Home Brewing For Beginners
It is a hobby, one that produces beer and it is called home brewing. To many folk it’s actually a very serious hobby that can not only provide a lot of pleasure and satisfaction but can also be very challenging. The serious home brewer is constantly working on the brew’s quality, with their ultimate goal being to produce “the perfect brew”.
Home brewing has been around for centuries, mostly unregulated and very much enjoyed by everyone practicing the hobby. There are some countries in Europe where home brewing of alcoholic beverages does require a license but, the majority of countries around the world do allow for unregulated quantities of home brewed beverages provided that it is for personal consumption. There are also a handful of these countries though that do impose quite strict laws on home brewing distilling and distribution.
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Beverages That Can Be Home Brewed
From beer to wine to non-alcoholic beverages, there is no short supply for beverages that can be brewed at home. Beer and wine are quite arguably the most popular among home brewers but brewers who produce cider, silju (a Finish home-brewed alcoholic beverage), ginger beer, Kumis, Sake (Japanese rice wine), Chhang (a popular Tibetan alcoholic beverage), Kvass (a Polish bread drink), mead or honey wine, and kombucha are not uncommon favorites.
Practically everything that is brewed by the large commercial distillers has its own version among home brewers. Though taste varies and can be different, the form and basic brewing processes are similar. Obviously though, the amounts of the ingredients and quantity of the beverages produced are much lower.
Home brewing Kits And Equipment
As much as a cook needs his pans and kitchen utensils, a home brewer needs brewing equipment to produce good quality beverages. Apart from the actual brewing ingredients the following is a list of what I would consider to be the most essential items you will need to get started in your new hobby:
The first item you will need as a home brewer is a good brew kettle. The whole beer brewing process starts here and it’s what you use to boil the beer.
Most home brewed recipes start with 5 gallons, so you’ll need a stainless steel pot that could contain that much. If and when you’ve moved on to brewing 6 to 8 gallon-recipes, you will need a larger pot accordingly to do the job. A ceramic on steel pot or a home canning pot is also a good option, given of course that the ceramic isn’t chipped. Otherwise, it’s best to settle with a stainless steel pot. An aluminum pot is by far the least preferable as it absorbs the flavors of the brew.
While the brew ferments, it has to be free from contaminants such as dust and airborne microorganisms. An airlock fermenter, therefore, is needed. For the majority of home brewers, a good carboy, typically a glass bottle that holds 5 to 6 gallons of brew, will do as a starter. A high quality plastic bucket is also not an uncommon choice among serious brewers.
On top of the brew kettle and fermenter where the majority of the brewing process occurs, other equipment needed are as follows: funnel, straining tools, siphoning equipment, bottling equipment, thermometer and hydrometer, wort chiller, and cleaning and sanitizing tools.
A Home Brewing Guide
Also, as the cook needs a recipe and method to produce their culinary delight, so does the home brewer to be able to create home brewed drinks. And a guide is the best source for such. A basic guide will also walk you through the basic things you need to know about the process. Dozens of books have been written on the subject. Some are published free online, others are available only by purchasing them. There are also home brewing shops that sell guides with accompanying lessons or classes that will get your feet wet, so to speak. Over all, a good home brewers book is the best place to start with the hobby.
Your Beer Making Supplies
Visit our online Home Brew Supplies Store for all of your brewing needs.
Whether this is your first venture into the hobby of home brewing, or you are a brewing veteran of many years you will find all of the necessary brewing equipment and ingredients to suit your needs and at the right price to suit your pocket.
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Photo Credit: Thanks to Mat the W