If ever there were a time for a hobby you can sink your creativity and effort into, it’s now while many of us remain at home during COVID-19 social distancing efforts.
Homebrewing: The World’s Favorite Pastime
From ancient Sumeria to Plymouth Rock, making your own beer at home has long been an activity—and in many cases a focal point—of cultures around the world.
What likely started as an accidental discovery (Oops! I left this basin of grain outside for a few weeks and drinking it makes me feel warm and fuzzy!) has grown into a full movement of more than a million homebrewers in the United States and countless more internationally.
No Brewery Necessary!
Like those who seek many culinary endeavors, homebrewers are attracted to the creativity of brewing countless beer styles, mastering the process, and having something fun to share with friends and family.
The standard batch of homebrew is 5 gallons (18.9 liters), which yields just over two cases, or 48 12-ounce bottles of beer.
Some folks choose to make 1-gallon batches so they can brew more and experiment, while others may brew 10-, 20-, or even 50-gallon batches (or more) if they’re sharing at homebrew club meetings.’
Beer recipes are easily scalable, which means anyone can brew beer, no matter the size of their space or the thirst of their friends.
What to Expect
Ingredients for 3 gallons (32 12-ounce bottles) will cost about $35, and most of the gear needed will already be in your kitchen cabinets. This is one of the cheapest ways to make your first batch!
Expect the process to take about 3 to 4 hours on brew day, the day when you make the wort—that’s what we call beer before it’s fermented. There is plenty of downtime during this process to have a beer and jump on FaceTime or Zoom to show your friends!
After brew day, yeast takes over the heavy lifting and ferments the wort into beer over the next 2 to 3 weeks. A beer can generally be ready in 4 to 5 weeks, or faster if serving from a keg.
Brewing Your First Batch
Luckily, the easiest way to prepare for your first batch is to do something we’re all pros at during quarantining. Simply grab a beer and hit the full-screen button on the video below.
If you’re wanting a more in-depth look at homebrewing, including the all-grain brewing process used by most craft breweries, snag a discounted copy of Brewers Publications’ How To Brew along with an American Homebrewers Association membership.
The American Homebrewers Association has everything you need to start your homebrewing journey.
Some of the following resources are exclusive to AHA members.
- Tried-and-True Recipes. From small-batch versions of your favorite craft beers to winners in the world’s biggest beer competition, HomebrewersAssociation.org has the highest caliber collection of beer recipes anywhere.
- Zymurgy Magazine. Get a free subscription to Zymurgy magazine with your AHA membership. Includes access to 20+ years of digital archives!
- Homebrew Con Seminars. Tune in to 400+ recordings of seminars from past Homebrew Cons, the AHA’s annual homebrewing conference.
- How to Brew. Access tutorials, ingredients descriptions, and equipment guides.
- AHA Forum. Join thousands of knowledgeable homebrewers and DIYers on the free AHA Forum.