Home Brewing: How to Make Homemade Beer

This home brewing guide explains how to make homemade beer, and includes step-by-step instructions, equipment illustrations, beer recipes and a beer ingredient chart.

| January/February 1988

MOTHER's Handbook shares a detailed home brewing article on how to make homemade beer. Includes step-by-step instructions, equipment illustrations, beer recipes and a beer ingredient chart. (See the beer equipment illustrations in the image gallery.)

Home Brewing: How to Make Homemade Beer

There are three likely reasons why you may not have tried making your own beer: 1) you don't like beer, 2) you've read about making beer and decided it was too difficult or time-consuming, or 3) you tried someone else's home-brew and decided you'd never tasted anything quite so awful. We can't help you with reason one. If you don't like the stuff, that's that. But if you've hung back for either or both of the other two reasons, this handbook is for you. (Oh, yes—it's also for those of you who have tried brewing beer and met with unqualified disaster.)

If you can boil water and stir, you can brew beer—and we're talking premium here. Things have come a long way since home brewing beer was legalized in 1979 (a single-person household can make up to 100 gallons a year, a family household 200 gallons). Not only have techniques been refined, but the variety and quality of brewing ingredients and supplies now available virtually assure pleasing results.

True, home brewing in some circles has reached a state of high science. Serious home brewers (sort of a contradiction in terms, actually) dabble in a world of alpha and beta hop resins, custom-made wort chillers and tenth-degree temperature control. Most malt their own barley; some even grow their own brewing hops and grains and cultivate their own preferred strains of yeast. These are the home-brewing possessed, intrepid souls who explore the nether worlds of fermentation. They produce extraordinary beers.

But you don't have to practice high science just to make good—very good—beer. Brewing is an eminently inexact science, forgiving of many mistakes and allowing for much experimentation. Just look at any half-dozen books on the subject. Like as not, each will describe a different procedure for brewing and fermenting, and each will include recipes unlike those in the other books. All will produce perfectly good results.

The only real requirements for becoming a home brewer are a taste for quality, an appreciation for economy and a compelling pride in doing things for yourself. If there also happens to be a certain amount of mad scientist in you, well, so much the better.

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