The other day I got a message from a friend asking me questions about homebrewing. She wanted to buy a gift for her boyfriend and knew that he liked beer (see my gift suggestions here).\n\n\n\nShe had plenty of questions but the most pressing for her busy boyfriend was how much time he'd have to dedicate to brewing that first beer.\n\n\n\nIt'll take 4 weeks until you can drink your average homebrewed beer but can take 2 or 3 times that for various beer styles. Your actual brew day can be as little as 1 or 2 hours with additional time spent on transferring & bottling\/kegging the beer. But many factors can determine total brewing time.\n\n\n\nNo two beer styles are exactly the same and your choice of brewing technique as well as your own brewhouse will determine how long a beer takes to brew.\n\n\n\nAs I know that time is a major factor in enjoying this hobby to the fullest, I've gone through all the things that will add or subtract to the time it takes to brew that perfect beer. Please read on for more information.\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nHow long will it take for the whole beer brewing process? \n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nAlthough the process of brewing beer can be counted in weeks, the actual involvement of the homebrewer can be counted in hours. Depending on your brewing approach you actual brew day can be as little as 2 hours or as long as a typical day at work. For the most part, brewing is not labor intensive.\n\n\n\nSo, let's discuss how long it takes to brew a beer from start to glass and also just how much of that time you'll be needed for.\n\n\n\nThe major factors are as follows:\n\n\n\nBrew day - brewing techniqueFermentation timebottling vs keggingbrewing equipmentbrew house set up\n\n\n\nFactorsAlesLagerAll-grain brew day3-5 hours3-5 hoursBIAB brew day2-4 hours2-4 hoursExtract brew day2-3 hours2-3 hoursFermentation1-2 weeks1-2+ weeksBottling (5 gallons)2-3 weeks4-6+ weeksBottling(labor)1-3 hours1-3 hoursKegging1-2 weeks4-6+ weeksKegging(labor)30-60 minutes30-60 minutes\n\n\n\n\nhttps:\/\/youtu.be\/lDBwdvI6RSE\n\n\n\n\nBrewing from start to glass\n\n\n\nBeer can largely be split into two general styles, ales and lagers. There's more to it than that, but for our purposes, let's keep it that simple.\n\n\n\nAn ale will take an average of 4 weeks from start to finish and the lager at least 6 weeks and usually more. The main difference between the two isn't the actual brew day, it's the fermentation and maturation period, either in a bottle or keg.\n\n\n\nAles and lagers will use often be brewed with different strains of yeast, one being top-fermented and the other bottom-fermented.\n\n\n\nNot only does it take some strains of yeast extra time to attenuate (eat up all those lovely sugars in the beer), but for them to start cleaning up other byproducts produced during fermentation it requires extra time.\n\n\n\nAdd to this the fact that lagering (from the German for storage) is a complex process involving reducing the temperature of the fermenting beer over several weeks.\n\n\n\nSo, if you want to brew a beer quickly so that you can restock your fridge, an ale is always the best choice.\n\n\n\nTime factors on your brew day\n\n\n\nFor much of the brewing process you as the brewer don't even have to be in the same state, but on brew day you are the star.\n\n\n\nThis being said, this will be when you are at your busiest and there are many things that contribute to just how much time you spend brewing your beer.\n\n\n\nCleaning & sanitizing\n\n\n\nYou will need to clean the whole area, your equipment, and the system. A normal kitchen space will take 1-2 hours. \n\n\n\nIf you are in a garage or a place that is harder to clean double it. If this step is rushed and can lead to distorting tastes and infection so be thorough and spend the extra time.\n\n\n\nA great tip to save time on your actual brew day and not have to get up with the larks is to clean your equipment the day before and just use your sanitizer just before you need to brew.\n\n\n\nBrewing Method\n\n\n\nThere are 3 main ways to brew beer at home, all-grain, extract and Brew In A Bag (BIAB). \n\n\n\nAll-grain brewing, and BIAB, both involve mashing grain to extract sugar. However, with BIAB there is often less time spent on lautering the grains post-mash. (See my article for more information on BIAB).\n\n\n\nIf you are going to do extract brewing it will take about an hour to boil your wort plus your cleaning time before and after. \n\n\n\nFor all-grain brewing it'll take about an hour to mash your grains, possible another hour to rinse them (lautering) and a further hour to boil your wort (3-4 hours). \n\n\n\nLastly, if you use the BIAB method you're also looking at about 2 hours, possibly 3 with extensive cleaning. \n\n\n\nThe main difference between extract and All-grain brewing is that you don't need to go through the mashing process with an extract kit and you don't, therefore, have to spend time heating up strike water to lauter your grains. BIAB also cuts down on much of the time spent in traditional all-grain brewing.\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n Plan your next Beer Creation?