If you are considering getting started in this incredible hobby, check out these seven home brewing tips for beginners to help you get the most out of your new hobby:
- Start easy – Don’t make your first batch a barrel-aged, dry-hopped, sour triple bock. There are plenty of extra steps that can be incorporated into your home brewing process once you have a few batches under your belt. But, when you’re just starting out, I recommend you focus on the basics: cleaning and sanitation, avoiding a boil-over, chilling the wort, and regulating fermentation temperatures. It will probably take 2-3 batches just to get the fundamental procedures down and figure out the best way to home brew within your environment. Once the basics are ironed-out, then you can start experimenting with more adventurous beers.
- Brew the classics – As a novice homebrewer, you should start by brewing some of the classic beer styles that you know well. This will give you an easy frame of reference for evaluating your beer. Some good beers for your early batches are stouts, porters, and brown ales.
- Brew beers YOU like – This is my favorite of the home brewing tips for beginners, and I tell it to all the first time brewers I meet. Remember, homebrewing is supposed to be fun. Brew a beer that you will enjoy drinking, not something just because it sounds wild and crazy. Love Sierra Nevada Pale Ale? Try our Sahara Nevada Pale Ale kit and you’ll have a supply that will last for weeks.
- Be extra clean – I can’t stress enough how important it is to be clean with your homebrewing, but that doesn’t mean it has to be difficult. Before brewing, clean all of your equipment with a brewing cleaner, then sanitize everything that will touch the wort after the boil, especially the fermenter and any transfer tubing. To make cleaning for your next batch even easier, clean your equipment again as soon as you’re done with it.
- Read a homebrew book – Books are a great investment for someone who’s a beginning homebrewer. While there is a ton of information about homebrewing on the Internet, I find it’s easier to find what you’re looking for in a good homebrewing book. Homebrewing for Dummies is a great book for beginners. Also check out our free ebook, the Ultimate Jumpstart Guide to Homebrewing.
- Take notes – You might be surprised how easy it is to forget details from brew day. Just to be safe, write everything down. This will make it easy to repeat successful batches, and in the event that something goes wrong, will help you identify where you need to improve. I like to keep my notes in a spreadsheet, but a good old-fashioned notebook can be just as valuable. Taking notes is one of the easiest ways to make yourself a better home brewer more quickly.
- Brew with a friend – There’s a lot to juggle around on brew day, so it can really help to have an extra pair of hands available. Even better, brewing with friends makes it more fun! Crack open a beer and learn about homebrewing together!
David Ackley is a beer writer, brewer, and self-described “craft beer crusader.” He holds a General Certificate in Brewing from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling and is founder and editor of the Local Beer Blog.