Step 0: Humble Beginnings

This blog is for people who want to get more serious about home brewing without going bankrupt in the process.  I’m going to skip over the obvious way to keep brewing cheap – brewing 1 gallon at a time in a pot on the stove.  I find that process to be rather time consuming for only one gallon of beer.  Many brewers who begin that way end up selling their kit and moving up to bigger batches anyway.  If that’s your kind of thing, great, but this blog is for people who want the capacity to brew 5+ gallon batches.

I started my foray into 5-gallon home brewing in the most inexpensive manner I could find.  I picked up this turkey fryer on sale after Thanksgiving, hooked up the propane, and let it rip!  I found a discount extract beer recipe kit, and brewed five gallons of half-decent beer on my simple setup.  I also had no wort chiller, so cooling the brew down took hours with my crude ice bath method!

My very first brew day on a turkey fryer setup.
My very first brew day on a turkey fryer setup.

If you are unsure whether you will enjoy this hobby, this basic method is a good way to get your feet wet.  Some people will tell you that they detect a metallic taste using aluminum, but I had no such issue.  While the aluminum pot isn’t ideal for brewing, it won’t hurt your beer if you take a simple precaution.  Just fill your pot ¾ of the way with water, and get it to a rolling boil before cooling and dumping it out.  This will “season” the aluminum just a bit, and make it less likely to impart any off flavors into your brew.

This single-vessel setup is, however, only useful for extract brewing.  Extract is fine for some people, and you can definitely make decent beer this way.  I personally prefer the control that all-grain brewing allows, which is why I transitioned to all-grain after only one time with an extract kit.  All-grain can also keep costs much lower in the long run, because ingredients can be purchased in bulk.  This series of step-by-step instructions will move you along the path to full control over your 5+ gallon, all-grain brew sessions! Cheers!

Continue to Step 1

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