Some of the questions I have started to answer are:
What materials are needed to start home brewing?
I added a few lists to my scoopit with mostly the same common items:
- 5 gallon food grade bucket, or glass carboy (I'll probably go with a bucket for my first time)
- large brew pot (6-7 gallons at least)
- strainers for various parts of the process
- Special air lock for the fermentation bucket that shows if it's fermenting
- Siphon or tool for bottling; optional 5 gallon bucket for bottling with a spigot
- bottles and bottle caps
- thermometer, hydrometer
- food safe sanitizer for equipment
As for the ingredients, there are definitely some decisions to make.
The one ingredient I've been looking closely at so far is the malt. The Homebrewers Association recommends using malt extract for newbies, because it skips the "mashing" phase that you need when brewing with grain. This is a pretty common trend but there are various ways around the mashing process. One is liquid malt extract, another is dry malt extract, or you can combine the two. You can also steep grain to add flavor as this brewer, Shiloh, shares in this awesome tutorial.
I will also need:
- priming sugar
- and of course filtered water.
What is the process of making beer?
This question I will cover in depth in a separate post, as it's really detailed, The basic steps are:
Phase one: Brewing
1. Boil the malt
2. Add the hops
3. Pour into fermenting container. Allow it to cool, then add yeast and seal
Phase 2: Fermentation
4. Leave to ferment for a few weeks depending on recipe.
Phase 3: Carbonation
5. When fermentation is complete, add priming sugar to facilitate carbonation (the yeast will consume the sugar and produce CO2, creating carbonation!).
6. Bottle beer, then allow resting time for carbonation to take place.
Phase 4: Enjoy!!
How long does it take to make beer from the beginning to when it's ready to drink?
Phase 1: One day.
Phase 2: Can take 3-4 weeks according to my research so far, but it seems to depend on the recipe. Most of the beginner recipes listed on Homebrewers Association's website are 3-4 weeks for this step.
Phase 3: One day
Phase 4: Can take 2-3 weeks.
TOTAL =5-7 weeks from start to finish
How long does it have to be stored?
It must be stored for at least 2 weeks, then you can test one to check the carbonation. It may require more time to reach optimal carbonation.
What type of beer is the best to start out with and why?
It seems like there are a variety of kits out there for beginners that would make it easier, but some still look pretty complicated. The Homebrewer Association suggests Pilsner or German wheat beer recipes, but I'm not a fan of Pilsner so that leaves me with German Wheat.
I wouldn't mind that but my true favorites are IPA's and Porters. I'll research this question more this week and probably take a field trip to a homebrew shop I found in North Park.