There’s a lot of sat­is­fac­tion to be found in do­ing things your­self, be it build­ing a ta­ble, chang­ing your break pads, or bak­ing a pizza from scratch. But can you, the per­son read­ing this, re­al­is­ti­cally brew beer? Yes. Yes you can.

Popular Mechanics (South Africa) - - Front Page - BY RHYN­HARDT KRY­NAUW

Beer has been around for thou­sands of years, and the ba­sic in­gre­di­ents have stayed more or less the same: water, grain (such as bar­ley), flavour­ing (such as hops), and yeast. That’s it. And if peo­ple were brew­ing it in the Stone Age, you can brew it now. It’s like bak­ing or cook­ing: If you can read, you can brew. That’s be­cause beer is made fol­low­ing recipes, of which there are thou­sands on the in­ter­net. And you can take it as se­ri­ously as you want, whether that means grow­ing your own bar­ley and hops, cul­ti­vat­ing your own yeast and draw­ing water from a well, or buy­ing a brew-in-a-bucket kit on the in­ter­net. Ei­ther way, a few hours’ work and a few weeks of wait­ing – the hard part – and you’ll have your own beer in your hand.

As for choos­ing a recipe, com­mon ad­vice here is to start with a style you like to drink. More prag­matic ad­vice, how­ever, takes into ac­count that some recipes are a lit­tle more com­pli­cated and your first batch may not be an A+. To help you mask po­ten­tial iffy flavours, it’s prob­a­bly a good idea to start with a dark­ish beer with more cof­fee and choco­late aro­mas, such as a porter or a stout. If you don’t like those, a sim­ple pale ale isn’t a bad way to be­gin. Af­ter that, you just need to fol­low the in­struc­tions closely. Very handy are apps such as Beer­smith, which will give you recipes, help you build your own, and do all the cal­cu­la­tions you need to do to pre­dict the beer’s bit­ter­ness and al­co­hol level. Also, check out a few brew­ing fo­rums for hints and tips. My co-brewer, Inus, man­ages to per­fectly reg­u­late his fer­men­ta­tion tem­per­a­ture with a heat lamp, a chest freezer and an aquar­ium tem­per­a­ture probe, and that’s the kind of Mac­gyver­ing ad­vice the com­mu­nity is great for.

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