Skip to content

New Brewers

Brewing beer at home is fun

Not sure where to start? Take the quiz and let us find the perfect setup for you.

Start Quiz

Brewing 101

Beer is made up of 4 simple ingredients

Homebrew Store Supply List

Malt

Malt is grain that has been specifically prepared for brewing. The grains contribute sugar which is later converted into alcohol.

Hops

Hops are flowers or cones, grown on a vine. Hops help to keep beer fresher, longer; help beer retain its head of foam—a key component of a beer’s aroma and flavor; and, of course, adds a “hoppy” aroma, flavor and bitterness.

Yeast

Yeast is the microorganism that is responsible for fermentation in beer. It eats the sugars extracted from the malt which produces alcohol and carbon dioxide and turns wort (sugar water) into beer.

Water

The key to a great beer starts with high-quality water. Water chemistry plays a large role in the final taste profile of the beer.

Key Brewing Terms & Questions

What type of brewing system should I use?

Single-Vessel Brewing System

A single vessel brewing system utilizes one kettle for the full Brew Day, eliminating the need for a separate mash tun and hot liquor tank. The grains are mixed with water and when the mash is complete, the grain basket is lifted from the kettle before boiling the wort.

Three-Vessel Brewing System

Brewers will often graduate to a three-vessel system when looking to increase their brewing efficiency and desire for increased control. Three-vessel systems consist of a hot liquor tank, mash tun, and boil kettle.

The hot liquor tank (HLT) is only used for heating water for specific steps in the brewing process. The mash tun (MT) is where the malt and water are combined. The boil kettle (BK) has the most intuitive name. It’s used for exactly that...boiling. If you’re using a single-vessel brewing system, the HLT, MT and BK all use the same single vessel.

What is all-grain brewing?

All-grain brewing is the traditional method of making beer. Crushed malt is mixed with hot water, which converts the starches in the malt into sugar called wort.

How can I heat my beer?

There are two different types of heating requirements necessary for a Brew Day.

Propane

Pros:
Initial equipment costs are cheaper and can brew in areas with no access to electricity.

Cons:
More expensive per batch, no heating automation, less efficient heating and can’t brew indoors

Electric

Pros:
Automated, precise temperature control, quieter than propane and you won’t run out of electricity like you could using propane. It’s also far cheaper per batch.

Cons:
Higher up front cost. 

What is fermentation?

Fermentation is the best part of brewing because it’s where the alcohol is made. The yeast, which is added to the wort during this step, “eats” the sugar and produces alcohol. An unlimited amount of different flavors can be created during this step by simply changing the yeast strain, fermentation temperature, hops or even fruit...the list goes on and on.

How should I package my beer?

It’s time to drink your beer! There are typically two serving methods—bottling and kegging.

Bottling

Bottling is the most common method because it’s far cheaper than a kegerator and kegs. After your beer is done fermenting, you’ll transfer it to bottles. Typically, a pinch of sugar is added for the left-over yeast to eat, which will carbonate the beer inside the bottle.

Kegging

Kegging is the process of transferring finished beer from your fermenter to a keg. A CO2 tank is attached to the keg to carbonate the beer, which then feeds beer out the tap.

The Brewing Process

Using a single-vessel for brewing is the definition of a simple Brew Day.

Brew at home like the pros with a three-vessel brewing setup!

Single Vessel

Milling

Whole grain malts are crushed with a grain mill on brew day.

Mashing

Crushed grains are mixed with hot water to create a mash. Mashing is completed at a specific temperature for roughly 1 hour, and the focus here is to convert malt starches into sugars.

Boiling

The basket is lifted from the kettle, allowing all wort to drop into the kettle. The wort is then brought to a boil. Boiling is necessary to pasteurize the wort, and this is where hops or flavor additions are added

Whirlpooling

After the boil, the wort is spun cylindrically for a short period of time to separate hops and trub from the wort before moving to the fermenter.

Cooling

The wort is then moved through a heat exchange device before moving into the fermenter.

Yeast Pitch

Once beer is cooled to the proper temperature per your chosen yeast, yeast is “pitched” on top of the wort. Fermentation begins.

Fermentation

Sugars from the wort are converted to alcohol.

Conditioning

Dependent on beer style, beer rests in the fermenter until unwanted by-products of fermentation diminish.

Carbonation

Carbonation is added to the fermenter or package under high pressure, forcing it to be absorbed into the beer.

Packaging

Beer is packaged and prepared for enjoyment!

Single Vessel

Milling

Whole grain malts are crushed with a grain mill on brew day.

Mashing

Crushed grains are mixed with hot water to create a mash. Mashing is completed at a specific temperature for roughly 1 hour, and the focus here is to convert malt starches into sugars.

Lautering

Water is added on top of the grain bed, to separate the sweet wort from the grain bed.

Boiling

The wort is then moved to the boil kettle, and brought to boiling temperature. Boiling is necessary to pasteurize the wort, and this is where hops or flavor additions are added.

Whirlpooling

After the boil, the wort is spun cylindrically for a short period of time to separate hops and trub from the wort before moving to the fermenter.

Cooling

The wort is then moved through a heat exchange device before moving into the fermenter.

Yeast Pitc

Once beer is cooled to the proper temperature per your chosen yeast, yeast is “pitched” on top of the wort. Fermentation begins.

Fermentation

Sugars from the wort are convert to alcohol.

Conditioning

Dependent on beer style, beer rests in the fermenter until unwanted by-products of fermentation diminish.

Carbonation

Carbonation is added to the fermenter or package under high pressure, forcing it to be absorbed into the beer.

Packaging

Beer is packaged and prepared for enjoyment!

Beyond Brewing

We’re more than just brewing equipment; we’re committed to the lifestyle. From featured recipes to how-to videos, we're here to support you throughout your homebrewing journey.

Brewing Community

Looking for a kick-ass recipe? Need help assembling your new conical? And what the heck does sparging mean? We got you. Head over to the Spike blog for tips, stories and much more. 

Spike Blog

Brewers Like You

When we say we’re here for you, we mean it. Our Customer Experience Team is just waiting to give you a hand with your setup, troubleshoot or celebrate you buying your first system!

Reach Out

What’s Brewin’

A lot happens at Spike. Sign up for our weekly email and always stay in the loop on new products, videos and more!

Sign Up

Not Sure Where To Start?

Take Our Quiz

Added To Cart

You are $100.00 away from free shipping Congratulations, you've got free shipping!