, Joe Formanek, Lars Marius Garshol, Jeff Gladish, Gary Glass, Janis Gross, Mary Izett, Annie Johnson, Brandon Jones, Mike Karnowski, Mike “Tasty” McDole, Marshall Schott, Nathan Smith, Curt Stock, Gordon Strong, Roxanne Westendorf, Keith Yager, and two guys named Denny and Drew. Brewers cover their favorite malts, hops, and yeasts, and recipes include a wide variety of styles, from IPAs and stouts to saisons and lagers. Whether you’re looking to become the best brewer ever or simply looking for a new recipe to try this weekend, this book is a home run. Share article facebook twitter google pinterest If you have any comments on this article please contact us or get in touch via social media.