The process of brewing beer from raw materials till it is ready to consume doesn’t have a fixed amount of time. The number of hours, days, weeks, or months involved in the process is heavily dependent on several factors which include; brewing methods, fermentation process, and style, your recipe, the type of beer lager or ale, alcohol percentage, etc.
One thing every home brewer should know is that you would need to invest more time in brewing if you want to get the most out of your beer.
If you haven’t done so already, It would be advisable for beginners to get a beer-making kit as it is quicker and easier since you would be having all the supplies you require in an all-in-one kit. These kits can easily be bought online or at a local beer supplies store.
After getting all the equipment, you would need ingredients like Malt, Yeast, Favoring hops, and Bittering hops. How long it takes to brew beer would be discussed under the following steps, you would have to read to the end to fully understand this.
Cleaning And Sanitizing Suggested Duration: 20 Minutes
The first step towards making this drink at home is to clean your equipment, failure to properly do so may lead to contamination, which will affect the whole process.
Cleaning The Brewing Kit
I clean everything that would come in contact with my beer on the day I intend to brew, bottles are not left out. Hosing down is not enough, you are most likely going to ruin your drink if you don’t do a proper cleaning.
To ensure I get all the dirt and particles off my equipment, I soak them in a cleaning agent for about 20 minutes and scrub slightly.
Sanitizing The Brewing Kit
After cleaning then comes sanitizing, this usually takes a minute using a good sanitizer.
Steep Grains: Suggested Duration: Between 30 minutes to 12 hours
This process is done to add color, flavor, and aroma to the drink. Some grains like crystal give a malt-like flavor, while dark grains like barley add coffee and a toasty flavor.
The steep procedure involves mixing water and grain well and allowing the water and grain mix to sit for a while.
The time it takes to steep the grain depends on the type of gain you use and how strong you want the grain effect to be. How long this process takes and the quantity and temperature of water involved are heavily dependent on the type of grain.
The choice between hot or cold steeping also depends on whether you are using dark grains or crystal grains. You would have to add the grain slowly to the water and stir well for 10 minutes.
We can hot Steep Crystal and Cara malt. This malt is milled to remove grain astringency and bitterness.
Grain is mixed with water three times its size by weight such that the mixture would look thin. A pan with water should be placed on low heat and the grains added gradually then stir till they are all soaked and the heat reaches 650C then turn off the heat and allow to sit for between 30 to 60 minutes depending on how grainy you want it.
Cold Steeping takes a longer time because cold water gets the sugar out of the grain much slower than hot water, grains that necessarily require this method are Barley, Chocolate malt, and wheat.
In this method, grain is added slowly to five times as much water, and stirred very well. The mixture is left to sit for between 6 to 12 hours.
Boiling the Wort and Adding Hops: Suggested Duration: 90 minutes
It is usually recommended that wort should boil for 90 minutes, some recipe may require two hours but, I find 60 minutes is sufficient to do the job.
Boiling the wort helps to sterilize it. And prevention of further starch-to-sugar conversion.
Hops are added to the boiling wort for a few reasons;
Bittering hops serve to balance the sugar in the wort. These are added first and it boils for at least an hour.
Floral and citrus hops are then added and allowed to boil for 15 minutes to the end of the hour, these hops give the wort good flavors.
Another set of hops is added just before the boil ends, these are the hops that bring in the aroma. After boiling the wort is left to cool, this might take a while.
Depending on the method you use it may take around 30 to 45 minutes. You may use a cold water bath to cool your wort this is quicker, then slowly transfer the wort into a sanitizer fermentation vessel, leaving behind any residue.
Fermentation: Suggested Duration: 10 days – 3 weeks
How long the fermentation process last depends on the type of yeast used.
Ale Yeast ferments faster, on average it takes 7-10 days for fermentation to be complete, this is also dependent on the number of gallons of beer you made and the temperature of the room. Lager Yeast can take more than 3 weeks to ferment, conditioning can also take 3 weeks more.
Conditioning: Suggested Duration: Up to six months
If the beer requires conditioning this could take another six months before it is ready. Although not all beer requires this process, some are ready as soon as it is done fermenting, also carbonation would take between 10 minutes to a few days, depending on the kind of packaging used.
The time I spend brewing isn’t fixed, it could take from a few days to a couple of weeks. Depending on the type of beer, and mostly the yeast used.
When brewing expect to take 5-12 hours on brewing and another 3 weeks or thereabout before it is ready, if conditioning is required it may be another 6 months before it is ready to drink.
When you finally taste the beer all the time spent would be worth it.