it starts with some serious cleaning, as you are basically creating a huge petri dish that you want only yeast to grow in, otherwise, you’ll get some funky brew. next, you create wort by boiling water with your malt extract. i used a malt extract syrup, but when you’re an expert you start straight with the grain. then add hops and boil for an hour. there are a multitude of different steps that can be added here including adding different stages and kinds of bittering and flavoring hops, spices, etc.
cool the wort quickly, add it to your fermenter (in my case, a glass carboy) and add your yeast. you then cap the fermenter with an airlock and let it sit in a quiet, dark corner. in about 12 hours, the magic begins, and the yeast begins to consume the sugar in the malt extract creating carbon dioxide and fermenting the sugars into alcohol. watching fermentation is my new favorite hobby, the brew foams and bubbles away like a living creature. its essentially our newest pet, aside from our hundreds of red worms and bread starter. that’s where i am right now in the process. the next steps can vary depending on what brew you want, flavors, secondary fermentation, etc. i am thinking about pasteurizing some honey then adding that after a few days of primary fermentation for added alcohol and flavor. i have a second glass carboy for a secondary fermenter, however, this is not necessary when brewing ales (but creates a cleaner brew). i may just stick to a primary fermentation for around 2 weeks this time around, as i am a home brew newbie.
after the fermentation, you bottle the beers with a conditioning sugar, then let sit for a conditioning period around 2 weeks to develop carbonation. so now i just need to drink 48 beers in a few weeks to have enough bottles when i get to this step. the alternative, which i hope to pursue soon enough, is to purchase a 5 gallon keg, and just skip the whole bottling all together. i, however, am not quite there yet. if there are any home brewmasters out there, feel free to give me some tips, recipes, or advice.