If you've made the choice to begin brewing your own beer at home, then congratulations, you're about to have some of the best beer that you've ever tasted. Brewing your own beer at home is a fun hobby, and not only do you get to drink the rewards of your hobby, but beginners can begin with a relatively low investment. Who knows, maybe you will enjoy brewing so much that one day you can open your own brewpub. But, it all begins with your first batch.
The first thing that you will need is to do is purchase the equipment that is used for brewing. You can purchase kits online such as Cooper's home brewing kits, or Mr. Beer home brewing kits. These kits have all of the equipment that you will need to start brewing. Another option is that you can visit your local home brewing store, which usually offer their own kits as well as the kits previously mentioned, and ask their advice on what setup they believe will suit your needs.
For your most basic setup you will need a minimum of a food grade bucket for fermenting, a large pot to boil the wort in, a hydrometer, an airlock, and some bottles to put your fermented beer into. As your skill level increases you can purchase more advanced equipment, but you can rest assured that you can brew some great tasting beer with a basic setup.
For beginners, pure extract brewing is the easiest way to get into brewing your own beer at home. The extracts that you purchase are used in a similar way that cake mix that you buy at the grocery store are used. You have to mix all of the ingredients, and then put them into the fermentor, and let it do its job. This will help you learn about the brewing process. After you master pure extract brewing, you can move to partial extract brewing. This is where you brew with a combination of extracts and grain. You can begin to experiment a little more once you reach this step. I'll admit that full grain brewing does often taste better than extract brewing, but there are a lot more variables to consider, and many more problems that you can encounter.
One thing that will help you make the best tasting beer possible is sanitizing all of your equipment before you being. Many new home brewers don't take sanitization as seriously as they should, and it can really screw up your batch. If there is one thing to take away from this article, it is to make sure that everything is sanitized. Bacteria can remain stuck to the sides of your equipment, and if you don't kill them they will give your beer bad tastes, or even give it an infection. Infection isn't pretty, folks.
You can purchase sanitizers online from sites such as Amazon, or go to your local home brew store. Sanitizer is not expensive and is really important. It's also really easy to use, and doesn't take that long. So, there is no reason to skip this very important step when you're brewing.
One last note that I would like to give is that if you decide not to buy a kit such as Cooper's or Mr. Beer, then you should probably make sure to that your buckets are of high quality and are food grade. If they're from a home brew store, then they'll definitely be ok. If you're low on money, you can try to go to bakeries to see if they have any 5 gallon buckets that they are throwing out. These will be food grade, and you shouldn't have to worry about bacteria getting stuck in any cracks, if they are not scratched.
So, now you know what you need to brew your own beer at home. All that's left is to purchase your extract kits, and start brewing! Check out Ale Vs Lager: What's the Difference? to find out why these beers are different.