Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Home Brewing Beer: Before [Part 1]

As I initially set out on this Blog I'd decided to deviate from standard guidance that a blog should be focused on a subject, lest you'll potentially deter readers. In going against the grain I wanted to focus on 3 big areas of my life, Real Estate, Family (Personal), and Web Development. I've mostly trended on Real Estate so far but that's all been very important information that needed to be in your hands sooner than later. I'm venturing into my first Family/Personal post by introducing you to my new hobby of Home Brewing.

I'm going to break this post up into three pieces to keep the length down: Before, During, After. Also, if I'm going to try to keep this simple for my friends who've never brewed. I'm open to feedback from you professionals but please keep that in mind while reading this blog!

Before brewing my first batch there were a few things I did to help get prepared which you may or may not want to consider.

1) Attend some brew days (where people get together to brew and drink beer) and watch people who knew what they were doing talk about the process. You'll find most people who brew are incredible helpful, knowledgeable, and genuinely interested in getting other people involved in the hobby.

2) Read a book or online articles about home brewing. A book I started on was The New Complete Joy of Home Brewing (because it came with my equipment).

3) Buy home brew equipment! Some thoughts:
  • Try to pick up used to save money if you can, but make sure you're getting quality (that's what I did).
  • Start out small, you can get along without some equipment until you decide to commit to the hobby.
  • Ask other people you know who brew for their opinions and do some research online. The more serious brewers I know recommend staying away from the Mr. Beer Kits. While they are cheaper apparently the quality isn't as good and you're less likely to keep brewing. Here are a couple of kits to look at to get an idea when you start researching: The Home Brewery Equipment Kit and Superior Home Brew Beer Kit.
  • If your equipment doesn't come with sanitizer, buy some. Per recommendation I bought some One Step.
4) Buy an ingredient kit! You don't need to do this if your equipment came with one. You can buy these from a local store or online. Again Mr. Beer has these such as the Mr. Beer St. Patrick's Irish Stout Refill Brew Pack. I ended up buying an Irish Red Ale from Midwest Supplies. I'd heard good things about them from multiple brewers and this was supposed to be a good kit for a first-timer.

Most basic kits will include: Liquid Malt Extract, Roasted Barley Grains, Hops, Yeast, and Sugar. Make sure to read the instructions as you may need to refrigerate the yeast prior to brewing. I'll mention more about these ingredients in the next installment.

Keep an eye out for - Home Brewing Beer: During [Part 2]


  1. Don't underestimate the quality of the Mr.Beer kit just because it's inexpensive. It uses liquid malt extract just like the big boys. The only difference is it produces 2 gallons at a time instead of 5 gallons like the "bigger" kits.

    If you want to learn how to brew Mr.Beer is a great, inexpensive way learn.

  2. Thanks for reading this and the feedback Peter. I hadn't personally tried it yet and Mr. Beer does seem to have plenty of consumers! I was just sharing an opinion I'd heard from a few others. I'm a big fan of low price & quality.