Homebrewing is undergoing a resurgence with the market never having been so big and having its biggest boom since the 1970s, where the focus was on the production in cheap beer as opposed to the current focus which is very much firmly on quality and flavour. The current revolution has been mainly driven by a younger, more open-minded generation who are trying to recreate their favourite beers at home before developing their own recipies and brews.
Significantly the rise in homebrewing has also helped to fuel to increase in amateurs making the jump to professionals and opening their own microbreweries e.g The Kernel. Which help to continue to push what we can expect from four humble ingredients.
Getting started with no experience can be quite daunting what with all the technical jargon and talk of different hops, malts and yeast strains. Like most people starting out I was introduced to it by the older generation and shown the basics. Fortunately most of this information is now available online so there is no need to find someone with a greying beard that you can barely understand to show you the way.
The entry point for most people is kits. These contain all the ingredients you need to get your first brew going and usually at only £1 a pint! They will typically contain; liquid malt extract, malt where the sugar has been released and then concentrated to give a thick paste like liquid; hops, the main flavour imparting component; yeast, the amazing microorganism that converts sugar to ethanol and possibly most important of all some instructions! All you need to supply is water, a fermenting vessel and either some sterilised bottles or a keg to put your finished product into.
So what is stopping you? Here are some links for some craft beer homebrew kits:
1) Set a side a day for brewing - being rushed will only lead to something being missed and adversely affecting your final product. Take your time to make sure you do it right.
2) Keep it simple - For your first couple of brews don't be too ambitious, try to master the basics of your favourite styles as then you will know how to vary certain aspects when you want to create your own recipes. Start with kits before moving onto full grain processes.
3) Ingredient storage - Keep your hops in the fridge or freezer and out of the light to avoid the flavour compounds breaking down. Make sure you store the yeast properly otherwise your fermentation might not start.
4) Sanitation - The majority of brewing is cleaning, some would argue it's the tasting. If you don't keep your kit clean then your beer will taste of old socks, cheese, treacle amongst other undesirable things. Opt for non-bleach based sterilisers and sodium metabisulphite.
5) Take notes - With out this you might never be able to recreate that fantastic beer mentioned in hushed whispers from many moons ago.
6) Have fun and share - Friends and family will tend to say it tastes good even if it doesn't so try and find a local homebrew club for some honest and constructive feedback and advice for future brews.
For more information on how to brew great beer why not buy How to Brew. It's a fantastic book that will help you to make excellent beer from your first batch. You can use the button below to purchase it.