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How to Brew Beer in an Apartment

How to Brew in an Apartment

I’ve heard many potential brewers get discouraged as they are currently living in an apartment or other small residence, and they simply do not have room for a great deal of brewing equipment. This page is dedicated to small batch brewing. Small batch brewing is suited very well for brewing in an apartment. Because of this, I decided to move into an apartment temporarily to show you all how to brew beer in an apartment (actually partially true)!

Can you Brew Beer in an Apartment?

You certainly can. Brewing beer does not have to be an extravagant operation. If you have a stove, room for a kettle and a small fermentor, you can brew beer in an apartment.

Challenges of Brewing Beer in an Apartment

When many people imagine brewing beer, they think of large mashing and boiling setups, often time with pumps to help the transfer of hot wort. You may also think of large fermenting tanks with temperature control.

Though the above picture may be both of our dreams, brewing does not have to be this complex!

I’m here to tell you that you can make great beer on a small scale with minimal equipment.

First, let’s talk about the biggest three challenges of brewing beer in an apartment.

  1. Space– The biggest challenge to brewing beer in an apartment (or even just living in an apartment) is a lack of space. You will likely not have room for a beautiful Blichmann 5 gallon system or a large stainless conical fermenter.
  2. Outdoor Area to Brew– another challenge that most apartment dwellers deal with is either a lack of outdoor space to brew in or restrictions against using a gas burner in these areas.
  3. Electric Stoves– I find that most apartments these days (and even newer houses) are fitted with electric stoves. Most people prefer gas burners to electric stovetops for brewing.

Not to worry, I have solutions!

Can you Brew Beer in a Small Space?

Yes. If you can make room for just a couple brewing supplies, largest of which are a brewing kettle and a one gallon fermentor, you can brew! These items can take up a footprint of less than a diameter of 12 inches! I have a full list of brewing supplies that I recommend for small batch brewing here.

With these items, you will be set up for brewing using either the extract or BIAB (brew in a bag) methods.

Can you Brew Beer Without an Outdoor Space?

Yes! The type of brewing that I most often do is inside, right on the kitchen stovetop! When brewing small batches, the heat produced by your kitchen stove is more than sufficient. You do not need to use a propane burner outside to brew good beer.

The largest benefit to brewing inside on the kitchen stove is convenience. Your sink, fridge, and all your supplies are right next to you when brewing in the kitchen. You don’t have to worry about running inside to get water, hops, yeast, etc. when everything is right at your fingertips!

One thing that both my wife and I love is the wonderful aroma that is produced during brew days in the house!

Can you Brew Beer on an Electric Stove?

Yes, you can brew beer on an electric stove. As mentioned earlier, electric stovetops are not necessarily ideal for brewing. However, I have found through experience that they work just fine!

A couple things you will want to keep in mind when brewing on an electric stove is, it can take slightly longer to get your liquid to the right temperatures. Simply just plan for this while brewing. I will say, the time difference is not as great as I expected.

Second, keep in mind that the electric burners stay hot after you have turned them off. This is especially important when adding extract. You always want to remove your kettle from heat when adding additional extract. Failure to do so can result in scorching, darker colored beer, and/or boilovers. It is simple to combat this by simply moving your kettle to a different location on the stovetop before making additions.

Tips for Brewing Beer in an Apartment

Keep your brewing area (kitchen) clean. I have found that this is especially important when cooking or brewing in small spaces. The more cluttered the area is, not only will it cause additional stress (brew days should be fun!) but it can also lead to contamination of your beer.

Find a small space that is dark and fairly cool for fermentation. Depending on the yeast, you will likely want fermentation temperature to be in the 60-70F range. Not only is the temperature itself important but so is the stability of the temperature. You do not want large swings in temperature throughout fermentation days. I recommend testing out temperatures of your residence with a cheap thermometer when planning your fermentation location.

I know electricity and gas service is expensive these days, but it can be worth running the heat or air conditioning more consistently at least during the beginning of fermentation.

It is also important to keep the fermenting beer out of direct light. If the perfect location is in direct light, just throw a medium-sized cardboard box over your fermentor!

Keep boil volumes to less than 2.5-3 gallons. If you try to boil larger volumes than this on a kitchen stove, you may become frustrated at the time it takes to reach your temperatures.

Have enough ice on hand! To produce clearer beer, it is important to cool your beer quickly. I recommend grabbing 1-2 bags of ice from the store before or during your brew days for cooling.

If you are a more visual learner, I recorded a brew day performed in an apartment on my Instagram. It is found under saved stories!

Thank you so much for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed this article. Please contact me on Instagram if you have any questions!

Now that you are more confident about brewing in your small space, feel free to check out my comprehensive articles on how to brew with either the extract method or BIAB (brew in a bag) method!

In case you aren’t fully convinced about small batch brewing, check out 7 other reasons I love brewing small batches in this article!