Homebrewing for Beginners, Part 1: Equipment, Recipe, and Ingredients


| 4/14/2014 4:11:00 PM


Tags: homebrewing, beer, fermentation, Washington, Lyndsay Dawson Mynatt,

Each season deserves its own brew at the end of the day. A warm Amber catches the autumn glow, dark Stout shields the cold of the winter, golden Maibock welcomes the spring, and crisp Pale Ale quenches summer thirst. The only thing more satisfying than a seasonal brew is toasting to your craftsmanship.

The art of brewing beer has been alluring ever since I discovered microbrew, and that all beer (thankfully) does not taste like Natural Light. The moment I met the Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar, I was in love. Deep, complex, on the verge of romantic, the creamy hazelnut intoxicated my senses. Could I craft a brew this richly rewarding?

I was completely intimidated. My friends had horror stories and stained kitchen ceilings to display their disasters in brewing. The equipment list alone caused eye glazing and attempting to decipher the ingredient list resulted in mental malfunction. To say the least, I quit too many times before I ever started.

After two successful rounds of making hard cider, I was ready to give brewing an actual chance.  By this point, I had collected most of the equipment and had a basic understanding of the science of the fermentation.  The final catalyst for brewing beer was purchasing Charlie Papazian’s book, The Complete Joy of Homebrewing, for my husband, Jordan. After reviewing the book (and then procrastinating a few more months), we finally crafted our first beer, Cascade Valley Ale. It was everything we hoped for—earthy, lightly hoppy, a refreshing mix of floral tones, a perfect balance of light and dark.  The only problem was the dilemma of wanting to share (aka flaunt) our brew, yet keeping enough in our personal reserves.

At this point, I want to interject an important statement: we are not master brewers!  We have broken the code to the entry level of brewing and want to help simplify the process for you.  Many rounds of beer could have been enjoyed in the time that we wasted on putting our thoughts to action. No more wasted time or beer!

A few simple purchases and steps will have you on your way to a beginner setup for brewing.  Good resources will make your life easier. How To Homebrew  is an excellent online resource.  My go-to guidebook has been The Complete Joy of Home Brewing, as mentioned above.  The book contains clear instructions for brewers of all levels, great recipes, and entertaining facts.   Below is Papazian’s suggested equipment list for beginners.




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