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I want to start making beer at home, but I have no idea where to start. I want to mention that I'm a wine making novice, having some vines around my house, but with beer I have no experience. Well, I have an experience in drinking it, but not making it. Where do I need to start and how? I want to mention that for the beginning I don't want to invest more than 1000 euros(1100$) in equipment. And secondly, I have hops in my garden but, I don't think I'm able to grow my own barley

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  • Seek out local homebrew clubs and ask to join a few brew days. Brewing is like baking- you can do it as simply as you'd like or as complex as you can imagine. Getting that perspective from people you can ask questions of is really valuable.
    – rob
    Commented Mar 6 at 14:26

4 Answers 4

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I started making beer with a 5 gallon stock pot from Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/IMUSA-Stainless-Steel-Stock-Silver/dp/B0BTTLVYJW/) and some extract kits from Morebeer (https://www.morebeer.com/products/zombie-dust-clone-soulless-hop-pale-ale-extract.html).

The process was basically

  1. heat 3 gallons of carbon filtered tap water on the stove
  2. soak any grains that come with the kit
  3. bring the water to a boil, start a timer
  4. add hops and the extract (at certain times)
  5. chill it in an ice bath in the sink
  6. pour it into a sanitized fermenting bucket
  7. top off with distilled water to get 5 gallons
  8. pitch yeast
  9. ferment two weeks
  10. transfer to a keg, carbonate, enjoy

This made a very enjoyable beer. People who tried it said "you made this?", so it did not turn out a funky tasting "frankenbeir", but smelled and tasted like it was from the store.

Some of this you will be familar with from making wine, like sanitation, so all the same rules apply. I did not like bottling and was lucky to own a kegerator prior to picking up the homebrew bug. After several years, bottling is still not fun when I occasionally do it.

If you want to go with smaller batches, you can find 1 gallon kegs (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07CTHSJXC/) which fit in the fridge. There is a mini ball lock that goes with that keg for around $40. You can add a CO2 cartridge dispenser (https://www.amazon.com/Beer-Keg-Charger-CO2-Dispenser/dp/B07NRD1BPJ/) and a picnic tap and voila, mini keg for about $100 bucks US.

The immediate problem I had with the stove top was the chilling time. Ice bath works but took me 45 minutes and I was all worried about not chilling it fast enough and introducing bacteria. That's not such a big problem I've learned since.

It was a helpful process though because a stainless chiller added $50 to my shopping list, and then an LP burner and tank was like another $100. I thought this was nice, but then saw the Anvil Foundry (https://www.anvilbrewing.com/foundry-10-5) for around $350 (it was on sale at the time) and decided the all-in-one was the way to go as I could do it inside, or the garage, without gassing out the place.

I've had the foundry several years now. It keeps going. Other systems are probably just as nice so you'd have to look at reviews. Blichman/Anvil will be hard to beat for the price range though.

Also, about the wild hops... I tried this once. went through drying them in the basement for a week and then vaccum packing them, and storing them in the freezer. The convenience and consistency of already pelletize hops is hard to beat, for me anyway. Watch for sales at https://yakimavalleyhops.com/, invest in a vacum sealer, buy in 1# bags and freeze them. It's way more economical that buying $3.99/oz packages.

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With €1000 you'll be able to get all you need to get started and have plenty left over to set aside for upgrading your brewery should it appeal to you (and it will). You will want a kegging system -- not required, but, trust me, you want it. Bottling is a phenomenal PIA, and a disincentive to pursue the hobby.

The previous post is quite thorough. I would echo that you should start with a kit for an extract based ale for your first go-round. Then, as you develop your process, branch off to lagers, mashing, exotic beers.

I'm not sure I'd make anything smaller than a 3 Gal. batch -- a lot of effort for a handful of pints. Plus, the smaller the batch, the more sensitive it is to any deviations (i.e., if you accidentally put a couple extra ounces of malt in a 5 gallon batch -- no big deal. But if you do that to a 1 Gal. batch, it will change the character noticeably).

Lastly, I've grown my own hops and tend to only use them for late additions (where you're after flavor/aroma rather than bitterness). The fact that I have no idea what their Alpha Acid content is makes it very tricky to calculate bitterness. But, even as late additions, I was never real happy with the result. So, I grow the hops mostly for its landscape appeal (have them growing on an arbor over a seating area).

I have an Anvil system and like it -- but run through a few batches before making that investment.

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@HomeBrew has a nice answer, but I think that you should also find for yourself the answers to the following questions:

  • How much beer would you like to make in a year? Take your own consumption into account, and make a guess at how much beer you would probably serve to family and acquaintances.
  • Do you want to brew many different beers (out of curiosity) or are you someone who likes one or two standard beers? In the first case, you would be better of with a smaller kit and brewing some more, in the second case maybe a bigger kit and brew less.
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  • I ordered an hand-crafted wooden barrel of about 100 liters, so I think 100 liters is a reasonable quantity of beer for start I don't drink that much beer, I'm 19 so I can legally drink for about 1 year now(18 is the legal age where I live), but I really appreciate a high-quality cold beer on a hot sunny day. I really like barley+corn golden beers, but I enjoy one particular craft dark beer made with barley+rye
    – MikeyJY
    Commented Mar 4 at 20:24
  • Wooden barrels are not really suitable to store beer. They exchange oxygen. This means that if you brew 100 l of beer, after a couple of weeks the beer will be oxidised. Either choose stainless steel kegs or glass bottles.
    – chthon
    Commented Mar 5 at 10:43
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Home beer making is a hobby, but before you spend 1000 Euros getting started, just remember that you don't need fancy equipment to produce good beer. Brewing is no different than any hobby. If you give a pro photographer an iPhone, he or she will take (way) better pictures that some noob with a $10000 setup. If you live in Europe, I'm sure you can find a decent equipment starter package for less that 150 Euros. Typically these kits consist of core equipment, which may be used to ferment everything: beer, wine, cider and mead. You will find it much easier to begin beer making using extracts. If later you decide you love the hobby and want to get more detailed in your process, then you can move up to all grain brewing. If you want to check out some good recipes, these guys have some of the best recipes that I've ever brewed: https://boomchugalug.com/collections/beer-kits. You can view all of their recipes as a PDF, so you can always bring them over to your local home brew supply shop (hopefully you have one nearby) and have them fill it. Have fun!

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