Check out my video of the brew process, made with WeVideo, and scroll down for the answers to some of my authentic questions.
What type of beer is the best to start out with and why?
My Dad suggested I start with a Wheat beer, both because of my preferences and he said ales were "easier". He didn't elaborate, but in my research I found that ales are fermented at higher temperatures, thus storing them is "easier" because you don't have to work so hard to maintain a cool temperature. Lagers, like pilsners, are fermented around 50-60 degrees, while ales can be around room temp. This particular wheat beer recipe was the easiest on Ballast Point's recipe page, only 1 kind of malt and 1 kind of hops, nothing fancy.
How much will it cost from start to finish?
So far it has cost be about $160:
- $110 for equipment
- $40 ingredients
- $20 for emergency supplies at the last minute
What technology do home-brewers use to monitor batches?
The airlock and the temperature strip are really all I need to monitor at my level. There are better versions of these I could invest in, but that is all you need. The airlock contains water, which bubbles as the wort releases gases, which signals it's fermenting. It's really the only way to tell if the yeast is working, and also when it has stopped or slowed. The beer is basically done when the bubbles slow to every 30 seconds or longer. It isn't that sophisticated, but it works!
Temperature is important, depending on the type of beer (ale or lagers) like I discussed before. The temperature strip seems to be the main method of monitoring with glass carboys, although there are other fermenting containers that have thermometers built in.
The hydrometer is used to measure and monitor alcohol content. Well, really it measures density, but you can use that measurement to determine the alcohol percentage. I took a reading right after the wort had cooled, but before adding yeast, from a sample I poured out. The reading was 15/60. I will measure at the end, and subtract the end result from the beginning, which will tell me how much density was lost, which equals the alcohol %. Some brewers measure throughout the fermentation to a specific alcohol content, but that also opens up the beer to contamination and off flavors. For my brew, I will wait until bottling to measure again.