Expert Advice Before Your First Time Homebrewing Beer

Welcome to the #365Firsts Podcast and the Expert Advice Before Your First Time Series. The show aims to encourage, prepare, and inspire you to do things you’ve never done before and complete your #365FirstsChallenge list. 

In each episode of this series, we give you tips and advice to set you up for success, for specific firsts and new experiences. The guests and topics are as varied as the options and possibilities of new experiences. 

Whether you’re trying to learn a new skill, improve your health and happiness, work on your self-development, add excitement and adventure to your life, or simply have first times, you’re going to love our podcast.

In This Episode

One of the best ways to stay entertained and happy while staying at home is to keep trying out new things. There’s never been a better time to try out a new hobby or learn a new skill. Many people are turning towards creative hobbies and kitchen-based skills for inspiration during these challenging, unprecedented times.

Today, we’ll be looking at a great skill that can keep you engaged and occupied during lockdown – homebrewing. Homebrewing is a field that’s grown in popularity over the last few years, as the craft beer and real ale scenes have become more creative. It can be a lot of fun and provide a delicious end product as well. 

In this episode, we’re lucky to have been joined by a certifiable homebrewing expert who has a wealth of experience in this interesting sector.

The Guest Expert 

Our guest expert for this episode was Gary Glass, who has been homebrewing beer since 1993. Gary has been the Director of the American Homebrewers Association since 2006, and has been on the AHA staff since 2000. 

As the Director of the AHA, he has worked to promote homebrewing and to increase its popularity and image.  Gary has also been involved with efforts to legalize homebrewing in several states across America, and movements to pass homebrewing rights legislation too.

Gary is a Beer Judge Certification Program Judge, as well as a Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup judge. It’s safe to say that his knowledge on this subject is immense and he’s the right guest for this topic.

What You Need To Know About Homebrewing Beer For The First Time

Gary started off the episode by talking about his first experiences with homebrewing beer. He got his start while in college through friend and learned homebrewing beer projects can be messy and chaotic, but they can be a lot of fun and delicious as well.

Easiest Way to Start is With a Starter Kit

Before you start, Gary advised looking into the brewing process online. Newcomers should try to educate themselves on what beer actually is and what steps are involved in making it. In order to simplify you first time, Gary recommends buying a beer homebrewing starter kit.

Starter kits can be very helpful ways to get going with homebrewing, and Gary noted that there are countless homebrewing stores online. One key product a starter kit will include is malt extract. Malt extract has already gone through the mashing process and takes out one of the steps that can be intimidating for new brewers.

The Homebrewing Beer Process

The first step for homebrewing beer is to boil your malt extract, and Gary pointed out you need to have a pot with a volume that is bigger than what you are boiling. Typically, a 5 gallon batch of beer can be brewed in a 5 gallon pot but Gary suggested new homebrewers should aim to have a bigger size in order to prevent any spillages. 

Sanitization is an important part of homebrewing beer, as it’s vital to make sure no foreign elements get into your beer. Use a food-friendly sanitizer, and make sure to sanitize everything after the boiling process to keep it safe and drinkable. Gary noted there are no harmful elements when making beer; the worst thing that will happen is that it will taste bad.

Homebrewing beer is a project that requires a fair bit of patience. Brewing can take roughly 3 hours, but the beer also has to be fermented, conditioned, and bottled. Gary suggested a month as a time frame for the full process.

Bottling Your Homebrewed Beer

In terms of bottles, Gary suggested opting for brown glass bottles to avoid your beer getting lightstruck. Some hop compounds react poorly with light, and can lead to a bad taste and/or smell. Old beer bottles can be reused here, but they must be cleaned out well. When bottling beer, sugar is added and some yeast is left over – which leads to carbonation.

If you want to avoid this, you can put your beer into kegs – but this isn’t too beginner friendly.

Roughly, a 5 gallon brew will lead to 50 bottles of beer. Gary noted that different types of beer will keep longer, and this is worth researching before you brew. There are countless types of beer, and plenty of recipes to experiment with as well. One of the best things about homebrewing beer is that it’s an art form, with tons of room for experimentation.

Engage with Other Homebrewers

There are a number of great ways to get involved with the homebrewing community. There are conventions, like the Homebrewer Convention, and plenty of classes, clubs, online resources and social media based communities as well. 

Thankfully, there are no longer states where homebrewing is outright illegal. However, some states have limits on production and transport, which is what Gary and the AHA help out with.

Generally speaking, homebrewing beer is an incredibly rewarding hobby to get into. It can help you to create delicious beer to share with your loved ones, or to enjoy by yourself. It will take time and experimentation, but it is absolutely worth it.

Get In Touch With Gary

We had a blast recording this episode with Gary and learning about homebrewing beer; we hope it was educational for you to listen to as well. If learn more about the American Homebrewing Association and contact Gary, visit www.homebrewersassociation.org.

How To Reach Us

If you’d like to let us know your experience with our content so far, we’d be more than happy to hear from you. No matter whether your feedback is positive or negative, we’d be honoured to hear it and use it to make our show even better.

Is there something in particular that you want advice on? Are there things that you think we could be doing better as a team? Please feel free to get in touch with a member of our team at contact@365firstschallenge.com today.

What’s Coming Up Next Time?

New episodes of Expert Advice Before Your First Time are released every Thursday, and we’ve got a wonderful roster of guests lined up to give you more expert advice. 

Coming up on the 23rd, we’ll be speaking with Jamie Lee about doing pet reiki for the first time. After that on the 30th, we’ll be looking at first time intermittent fasting with Ben Azadi. You can listen and subscribe on Apple, Google, or Spotify. While you’re there – please leave a review if you can. It really does help us with our work, and every single review is appreciated .

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