Ever wondered how to start brewing beer at home? A Hudson Valley pro shares his top tips, along with a recipe to get you going.
So you think you can homebrew? Derek Dellinger, former manager of Beacon Homebrew (now closed) and blogger at Bear Flavored Ales, shares his top five tips for beginners. Aleady set to begin? Scroll down for Dellinger’s recipe for Beacon Homebrew’s own Belgian Blonde Ale.
- Homebrewing is as creative and easy as cooking, and while more advanced forms of brewing can get technical, it’s also very forgiving. Think of it as a culinary process: you’re combining a few simple ingredients — water, grain, hops and yeast — that together can create very complex flavors.
- Sanitization is extremely important in brewing. While beer-making is very safe — pathogens cannot survive in a fermented alcoholic beverage — you want to ensure that other yeast and bacteria naturally occurring in your environment do not steer the beer in a less tasty direction than you intended.
- Start with a kit, read the instructions, and familiarize yourself with the process. A general knowledge of the ingredients you’re working with, and a basic understanding of how fermentation works, will go a long way in having your batches come out consistently.
- Be prepared and organized. Nothing is worse than getting halfway through a brew-session and realization you’re missing an important tool or ingredient.
- Get creative. Homebrewing is flexible and fun, and you can brew just about anything you can think of. If you need ideas, talk to someone at your local homebrew shop for suggestions!
How to Brew: Belgian Blonde Ale
This is a perfect recipe for the beginner. “Beacon Homebrew’s Belgian Blonde Ale is a mid-ABV, pale, crisp beer perfect for summer, or any time you desire the complex flavors of Belgium in a deceptively light beer,” says Dellinger.
- 6.6 lb. Pilsen Liquid Malt Extract
- 8 oz. Cara-Pils (steeping grain)
- 1 lb. corn sugar
- 1 oz Northern Brewer hops (45 min. addition)
- Safbrew S-33 Dry Ale Yeast
Steep the grain in muslin bag as the water warms, for about 15 minutes or until the water reaches 160°F.
Upon reaching a boil, turn off the flame, add the malt extract, and dissolve thoroughly.
Return to boil, and set a timer for 45 minutes. Add hops.
At end of the 45-minute boil, add the pound of corn sugar. Cool to room temperature and pitch yeast.
Ferment for three weeks.