If you are ready to make the leap from room temperature ale production to temperature-controlled lager fermentation, you'll need a second-hand refrigerator, an analog or digital over-ride thermostat and your normal double stage fermentation equipment. Below you will find a few tips for the beginning lager brewer:
  • Hops come in two forms:
    Pellets, & Loose Cones.
  • Pellets are the easiest to use:
    simply add to boil, no straining required. Pellets also store better than loose and compressed plugs.
  • Loose hops are the raw form and should be strained out of wort after boil.


(from The Basics of Brewing© by Scott Birdwell)
  After you have mastered brewing beer from malt extract and specialty grains, you may wish to take the next step: brewing beer exclusively from grains ("mashing"). Many homebrewers are intimidated by the prospect of all-grain brewing; they believe that all-grain brewing is hopelessly complicated and that they are too inexperienced to undertake such a complex procedure.

(from The Basics of Brewing by Scott Birdwell ©)
Many people know that beer is made from water, yeast, hops, and malt, but, many do not know what "malt" really is! Malt, in the general sense of the word, is a form of cereal grain (usually barley) that has been steeped in water for a while and allowed to sprout for a number of days. Then it is time to dry the grains as they will not keep if wet.  They are either put into a kiln or a roaster to dry.  The temperature(s) of the kiln or roaster and the amount of time in that vessel will determine how dark the grains become and what kind of flavors are being produced.  The decision by the malster between using a kiln versus a roaster also has an immense impact on flavor, as well.
--Over the past forty years we have seen more homebrewers leave the hobby over the tedium of bottle washing more than any other single factor. Let's face it, the novelty and excitement of the new hobby lasts about as long as it takes to clean up, de-label, sanitize, and rinse those first couple of cases of beer bottles. Suddenly it occurs to you, "Hey, this is work!" After you get the routine down, it's not quite so bad, but still it's no fun. Some of us even develop "bottle-phobia," and we'll postpone bottling beer for weeks and weeks just because we can't bring ourselves to go through yet another bottle washing session. Kegging beer is the natural remedy to this dreaded disease. I'll try to briefly outline the basic kegging process.
With one pound of each of the following ingredients dissolved in water to make up a total volume of one gallon, you should expect the following specific gravities:

Hold pouch in one hand, firmly "clapping" with the other. Feel pouch to make sure that inner bubble has burst. Shake pouch vigorously for a few minutes. Keep pouch at room temperature (65º-80º F) to allow culture to grow. Pouch should swell as fermentation occurs. If pouch swells too fast, move to a cooler environment. Avoid temperatures over 85º F.
Your hydrometer has been specifically designed for the amateur wine and beer maker. It covers a relatively broad range, and therefore, eliminates the need for several instruments of narrower ranges to get the job done. A hydrometer is an instrument for measuring the density of a liquid in relation to water. Water is given the arbitrary figure of 1.000, and other liquids are compared to this figure.