Chapter 1

A Crash Course in Brewing

What Do I Do?

If you are like me, you are probably standing in the kitchen, wanting to get started, your beer kit and equipment on the counter, wondering how long this will take and what to do first. Frankly, the first thing you should do is read all of Section I - Brewing Your First Beer With Extract. This book is going to teach you How To Brew, from the fundamentals to the advanced methods; you won't be confused by conflicting instructions on a beer kit, and you will have an outstanding first batch.

But if you are like me, you probably want to do this right now while you have some time. (It's going to take about 3 hours, depending.) So, in this first chapter, I will walk you through the steps necessary to get your first batch bubbling in the fermentor, and give you an overview of what you will do to ferment and bottle your beer.

The instructions in this chapter may not explain why you are doing each step or even what you are doing. To understand the Whats and Whys of brewing, you will need to read the rest of this book. Each of the chapters in Section I discuss the brewing steps in detail, giving you the purpose behind each step. You will know what you are doing, rather than doing it that way because "that's what it said..." You will know how long to boil the wort, how to really use hops, why to bother cooling the wort, why to bother re-hydrating the yeast, why to wait two weeks before bottling... Get the picture?

But, if you can't wait, this chapter should see you through. Beer production can be broken down into 3 main events: Brew Day, Fermentation, and Bottling Day. If you have questions about terminology or equipment, be sure to review the Glossary and Required Equipment sections via the links at the top of the page.