What is Homebrewing?
Thinking about getting into the act of homebrewing? Continue reading to learn all about the process of brewing beer at home!
By The Beer Community on Aug. 06, 2019
With the craft beer industry on the uphill, interest in brewing beer from the comfort of your home has also risen. Homebrewing can be a fun way to learn more about your favourite beverage and ensure you always have a cold beer on hand.
What is Homebrewing?
“Homebrewing is the brewing of beer, mead, or ciders on a small scale for personal, non-commercial purposes.”
When someone hears the word “brewing”, they often think of beer. While us beer-lovers like to think that everything revolves around beer, you can brew/make wine, cider, mead, kombucha, and even tea and still be considered a “homebrewer”.
History of Home Brewing:
The act of brewing beer at home started in the Neolithic period in Mesopotamia, Egypt and China. During this time, brewing beer at home was done solely by women because brewing was considered a part of baking.
Greek and Roman women quickly picked up homebrewing as well, but soon after brewing beer became labour that was performed by slaves.
The Industrial Revolution during the 18th century brought inventions such as the thermometer and the hydrometer; two crucial tools used in modern-day homebrewing. These tools increased homebrewing efficiency and allowed for mass production of beer.
How to Make Your Own Beer
The Steps to Start Brewing Beer at Home
What supplies do you need for brewing beer at home?
Equipment for homebrewing:
There is specific equipment you will need to start homebrewing. Buying good quality brewing equipment will make your brewing process easier and are most likely to last longer than make-shift & cheaper brewing supplies.
First, you’re going to need a large pot (you may already own one). Your pot should be able to hold about 4-5 gallons. Next, you will need a large 8-gallon bucket or a large container that will hold the brewed wort during the fermentation process. This bucket will need to be air-tight once the lid is placed on and will need a small hole for your airlock.
What is an Airlock?
An airlock is an inexpensive tool that is crucial for brewing beer at home. They serve two purposes; the first is to allow carbon dioxide to escape from fermenters and carboys while fermentation is in process. They also keep oxygen, bacteria, and other wild yeasts from getting into your brew.
You will also need a large carboy. The size of your carboy will depend on how much beer you are planning to brew. Other equipments include a siphon tube (to transfer your beer from containers), sanitizer (to keep everything clean), and bottles and bottle caps (to store your beer).
Brewing supplies can be found at your local home-brew store. If you’re struggling to pick out the perfect equipment for your homebrew, speak to a worker at the homebrewing store. They will be able to guide you through everything and help you pick out the correct supplies.
How much space do you to brew your own beer?
Surprisingly, you don’t need much space to start homebrewing. A lot of homebrewers brew beer right in their very own kitchen! You will need a space to brew your beer, but you also need a space to store the fermenting beer and the bottles once they’re finished. And if you don’t want to keep all of your brewing equipment out on the counters at all times, you’re probably going to need a closet or a small space to store your equipment.
Looking for beginner home-brew recipes? Check these out:
Frequently Asked Questions about Beer Making & Brewing Your Own Beer at Home:
Is homebrewing legal?
In the United States, the act of brewing beer with an alcohol content high than 0.5% was illegal until 1978. Congress passed a bill repealing the Federal restrictions. Today, brewing beer for personal use is legal in all states across America.
Most countries have followed in the United States’ path and have legalized the act of brewing beer for personal consumption. According to Wikipedia, the countries where homebrewing is still illegal are the Faroe Islands, Iran, Malaysia, and Ukraine.
Is homebrewing safe?
When brewing beer at home, especially for the first time, people are often worried about their home-brewed bottles exploding. When homebrewing it can be hard to perfect the amount of pressure and carbonation in your bottles and having your bottles burst or explode is a possibility. As a precaution, you should store your filled beer bottles in a box or container so that if your beers happen to explode, they explode in a confined space making it safe and easier to clean up.
Another concern that first time homebrewers have is the idea of their beers making them sick. If you’re consuming your beer safely, there is little chance the beer will make you sick. The alcohol in your beer will prevent bacteria from growing in your beer. Occasionally, things can go wrong during the brewing process that could result in a funky batch. It won’t kill you, but your beer won’t beer very yummy.. Trust your senses — if your batch smells or tastes gross, don’t drink it! Make sure to store your beer accordingly to prevent it from going “skunky”.
How much beer can you make at home?
In most states, the laws permit the homebrewing of 100 gallons of beer per adult per year. (Remember, in the states, you must be 21 years of age or older to be considered an adult!) That number jumps to 200 gallons per year in a household of 2 or more adults.
How many bottles of beer can 1 gallon of homebrew make?
1 gallon of beer makes roughly 10 bottles of beer and needs very little brewing equipment, which makes it the perfect batch size for anyone wanting to brew beer in a small space, like an apartment.
It is most common for homebrewers to brew 5 gallon batches. This equals roughly 50 bottles of beer, but requires larger and more equipment.
Does homebrewing save money? How much does home brewing cost?
Unfortunately homebrewing doesn’t save a beer-drinker as much money as you’d think. Making more beer at a time will save you some money though. A 1gallon batch costs roughly the same as a 6pack of craft beer. The more beer you make in a batch, the more money you’ll save (but still not much).
The cost of brewing your own beer depends on the equipment you need to buy, and the ingredients going into your home-brew.
Other Home Brewing Resources:
Homebrewing or Home Brewing or Home-Brewing?
Honestly, we’re not too sure either. Here at JustBeer we’re not the grammar police, so much as we are socially-savvy, search-engine friendly, beer geeks who just really like beer!
Looking for more resources about brewing beer in your home? Check out these links about homebrewing:
Designing Your Ultimate Home Brew Room
Some of your favorite craft beers started with homebrewing. People who know and love good beer see it as a chance to get creative and try something new, all in the comfort of their homes. Designing a creative space can be anything you want it to be and setting it up is part of the fun!
Beer Styles: The Ingredients (Part Two: Hops)
In the second part of this series on the ingredients of beer, we will examine hops, the additive that provides an assortment of flavours to beer.
What is Beer Fermentation?
Beer Fermentation; a crucial step in the brewing process, but what actually happens to your beer during fermentation, why is it so important, and what is the difference between top fermentation and bottom fermentation? Continue reading to learn how to ferment beer.
Beer Styles: The Ingredients (Part Three: Water)
In this third part of this series on beer’s ingredients, we will look at water, the largest single component of beer. As much as 90-95% of a beer can be water, yet it is easily the most overlooked constituent.