Learning to Homebrew Lesson 2: Brewing Ingredients

We had a chat with Gary Glass from the US Homebrewers Association. He has been teaching for years how to make beer at home. Together we will cover some of the basic brewing Ingredients that are used by Home Brewers to make beer.

Check our 10 tips for beginning homebrewing for great advice on homebrewing.


It can come from a variety of different grains, including wheat, rye, and oats. Malt for beer is primarily made from barley. There are two main forms of malted barely that Home Brewers can use.

  • Base grains malt, which are light and need to go through a mashing process.
  • Specialty grain , the maltsters, that have been treated in different ways. Either by roasting them in a different way, or have produced higher amount of sugars in the malt. They are responsible for creating different colors within the beer.

Glass of grains for making beer
Credit: http://www.dailypublic.com/articles/04212015/malt-soul-beer


If you choose to skip the mashing process in which the starches and the grains are converted to sugars, The Best way would be to use Extracts.

You can either buy a dried or a liquid extract that comes in the form of syrup. With them, it’s very cozy to make beer.

A jar of liquid malt extract


Hop is a flower that is commonly used in the brewing process. It provides bitterness which balances the sweetness from the malt. Hops increase the aroma and flavor. You can find that they will add a different range of flavors, from floral and fruity to spicy. Home Brewers can get hops as a whole, or they can use pelletized hop.

Branch of hops
Credit: https://justbeerapp.com/article/beer-styles-the-ingredients-part-two-hops

Did you know that The United States is the Worlds Largest Producer of Hops? Even bigger than Germany. We truly are a beer-loving country.


A single-cell organism that consumes sugars and produces alcohol and carbon dioxide. There are two main classes of yeast that you can use in brewing.

  • Ale yeast which you need to ferment warm at room temperature. Those produce the fruity flavor that is characteristic of ale style.
Two glasses of ale beer
Credit: https://justbeerapp.com/article/beer-styles-201-amber-and-dark-ales
  • Lager yeast, which you need to ferment cold, or down around 50 F. It produces clean and crisp lager characteristic.
Two glasses of light beer
Credit: https://thecraftycask.com/beer/lager-beer-explained-9-essential-facts-figures-and-serving-tips/

For Home Brewers yeast comes in two different packages. Liquid yeast is packaged in a foil or a vial. It’s a little more expensive, but with it you can brew all kinds of different beer styles.

Dry yeast which doesn’t have as many varieties as the liquid one. And it has to go through a rehydration process before you start to use it.


As a Home Brewer you can use any water as long as its clean tasting. That included also for the tap water. If the water has a lot of chlorination in it, then probably you want to use filtered or bottled water. Quality of the water is very important in any brewing process. So we recommend to invest some time to find out the best water in your area.

Read all the newest tips on importance of water in the brewing process right here.

With this, we have completed our list of basic brewing ingredients. But have in mind that brewing is a personal experience for each person. They have their own ways and trick how to achieve that great beer taste. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try new things. Talk to your local beer club, or join one if you haven’t already. For more lessons please visit American Homebrewing Association. Become a member and check all other benefits. Until then. Bottoms Up.

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