When I received my home beer making kit from Santa on Christmas Day this year, I reacted with the same jubilation as I did a decade earlier when I unwrapped a brand new Nintendo 64 (true story).
Along with a high quality, double fermenter beer making kit, I was gifted my first set of beer making supplies in the form of one of my all-time favorite styles, the pale ale. Being a beer connoisseur of sorts, I had already slated its christening to begin on New Year’s Eve and couldn’t wait to get started.
Harkening back to my experiences as a high school chemist, I knew the end result was dependent on my ability to comprehend the directions and prepare accordingly. Even with that in mind, I still ran into a few preventable snags that I’m confident every first timer with a beer making kit has run into at some point.
Hopefully my missteps as a rookie home brewer will help you prevent similar problems before starting your first batch. Here are a few pre-brewing tips and tricks for the beginning home brewer that came from firsthand experience:
- Know what you need (and need to do) before starting
This sounds like an obvious tip, but it is very easy to forget a key piece of equipment (in my case, a waterproof meat thermometer) or beer making supply (lots and lots of distilled/purified water) when it isn’t spelled out until later in the recipe. This resulted in a couple trips to Target in the span of one hour and my failure to record a hydrometer reading.
- Know your equipment
I had to verify what every piece of equipment I received was by asking couple of my friends who have their own beer making kits. I did receive The Complete Joy of Home Brewing with my beer making kit, but if you’re a visual person a simple Internet search will go a long way in speeding up your equipment comprehension. If you can point out everything you have, it will make the whole process go a whole lot faster.
- Start with a simple, yet delicious, beer
There are many, many variations of home brewing recipes out there just waiting for you to ferment in your beer making kit. But like with many hobbies, you have to learn how to crawl before you can walk, and home brewing is no different. There are quite a few quality, popular styles of beer that are easy to make and experiment with as your honorary first batch of beer.
Again, one or all of these points may be obvious at first read, but double checking that you completely understand your beer making kit can go a long way towards smoothing out the process and avoiding any unnecessary hiccups in your first batch.
What are you most nervous about for when brew your first batch of beer? What issues have you encountered as a rookie home brewer?