Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Getting Started: Intro

Man has been brewing beer for centuries, isn't it time you tried your hand at it? Afterall, if a guy who lived in a cave could make beer, why can't you?

While brewing might seem like an intimidating process at first it is actually quite simple. Lets start at the beginning.

All beer is made of four ingredients, malted grains, hops, yeast, and water. These four simple ingredients are varied in type, style, and amount to make beer. As a potential brewer it is your job to combine malted grains, water, and hops to make wort. Yeast is then added and creates beer from wort by breaking down sugar into alcohol, carbon dioxide (CO2) and compounds such as esters that will create flavor and aroma in the beer.

In a traditional brewery the first step is to activate enzymes in malted grain to break starch into usable sugar, but this is not where we will be starting. Most home brewers start by using malt extract that has already been prepared for them. The extract is from barley or wheat and all the starch has been broken down into sugar and concentrated for ease of use.

When you are just starting out I would recommend you first decide on what type of beer you would like to brew, pick something that is easy like a wheat beer or an amber ale. These are two styles that have some room for off flavors and are quick and easy to make. For this run through I am going to assume you are making a wheat beer.

However, before you try brewing beer you are going to need to get all of the equipment, which I am going to go over in my next post.

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