Straight up: it can take anywhere between 2 to 4 weeks to brew beer at home, however, you might want to read on ahead to learn why you need to wait longer with different kinds of beer.
Patience is Key
For those beer lovers who take their suds very seriously, there are very few things that may be as exhilarating as getting into home brewing. Of course, one of the first questions that every beginner home brewer will want answered before they even consider picking a beer brewing kit is, “How long does it take to brew beer at home?”
It can be very hard to not look forward to trying a sip from the first bottle of your handiwork, however, you’ll have to go through a few steps before you can get to the fun part. While it may be easy to make beer at home with the help of those modern beer making kits, there is still quite a lot of patience involved in the process (in that you’re probably going to step out and buy a couple of beers from the local liquor store before your batch is finally ready).
From Brewing Kit to in Your Mug
The time it takes for beer to go from mere raw materials to the glorious finished product typically depends on the number of factors involved in the process. Usually, the average time for this process to get completed is anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks (one or two months).
When asked, “How long does it take to brew beer at home?”, most experts will tell you that the minimum amount of time you need is 4 weeks. The actual process of the preparation of ingredients can be completed in just a couple of hours, but your beverage-to-be will be required to ferment in the beer brewing kit for approximately 2 weeks (perhaps even longer depending on what type of beer you prefer).
The fermentation process will then be followed by 2 more weeks for bottle conditioning, since you will, naturally, want to bottle your home brew. The quality and temperature of the yeast you use will also have a significant impact on how long it takes for your home brew to ferment.
Of course, you don’t have to worry about the integrity of your ingredients when using a beer brewing kit because they are sold with ready-to-use ingredients. However, you should remember that brewing is considered to be both – a part of science and art. Your beer will only be ready based on how long it takes to complete its process, and no sooner. For this reason, we mentioned earlier that patience is an integral part of home brewing.
Once you have bottled your first batch, you can get right to your next in order to be stocked at all times. This will make your waiting period for the next great sip of home brew much easier to bear.
Always Sanitize Your Brewing Equipment
When brewing your own beer, most people forget to add one other thing to their checklist – to properly wash and sanitize all of their brewing equipment. You see, your beer brewing kit may be brand new, however, even the tiniest bit of contamination could result in a ruined batch. Of course, that’s the last thing we want to happen in this exciting world of brews.
Just add a couple of minutes into your process of rounding up your brewing ingredients and you’re ready to go.
The Beer Fermentation Process
After having prepared your ready-to-use ingredients for brewing (which ideally takes only an hour or two), they will have to be placed into the fermentation vessel, where they will keep reacting for the next couple of days. This will then be followed by about 10 days of slower fermentation, which will bring the total waiting time to about 2 weeks now.
Once your brew has gone through its first fermentation, your next step will be to bottle your handiwork right after adding some priming sugar (or you could just save yourself the hassle and add carbonation tablets).
Now that your bottles have been capped, you should transport this batch to a place in your home that is dark and usually at room temperature. Here, your home brew will be stored for an additional 2 weeks (where others may even prefer as long as 1 month) for bottle conditioning.
For those who have never heard of bottle conditioning, this process can be called a secondary fermentation process, where all the remaining yeast in your beer starts converting its priming sugars to carbon dioxide. If you choose to skip this step, you’ll just end up sipping really flat beer.
Our Final Thoughts: Lagers vs. Ales
As mentioned before, different varieties of beer may take a little less or more time to ferment and may require shorter or longer periods of bottle conditioning. For instance, if you’re preparing a batch of ales, the fermentation process should not take longer than 2 weeks to be ready for a taste test. Lagers, on the other hand, tend to do best when they have been through the bottle conditioning process for about 4 to 6 weeks.
If this seems like too long, you can always take a shortcut and try them out after exactly 2 weeks, however, you might learn the hard way that some beers NEED longer conditioning. Home brewing has a lot of waiting, but that first sip after the long wait is going to motivate you to have another batch ready by the time you’re through with your first!
There is no way around it. When a home brewer tastes their own handiwork, they will always agree that it was worth it. Soon enough, you’ll be writing your own answers to questions like ‘how long does it take to brew beer at home?’
Now all that remains to be said is, in the words of a famous Irish toast, “May your glass be ever full. May the roof over your head be always strong. And may you be in heaven half an hour before the devil knows you’re dead.”