Home Brewing is a relatively undiscovered hobby that is the perfect complement to your outdoor kitchen. The craft of brewing your own beer is affordable to get started, and surprisingly easy to create a quality product. Plus, an outdoor kitchen is the perfect environment for creating your hand crafted microbrew.
Beer enthusiasts enjoy the aroma created during their home brewing process. However, some members of your household may not enjoy the scents of malted barley and hops simmering to perfection. So why not take your hobby outside. Any excuse to spend time in your outdoor kitchen is a great excuse, but this hobby has an obvious reward at the end. You’ll soon discover that it is easy to recruit friends to spend time in your outdoor kitchen to serve as brewing assistants. Helping the brew master is a sure fire tactic to earn an invite when the beer is ready to be served. Of course, all of your guests will enjoy spending time in your outdoor living area enjoying the finished product.
If your outdoor kitchen is equipped with a side burner, and you have some extra counter space, you’re well on your way to having your own home brewery. Home brewed beer can be bottled, but many experienced home brewers will agree the bottling process is the most time consuming and least enjoyable part of home brewing. If your outdoor kitchen is equipped with a kegerator, you can skip the bottling process and significantly reduce the amount of time it takes for your beer to be ready to be served.
You will not find home brewing equipment at outdoor kitchen stores. With a quick search of the internet or yellow pages you will definitely find countless online stores, and you will likely find a brick and mortar store close to your home.
To get started, you will first need home brewing equipment. A basic home brew kit will cost about one hundred dollars. As with any hobby, you can buy more expensive equipment, but getting started for the least amount of money is recommended. Basic home brewing kits consist of a six gallon glass fermenter (or carboy), a six gallon bottling bucket with spigot, and a variety of cleaning supplies, bottling equipment, and instructions. The large fermenter and bottling bucket can be stored in your outdoor kitchen cabinets when not in use.
Next, you will need a recipe and ingredients. For your first attempt, look for a complete kit with ingredients and instructions. Recipes get more complex as you gain experience and expertise in home brewing, but start with something simple. These kits cost between $30 and $50 and produce 5 gallons of beer. The usable yield will vary, but that is approximately 50 twelve-ounce servings.
The actual process of brewing your beer begins using your outdoor kitchen side burner and a large stainless steel brewing pot. Your recipe may vary, but you will be cooking ingredients in the brewing pot for approximately one hour. Along with the flavoring, the malted barley in this step becomes the sugar that is fermented into alcohol. The mixture is cooled by adding more water, yeast is added, and the beer then rests in the fermenter for about a week. Next, the beer is bottled and combined with priming sugar that produces carbonation. After about two weeks, the beer is carbonated and ready to enjoy. If you are transferring your beer to a kegerator, there is no need for priming sugar and the two week wait is reduced to about two days before your beer is ready.
Home brewing is completely legal, and nothing like distilling spirits which is highly illegal and very dangerous. You cannot accidentally make a dangerous beer. Worst case scenario, you might not like the taste of the beer you select, but it will be safe to drink and enjoy. If that happens, just start again with a different recipe, and enjoy spending more time in your outdoor kitchen!