How to Brew Your Own Beer

Have you ever considered learning how to brew your own beer? Homebrewing is relatively easy and inexpensive to get started, and making your own beer is usually cheaper, too. Includes helpful step-by-step instructions for homebrewing.



Learn how to brew your own beer. If you enjoy drinking flavorful beer, why not learn how to brew your own? It’s cheap, fun and delicious!
Learn how to brew your own beer. If you enjoy drinking flavorful beer, why not learn how to brew your own? It’s cheap, fun and delicious!
Photo by Istockphoto/Carlos Alvarez
These are the ingredients for the basic brown ale described in this article. Batches of homebrew can be made using only malted barley grain (known as all-grain brewing). However, this beer uses malt extract as the primary source of the fermentable sugars, and a small amount of barley to fine tune the color and flavor.
These are the ingredients for the basic brown ale described in this article. Batches of homebrew can be made using only malted barley grain (known as all-grain brewing). However, this beer uses malt extract as the primary source of the fermentable sugars, and a small amount of barley to fine tune the color and flavor.
Photo by Megan Phelps
This is a typical kitchen homebrewing setup. Your kitchen stove is a good place to start brewing, because it requires minimal equipment. Many brewers use propane burners and brew outdoors, as pictured elsewhere in this article. In either case, the basic steps for making this beer are the same.
This is a typical kitchen homebrewing setup. Your kitchen stove is a good place to start brewing, because it requires minimal equipment. Many brewers use propane burners and brew outdoors, as pictured elsewhere in this article. In either case, the basic steps for making this beer are the same.
Photo by Kellan Bartosch
The end goal — finished beer! This is homebrew that’s been bottled in a
The end goal — finished beer! This is homebrew that’s been bottled in a "growler" half-gallon jug from a brewery. You can also put your finished beer in regular-sized beer bottles, but doing so makes the bottling process a lot more work.
Photo by Megan Phelps
Nathan (the author) begins brewing the brown ale by putting the grain bag into the brew pot.
Nathan (the author) begins brewing the brown ale by putting the grain bag into the brew pot.
Photo by Megan Phelps
A closer view of the brewpot and grain bag in action.
A closer view of the brewpot and grain bag in action.
Photo by Megan Phelps
This beer was made with the help of half a dozen people. Does it take this many people to make a batch of beer? No, but it sure is fun! Here, two of the brewing crew show off the dried malt extract.
This beer was made with the help of half a dozen people. Does it take this many people to make a batch of beer? No, but it sure is fun! Here, two of the brewing crew show off the dried malt extract.
Photo by Megan Phelps
The malt extract is dumped into the brew pot.
The malt extract is dumped into the brew pot.
Photo by Megan Phelps
Now it’s time to add some hops. Here Amy, a first-time brewer, gets a closer look at the hops as Nathan, the author of this article, adds them to the pot.
Now it’s time to add some hops. Here Amy, a first-time brewer, gets a closer look at the hops as Nathan, the author of this article, adds them to the pot.
Photo by Megan Phelps
A closeup of the hops. You can buy pellet hops, like these, or you can use whole leaf hops. Ounce for ounce, you can get a bit more flavor out of pellet hops than whole leaf hops, but many brewers consider them more difficult to work with (they can be difficult to strain out of the wort).
A closeup of the hops. You can buy pellet hops, like these, or you can use whole leaf hops. Ounce for ounce, you can get a bit more flavor out of pellet hops than whole leaf hops, but many brewers consider them more difficult to work with (they can be difficult to strain out of the wort).
Photo by Megan Phelps
Now the beer is being siphoned from the brew pot into the primary fermenter. The thermometer is to check the temperature to see if the beer is cool enough to add the yeast.
Now the beer is being siphoned from the brew pot into the primary fermenter. The thermometer is to check the temperature to see if the beer is cool enough to add the yeast.
Photo by Megan Phelps
Adding — or pitching — the yeast. Fermentation is about to begin.
Adding — or pitching — the yeast. Fermentation is about to begin.
Photo by Megan Phelps
Yep, we’re in a basement. The generally cool temperatures of a basement are a great place to store beer as it ferments.
Yep, we’re in a basement. The generally cool temperatures of a basement are a great place to store beer as it ferments.
Photo by Megan Phelps
About five weeks later, the beer is ready! OK, time to consider some handy brewing tips and check out a few more photos of homebrewing equipment and homebrewers in action.
About five weeks later, the beer is ready! OK, time to consider some handy brewing tips and check out a few more photos of homebrewing equipment and homebrewers in action.
Photo by Megan Phelps
Tip # 1: Do sanitize all the equipment properly. If you accidentally contaminate it with bacteria you’re not going to poison yourself, but you will likely add “off flavors” that can make the beer taste less than palatable.
Tip # 1: Do sanitize all the equipment properly. If you accidentally contaminate it with bacteria you’re not going to poison yourself, but you will likely add “off flavors” that can make the beer taste less than palatable.
Photo by Megan Phelps
Tip #2: Don’t leave the brew pot unattended, because it may boil over, like this. When this happens, blame the most inexperienced member of your brewing crew.
Tip #2: Don’t leave the brew pot unattended, because it may boil over, like this. When this happens, blame the most inexperienced member of your brewing crew.
Photo by Megan Phelps
Tip #3: Measure the specific gravity of the beer with a hydrometer (shown here) to find the alcohol content of the beer. It may not be the specific gravity you were aiming for with the recipe, but knowing how close you got is a good learning experience.
Tip #3: Measure the specific gravity of the beer with a hydrometer (shown here) to find the alcohol content of the beer. It may not be the specific gravity you were aiming for with the recipe, but knowing how close you got is a good learning experience.
Photo by Megan Phelps
More brewing equipment: This is what an airlock looks like. The airlock keeps out ambient air that contains bacteria while allowing CO2 to escape. When the beer is fermenting, the liquid inside will start to bubble as CO2 passes through.
More brewing equipment: This is what an airlock looks like. The airlock keeps out ambient air that contains bacteria while allowing CO2 to escape. When the beer is fermenting, the liquid inside will start to bubble as CO2 passes through.
Photo by Megan Phelps
Another important piece of equipment: the primary fermenter, otherwise known as a bucket.
Another important piece of equipment: the primary fermenter, otherwise known as a bucket.
Photo by Megan Phelps
Spent grain
This is the spent grain from an all-grain batch of beer. All-grain brewing is cheaper than extract brewing, but it's easier to start with extract because it's simpler and requires less equipment. 
MEGAN PHELPS
Brewing in action! Many homebrewers are eager to show interested new brewers how to get started. Here, experienced homebrewers Joe and Nathan, show beginning brewers Max and Nate the basics.
Brewing in action! Many homebrewers are eager to show interested new brewers how to get started. Here, experienced homebrewers Joe and Nathan, show beginning brewers Max and Nate the basics.
Photo by Megan Phelps
The brewing team hard at work. From left to right: Joe, Nathan, Nate and Amy.
The brewing team hard at work. From left to right: Joe, Nathan, Nate and Amy.
Photo by Megan Phelps
It’s a beautiful day for homebrewing! Why not go start making a batch of beer right now?
It’s a beautiful day for homebrewing! Why not go start making a batch of beer right now?
Photo by Megan Phelps











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