The brewing process is more than just about beer, it’s a craft. It is about bringing something unique and beautiful into the world. Just like many other artists – painters, writers, bakers, carpenters, jewelers and more – brewers find joy in creating something from nothing. The history of beer in some form stretches back to the Neolithic Era. It has long been an integral part of everyday life, especially on the home and community levels. Today brewers have the rare opportunity to carry on that tradition on an intimate, in-home scale.
Beer crafting is a fascinating art with layers of complexities and nuance. But at its core, there are four basic ingredients – water, grains, hops and yeast. In the hands of a skilled brew master, these ingredients can be transformed into hundreds of different styles and thousands of unique works of brewing art.
A brew master controls many factors when creating a beer, including the mouthfeel, body, palate richness, flavour and aroma. These are influenced by the type of grain, the temperature of mashing and lautering, the addition of spices, fruit or other flavours, and the fermentation time and technique.
It is often argued that in order to make great beer one needs to invest a lot of money in equipment and supplies. In reality, there are a number of easy and cost effective ways to get started on the road to homebrewing. First, dechlorinate your equipment and sanitize all items that will come in contact with your beer. Then heat and dissolve your malt extract in about three gallons of water until just short of boiling.