By Rachel Tayse

Brewtastical

So You Want to Brew Your Own Beer or Make Your Own Wine……Awesome…….Read This

Beer

When considering to brew your first batch of beer it’s helpful to think about how much time, effort, and money you’re are willing to put into it. First one should do a little bit of research about the brewing process just to get an introduction to the world of suds. There is plenty of literature out there that can give you a good lesson on the age old art of making beer.

Once you are up to speed on the process I would suggest starting with an inexpensive equipment kit, which comes with everything you need to brew a 5 gallon batch. Also you will need a malt extract ingredient kit, which supplies you with all the ingredients, step by step directions, and a beginners handbook to the art of brewing. Each 5 gallon batch produces approximately 50 cold ones. All you will need in addition is a kitchen stove, sink, and a few household utensils. The reason to start with a malt extract ingredient kit is that it allows you to make a good beer while skipping the most difficult step of mashing (extracting fermentable sugar from barley and grain). Malt extract is pre- made and has the correct amount of sugar already in it.

The brewing process then becomes as simple as dissolving the malt extract into hot water and adding some hops. The brewing process only takes a few hours, but the whole entire process from the start to the final step of drinking your beer is about 3 weeks to a month. Believe me it’s well worth it. There is nothing more satisfying than getting to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Try starting with a pale ale, which is relatively easy to make and has a great chance of turning out nice and tasty. It’s important to keep it simple at first to avoid unnecessary discouragement. Don’t be afraid to call us to ask questions.

Those who have a good experience brewing with extract may wish to pursue the hobby a bit more intensely. For those eager brewers, the next step is probably to try a partial mash. This involves extracting sugar from fresh whole barley and grains, while still using extract for the majority of your fermetable sugars. This can be done with the same equipment you used for your extract batch. I would suggest trying this first before jumping into all-grain brewing. Come to us to get help putting together a partial mash recipe.

For the brewing enthusiasts is the process of all-grain home brewing. Its very similar to how the professional breweries and brew pubs do it. There are still varying degrees of intensity when it comes to all-grain brewing, but no matter how serious you are it still is more time consuming and involved that extract brewing. For many it is worth it because the quality and taste of your beer is much better. The first thing that you will need to do when you decide to brew all-grain is build a mashtun. A mashtun is a vessel that can hold grain and water at a desired temperature for a long period of time. This allows you to extract the fermatable sugar that you need to make beer. Home brewing mashtuns are usually made from beverage coolers and can be made for as little as $30. Be sure to do some reading and research before you attempt to build your mashtun. The internet has plenty of information and diagrams that will help. YouTube also can offer a good amount of help with your venture.

Wine

If you happened to be more of a wine drinker then you should try your hand at making a batch . It’s a relatively simple process, much less complicated than brewing beer. The total time from start to finish can be a little longer though. Aging your wine before you drink it will be the longest part, but it is well worth it considering that one standard batch will produce 30 bottles. Most of the same equipment used in brewing beer will be sufficient for making wine. A larger fermenting bucket and carboy are necessary because of the head space needed to ferment wine. Too small of either could end up causing a bubble over, which would ruin your batch. Any other equipment used in the process, such as corks and a corking machine can be purchased at your local home brew supply shop.

When making your first batch you should most definitely start with a wine ingredient kit. It comes with all the ingredients and directions you need including the most integral part of wine, the grape juice. Juice can be made by pressing grapes, but that can be expensive, complicated and much more time consuming. A grape press machine is something to think about buying if you are really serious about the hobby. The process of making wine from a kit can be as simple as pouring grape juice into a bucket, adding some chemical agents, specialty ingredients, and yeast, then letting it ferment into wine. Once finished with the fermenting process its time to bottle and age. Used wine bottles from your private stash can be used to hold your homemade wine and corks and a corker can be purchased O’Connor’s Home Brew Supply rather inexpensively.

Whether you are really busy with your day to day life or you have plenty of free time, home brewing and wine making can be a fun and rewarding hobby. Initial investment in the equipment and ingredients to brew your first batch of beer or make your first batch of wine or cider can be under $100 . Once you have purchased the equipment, from then on out one only needs to pay for the ingredients for your next batch. This will normally be around $20 for beer depending on the style and a bit more expensive for wine. If you are interested if giving home brewing or wine making a try, I would suggest starting with either a malt extract beer ingredient kit or a wine kit.

Happy Brewing,

O’Connor’s Home Brew Supply



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