4 Different Techniques for Brewing Craft Beers (and the Advantages of – LIFESTYLE BY PS icon

4 Different Techniques for Brewing Craft Beers (and the Advantages of Each)

Brewing Craft Beers

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As of 2022, there were 9,552 craft breweries in America, up from 1,500 in 2007. According to industry experts, the global craft beer market share is expected to grow from $117.1 billion to 221.5 billion by 2028. So if you've wanted to venture into the brewing business, there has never been a better time. 

But before you venture in, it's best to start as a hobby so you can learn the ins and outs of brewing, such as the different techniques used for brewing and the advantages and disadvantages of each. This guide highlights four techniques for brewing, so keep reading to learn more.

All Grain Brewing

All-grain brewing is as old as the brewing industry. It involves creating beer from scratch using malted barley instead of modern pre-made malt extract. The main drawbacks to this technique are that it requires much more space and takes a lot more time. 

The process starts with germinating the seeds, drying the fan, and crushing. The germination process activates enzymes that break down the seeds' starch to produce fermentable sugars. 

After crushing the malted grains, they are soaked in hot water to reactivate the enzymes that work on the remaining starches.The mixture is then strained, separating the solids from the sugary liquid referred to as wort. The wort then goes to boiling, hops addition, chilling, and fermentation to become beer. 

While this process is long, it comes with the advantage of having the brewer control the final product's processes, flavor, aroma, and body.

Extract Brewing

Extract brewing is the most preferred option by beginners and brewers seeking a more simplified brewing approach. It involves using a pre-extracted wort concentrate, which can be concentrated syrup or powder. You only need to add water to achieve the desired wort concentration.

After this step, the wort follows the same process as in all grain brewing, such as hopping and fermentation.

The main drawback to this technique is you don't have control over everything, which means you will not have full control of the outcomes regarding taste, flavor, aroma, and body. On the bright side, the process is much simpler because you do not have to start from scratch, thus needing less brewing equipment and technical know-how.

Partial Mash

As the name suggests, this technique involves partial all-grain and partial extract brewing. So the brewer creates part of their wort from scratch, but they also use free extracted wort concentrate, with the result being the best of both worlds.

This option is ideal for brewers trying the all-grain brewing technique but still wanting to play it safe. This option may not give you as much control as the all-grain technique, but it offers a compromise allowing you some control over the outcomes.

Its main advantage over extract brewing is that you have better chances of creating unique brews, and it's not quite as labor and technique intensive as the traditional all-grain technique.

Dry Hopping

Beer cannot be complete without its characteristic aromas, flavor, and bitterness. The infusion of hops along the beer-making process impacts some of these characteristics. Traditionally hops are introduced in the boiling process. The extended boiling contributes to the loss of these aromas and flavors as volatile hops oils evaporate. 

As a result, dry hopping is coming up as an alternative. It involves adding hops after boiling, particularly during the fermentation stage. The hops remain in contact with the beer for an extended period, allowing its essential oils to leach into the beer imparting strong aromas and flavors. The main advantage of dry hopping for beers is that it affects the bitterness of beer which is a critical factor in some beers such as IPAs and pale ales. 

Final Words

Now you know the main techniques used in brewing. You may start with extract brewing which is the simplest, an upgrade to other techniques as you learn. Ultimately, the level of control you want in your processes and outcomes will determine your chosen technique.