Beer brewing for beginners and my first attempt at brewing beer.

Beer and beer brewing has been a hobby of mine since 5 years ago. I started to discover the world of beer after me and 3 of my friends started to meet once every 3 months for some beer tasting.

A new and interesting world opened up and triggered the interest in brewing beer. In this blog post, I will share with you my project, beer brewing for beginners and my first attempt at brewing beer.


First brew – I need new gadgets

I have to admit though, that I haven´t made any new batches of beer since my first attempt. Why so you are probably asking yourself. Well, it all comes down to prioritizing a lot of activities and work, and you guessed it, something has to give as there are only 24 hours in a day.

I have nevertheless been researching brewing since my first batch of beer. I have researched brewing techniques and which equipment and gadgets I need to continue brewing bigger batches than the first one. I got a couple of very good books on the topic. I think they come in both Norwegian and English editions and both are highly recommended. If you are living in Norway you get them from ARK. If you are living outside of Norway you can get a hold of some other very good books on the topic from The Book Depository

 


Brewing Starter Kits – Which one to select and which one is the best

Brew in a Box mini brewery

So in order to start the brewing, I and my childhood friend Ivar had to decide on the basic equipment that was needed. After some careful considerations, and to keep our expenses as low as possible, we ended up with a kit from the company: Bryggselv, which costs about 1000,- nKr. Form this Kit we could make about 12 liters of beer. We decided on brewing Brown Ale. The kit is called  “Brew in a Box komplett minibryggeri ” and contains everything you need to brew your first batch of beer. That is almost true though because, in addition, you need a big kettle with a volume of 15 liters. Luckily I had one from before which we have used for cooking meat for Christmas each year it was perfect

Contents of the Kit:

  • One fermentation bucket with a volume of 10 liters, with airlock and rubber gasket
  • Siphon with pinch clamp clip
  • Spoon or similar to stir the brew
  • 10 beer bottles with med patent cork
  • Hops bag
  • Carbonation tablets
  • Hydrometer and test tube
  • Thermometer
  • Craftsan acidic rinsing agent

In addition, we had to buy the ingredients for the type of beer you want to brew. We chose the Amber Ale Brew in a Box Beer Kit, due to meeting in the middle of personal preferences between my buddy and I.

The description of the kit is taken from Bryggselv.no sin product page:

In this beer, a marked malt profile is combined with tones of toffee, dark caramel, and fruit with a fresh citrus-like fruitiness from the hops.  This makes the beer very suitable both for strong food and alone. It has enough sweetness to harmonize with hearty meat dishes and hops enough to cut through the fat. The beer can be successfully served for Christmas food

The kit provides 8 liters of beer when the brewing process is complete.


The Brewing Process – Oops we forgot to add Something

Ready to brew my own beer

We started followed the user manual (User manul link is In the Norwegian language) for this beer kit. Everything went very well. The challenge is to keep the temperature perfect at all times so you don´t kill off the yeast and the rest of the ingredients during the brewing process.

At first, you have to extract the sugars in the malt. Keeping the temperature steady at xx degrees centigrades. After that, the next step in the process is to boil the mixture, adding the different ingredients during the process.

boiling the beer mixture

After some time of the brew boiling, we noticed that the amount of fluid in the kettle started to reduce, more than expected. Eureka! We realized we had forgotten to add sparge water, which was explained in the brewing recipe (the recipe is In the Norwegian language) while boiling. Due to this, we ended up with som less volume in the brewing batch. But lesson learned. Follow the user manual, and read at least 3 times to make sure you haven’t missed anything.


The Waiting Game – Fermentation and bottling the beer

The brew was finished after a couple of hours of extracting the sugars from the malt and the boiling of the ingredients. Now it was the time for pouring the mixture into the fermentation bucket for the yeast to start doing its work.

The first thing we should have done, which I realized after the yeasting process and carbonation process was finished and the beer was ready for drinking was measuring its alcoholic potency. ideally, it should be;

OG: 1.066 and FG: 1.016, which gives an alcoholic strength of 6,7%.

Which, we didn´t…., but I guestimate that our beer reached approximately 5,5 %, which is decent.

OG: is the original gravity. This is measured just prior to yeast being added, or pitched. it would have provided us with a good idea of the potential alcohol percentage for our first batch of beer.

FG: is the final gravity. When the fermentation of the beer is finished, the measured specific gravity is called the final gravity. A typical strength beer, OG normally is about 1.050 and FG is about 1.010.

More of the Waiting Game

With the mixture in the fermentation bucket, the bucket was put away in our walk.in-wardrobe where it was supposed to be located the next 14 days with a constant temperature of 18-21 degrees Celsius.

After this period the time came to bottle the beer. The procedure for bottling was straight forward and we used the siphon as instructed. It didn´t take to much time.

beer-flasking-fermentation

After remembering to put the carbonation tablets into each bottle, one tablet pr. bottle, It was back again to the waiting game. Another 14 days before we could taste the first batch of our own beer!


End Result and Tasting the First Batch

The beer tasted very good. The taste fit the taste profile as described in the user manual. But we could taste a bit of “flatness” in the end, before swallowing the beer. I think the reason for the flatness was the fact that there was difficulty in keeping the temperature within the small temperature range of 18-21 degrees celsius. The temperature was continuously staying at around 21 degrees +/- some fraction of 1 degree.

The second mistake we did, was to forget nothing down the OG value before tapping the beer into the fermentation bucket. As a result, we only got an indication if our procedure was correct or not.beer tasting

Finally, the last mistake was we did was to add sparge water and filing after the “lost” volume of water.

Bottom line. Beer brewing is easy, it is fun and social. If you want to try it, you can buy, rent or borrow the necessary equipment. The minimum required equipment you need is described in this article. I have tested it and it works just great. Beer brewing for beginners and my first attempt at brewing beer can be considered a success! It is a highly recommended leisure time activity.

24 thoughts on “Beer brewing for beginners and my first attempt at brewing beer.”

  1. Thanks so much for sharing an informative article with us. The principal element of this article is beer brewing for beginners. You covered this subject so well in your post. I have learned a lot from reading your post and gained a lot of knowledge about it. I like the brewing starter kits of the points mentioned in your article. I take beer taste especially at night when I have a little rest
    I’ve read your article and enjoyed it and I’d like to share it with my friends by posting it in the Facebook community so that as many as possible will get to know your article.

    Reply
    • Thank you for reading and taking your time to comment. Starting to brew beer is not magical and everyone can do it. The process takes about 3 hours before you start the fermentation process. And then it is almost nothing more to do than waiting until the yeast has made your beer.

      Reply
  2. Hello Roy, my mind have been in this for a long time now but I really haven’t had the courage to go for it as procrastinating has been dealing really bad with me. Brewing beers is a really nice idea. I like to try and if the result is free of contaminations,  I would not mind doing it for my household. Thanks for the tips and the tools needed for me to get going with making it. I have bookmarked this article for reference.

    Reply
    • Bella, thank you for taking the time to read and comment. You have nothing to worry about. It is straight forward and easy. Just make sure that you are taking care and sanitizing everything before and after using it. If you do that you will get a perfectly safe and well-tasting beer.

      Reply
  3. Thank you for sharing such an interesting article with us. Brewing beer is really a nice idea. I like the breweing starter kit part. Thanks for the tips & tools needed. I would like to try it & share it with my community. Nice article overall. Keep up the good work.

    Reply
    • Hi Rajesh, thank you for stopping by and taking your time to provide your comment. You should really try it once. It is easy and very interesting. The most interesting part is that you can make your own recipes and create your own very special beer to your own taste preferences!

      Reply
  4. Hello there, 

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful article. You might have saved me from spending these excess dimes. What an adventure it would be for me to work on my beer as I sip(haha). This should have been how the chemistry classes looked like.A professional teacher standing in front of class teaching his students how to make beer. 

    Thanks a lot, probably I will have to teach my friends as well.

    Reply
    • HI Paul an thank you for stopping by and taking your time to comment on the article. I agree with you, the chemistry classes at school would have been seriously funny with this topic for the classes.

      Reply
  5. This is an interesting DIY article. I love these DIY blending stuff and have been doing a lot of wax blending lately. I find this article very interesting from the point of view of applying my own hands to create something. I am total newbie in brewing stuff but would love to try my hands at it.

    You have made it sound so simple! I always thought that brewing beer was with so many complication. But now with clear instructions on the “how to” books, the necessary equipment and the step-by-step procedure makes it sound within reach. 

    The section on common mistakes is noteworthy. It enlightens me to keep an eye on not missing out the things you missed. That is a great way of remembering things over your life.

    Thanks for sharing such an interesting article. Simply loved it.

    Reply
    • Rohit, Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to read my article. Brewing beer is not that difficult as you say.  It is just a matter of being patient and in the beginning, to make sure you follow the recipe.

      The next project is breeding strong ale for Christmas. It is a tradition in Norway.

      -Roy-

      Reply
  6. I remember my dad buying a beef brewing kit when I was a little girl. It didn’t last long and he went back to buying. So nice to see this has become a trend!

    @AlohaMelani

    Reply
    • Hi Aloha. Nice of you to stop by and reading my article. Thank you for sharing your memories. I am also remembering my father did some brewing at home as well. In Norway, craft beer is extremely popular. A lot of people are doing this at home and it doesn´t cost that much to do it either. The next article will be the first of a short series, describing my current brew project; Christmas Ale for this year’s holiday season. So stay tuned, The first part will be published on Sunday.

      -Roy-

      Reply
  7. I’ve often entertained the idea of home brewing but knowing myself and my own tendencies I know I will screw it up, probably by diving in and not double checking the instructions! 

    The temperature issue of making sure it stays within range for a long time is another thing I’ll struggle with. 

    But on balance I think I’ll try it when I can dedicate sufficient time to it and rope in some help!

    I love the idea of putting my own stamp on it with flavouring and modification, although this is also something I know i’m likely to rush into and miss the mark, lol. 

    This has really made it simple and the breakdown is very helpful, so thank you! It gives me hope that one day I can make my own beer.

    Regards,

    Tony

    Reply
    • Hi, Tony. Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts about brewing yourself. It is quite easy, just rent a brewer, and the brewer will do the difficult stuff for you. It will keep the temperature within the recommended range. The great part of brewing is that you can add any flavor to your own brew. I have tasted beers with chili added, orange peels, peach, etc. It is just your own creativity that limits the variety of your brew.

      I would advise you to entice some good friends and do this together for the first couple of times. It will be a success and lots of fun.

      Happy brewing :-),

      -Roy-

      Reply
  8. Coffee, beer and gadgets, heaven. What more could you want I remember my first attempt at brewing beer? I was 15 years old and thought I was so cool. Then I tasted it and it was revolting. I wish I had a site like yours. I might have been better and had a good hobby

    Reply
    • Hi and thank you for stopping by.  Thank you for sharing your own experience. You started early with beer brewing:-). I hope that you have tried again later. If not, why not try again? 

      My first brew was an attempt on wine. It was awful. Now the next project has begun and it will be brewing Ale for Christmas.  

      Reply
  9. I saw a person wrote something about this when he was saying that it is way better to brew your beer than to buy it but I don’t think that’s something I can live with. However, I am looking to make my own first beer at home and maybe I should let a number of my friends in on it and we’ll see if they’d like to make it with me. Thanks for adding that starter kit to.

    Reply
    • Hi, Jay. Thank you for your comment. This sounds exciting. It is a good idea to do it as a social event. You spread your expenses on more people, and the fun part of it gets a lot more fun. There are a lot of good starter kits out there.

      Good luck, Jay

      Reply
  10. Hello, I do find your post on beer brewing interesting. As one who loves to experiment in the kitchen, I’m always intrigued by new ideas of things that I can try. I do have a question. How do you keep the temperature even?
    I would have loved a straight forward recipe. Would I find that in your book?
    Regards,
    Candy Benn

    Reply
    • Hi, Candy. Thank you for reading my post. Keeping the temperature is a challenge, but it depends on which equipment you use. I have a stove which uses induction for cooking. With t it is fairly easy to keep the temperature even during the cooking of the wort. You just need to keep a keen eye with a thermometer during the process.

      Another method is to use a specialized beer brewer. The brewer will keep the temperature perfect.

      As for recipes, they are delivered with the beer kits you buy. But you can also download them for free from several of the breweries and the craft beer companies. The book you refer to is a description of the brewing process in general.

      -Roy-

      Reply
  11. This is interesting. I would love to taste my own brewing skills and most likely sell and establish a well-renowned brand. It doesn’t look difficult at all. My challenge would be regulating the temperature. 14 days of waiting is not a bad wait. Not to mention that the ingredients are easily accessible. Great article. Would the process also work for craft beer?

    Reply
    • Hi, thank you for your comment. Brewing is easy and it is fun and very social. Craft beer is exactly what the article is about. You can add your own flavours and taste profile to a set recipe, to get that special extra, which will be your own beer.

      An interesting fun fact is that it was probably the urge to brew more beer than seeded our civilisation as the population needed to wait for the crops to grow before they could brew beer.

      Roy

      Reply
  12. I have never tried to brew beer by myself before but it is something that I would really like to try myself. That’s why I decided to see how beginners can try to brew. Your experience will greatly help me. That’s why I appreciate that you can tell us your story in your personal first attempt to brewing beer.

    Reply
    • Thank you, Jackie, for your comment on the article. I will continue to update my blog with more posts on brewing your own beer. I have also started to draft a digital course on brewing for newbie´s on the Mastermind platform. I hope to have it ready within a couple of weeks.

      Roy

      Reply

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