How to Brew

The Big Decision

Are you trying to decide whether to make your own beer? Here’s some advice – just do it. Making your own beer is fun. That’s the best argument I can give for deciding to make a go of it.

In today’s economy, though, you probably don’t want to spend a lot for equipment and ingredients if you’re not sure you will enjoy it. You will NOT save money making your own beer. As home brewing has grown in popularity the cost of ingredients has increased, particularly the cost of hops. You can easily spend $45 on ingredients for a batch of beer that will yield two cases.

If you’re still not sure about laying down the cash, an excellent way to see if brewing is for you is to find a friend who does it and watch them. See for yourself first hand what it takes to brew beer. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon.

If you don’t know anyone who brews their own beer you can look for a home brewing club in your area. Home brewers are some of the friendliest souls you’ll ever meet and nearly all of them would happily share their wisdom with you.

This Bud’s Not For You

I have to tell you this, though: if you’re a Bud Light/Coors/Miller drinker and you want to make one of those beers just stop right now. It’s not going to happen. Lagers are probably the most difficult beers to produce consistently. American lagers like Budweiser and Coors Light are made in huge breweries with a staff of billions, under a tight regimen of inventory and temperature control. The big breweries have to maintain a consistent color and flavor in their product because that’s what their customers demand. Let’s face it – macro beer drinkers aren’t really in it for the nuance of flavors. They rarely notice what they are drinking.

About the Brewing Process

Brewing is like flying an airplane (or so I imagine since I don’t actually fly planes). There is a lot of preparation and activity at the start, then a lot of sitting around with occasional monitoring of your progress, then more activity at the end. Certain events need to occur at a specific time and if they don’t it can affect the rest of your process.

Patience and commitment are vital to brewing. You will need to commit a couple of hours to the brewing of the beer and you can’t abandon your post during the entire process. Once you’ve prepared a beer and stored it for fermentation you have to let it sit for days and sometimes weeks at a time. That can drive some people crazy. If you aren’t a patient person then brewing may not be for you.

It might sound like I’m being just a bit too serious and pretentious. After all, it’s just beer, right? I’m saying this because I’ve dealt with people who get blind-sided by the amount of time it takes to brew a beer. I’ve had people ask me, just after I’ve put the kettle on and started steeping the grains, what time that day the beer will be ready. Sorry, it’s not like grilling a burger. It won’t be ready today.

So, that’s a fair warning about what it takes to brew your own beer.

Becoming a Hop Dad

If you’re ready to take the plunge and become a Hop Dad this site will serve as a resource for you. I have published these “Getting Started” posts to help you get equipment, ingredients, and the basic process down. Soon you’ll be on your way to brewing your own classic.

As you become familiar with the brewing and make more beer, please share your experiences here. I’m going to post recipes, as well, so together we can make a nice collection. Beer and the hobby of home brewing are meant to be shared.

Let’s do it, Hop Dads! Put the kettle on!

7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. jaseydrew  |  March 26, 2013 at 11:25 am

    Where was this page when I was starting off!

    • 2. Hop Dad  |  March 27, 2013 at 9:38 am

      Ha! Well, now you’ve found it. Thank you very much for reading and let me know if you have any tips, recipes, or stories to share. Put the kettle on!

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  • 4. donofalltrades  |  July 22, 2014 at 10:14 pm

    Hahaha, hopdad. I’m drunk right now, but I do like to brew my own beer. Do you do extract brewing? That’s all i’ve been able to pull off.

    • 5. Hop Dad  |  July 23, 2014 at 8:34 am

      Hello, donofalltrades! Yes, I do extract brewing in 3-gallon batches in the kitchen. I do have a 10-gallon kettle and burner but with two little ones now I simply don’t have the time to commit to making larger batches.

      Also, 3-gallon batches are great if I am creating something new. If a recipe doesn’t turn out well I’m not stuck with ten gallons of it.

      • 6. donofalltrades  |  July 23, 2014 at 9:44 am

        I’ve always mad 5 gallon batches. I may have to try a three gallon one of these days. I’ve not really brewed in four years since we first moved in to our new house. I was spoiled in South St. Louis City with really good tap water, and the water at our new house sucks ass. It’s really hard water. I’m too lazy to buy the bottled stuff, but that’s the route I may have to go. I look forward to reading some of your antics and picking up a killer recipe or two along the way.

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