With the continued increase in interest of homebrewing it is no wonder that more people are getting involved in growing their own hops. For a homebrewer, this is a relatively easy step towards sustainable homebrewing, and it gets you just one step closer to your beer. Cultivation of the humulus plant is relatively easy, and compared to growing and malting your own barley, it’s not even in the same ballpark! Even for extract brewers, this can be a fun way to put a personal touch on your own beers.
One of the first decisions that a brewer must make about any given batch of beer is whether they are creating a batch of ale or lager. Although they are both styles of beer, lager and ale differ considerably from one another, and because of this, there are strong differences in fermentation approaches between the two types. Most beginner brewers are going to opt for an ale because the process is a lot simpler, you need less equipment, and the styles of beer often allow more elbow room for mistakes.
As a homebrewer, one good way to make your beer a little more personal is to roast your own malts. Roasting malts is a surprisingly easy process that doesn’t take more than an hour and can add a unique quality to your beer that you would not have otherwise. Home roasted malt lacks the consistency that is present within professionally roasted malts, but honestly, the unique nature of home roasted malt more than makes up for this.
There are many factors that differentiate beers from one another and the grain used plays a strong role in beer. Choosing your base malt will decide the direction of your beer. They generally make up for the majority of your malt profile, and will produce the most of your sugars that will ultimately be converted into alcohol.
For many people, the process of starting off in brewing can seem overly complicated and very difficult to understand. One of the problems is that there is so much jargon within the field, that reading advice or forums is much like trying to translate a foreign language. For some people, the answer to this problem is to get a kit, like the partial mash beer kits that are available.