Beer is one of the most popular alcoholic beverages in the world, so it’s no surprise that many people are curious to learn how to make their own. Fortunately, beer crafting isn’t dark magic and it’s something that almost anyone can do, as long as they have the right information and tools.
There are four ingredients to every beer: water, hops, malt (or malt extract), and yeast. All of these have to be carefully controlled, but the biggest factor in a good beer is the brewing process. The brewer must follow a strict timeline and closely monitor the wort, which is made from water, malt, and hops that are partially germinated to turn the starches into sugars that can be fermented by yeast.
The fermentation temperature is also very important. A good beer needs to be warm enough to allow the yeast to do its job, but not too hot that it starts degrading the ingredients and affecting the flavor. A cheap stick-on thermometer is a great investment for this.
Finally, the brewer must carefully clean and sanitize all equipment before starting a batch. This includes the bottles used for bottle conditioning. This is an excellent reason to start collecting non-screw top bottles well in advance of your brewing adventures (or scour yard sales for old soda or champagne bottles). Getting glass carboys is also recommended, as it’s the best way to ensure that you can clean up any sediment that ends up stuck inside.