Planning to start brewing but don’t know where to start? There are a lot of options and information out there but it is hard to collect all the necessary information to make the right decision so let us help you with that.
If you are still thinking whether or not to start brewing your own beer you should read our other article „5 Reasons to start brewing your own beer” before going any further.
Brewing is becoming more and more popular since the craft beer revolution and it is legal in most countries. Homemade beer is high quality, offers wide variety and cost effective. People usually start brewing beer for the following reasons:
- Bored of mass produced commercial beer and want to explore new flavors
- Wants craft beer on a reasonable price
- Love of creation and the challange of crafting new recipes
- Show off to friends
- Just have fun and belong to a great community
No matter what’s your reason you are at the right place to getting started.
There are several ways to make your own beer and your budget will greatly define the path that you should take. We can differentiate between 3 levels:
- Manual (traditional) brewing
- Semi-automatic brewing
- Fully automatic brewing
The main difference is time, control and upfront cost.
The more automated the system is the more time you can save and the more control you have over your brew.
The cost of brewing is pretty much the same no matter which path you take, but the upfront cost can greatly differ.
If you just want to try out brewing it is probably best to just order an all-grain kit, but if you are a little bit more serious about it and plan it as a longer term activity you will definitely want to have (SPOILER ALERT!) a fully automated system as it will pay off quickly and your return on investment is guaranteed.
Manual (Traditional) brewing:
You can start brewing manually almost right away.
You need to get some pots, thermal sensor, a stirring spoon. You can find many articles on this if you just search the net.
The main issue with manual brewing that it is very time and space consuming. You will need to be present for 5-7 hours which includes preparation (15-30 minutes), the brewing process (4-5 hours) and then cleaning (30-60 minutes).
There are many people who prefer „getting their hands dirty” and i totally understand that but in these years very few people have a whole day to spend on brewing.
The girlfriends and wives are also usually not happy when one starts to brew manually as it takes away time that was otherwise spent together and it is super messy.
Many first time brewers stop manual brewing after a few try as manual, traditional brewing is very time consuming, space demanding and messy.
If you prefer to get your hands dirty and have the time it is fine but with today’s technology there are easier ways to brew your own.
There are a lot of options when it comes to semi-automatic systems.
You can find systems in a very wide price range with different features.
Semi-automatic systems makes brewing easier by helping you with precise temperature control.
Temperature control is essential when it comes to brewing and by being able to set the different temperatures it will take some „standing next to the pot” time away.
The issue with these systems that they only cover some of the brewing process and you will still need to be present at least one of the stages of the brewing process: mashing, sparging, hopping, boiling and cooling and at the end you are still ending up spending several hours not to mention the cleaning at the end.
Fully automatic brewing:
And then there is option number three, to go fully automatic.
Currently there is only one product on the market that automates all the steps of beer brewing: mashing, sparging, hopping, cooling and even cleaning.
Full automation allows you to pre-set everything in advance and only requires your presence to load in the ingredients and then at the end to transfer the ready wort into the fermentation tank.
This way instead of the 5-7 hours you can brew a batch by using just about 20 minutes of your time.
The full automation not only saves you time but allows you to better control your brew and save your recipes.
Once you are becoming more professional you can tweak and perfect your recipes and achieve the highest quality beer possible.
A fully automated beer brewing machine is on the pricier side but they pay off already after 10 brews and will allow you to focus on other important things besides beer.
There is no “best way to brew” you are fine either way. In general the more automated the system is the more convenient brewing will be due to the advantages of automation.
The question is how much time you have and what is your budget?
Otherwise if you are planning to brew more seriously than it is definitely worth to go fully automatic.