OK, so here's a quick and basic overview of the process:
- Mash The Grain. Basically, this is steeping the malted grains in hot water for an hour. This causes the grains to release natural enzymes that convert starches into fermentable sugars.
- Lauter The Grain. This is fancy way of saying separate the sugar water (sweet wort) from the grains. While draining the wort into the fermenter (carboy), you will also sparge the grain.
- Sparging is just rinsing the grains with water. This ensures you get every bit of the fermentable sugars out as you can.
- Boil The Wort. The boil typically takes about 60 to 90 minutes.
- Add The Hops. Hops give the beer it's characteristic aroma and bitterness. The hops are just tossed right into the boil.
- Chill The Wort. You'll want to rapidly chill the wort to fermenting temperature. The goal here is to cool it quick enough to get the temperature out of the "danger zone" where bacteria does not have a chance to move in and give your beer off-flavors.
- Fermentation. Now that the wort is at fermenting temperature, you just rack it into your fermenter (carboy), aerate, and add the yeast. Fermentation, simply put, is the process of yeast "eating" the sugar and "pooping" out alcohol and carbon dioxide.
- Bottle The Beer. After fermentation is complete, you will rack the beer into your bottling bucket with a little corn sugar (priming sugar). Then bottle and cap the beer. After two weeks, the beer should be naturally carbonated by the little bit of yeast that is still alive eating the priming sugar. Then, it's wise to let the beer condition for a bit longer so the flavors can mingle a little bit.
- Refidgerate And Enjoy! It's been over a month since you brewed and it's finally time to taste the fruits of your labor and patience! Enjoy!