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What are five tips on how to make beer?

Get five tips on how to make beer and become a pro home beer brewer.

Hops, a major ingredient in beer, grow prolifically. [© Jupiter Images, 2009]
© Jupiter Images, 2009
Hops, a major ingredient in beer, grow prolifically.

Lager lovers and stout devotees appreciate the froth of a good head and the refreshing coolness of a brewski. Home brewers searching for tips and strategies on how to improve their brew should consider some of the following tips.

Find Recipes for How to Make Beer

Below are links to recipes for beginners:

After mastering the basic recipe, proceed to a slightly more complicated version - adding extract. Try Brew Your Own's 15 Great Extract Recipes for ideas. Or consider branching out to a more exotic recipe or brewing style. BeerRecipes.org's recipe list includes lagers, ales, stouts, porters and pilsners.

Instructions for How to Make Beer

Because brewing beer isn't a simple process, it's best to get some advice from the experts. A few of the recipes above include detailed instructions for brewing, and microbrewing kits also come with directions.

One excellent source for home-brewing wisdom is "How to Brew" by John Palmer. Palmer walks home brewers through the entire process, from making that first brew to more advanced all-grain versions. The entire step-by-step process for first-time brewers is detailed online for free. The American Homebrewers Association also provides free home-brewing instructions for beginners, although registration is necessary.

Plan Time to Make Beer

Brewing beer isn't about instant gratification. Set aside about three hours for the initial brewing process, and prepare to wait at least a few weeks for a batch of beer to be ready. The final phase of the brewing process involves adding yeast, after which the wort (or malt and sugar solution) ferments for a long period, generally at least two weeks. After that, bottling the beer will take an hour or two, and then it's necessary to wait another two weeks for the beer to carbonate before actually drinking it.

Supplies to Make Beer

Brewing beer requires unusual ingredients and equipment. A brewing kit may not include all of the necessary ingredients or equipment, so take an inventory before beginning the brewing process. If starting from scratch, the following items are essential: brew pot, sanitizer, glass measuring cup, metal or plastic stirring spoon, tablespoon, glass jar, airlock and fermenter. Home-brew shops will usually carry the necessary ingredients and equipment home brewers will need.

Sanitize to Make Beer

The introduction of any foreign matter or bacteria into beer can spoil it as it ferments and ages, so be very careful to keep the equipment and work area absolutely spotless during the brewing process. This includes cleaning and sanitizing beer bottles on bottling day.

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