Brewing beer is a combination of science and art. The science is the basic process, and the artistry is the variation of grains, hops and yeast to produce a multitude of different styles of beer.
Craft brewing uses four ingredients: water, fermentable sugars from malted barley (or other grains), hops and yeast. It is important to use high quality ingredients to ensure that the fermentation process will be successful.
A brewmaster can make or break a beer by what they choose to include in the recipe. A great brewer will take the time to create recipes that will allow the yeast to express themselves. The results are beers that are full of character and flavor.
Fermentation is the critical step in the brewing process, where the sugars are converted into ethyl alcohol and carbon dioxide. The brewmaster needs to be on hand during this stage to monitor the temperature and ensure that the yeast does not clog up the fermentation vessel.
The last step is the secondary fermentation. This allows the yeast to continue working on the alcoholic products, while clearing out any byproducts that would otherwise taint the finished product. This also gives the beer a chance to mature, which will add a more balanced flavor.
Home brewing requires only a small amount of special equipment and ingredients. It is recommended that beginning brewers use a brewing kit, which contains a stock pot, fermenter and sanitizer solution. It is important to thoroughly clean and sanitize all equipment that will come in contact with the beer during the brewing process.