Homebrewing...A Short Introduction
A couple of weeks ago, we embarked on the journey of homebrewing. In that post, we discussed “Where to start…”. I stand by my feelings—I truly believe the first step in homebrewing is a genuine interest. Out of that interest—the questions asked, the articles read, etc.—there comes a time when you have step out and give it a try. Let’s do it!
Before jumping in, I highly suggest you pick up a “How To” book on Amazon.com or from your local bookstore. My “Go-To” has always been John Palmer’s “How to Brew”. I cannot say enough good things about this book—whether you are a beginner or an expert, there is a wealth of information in this book. I actually used Palmer’s procedure for extract brewing and all-grain brewing from this book, and I still refer back to it nearly every Brew Day.
There are other great books out there as well; however, I have not gotten around to reading them all. The Beer Community is vast and there are always folks willing to help out, so feel free to ask around about a great “How To” book. A few other books that I have heard great feedback about are “Designing Great Beers” by Ray Daniels, “The Complete Home Brewer Beer Book” by George Hummel, and “The Complete Joy of Homebrewing” by Charlie Papazian.
Again, a “How To” book is an excellent tool in your homebrewing adventures. Many provide step-by-step procedures for brewing, and they all provide a wealth of information which can always be referred back to.
As we embark on this homebrewing adventure, and now that we have our “How To” book, we must reconsider what beer is. Simply, beer is four ingredients—malted barley, hops, yeast, and water. That’s it. These three things, added together in the right sequence and at the right temperature will get you a batch of beer. So for the home-brewer’s purpose, there are three main ways to create and achieve that fermented goodness.
The First is Extract Brewing. The Second is Partial-Grain Brewing. The Third is All-Grain Brewing. We will delve into each of these next.