How to Homebrew Beer

Imagine the best beer you’ve ever had….Got it? Now here’s some good news. You can make a beer that tastes that good.

Yes, with the some equipment and the right know-how you can take your beer-geekdom to the ultimate level. You can transform yourself from the mere beer drinker to a creator of beer.

Where do I learn to Homebrew?

The Homebrew Academ Logo

My online video training program for brewers

Well, shameless plug, but I have a solution for that. It’s called The Homebrew Academy. It is an online homebrewing training program where I walk you through brewing your first beer with step by step videos. Once a member, you’ll have access to topics ranging from brewing with fruit to kegging your homebrew. If you have questions (which you will), you get direct access to me to answer them.

The key to brewing great beer

A metaphor I like to use for learning how to brew beer is the concept of the 3-Legged Bar Stool. A 3-legged stool needs all three legs to balance. Remove 1 leg, and it topples right over. Similarly, you need 3 components to brew beer:

  1. An Equipment Kit
  2. An Ingredient kit
  3. Brewing Knowledge

Take one of these components away, and you won’t brew good beer.

3 Legged Stool of Homebrewing

Learn about the first two in my article about homebrew kits. You will also need to learn how to use the equipment to make great beer, and that is where brewing knowledge comes into play. While the kits do provide instructions, they are very vague and tough to follow. Beginner mistakes are all too common while following kit instructions.

To make great beer, you want to supplement your kit with brewing knowledge. Not just a list of steps, but an understanding of how to make beer. That’s why I started The Homebrew Academy.

Besides that, there are of course other ways to learn how to brew. I recommend the following resources to accomplish that task.

Books

The Complete Joy of Homebrewing 3rd Edition – Charlie Papazian
Charlie is the godfather of homebrewing and coined the phrase “Relax, Don’t Worry, have a Homebrew” which is a mantra in the homebrewing community. Great book for beginners.

How to Brew – John Palmer
Packed full of information. This book is very effective for beginners but is still a trusted resource for the most experienced homebrewers. He also has a free web version of the book, although it is out of date.

Extreme Brewing – Sam Calagione
The owner of Dogfish Head Brewery teaches you how to brew and offers recipes for some radical brews, including many clone recipes of Dogfish Head’s beers.

Designing Great Beers
A little more advanced book and a great followup to the ones previously mentioned.

Other

American Homebrewers Association
A division of the Brewer’s Association trade group, both founded by Charlie Papazian. The AHA is a very credible source for homebrewing information.

Homebrew Talk
The biggest homebrewing forum on the internet. These guys known their beer and they’re very willing to help new brewers.

Is Homebrewing Legal?

Yes, it is. In 1979, President Jimmy Carter signed a bill into law that made homebrewing federally legal, but left the final say up to the states. In May 2013, Mississippi became the final state to legalize homebrewing, making it legal in all 50 states.

There are a couple of strings attached to the federal regulations.

1. Homebrewers are limited to brewing 100 gallons per year if there is one adult living in the house, and 200 gallons for two or more adult residents.  This next one is a biggie, so pay attention..
2. It is illegal to sell your homebrewed beer. This includes bartering your beer for goods or services. Best to take this one seriously.

Here’s some more information about the legalities of homebrewing.