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What Are the 4 Main Ingredients To Brew Beer?

Brewing beer is an ancient mix of art and science that experts believe goes back thousands of years in human history. And now it’s your turn to join that tradition! So what do you need to get started? We have the answer to this question and more.

In this article, we’ll cover what ingredients you need to brew beer at home and how a beer-making kit can give you a headstart on your shopping list.

What Are the Main Ingredients of Beer?

The 4 main ingredients in beer are:

  • Water: Water forms the base of your brews. Most beer ingredient kits are designed for either one or five-gallon batches, so make sure your equipment can hold enough water to brew those recipes!
  • Malted Grains: Grains have a couple of key purposes. First, they provide sugar for the yeast to turn into alcohol during fermentation. Second, the sugars in grains form the sweet layer in a brew’s flavor profile. It’s important that your grains are malted, so ensure that you steep them in water as part of your brewing process.
  • Hops: Hops are the counterpart to grains, and these ingredients balance out the sweetness of grains with bitter flavors.
  • Yeast: Yeast is what turns your watery mixture of grains and hops into beer. During fermentation, yeast turns sugar into alcohol and also helps with carbonation.

Brewing is fun, but shopping for ingredients usually isn’t. That’s where beer ingredient kits come in! These kits come with pre-portioned grains and hops, as well as yeast recommendations, so you can spend less time shopping and more time brewing.  

What Are the Original Ingredients of Beer?

Beer production is thought to go back almost as far as agricultural practices—about 10,000 years ago—but hops weren’t introduced into the beer-making process until around 1,000 AD. During the Renaissance period, Germany recognized water, barley, and hops as signature ingredients of beer. In the 1800s, brewers officially recognized the importance of yeast.

What Are the Ingredients in Modern Beer?

Modern beer has largely stuck with the classic four ingredients of water, grains, hops, and yeast. There have been a few additions to these staples, however. Priming sugar is recommended in most recipes to aid in carbonation. Ingredients that provide unique flavors, like fruit, spices, herbs, and even flowers, have also grown in popularity.

What Ingredients Do You Need To Brew Beer at Home?

The home brewing ingredients that you should have access to any time you start a new batch are:

  • Water
  • Malted Grains
  • Hops
  • Yeast
  • Additional Flavors
  • Priming Sugar

The best way to make sure you have all the essential ingredients is with a beer ingredient kit. These kits come with pre-portioned amounts of hops and grains, and they also have suggestions for which yeast to use. Stock up your home brewery with priming sugar and your favorite additional flavors, and you’ll be good to go! 

What Are the Main Types of Beer?

The main types of beer are ales, lagers, and sours. Each type has unique characteristics and difficulty levels for home brewers. Let’s take a closer look:

  • Ales: Pale ales, IPAs, porters, and other types of ales are often the entry point for homebrewers. These beers have more forgiving flavor profiles, so minor errors won’t throw off the taste of a batch. Ales also use top-fermenting yeast, meaning that these batches ferment at a higher temperature than other types of beer.
  • Lagers: Lagers and pilsners are more challenging to brew at home because they have more finicky flavor profiles. If you make a mistake during brewing, it’s harder to cover it up. Lagers use bottom-fermenting yeast, which works better at lower temperatures than top-fermenting yeast.
  • Sours: Sour beers, like Belgian lambics, are known for their unique sour flavors (hard to guess, right?). This flavor is achieved through controlled exposure to bacteria during the brewing process and through the use of wild yeast strains. 

What Is the Beer-Making Process at Home?

The basic beer making process at home can be divided into four sections: the brewing day, fermentation, the bottling day, then storage and finally enjoying your brew! Let’s take a closer look at what each of these steps involves:

Brewing Day

  1. Gather equipment and supplies.
    • Heat Source
    • Brew Pot
    • Fermenter
    • Hops
    • Grains
    • Yeast
    • Thermometer
    • Airlock
    • Stirring Spoon
    • Cleaning and Sanitizing Supplies
    • Hydrometer
    • Measuring Cup
  2. Clean equipment.
  3. Sanitize equipment.
  4. Steep grains.
  5. Brew wort.


  1. Chill wort.
  2. Add yeast.
  3. Ferment the wort into beer.

Bottling Day

  1. Gather equipment and supplies.
    • Cleaning and Sanitizing Supplies
    • Bottling Container with Spigot
    • Priming Sugar
    • Siphon
    • Capper
    • Bottles and Caps
  2. Clean equipment.
  3. Sanitize equipment.
  4. Prep bottling container with priming sugar.
  5. Transfer beer into bottling container.
  6. Fill bottles.
  7. Cap and seal each bottle.

Store, then Enjoy!

  1. Store bottles for about two weeks.
  2. Enjoy your homemade beer with friends and family!

Home brewing processes vary from recipe to recipe, so be sure to follow the specific instructions in your brew’s beer ingredient kit!

Great Fermentations: Your Source for Home Brewing Ingredients and More!

Have you been searching for the perfect place to stock up on all of your home brewing essentials? Then you’ve landed in the right place. Great Fermentations has a wide variety of beer ingredient kits, as well as yeast and priming sugar options for your next brew!

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