Is It Hard To Brew Your Own Beer? Difficulty Revealed
Home beer brewing is an increasingly popular hobby. As more people worldwide develop an interest in it, countless tutorials and beer kits are available to help you navigate the process. However, is it hard to brew your own beer?
It is not hard to brew your own beer. However, you do need to ensure you are methodical
and follow a step-by-step guide and strict processes. You should also ensure that you maintain hygiene throughout the process to brew the best beer at home.
This article considers how difficult it is to brew your own beer at each stage of the brewing process. It also offers helpful tips on the brewing process that will make it much easier for you.
Brewing Your Own Beer: The Difficulty Revealed
Brewing your own beer is not a difficult process. However, it does take a certain amount of precision and attention to detail.
I also recommend you pay careful attention to hygiene throughout the process.
This section takes you through the process of brewing beer, considering the difficulty at each stage.
Step 1: Sanitize Your Equipment
Even before you begin the beer brewing process, it is essential to sanitize your equipment. It is als best to double sanitize to ensure minimum contamination.
First, wash all the equipment using a mild, non-scented detergent. Then, wipe the equipment down with a food-grade sanitizer. Sanitizing your equipment will protect your beer from getting contaminated by bacteria.
While this is not a difficult step, it can be time-consuming.
If you don’t already have one, it is worth investing in a beer brewing kit. Suitable beer brewing kits will have the equipment and sanitizer needed for brewing, making the process easier.
Step 2: Mash Your Grain
Once your equipment is ready, you can begin mashing your grain. In this stage, you mix your chosen grain with hot water, which increases the sugar content in the brew.
Mashing, while not very difficult, requires careful attention. To create a flavourful brew, at this stage, you need to ensure you maintain a steadily high temperature and are stirring the brew continuously.
Step 3: Separate Grain From Wort (Lautering)
Once you finish mashing, you can begin lautering. This is the process of separating grain from wort. There are different processes for lautering, some of which are harder than others.
Lautering often involves sparging, where you sprinkle hot water onto the grain bed created after mashing. Sparging is moderately complex as you have to continuously scatter hot water over the grain and ensure wort is being drained from under it.
If you find the sparging method too complex, you can also lauter without sparging. In this case, you would add hot water to your mash in one go and drain the wort.
I recommend sparging, even if it is a little more complicated. Sparging increases the efficiency of your lautering and can improve the taste of your beer.
Step 4: Boil The Mixture
At this stage, you are simply boiling your mixture to remove oxygen and lower the pH. The boiling stage is pretty simple but can become more complicated if you add in hops.
I add hops during the boiling stage to improve the beer’s flavor. It’s essential to choose the right moment to add hops during boiling. The best time to do so is once the mixture becomes thicker.
Not to worry, you will develop the skill to judge when to add in the hops over time.
Step 5: Cool The Mixture
Once the boiling is complete, you must immediately move to the cooling stage. This prevents the beer from getting infected. Cooling can be complicated if you have a big batch or if you use an ice bath to cool your mixture.
When you use an ice bath, you submerge the wort container in ice. You must continuously stir the wort to ensure the ice is evenly distributed around the container. You also have to make sure you are monitoring the wort temperature and replenishing the ice.
To make this step easier, you can use a wort chiller. Wort chillers measure the temperature of the wort and can cool it down effectively with little effort on your part.
If a wort chiller is not part of your brewing kit, consider buying the Brewers Best Immersion Wort Chiller on Amazon.com. It is made with copper and easy to use.
Step 6: Take the Gravity Reading
Move the wort into a fermentation container. Then, use a hydrometer to take a gravity reading of your mixture. A hydrometer is relatively simple to use.
Ideally, you should use two wort samples for the reading.
Step 7: Add Yeast to the Brew (Pitching)
The reading should determine whether your mixture is ready for pitching. Pitching is adding yeast to your brew to start the fermentation process.
Working with dry yeast is more straightforward than with liquid yeast. If you have dry yeast, sprinkle it into the brew.
When working with liquid yeast, you must activate it before adding it to your brew. To activate your liquid yeast, add a yeast starter before mixing it into your mash.
Step 8: Ferment Your Mash
Fermentation is perhaps the easiest stage of beer brewing. However, it can get more difficult if you use secondary fermentation.
Primary fermentation is simply the active fermentation of your mash. This occurs in a fermentation container with an airlock that releases carbon dioxide. Once the carbon dioxide release starts, you may want to start the process of secondary fermentation.
I prefer secondary fermentation as it clarifies the beer and enhances its flavor. It involves transferring the brewing beer to another fermentation container. This improves the performance of the yeast and the breakdown of sugar.
However, using secondary fermentation can add another layer of difficulty to beer brewing.
Step 9: Final Gravity Reading
Once your beer is fermented, you’ll want to conduct a final gravity reading. This helps you understand the alcohol content of the beer. Fortunately, this is a simple process.
Here’s a quick summary of how difficult it is to brew beer at different stages:
|Sanitizing equipment||Easy – Moderate|
|Lautering||Moderate – Difficult|
|Boiling||Moderate – Difficult|
|Cooling||Moderate – Difficult|
|Pitching||Easy – Moderate|
|Fermentation||Easy – Moderate|
|Final gravity reading||Easy|
Brewing beer is not a challenging process as most of the stages are easy-moderate. However, you have to pay close attention to cleanliness, temperatures, and timings. This level of precision will ensure your beer tastes excellent.