extract beer

   all grain brewing

   brewing yeast


   brewery cleaning


   brewing articles

   other brewing videos

   message forum

So just how easy it is to learn brewing? Does it take much room? Is it expensive? These questions depend on each person. If you love learning and have a passion for it, then learning basic brewing is easy. Beginning brewers don't need much room. A small apartment with a tiny kitchen and closet for the fermenters is enough space. The expense will depend on how much equipment you get. I often tell new brewers to expect to spend around $150 on equipment, assuming you buy it new, and you don't already have a brew pot.

You say you know nothing about brewing? Neither did I when I started. Literally all I knew is I wanted to make beer. Most brewers start with kits or extract, which is much easier than starting with all grain. If you can follow a recipe and instructions, you can brew beer. You don't need to be a cook. I certainly am not. So if you say you can't cook and don't understand how to brew, let me pose this question. If you needed to make something easy, such as spaghetti, and had a full recipe, could you do it? Cook hamburger in a skillet until it is thoroughly brown, boil noodles in water until they are very soft, stain out the water, put both the hamburger and noodles into a large bowl, pour in the spaghetti sauce, mix well, you are done. How easy was that?

That is how hard brewing with kits or extract is. You boil a few gallons of water, remove the pot from the stove, pour the extract syrup in and mix it very well, put it back on the stove, boil for one hour, add in hops according to the recipe you have, then put the pot in the sink and run cold water around it until the liquid is 80F or less, pour this into a clean fermenter, add yeast, lid, and airlock, and you are done. Does that sound easy? Even if you know nothing about brewing, I just explained the basic steps of using extract to make beer. I did gloss over a number of details, but even with those basic steps, you could make beer. It really is that easy.

So how does all grain compare? All grain is harder than extract, you need to memorize water calculations, temperatures, be good at adjusting temperatures within a couple of degrees, know more terminology, understand grain and flavors, and several other things. Sounds really hard, doesn't it? But it's really not. Think of it like this. You already cook, maybe you aren't a master chef, but you can cook simple dishes, you know how to make a hamburger, spaghetti, you can cook vegetables, add some spices, and so forth. You have the basics down. From experience, you know to only use so much water, salt, pepper, and spices. But why did you learn this? Perhaps because you were interested and wanted to know a little more about cooking. You don't plan to become a chef at a 5 star hotel, but you wanted to cook so you could eat, and then know a little more about what exactly you were doing.

That's why you need to know more when you brew all grain. There is an article about quick and easy all grain brewing, but a large number of details are left out. Why is this important to know? Because all grain is the nuts and bolts of brewing. You have full control over the recipe. In addition, you can't blindly add ingredients, you need to know temperature ranges, calculating rinse water, why you need to sparge, and know most grain flavors so you can know what to add to get the flavor you want.

Wow... that sounds like a lot to know! It's really not. Any hobby comes down to an individual level of interest. I was briefly interested in playing the guitar, but I just was not motivated enough to keep at it. I happen to love brewing beer. So do you really need to know all of these fine details in order to make beer? NO! Start with a kit or extract, don't overwhelm yourself, and make beer the easy way. I promise you, there is really not much to know to making beer with those methods. My first kit was from Australia, everything was in metric (I don't know metric), and looking back, there were a lot of details left out of the tiny instruction booklet. But I still made beer.

What it comes down to is this: if you can follow a recipe with good instructions that tell you how much of an ingredient you need, how much water, what temperature, and timeframes, then you can brew. Once you have brewed with extract and get a good feeling for it, you might find yourself more interested in becoming an all grain brewer.

But what about space requirements? Perhaps you have heard about people brewing in their garage, basement, or some other place with lots of room, something you don't have. YOU DON'T NEED IT! Do you have a stove, sink, and a closet or even a little room beside your bed? That's all you need. You will be cramped, but you can make it work. Trust me, this is how I started brewing. I am a 10 gallon all grain brewer, and I still don't have a garage.

Ok so the final question. Maybe you are tight on time, you work full time, have kids, perhaps take some night classes. You are a really busy person, but you want to learn this! What kind of time investment are we talking about here? To brew with a kit or extract, figure your brew day will take 2-3 hours, once in the fermenter, you leave it alone for 2-3 weeks, then bottle your beer. Those few hours are for heating water, boiling, and cooling down. All grain takes considerably longer, anywhere from 5-10 hours, there are a number of factors. Do you have a few hours available to brew? That's all you need.

There are a few extract videos here, but mostly all grain, because it is more difficult and there is much more to know. But take some time out and watch a few videos. Learning the basics of homebrewing is actually very easy.