What is the easiest/cheapest entry into brewing?

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Teufelhunde

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Simplest, easiest would likely be extract. Much lower of a learning curve over all grain. Probably cheapest as well, due to less equipment needed, but be aware no way of homebrewing is cheap, just like any hobby.....although you can get it to the point that you are drinking good craft beer for 1/2 the price of buying it at the store. You WILL NOT drink homebrews for the price of buttweiser or coors.....
 

NSMikeD

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While extract might be the simplest it does have a number of draws backs and folks tend to quickly get a bit more sophisticated with their extract brewing.

BIAB, Brew In a Bag brewing is all grain brewing in its most basic form. From those who made the leap to BIAB, the consensus is that it really wasn't much if a leap from their extract brewing. Like most methods in brewing, you can keep it simple or you can spend a fortune and become extremely complex. Thats a personal choice,

Drop in the BIAB forum here. BIAB brewers have shot down the naysayers in that we've proven you can make very good beer with simple steps and inexpensive methods. Partly responsible for this is the quality if today's ingredients produce great beer without requiring a lot of the tradition steps and equipment associated with all grain brewing.

(BIAB doesn't require more equipment than extract brewing aside from a bag.


Also, I am an advocate of not limiting yourself to the 5 gallon standard. Equipment is now ready available for different sized batches.

Mary Izett is the author if "Speed Brewing: Techniques and Recipes for Fast-Fermenting Beers, Ciders, Meads and More". She lives in Brooklyn and perfected making 1 gallon batches that passes muster with her home-brew club there. Talk about simple and inexpensive. The book is available on Amazon and I can vouch for it as I have used her book to make many one gallon batch of beer and cider.

John Palmer has the first version of his home-brew book free online. I recommend reading it to understand how beer is made. reading that, IMO, will really help in understanding what's involved so yo can better identify what may be the best option to fit your lifestyle, budget and desire.
 

Broken Crow

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Good advice so far, but as someone who would never buy the cheap crap, I do find homebrewing to be very inexpensive compared to buying. Even a cheap extract kit like the Coopers or Muntons taste more appealing than the cheap mainstream commercial 'beers'. That said; spend some time reading through the various beginners threads on here and take your time thinking through what you'd like and what you're comfortable investing in both time and cost. With a simple BIAB bag and what you likely already have in your kitchen, you can probably start with all-grain doing small batches. The straight-forwardness of using an extract kit has benefits, but they usually come in 5-gallon sizes. Give some thought and take the plunge. :)
 

bracconiere

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easttex

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Hello,

I am contemplating getting into brewing and want to ask you what the simplest, easiest and cheapest way to brew is?

Thanks in advance!
Look around and see if there's a local homebrew club near you as well as a "local" homebrewing Facebook group. Not sure where you live but a lot of folks near me (DFW) are looking to sell off excess brewing and fermenting equipment. If you have some cash, you can find great deals on enough stuff to assemble a basic brewing kit.

Then look at what ingredients cost. You may luck into someone who bought more hops than they can use and they'd make you a deal on. Then look at brewing simple ales using 2-row barely or "light" liquid or dry malt extract. You can use yeast for more than one batch. Store your beer in cleaned, sanitized, recycled 1 or 2 liter plastic (soda pop) bottles.

That's about as inexpensive as I can suggest.
 

RM-MN

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Hello,

I am contemplating getting into brewing and want to ask you what the simplest, easiest and cheapest way to brew is?

Thanks in advance!
Absolute cheapest? Buy an apple. Chop it up into little pieces. Squeeze the juice out and let it sit out in the open where a wild yeast can find it. Within a few days you will have brewed. This isn't what I would recommend and it probably isn't what you had in mind so you need to clarify what you want to brew and what you have already for equipment. That equipment might include a kitchen stove and a big pot. While you might not think of this as brewing equipment, some of us use just that.
 
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I am contemplating getting into brewing and want to ask you what the simplest, easiest and cheapest way to brew is?
"Simple, easy, cheap: pick two". :yes:

@NSMikeD : mentioned the book Speed Brewing. It's a good "survey" book, covering brewing numerous beverages (beer, cider, mead, ...) including equipment lists, processes, and some recipes. $15 for well curated information will give you a good starting point to decide what to do next.

And also, don't forget to drop in the BIAB extract forum here. BIAB Extract brewers have shot down the naysayers in that we've proven you can make very good beer with simple steps and inexpensive methods. Partly responsible for this is the quality of today's ingredients produce great beer without requiring a lot of the tradition steps and equipment associated with all grain all-grain three tier, mash tun brewing systems.
 

AlexKay

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I've never brewed an extract batch, but come on, extract has to be the simplest and easiest way. Pick a style (something you'll like, but not something too hoppy, and darker is easier than lighter), get a good kit (possibly a 1-gallon kit -- cheaper, and easier to deal with); say, this one (if it sounds appealing, that is.)

Starting equipment needs will be pretty simple; you can get those in a kit, too, though if you make a new post on here someone (many people) will give you an itemized list and you can put your own kit together.

Extract kits won't be the cheapest entry to the hobby, but you'll get a feel for the process and whether you like it, and you'll probably make good beer along the way.

Finding a local homebrewing group is excellent advice.
 

pvtpublic

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Mr Beer kits. They're not the best, but it's certainly the cheapest and easiest way to make beer. The extract is already hopped, and you can usually get all the equipment you need plus ingredients for under $100usd. I recommend swapping out the yeast though...

This is one they're selling for $42.46, everything in the pic.

 

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Beermeister32

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When I was ramping up and learning about brewing, I did some early fermenting with half gallon apple juice. You can carefully remove the lid sprinkle in some ale yeast (Nottingham) and screw the lid back down leaving it slightly loose for CO2 release (tighten the lid later and it carbonates.). Make sure to check the juice to make sure there are no preservatives which inhibit yeast. If you are careful with the lid handling, you will be safe for these small cider batches.

Many home brew shops run beer brewing sessions outdoors on Saturdays. I watched a number of these, they are very informative.

Also back in the day I liked the old Brewing TV episodes (now on Youtube). Entertaining and great info for beginning brewers.

Prost!
5DCD783E-376B-4E89-99D8-E83E6F34A882.jpeg
 
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McMullan

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Most home brewers start with kits and basic equipment that's pretty cheap. It's the best way to learn how to brew. There's quite a lot to learn, but nothing difficult. Some people continue brewing with kits, because it simplifies wort production, works just fine and can be tweaked to be better than intended.
 

wsmith1625

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Small batch all grain BIAB would be the cheapest way to get into bewing beer. The key is batch size. If you start with small batch brewing, you won't need to purchase much equipment and can brew right in your kitchen. A kitchen stove and a decent size stock pot can get you started. Most food grade buckets or PET containers can double as a fermenter, so you're basically looking at purchasing a grain bag, grains (request double crushed), hops, and yeast. If you want to get fancy, you could buy an airlock, but the stated container would also work with a loose fitting lid. This is VERY minimal brewing and you will find that you will need and want additional and upgraded equipment to help you perfect your craft.

EDIT: You can also re-use pet soda bottles for bottling, eliminating the need for caps and a capper.
 

hottpeper13

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Try to use cook ware you already have, purchase kits ,this will give you a better understanding hoe the different grains and hops work together to create a great brew.
After you have read thru the above titles you will come to the conclusion that spending cash on the fermenting (cold)side is the place to start.
I have 42 kit directions in my first recipe folder before I went all grain. And I really don't like cluster hops at all and chinook only after 45 min into the boil.
 

JohnDBrewer

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Join a home brew club. There are usually members who will share batches of beer if you help brew with them. Even better you learn the basics, what equipment, if any, you need to invest in, if you even enjoy the hobby or not, and most folks in homebrewing have excess equipment they are willing to give you, sell cheap, etc.

Be careful there is an old saying, give a person a beer and they'll waste an afternoon. Teach them to brew and they'll waste a lifetime.

Good luck and welcome.
 
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chthon

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And try to find bottles with flip tops, that way you don't need immediately crown caps and a capper.
 

z-bob

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Do you already have any 5 gallon cooking pots? Like maybe a 22 quart canner? If not, what is the largest thing you do have? The kettle is probably the most expensive initial outlay. Maybe start with 2, 2.5, or 3 gallons for your batch size to make it more manageable. (some people do 1-gallon but I wouldn't start that small)

Your stove might not be able to boil 5 or 6 gallons of wort. (mine has a high-output burner but still struggles with that)

There's nothing wrong with extract brewing, but there is a risk with it that you don't have with all-grain: liquid malt extract (LME) goes stale quickly and you don't know how long it has been sitting on the shelf at your HB supply store. It doesn't spoil and it will still ferment but the beer will taste bad. ("twangy") Dry extract (DME) doesn't have that problem; it can harden into a rock and be hard to manage but it's still good. DME costs more.

All-grain brewing has cheaper ingredients, and it gives you more creative control, but it takes longer and requires more equipment; but with BIAB it can be negligibly more equipment.

When I don't have time to brew but want to do *something*, I make a batch of sparkling cider using bottled apple juice from Aldi or Walmart. (I should probably take up breadmaking instead because I don't need all that alcohol, LOL)

My favorite bottles to use are the tall skinny 500ml plastic soda bottles with screw caps. Costco sells cases of flavored sparkling water in them; it's not very good but it's not bad either and the bottles are awesome and reusable. I don't know how many times you can reuse the caps, but it appears to be a lot.
 
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hotbeer

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I started with a 1 gallon all grain kit from Brooklyn BrewShop. The instructions will have you wondering why they left out most everything we talk about here on the forums, but if you follow them, you'll make a decent enough beer.

I did a dozen or so of them in quick succession since a one gallon FV (ferment vessel) only yields 7 - 8, 12 ounce bottles since you have to leave headspace for krausen.

That let me get the very basic stuff figured out and gave me time to think about the direction I wanted to go with getting more expensive equipment.

A stock pot and a hydrometer were all I needed over what the kit came with. You don't really need the hydrometer for your first batch or two, but they are inexpensive, so why not.

And you can get ingredient kits for less if you don't need their gallon jug and other things they give in the full kit with the FV.
 
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D.B.Moody

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Brewing with extract is easiest. It requires the least specialized equipment. It does not have to be with kits. I have been happily brewing with extract since 1994. The only kit I ever used was the one my boys gave me for Christmas,1993.
 
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Erroneous

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I like starter kits. They often include most of the equipment you want and should you really get into it, most of the equipment will still be usable after upgrading. Right now many homebrew retailers have specials for starter kits.

Consider doing kits and using dried kveik yeast. Premilled grain only is good for a few months, so it doesn't make sense to buy it in bulk and a grain mill costs about $100. Kveik yeast can handle higher temperatures (as high as 95F) quite well and produce outstanding beers or handle lower temps (mid 70s).

Consider doing a partial volume boil and topping off with bottled water/ice. This keeps you from needing as big of a kettle and also keeps you from needing to wait before adding the wort to the fermenter.

Either buy camden tablets (~$0.10 for 5 gallons) to neutralize chlorine/chloramine in your tap water, or buy gallons of spring water (~$7 for 5 gallons, or <$2 for a 5 gallon refill if you already have a 5 gallon bottle).

If it were me, I'd buy the following:
  • 5+ gallon large kettle to boil with - free to $25
  • cleaning chemicals to clean bottles and remove labels - oxyclean baby/free $8
  • MoreBeer basic homebrewing kit (includes bottling supplies, fermenting supplies, hydrometer, sanitizer, and bottle brush) - $75 (I think $60 with code DEAL1 for Christmas)
  • Extract recipe kit - ~$30-$40 for a moderate gravity kit
  • Dry yeast - $6 for Lallemand Voss Kveik
  • 20 lbs ice - $6
  • 5 gallons of bottled water (don't use tap unless you remove the chlorine/chloramine) - $7
  • 54 beer bottles (pry off, not twist) - free from friends/bars or buy 12 packs with beer in them
So with that, you can go as low as about $120 for your first batch. After that you can buy 2 batches of ingredients at a time to get free shipping to do about $60 per batch (extract kit, yeast, bottle caps, water/ice). You can save some per batch money by buying ingredients outside of a kit, moving to all grain, buying grain/hops in bulk, and milling your grain, but that requires extra time and/or equipment.
 
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hotbeer

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FYI, a one gallon all grain kit is just as simple as a extract kit.

IMO, then only thing that makes all grain more difficult is dealing with the weight of the malts when wet. However a one gallon all grain kit isn't going to be more than about 2 pounds of grain.

If you are going for five gallon batches then I can see where extract might be advisable to start off with. But still all grain isn't the difficulty many seem to make it out to be.
 

Erroneous

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FYI, a one gallon all grain kit is just as simple as a extract kit.

IMO, then only thing that makes all grain more difficult is dealing with the weight of the malts when wet. However a one gallon all grain kit isn't going to be more than about 2 pounds of grain.

If you are going for five gallon batches then I can see where extract might be advisable to start off with. But still all grain isn't the difficulty many seem to make it out to be.
I wouldn't say it's as simple. I wrote up a document on brewing with my old AG setup for someone that never brewed before. All grain took another 2 pages that weren't needed for extract and steep. Sure, it's easy enough to learn, but if you start with extract you'll need a little less equipment, a little less knowledge, and have fewer variables that can go wrong. Also, I've thought many times about doing some extract batches just for the time savings.

If I were to go with less than 5 gallons, I think 3 would be pretty optimal. 32 bottles (if you exactly hit your volume) still feels like you got something out of all the effort, plus you can use 5 gallon kettles, buckets, or even carboys no problem.
 

z-bob

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I use these for carboys. And when you buy one, you get 4 gallons of good water. https://www.menards.com/main/grocer...38-c-6646.htm?tid=-6122896048064692284&ipos=1 (I have one or two that are getting old and I should probably replace) Because they hold 4 gallons, I brew 4 gallon batches. (a little over 4 gallons, start the fermentation in a bucket, transfer to the disposable carboy after a week leaving most of the trub behind)

Before I found these I did 3 gallon batches and used 3 gallon glass carboys. One day I got careless and dropped a full one; they are heavy and slippery. It bounced down the stairs in slow motion and shattered when it hit the landing. :(
 

IslandLizard

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Much good advice was already given.

For low investment brewing, start with the largest cooking pot in your home, stainless or enameled would be best, but could be aluminum too.
Your final batch size would be around twice that volume.
And you can always brew a smaller batch. A gallon batch is about the minimum, although somewhat small for all the work and time investment involved.

You also need a vessel to ferment in, about 15-20% larger than your batch volume, as it needs to offer some headspace above the liquid. A bucket could work, or one of those 1-3 gallon plastic "drums" they sell cheese doodles or pretzels in.

I would avoid Mr. Beer and similar kits at any rate, the ingredients are crap.
Basically, any extract "kits" that could have been on a shelf for 3 months or longer, are not a good start. You want fresh ingredients. If you have a local homebrew store within reasonable distance, that would be your best option to source fresh(er) ingredients.

Beer has 4 main ingredients:
  1. Fermentables - Malted grain and/or malt extract. You could do a (small) mash, using crushed/milled malted grain. But for your first few brews using (fresh) malt extract and some steeping grains makes it much easier (and quicker). Dry malt extract (DME) is preferred over Liquid malt extract (LME), unless you know the LME is very fresh (<2-3 months old). Dry extract, a powder, in sealed plastic bags, can last several years if kept cool and dry. However, Liquid extract (it's a thick syrup, similar consistency as honey) stales rather fast, much faster than honey, for example.
  2. You also need some hops. There are many varieties, each with unique flavor and aroma and bittering potential. Which ones to use, how much, and at what time in the boil (and in the fermenter), depends on the style of beer you're brewing.
  3. Water - Brewing water should be reasonably soft, generally. When in doubt, you could buy Reverse Osmosis (RO) water, or "Spring" water. Municipal water needs to be dechlorinated. Use 1/4 Campden tablet (or a good pinch of Potassium or Sodium MetaBisulfite) is good to treat 5 gallons/19 liter.
  4. Yeast - An 11.5 gram pouch of dry (dried) beer yeast will be easiest.

A friendly suggestion/request:
What country do you live in?
Disclosing that, and maybe adding the country (and region or city) to your member's profile, can help with recommendations we can give you.

If you're seriously interested in homebrewing (beer), I can recommend reading John Palmer's How to Brew, 4th. Edition. before you buy or brew anything.
There's a (several decades) old online version of the book's First Ed. on this site: howtobrew.com. (The site seems to be down at this moment, YMMV).
Although much has changed or updated since, the principles of homebrewing not all that much.
 
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AlexKay

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One-gallon BIAB is relatively easy because you can lift the bag with one hand, but with all-grain you have to worry about your water in a way you don't with extract. If the question was, "How do I get started making really great beer?" I might recommend BIAB, but for "simplest, easiest, cheapest" then extract is the way to go.

Questions for the OP:
  • How many bottles of beer do you want per batch?
  • What kind of beers do you like?
  • What's the biggest stock pot or similar in your kitchen?
  • Where are you based?
  • What temperature do you think you will ferment at? (i.e., what's room temperature in your house, do you have a basement or garage that's cooler, etc.)
 

Nagorg

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@MarthaSprung

You've got a lot of good info here. While I agree that Mr. Beer wont produce the best beer, it does let you make beer on the cheap and easy route with minimal investment in equipment. You may already have a pot big enough to get going once you bought the kit.

I personally used Mr. Beer when I got started. I appreciated the simple nature of it and it let me determine if I wanted to keep learning.
I did keep learning and I quickly transitioned to all grain and can now ferment half barrel batches. But I owe it to Mr Beer for helping me find my way.

Not sure I would have been too eager to jump in on one of the many all-grain starter kits out there when I started out. But they are still a good way if you're okay with spending a little more up front and want to dive right in.
 

aceluby

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One gallon brewing, you likely have most of the stuff you need to do all grain, or it's cheap to get.
You can get this kit right off the bat for $60 -> Craft Beer Making Kit With Siphonless Fermenter - 1 Gallon
You just need a soup pot and some empty bottles from a 12 pack you drink in the meantime.
To upgrade to all grain you could do brew in a bag for cheap, would just need some gloves that can stand high temps. All-in, you could do a couple brews for under $100 and each brew after would be $2-5 depending on if you're reusing yeast.
 

AlexKay

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One gallon brewing, you likely have most of the stuff you need to do all grain, or it's cheap to get.
You can get this kit right off the bat for $60 -> Craft Beer Making Kit With Siphonless Fermenter - 1 Gallon
The kit looks mostly good. I'd go with the brown or red ales for a first batch, and I'm nervous because the siphonless glass fermenter is ... glass. I don't use mine anymore after one fell apart in my hands.

Northern Brewer's Siphonless Little Big Mouth Bubbler (the plastic LBMB) is an excellent small-batch fermenter.
 

aceluby

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The kit looks mostly good. I'd go with the brown or red ales for a first batch, and I'm nervous because the siphonless glass fermenter is ... glass. I don't use mine anymore after one fell apart in my hands.

Northern Brewer's Siphonless Little Big Mouth Bubbler (the plastic LBMB) is an excellent small-batch fermenter.
Yeah, I have had 1 (outta 5 glass one-gallon fermenters) break on me, but it just leaked where the siphon was so I got lucky (and used the spigot to make a fermenter out of a 5 gallon bucket I had, so nothing really lost). The plastic one is a little more expensive and I wasn't sure if you could scrub those like you can the glass. I haven't really been worried about mine breaking. I won't do a 5 gallon glass anything, but I haven't had issues w/ the 1 gallon ones.
 

Luke889

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Do you want to brew beer, mead, or wine? I haven't brewed any beer, yet. But I plan on it. I have made a few one gallon batches of mead and wine, and this can be done fairly cheap. Before finding this website, I watched City Steading Brews on YouTube. They explain everything quite well, and they have some really good recipes. I actually have 2 1-gallon batches of their recipe for Metheglin mead brewing right now. But know this, brewing is addictive. Like hooked after one hit addictive. It's an awesome hobby, though, and I'm sure you'll enjoy it!
 
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MarthaSprung

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I am blown away by the response! Thank you all very much!

It's a bit much to process all at once, and I cannot reply to every post but I have read them all.
Absolute cheapest? Buy an apple. Chop it up into little pieces. Squeeze the juice out and let it sit out in the open where a wild yeast can find it. Within a few days you will have brewed. This isn't what I would recommend and it probably isn't what you had in mind so you need to clarify what you want to brew and what you have already for equipment. That equipment might include a kitchen stove and a big pot. While you might not think of this as brewing equipment, some of us use just that.
I have registered on this forum, because I am interested in fermentation primarily. I have baked sourdough bread and made water (as well as milk) kefir (+yogurt). I also have made apple cider vinegar in a fermentation crock, and currently I have plums with sugar in there. I have no particular idea what I want to brew, but whatever it is, it must be easy to get results. I can get discouraged pretty easily if it gets too difficult or complicated. I like the idea of trying to use what I have in my kitchen already.
When I was ramping up and learning about brewing, I did some early fermenting with half gallon apple juice. You can carefully remove the lid sprinkle in some ale yeast (Nottingham) and screw the lid back down leaving it slightly loose for CO2 release (tighten the lid later and it carbonates.). Make sure to check the juice to make sure there are no preservatives which inhibit yeast. If you are careful with the lid handling, you will be safe for these small cider batches.

Many home brew shops run beer brewing sessions outdoors on Saturdays. I watched a number of these, they are very informative.

Also back in the day I liked the old Brewing TV episodes (now on Youtube). Entertaining and great info for beginning brewers.

Prost!
View attachment 807168
I like this idea, and want to give it a shot. This apple juice is 'from concentrate'. Wouldn't it be better to use fresh juice?
If you start with small batch brewing, you won't need to purchase much equipment and can brew right in your kitchen.
That would be my preference, yes.
A kitchen stove and a decent size stock pot can get you started. Most food grade buckets or PET containers can double as a fermenter, so you're basically looking at purchasing a grain bag, grains (request double crushed), hops, and yeast. If you want to get fancy, you could buy an airlock, but the stated container would also work with a loose fitting lid. This is VERY minimal brewing and you will find that you will need and want additional and upgraded equipment to help you perfect your craft.

EDIT: You can also re-use pet soda bottles for bottling, eliminating the need for caps and a capper.
Are there instructions on this I can follow?
Do you already have any 5 gallon cooking pots?
Yes.
Your stove might not be able to boil 5 or 6 gallons of wort. (mine has a high-output burner but still struggles with that)
Mine gets pretty hot, it might be able to do the job.
When I don't have time to brew but want to do *something*, I make a batch of sparkling cider using bottled apple juice from Aldi or Walmart. (I should probably take up breadmaking instead because I don't need all that alcohol, LOL)
Do you get fresh jucie?
My favorite bottles to use are the tall skinny 500ml plastic soda bottles with screw caps. Costco sells cases of flavored sparkling water in them; it's not very good but it's not bad either and the bottles are awesome and reusable. I don't know how many times you can reuse the caps, but it appears to be a lot.
Fortunately I have enough bottles.

What's important to me is getting any result that is consumable without getting sick, that is easy to make. My biggest concern is that I get overwhelmed.
 

AlexKay

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What's important to me is getting any result that is consumable without getting sick, that is easy to make. My biggest concern is that I get overwhelmed.
Something to keep in mind is that beer, because of its low pH, alcohol content, and hops, doesn't support the growth of anything that can hurt you. If things go terribly wrong, you'll get something that tastes or looks bad, but it won't make you sick! And chances are things won't go terribly wrong, and you'll get beer.
 
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My biggest concern is that I get overwhelmed.
Speed Brews (for 1.75 gal all grain brewing, mentioned by @NSMikeD ) and How to Brew (stove top extract brewing, mentioned by @IslandLizard) are good resources for focusing on the essentials. The detailed equipment lists and brew day descriptions will help avoid being overwhelmed.
 
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MarthaSprung

MarthaSprung

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Something to keep in mind is that beer, because of its low pH, alcohol content, and hops, doesn't support the growth of anything that can hurt you. If things go terribly wrong, you'll get something that tastes or looks bad, but it won't make you sick! And chances are things won't go terribly wrong, and you'll get beer.
Is the beer probiotic?
 

AlexKay

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Is the beer probiotic?
I don't think S. cerevisiae (brewer's yeast) is normally considered probiotic, though it's probably still good for you. But there have been some studies that beer is prebiotic, meaning it promotes healthy growth of microorganisms already in your gut.
 

z-bob

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I like this idea, and want to give it a shot. This apple juice is 'from concentrate'. Wouldn't it be better to use fresh juice?

Do you get fresh jucie?

The juice I use is from concentrate. I have used the "not from concentrate" juice from Costco and can't tell a difference. The main thing you have to watch for is to make sure the juice does not contain sorbate or benzoate preservatives. Ironically, fresh juice from an orchard usually has these preservatives and it's not easy to tell from the label. (it will be listed on the back in unreadably-small print) Pasteurized is fine. Sodium ascorbate or vitamin C added is fine.

I'm glad to see we didn't scare you away with so many replies :)
 

RM-MN

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I started brewing many years ago by putting some bread yeast into a container of apple juice. I let it set out on the counter for a couple days to give the yeast a chance to get started, the refrigerated the concoction. At that point it will have little alcohol but will be slightly carbonated and I think it tastes good. You can't do much brewing for less money than that. Being refrigerated will drastically slow the fermentation but will not stop it completely.
 

mamajack

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I started with something a lot like "The Brooklyn Brew Shop's Beer Making Book". A meadmaker and professional baker, I swore I would not make beer unless I could make it from grain - I had no interest in extracts. But I was intimidated and mystified about the process. So I started with a little book like that, 1 gallon apple juice jug all grain, BIAB batches. It wasn't that hard! I picked it right up! And I love it!

I expanded to 3 gallon batches eventually because bulk fermentation is simply better quality with a larger batch imo. I don't drink a lot of beer. I give most of it away. But I love brewing so much, as much as I love making a beautiful sourdough hearth bread or gorgeous pie. It's as interesting, perhaps more so, and endlessly creative.

1-gallon BIAB batches use a very limited equipment profile. Extract brewing is indeed simpler, so if you want the simplest process, that would be the way to go and the way most people start. But if you know your way around a kitchen, 1-gallon BIAB is a very doable way to start. Buy this book or the like - don't get too technical. Just do a simple beer and you'll see if it is for you.
 

Alan Reginato

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Martha, I didn't read it all. But, the easy way is extract kits. Neve used one, because here, they are expensive. Two things to watch out. Free-chlorine water, run tap water through a carbon filter or buy mineral water. Oxygen, before fermentation it's good, splash when you transfer to the fermentation bucket. After fermentation is a disaster. So, a fermentation bucket that can be connected to a bottling wand it's a must.
The cooling thing, You can do a overnight cooling for the first time, after that I would suggest buy a regular chiller.
Fermentation temperature, keep an eye on it, US-05 (yeast) is neutral and ok to go.
Good luck!
 
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