BEGINNER BREWING STEPS
(A Dull Title)
HOW TO ENTER A WORLD OF UTTER FERMENTATION JOY!
You see, brewing beer is about fun. It’s a hobby, and when you’re finished brewing beer, well, YOU’VE GOT BEER! Think about that. Beer. Mmmm, beer. Nectar of the gods! Tiny bubbles rising up in that pint of precious goodness soon to be traveling in joyous swirls over your taste buds! Okay, so we could wax poetic all day, but we’re sure you already get the point.
Now, before we begin, let’s think about how easy it is to brew beer. Consider if you’ve ever engaged in the following easy activities.
Have you ever fallen off a log?
Have you ever slipped on a banana peel?
Have you ever burned your underwear in a toaster oven? (No comment on this question.)
If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, then you obviously possess the skill set to brew beer. Seriously. Because beer making can be boiled down (pardon the pun) to the following steps.
- Boil the Ingredients
You will boil a combination of malt, hops and water to create a magical sugary solution called wort (pronounced wert). Yes, we homebrewers revel in our pretentious language. Now you can strut around and condescendingly utter to all the other non-brewers (read “losers”), “Hey, Bub, how’s your wort doing today?”
- Cool the Wort
See? You’re already talkin’ pretentiously! You gotta cool the ingredients before you add the yeast, which is alive, after all. After the wort is cool, you pour it into a food grade bucket or carboy (a really big bottle), where it will ferment.
- Pitch the Yeast
Yeah, baby! More pretentious brewer’s speak! We need to add the yeast to the cooled wort so the yeast can get on its way to sweet fermentation (where, scientifically speaking, the single-celled fungi anaerobically convert sugar into CO2 (yawn) and alcohol (heck yeah!). Isn’t science great!). Why, you ask, is it called “pitch?” We’re certain there’s some fascinating history behind that term (of course, in history class we generally ignore the professor and daydream about beer), but our leading theory around here is that the term “pitch” is in reference to getting the yeast into that wort as quickly as possible so you can be getting yourself, as quickly as possible, another beer!
- Ferment the Beer
Who are we kidding? This is the yeast’s job, and we thank you oh noble single-celled creature for your contribution to our happiness. The yeast usually finishes their magic in a few days, but you’ll let the young beer age for a week or two before you bottle it. Please note, however, that during this phase, you’ll find yourself engaged in seemingly psychotic tasks, like staring catatonically with jaw agape at the bubbling airlock. Well, it beats playing Parcheesi.
- Bottle the Beer
A few weeks have passed and your fresh young beer needs a home. It also needs carbonation. And you need to drink that beer! So you add a small amount of sugar to the flat beer and bottle it up. The remaining yeast (these guys never stop giving) ferment the sugar, and the C02 is trapped in the bottle, giving us that bubbly joy!
- Drink the Beer
Not to be flippant, but if you need hand-holding on this step, perhaps your not cut out to be a home brewer. Instead, might we suggest doily-weaving? But to all of you non-doily weavers, it’s time to enjoy the tastiest beer you’ve ever had!
So you see, brewing beer is easier than falling off a log, and it’s certainly easier (and more rewarding) than cooking a casserole. And your new hobby brings you the ability to brew virtually endless types of beer, and what could be better than that? So pour yourself a cold one and feel free to explore all of our different beer recipes.
For a sample of an easy beginner’s recipe, check out the complete instructions for Summer Solstice Light Ale. Cheers!