Raise a Pint to Oktoberfest

How to Brew Your First Beer


Since the first Oktoberfest more than 200 years ago in Munich, beer drinkers across the globe have enjoyed their favorite brew at the annual festival as well as local celebrations. But before you raise your next pint, let’s take a look at the processes and equipment involved in beer brewing.

Beer Brewing Process


Beer begins with two basic ingredients: water and a fermentable starch (typically, malted barley). The process entails malting (where the starch is readied), mashing (where the starches released during malting are converted into a fermentable sugar-rich liquid called “wort”), lautering (where the wort is strained), boiling (wort is boiled with hops and other ingredients), fermenting (yeast is added to begin the process), conditioning (aging), filtering and packaging.

That’s a very basic look at the process, though there are variations, of course, between large breweries, craft beer makers and homebrew hobbyists.

Looking to brew your own beer? Sonic Supply can help!

Preparation

You have your beer recipe, you’ve gathered your ingredients and you’re ready to get started. What’s next? Brewing is essentially a form of chemistry, so accurately measuring the ingredients is critical. If your measurements are off even slightly, it can change the flavor of your beer.

For weighing ingredients like barley, hops or rice used in the fermenting process, you can use a compact scale. Choose a scale with a percentage weighing function to ensure the proportions remain true.

Brewing

Heating and boiling play critical roles in brewing. A variety of options exist for ways to accomplish these tasks.

An induction heater coverts electrical energy to heat. It’s made up quite simply of a casing, an internal fan, a copper coil and a glass cooktop. The electrical current passes through the copper coil, which creates vibration and friction at the molecular level in nearby ferromagnetic material (i.e., a pot). So the pot essential heats itself.

When used in home brewing, induction brewing creates an even heat for mashing and boiling.

Other small-scale methods for heating include brewing and fermentation heat pads, which are safe to use with plastic or glass carboys and bucket fermenters.

Lab hotplates (similar to heat pads) offer the added benefit of a built-in stirrer. Similarly (and also just as non-traditional), lab equipment like a 50L heating mantle may also be used.

During the boiling process before fermentation, some water naturally boils off and needs to be replaced to maintain the proper liquid ratio. When replacing water, use beakers to measure it and funnels to add it.

Storage, Transportation & Dispensing

Now the fun part! You’ve brewed, aged and bottled your beer – time to enjoy the fermented fruits of your labor.

Bottling and canning are certainly good options for storing and transporting beer. For the small-scale home brewer who wants to share with their friends, a 10L carboy – featuring a spigot, heavy duty walls and can be used in sub-zero temperatures – offers an optimal solution.

Best Brewing Scales 

Weighing scales are an integral part of making beer in more ways than one. From weighing grains to weighing your kegs, here are just some of the ways that a weighing scale can be used from grain to selling: 

  • To weigh batches, small kegs and bottles, opt for a bench scale. They take up a small amount of space and often come with a range of useful functions such as checkweighing. 
  • For weighing large kegs, you will need a scale that has a much higher capacity. Platform scales are perfect for this and are built to be durable and robust even in testing environments.  
  • When working with liquids and the risk of spills, washdown scales offer an easy-to-clean choice and ideal for wet, dusty environments like breweries. 
  • Depending on the scale (pardon the pun) of your operations, a pallet truck scale can save you time by combining the transportation and weighing procedures. Whilst this might not be necessary for small batch brewing, you should definitely consider purchasing one if you handle a lot of produce regularly.  

If the beer will be sold, however, the brewer needs a legal-for-trade scale. The U.S. requires NTEP-approved scales, while Canadian business require Measurement Canada-approved scales. For more information, check out our previous blog post about trade-approved scales. 

If you have any questions about the products mentioned in this blog – or would like to share your home-brewed beer! — contact us.

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