You will need to buy some very inexpensive equipment: a basic home-brew kit (these comprise of a can of malt extract, some powder yeast and some hops) and a plastic brewing bucket - a 10ltr one costs only £5 (try www.brewuk.co.uk). Set aside some quality time in the kitchen and ensure everything you use is kept clean; in brewing cleanliness really is next to godliness. The best beer is always brewed to music - many of our beers closely resemble the tunes they were made to (the Ramones inspired our edgy Punk IPA!), so turn up the volume.
1 As a beginner, start with a malt-extract kit (save full-mash until you find your brewing feet). In the biggest saucepan you can get your paws on, add pre-boiled water to your extract and let it all come to the boil. The sugars extracted from the malt will later be turned to alcohol by the yeast.
2 Boil the liquid (called wort) for 60 minutes. As it's boiling, add hops in order to infuse bitterness, fruity flavours and aromas to your brew. The more hops you add (and the later you add them), the more intensity the finished beer will have. There is a huge variety of hops which all add their own unique flavours. The most interesting hops are from America, look out for varieties like Cascade (citrusy and fruity) or Simcoe (resinous, piney and assertive). Hops usually come with a kit, but to really pimp your brew and put your own stamp on it, select your own: www.hopshopuk.co.uk has a great selection, along with very informative flavour descriptors for each.
3 After the boil, let the wort stand until it returns to room temperature. Slowly pour it into your plastic FV (Fermentation Vessel) through a large sieve to catch all the hops. Make the transfer as smooth as possible - splashing induces excessive oxygen pick up. Sprinkle on your yeast, give it a quick stir and place it somewhere between 15-20 degrees centigrade for six days.
4 Let the beer ferment until it stops bubbling. When the bubbling has finished it is time to bottle your beers. Firstly, add 1 gram of sugar (any will do) to each bottle; this will kick start a further fermentation in the bottle which will provide the carbonation. Then simply siphon the beer into the bottles from your fermenting bucket (the residual yeast in the beer will re-ferment with the sugar in the bottle), add a cork or cap and store somewhere warm (17-22 degrees) for two weeks. Be patient, your beer gets better as it matures. After 14 days the beer will then be bottle conditioned and ready to bedazzle your friends with, win the heart of any fair maiden and generally make the universe a much better place.
5 Want to get more in depth? Try Extreme Brewing by Sam Calagio
Words by James Watt, co-founder of BrewDog