Whenever your thinking of starting a new hobby, its best to take some time out and think about what you are getting into. A lot of new hobbies require a significant investment of time and money and although home brewing will require a little of both, its not in the same league as golf, skydiving or scuba diving. The best way to get going is to purchase one of the many home brew 'kits' This way you will have all the equipment that you need included. Equipment: Much of the basic equipment that you need can be found in your kitchen and include . . . A six gallon bucket with lid. A six gallon bottling bucket with spigot A fermentation lock A container for boiling (at least 3 gallons) A siphon & tubing A bottle filler A bottle brush A bottle capper Bottles and caps Thermometer Useful extras . . . Hydrometer Funnel and strainer Once you have mustered up the equipment that you will need for your home brewing you will be keen to get started. By what will be your first brew ? Choosing your beer is great fun, and there are hundreds of kits to choose from. A light beer, a dark heavy beer with taste of plum or some other fancy full fruit. Or maybe a lager. The decision is yours, but a simple uncomplicated one is best for your first batch. Once you get the hang of it you will be able to make your own wonderful creations. Now making a beer is one thing, but making a really good beer is another. Its not difficult to brew a really good beer but when starting out for the first few batches its best just to get the hang of the basic fundamentals. Now matter how hard you try your first few batches will probably have some flaws. Your beer may be a little too bitter, it may not be very clear. Don't be put off. Remember its a learning process. Step one: Cleanliness. All all equipment must be sterilised and spotlessly clean. Step two: Take your boiling container and half fill with water. Bring to the boil. Once the water has reached boiling point remove from the heat source and add the malt extract. Stir and mix well. Step three: The solution is now known as the wort. Bring the wort to the boil. Be careful that the wort does not boil over, have a hand spray gun ready with cold water, this will calm down any foaming over. This boil will last for about one hour and during this time you should be adding your hops as per any instructions. If your using a kit your hops will come in pellet form rather than leaf. It would be worth your while to purchase a very fine mesh hop bag for this process. Step four: Prepare the yeast. The yeast will come in powder or liquid form and can be sprinkled over the wort. Alternatively you can add the yeast to a small container of water before hand to allow the yeast to re-hydrate. Better still 24 hours before you intend to brew, make up a solution of warn sugary water and add the yeast. This will get your yeast working much faster and will speed up the fermentation process. Step five: Once you have boiled for one hour it needs to be cooled as quickly as possible. Place the boiling pot into a kitchen sink full of cold water and ice cubes. Allow the wort to cool until it reaches 65F which is the temperature required for adding your yeast. Step six: Once the required temperature has been reached pour the wort into your plastic fermenting bucket. Splash the wort around the bucket to help add oxygen. Oxygen is an important ingredient in allowing the yeast to grow and form. Fill the plastic fermentation bucket to the top using boiled water that has cooled sufficiently. Step seven: Add your chosen yeast. Place the lid on the bucket and fit an airlock. Now place the fermentation bucket in a warm dark place, the temperature should be about 65F. Within 24 hours the fermentation will be underway and the air lock should be 'plopping' away. This fermentation will last for seven to fourteen days. Step eight. Bottling. Prepare your priming solution and add a little to each bottle. Then very carefully pour your beer into the bottles. Leave the beer in the bottles for another 2 -3 weeks. ( I know its a temptation to try some but don't) Step nine. Now your beer is clear and will gone through a minor secondary fermentation in the bottle. Now is the time to drink. These steps are only a simple guide to give you a basic idea of what's involved. Because you are in complete control of what you create you can brew some excellent beers, even better than the commercial beers, and you can brew whatever you want.
Now lets a look a little deeper. Bottling can prove time consuming and a little messy, so you want to consider kegging. Kegging is simply transferring your beer from the wort into a keg rather than into bottles. Kegging your beer is natural progression of your brewing. Also its much better to keep beer in a large container, rather than in bottles. The same goes for when your brewing a batch of beer. Its better to brew 5 gallons than 1 gallon. This is down to the fact that controlling the temperature of a larger batch is so much easier, and better for the beer. Also consider the time factor, it will take you almost the same amount of time to brew ten gallons as it will one ! (and it will last a little longer)
Once you get going with your beer brewing you will find that you will have numerous bottles of various beers stored away. You need to make up some labels. You can easily get these over the internet. And, speaking of the internet there is of course an abundance of advice and information at your finger tips.