I‘ve been promising this for a while now, and I am finally making good on it! One of my goals with starting this website was to try and build a community around not just good beer, but to help people that aren’t already experts to learn the details about beer so they can enjoy it more. To me, there is no better way to know about beer and to really enjoy it than by brewing it yourself. This is an art that has been practiced for literally thousands of years, so not only are you learning how to make beer, but you are connecting with your past, too, which I think is really amazing.
I am breaking the entire home-brewing process up into seven posts, starting with this one today. I will document and walk you through the entire process from the ingredients to brewing to bottling. I will make these posts as the process goes, in real time, so you can follow along and should be right on track with the timing of the posts. For all of you reading this later, the time between posts will be noted in them, so you can follow along as well. Ok, enough of the introduction business, let’s get to the first post on the ingredients.
There are two basic kinds of brewing. One is all-grain, which as the name states, only grain is used to get the fermentable sugars for the wort. The second way is called extract brewing, which, once again, as the name states uses malt extract for the wort. The way most breweries brew is almost always all-grain. This is done by many home-brewers as well, and we will cover this method in a later brew. For now, we are doing the most common method for beginning home-brewers, and that is the malt extract method. This will still provide a damn fine beer that you made yourself, while keeping it a little easier so you can learn the process.
For this first brew, I ordered a Brewer’s Best American Pale Ale kit from Amazon. Here is a link to buy from there. You can also purchase this kit from most home brew stores as well as from here. I do get a small commission from Amazon, so I appreciate any sales you can toss their way.
The biggest part of the kit is the liquid malt extract, or LME. This is where most of the fermentable sugars will come from. For this recipe, you will be using 6.6 lbs. of LME. This kit separates it into two cans, each 3.3 lbs.
Here is a link to purchase the Muntons Light Liquid Malt Extract separately.
Even though this is an extract brew, some grain is always used. The grain used here is crushed caramel 20L malt. We are using 1 lb. of it. This will be steeped in the water before the extract is added to start the wort. The kit also comes with the steeping bag.
This kit uses two different types of hops to get the flavor and aroma befitting an American Pale Ale. For bittering hops, we are using Cascade hops. These are a well balanced hop for bittering, and we will be using 2 ounces of them. Here is a link to purchase just the bittering hops. Make sure you get two of those, as each one is only 1 oz.
For the aroma hops, we are using Willamette Aroma Hops. For these, we have 1.5 oz. of hop pellets. These will be added later in the cook so the aroma comes through in the finished product. You can get them here. Same as with the bittering hops, you will need 2 packages of these to get the 1.5 oz. required.
The last item we will be using on brew day in the kit is the yeast. Using the proper strain of yeast if vital to a home-brew coming out correctly. For this recipe, we are using American West Coast Ale Yeast. Specifically, Saccharomyces Cerevisiae, and .388 oz. of it. This is a dry yeast that comes in a vacuum-sealed package. There are a few different types of yeast you will see in your brewing, including liquid and vial strains. For this, we will use this dry one.
Here is a link to the yeast specifically.
This is a slightly different yeast than came in the package, but is a fine replacement.
The last two items in this kit are for the bottling process. Let’s check them out.
Priming sugar is added to the fermented beer right before bottling. This extra kick of sugar wakes the yeast back up to start producing a little more CO2 and alcohol to help carbonate the bottles. We’ll cover that process when it’s time to bottle.
We are using 5 oz. of basic corn sugar. Here is a link for some as well.
This kit actually came with enough bottle caps for two cases of beer, plus some extras for mistakes. There is nothing special about these caps, any will do. Oxygen-blocking/absorbing are the best, however.
Here is a link for bottle caps.
That’s it! There are the ingredients for our first home-brew tutorial. I plan on brewing this tomorrow, so check back for the second post in this 7-part series a little later in the week. I will post the recipe, pictures, and video of the whole process.
Until next time, cheers!