Guide, Homebrewing-101

Avoiding these mistakes when you start brewing at home will boost your beer credentials

People often ask how to start brewing beer at home. While there are numerous approaches that can help a novice brewer get started, the most successful homebrewers accept that they will make mistakes. They view their errors, big and small, as an opportunity to learn. This does not mean however, that we should all make the same mistakes. This article will list the most common mistakes that starting brewers make with the aim to help smoothen your homebrew journey. Follow this simple advice and become that brewer that makes the most delicious beers from the start, every time.

Novice homebrewer mistake 1. I do not respect the impact of temperature

When you start brewing beer at home, take temperatures seriously. For any fermentation to succeed, you need your yeast to do its job. You make your best beers when your yeast is allowed to grow and ferment at its optimal temperature.

If the temperature at which you ferment is too hot, you risk getting off flavours that ruin the taste of your beer. If the temperature is too low, you may slow yeast growth down to the point that your fermentation gets stuck. Stuck fermentations will not use up all fermentable sugars, leaving you with sweet beers. To be safe, read the temperature range written on the yeast pack label. To prevent temperature problems, assess the temperature range in your house, basement or garage and pick a recipe (and yeast) that fits the environment you wish to brew in. Alternatively, you can buy fermentation vessels with some temperature control or build a heating or cooling device. 

Novice homebrewer mistake 2. The more ingredients, the better my beer

Searching recipes online, you’d think that making beer is higher alchemy: five different grains, three kinds of hops and a brew schedule that leaves you with a migraine. 

WRONG

Making good beer often means keeping it simple. Keeping it simple means understanding the ingredients (what they do), and the process (why it is needed) becomes more accessible. Once you grasp the brewing process and its facets, you can look out for recipes that are a little more complicated, or better yet, design your own! Start with a simple, straightforward recipe, build your skills set and take it from there. To help you, we have a recipe resource for you to try and enjoy! You will find that as you start brewing your first beers at home, and sharing them with your family and friends, how enjoyable learning at your own pace is.

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Novice homebrewer mistake 3. Mixing air with fermented beer

Oxygen is your friend (you can only go without it for a few minutes), but it can be your friend and enemy whilst brewing beer. Fermentation needs healthy yeast and healthy yeast, in return, needs oxygen at the start of your fermentation. Once fermentation has started, however, all oxygen will be gone. Adding oxygen at the later stages can cause the oxidation of your beer. The result? A stale beer that tastes more like cardboard because the oxidation ruins the flavours from hops, grains and yeast. Keep your beer in a closed vessel through fermentation, minimise air contact and agitation to reduce oxidation. There are great tools and kits out there to help you limit oxidation. But taking some sensible and easy measures (no agitation, careful transfers, minimise contact) will already do wonders.

Novice homebrewer mistake 4. More equipment is the answer

Finally, the main bear trap many novice brewers fall into. The vast arsenal of equipment online can easily confuse or distract you. It would be a mistake to think that there’s no way that you can make really great beer without the expensive stuff. 

Unfortunately, too many people buy expensive systems and spend their money on equipment they never use. It doesn’t have to be that way. 

You can make delicious beer with a little equipment. All you need is a kitchen stovetop, a large pot, two plastic buckets, hoses, and empty bottles to start. You, the brewer, will make the beer, not the equipment. 

You can start with that basic approach first – and if you find yourself getting into the hobby, you can slowly build your dream system, upgrading a little bit at a time, all while perfecting your skills. So with a little bit of practice, and by using simple recipes, you will make great beers. Once you have started your brewing journey, the required next steps, allowing you to start brewing at home, will become apparent.

To boost your brew-journey, please visit the beginners and equipment sections of our website.

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