Your Homebrewing Guide
Whether you’re simply a suds fan or want to be a craft beer baron, making your own brew has never been easier.And since this drinkable art was recently legalized in all 50 states, there’s no better time to give it a go. Your beer adventure starts here.
Buy a Kit
You’ll need special homebrewing equipment, like a hydrometer and airlock. The best way to start is to buy a beginner’s ale kit, which has everything you need for your first try, including your ingredients.
Clean & Sanitize
The No. 1 reason your homebrew will go bust (read: smell like diaper)is dust, specks of dirt or other particles (like naturally occurring yeast) infiltrated your batch or bottles. So: you need to wash and rinse all your equipment like crazy and you sanitize anything that will come into contact with the beer after boiling.
This may elicit a “duh,” but before firing up the brew kettle to make your wort, read through the entire recipe and have all your ingredients measured and at the ready. Scrambling to add stuff increases the risk of contamination and can lead to overboiling—a one-way ticket to terrible beer. Trust us.
Shock & Stir
You need to cool your wort in a hurry (shocking it) before you can add yeast. So prep an ice water bath in your sink as your pot boils. Once cooled, pour the wort into a fermentation bucket. Stir vigorously to aerate it, add the yeast and stir it again.
Once the yeast is added, seal the fermenter and put an airlock into the lid so carbon dioxide can escape as the yeast works its magic and converts the fermentable sugars into alcohol. It should rest, undisturbed, for 7–10 days, then transfer it to a glass carboy for another week or so.
Add Suds, Bottle, Shelve & Sip
Before bottling, you need to add fermentable sugar so the yeast can create carbon dioxide. After bottling, shelve at room temperature in a dark place. (Light is beer’s biggest enemy.) After a couple of weeks it’ll be carbonated and ready to pour.