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Beer Making Tips - The Affordable to Great Beer

Monday, October 19, 2009

Beer Making Tips-The Affordable to Great Beer

By Shannon Brown

Brew low cost beer. The amount of time you spend on brewing beer makes the small difference in cost between "just OK" ingredients and top quality ingredients a minor point. Either way, the cost of brewing a 5 gallon batch is much cheaper than buying a couple of cases of beer in the store.

Beer is made of cheap ingredients, so it doesn't hurt to buy the best. Surprisingly, the cheapest way to brew beer gives you the best results: all grain brewing is the cheapest way to brew when grain is bought in bulk.

You do need a grain mill and a mash tun, so there is a small investment in equipment needed. But you should be able to brew excellent quality beer for less than $2 per gallon, and you could brew a mild ale for as little as $1 per gallon, or less than 10 cents per bottle (one gallon is about 10-1/2 12oz bottles). Most of my pilsners are about $1.50 a gallon brews.

Other ways to reduce the cost of your beer are by growing your own hops and reusing yeast from the fermenter. Easy to do, and it means that I don't have to buy yeast more than once every half year or so. The hops should last e through most of the winter brews. So all you need is grain, which is about $0.70 per pound in a bulk purchase (much of the cost is in shipping).

Beer Brewing Equipment Basic, simple, cheap equipment that gets the job done. Sometimes it adds to the challenge. But through the mystique of brewing and remember that illiterate alewives brewed for centuries using tried and true recipes and procedures before the dawn of kegerators, ph meters or hydrometers.

Beer Keg Brewing. After using bottles for years, you can jump to the corny keg (Cornelius keg). This is an important step because it makes brewing so much easier. You can still bottle, but just a few bottles per batch, and use a corny keg to fill the bottles. You can use corny kegs as secondary fermenting vessels. You can try out method where you leave the beer in the primary for about two weeks until it clears nicely, and then upi carefully siphon it over to a corny, avoiding transferring any trub.

Bulk Purchase of Grain and Hops.I purchased about 300lbs of grain and 5lbs of hops from North Country Malt. I have two bags of pilsner, two of Munich, one of pale ale and one carapils. This should cover my base malt needs for a year. I can make my house favorite recipes (pilsner, altbier, pale ale) with the ingredients I have on stock. I hope to work through this supply in about a year, which is the shelf life. I will also order specialty malts and hops as special recipes require.

Beer Drinking Philosophy. Beer is good food. Beer is healthy when used in moderation. Beer is a great beverage.

Shannon Brown is the owner of This site caters to home brewers around the world and has numerous links and resources. You can visit the site at:

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Wine and Fireside Entertaining

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Wine, Food, and Fireplace:

How the Ancient Greeks Had the Right Idea

When it comes to entertaining, nothing beats good company paired with wine alongside a roasting fire. And apparently we weren’t the only ones who think that way. As Jacoba Budden pointed out in Moussaka, even the ancient Greeks with their “thinkers and some of the greatest philosophers ever known,” had in-home taverns capable of hosting hundreds of people for drink, festivities, and profits. I say, why argue with some of the world’s most brilliant thinkers.
With chilled winter season right around the corner, find out how you can create a festive cavernous experience in your own home.

The Menu:

When hosting your own bash, the center of any lively combination should be several bottles of wine alongside a casually but well-thought out platters. Conventionally, platters were limited to cheese, but chic wine connoisseurs know that mixing it up with breads, chocolates, and some delectable deserts works equally as well. With such a colorful sensation for the palate and the array of pairings to choose from, you and your guests will be marveled by how easy it can be to have a great time with such minimal effort.
In fact, in light of the recession many hosts and hostess have decided to forgo conventional dinner parties and instead opt for rich but simplified menu of wine served with a few pairings. Having come to be known as chic “Wine Parties”, guests usually delight in being able to have a more casual get together that isn’t meal-oriented. These new types of parties are not only friendly on the wallet, but are also far more time efficient – requiring less preparation and clean up, they can be thrown at the last minute while still being a hit with your guests. Guests also enjoy the opportunity to sample new types of wines.
Going beyond just the basics of wine, any great wine party host will take the time and considering to set the stage for his or her guests. After all, you a cold barren room is hardly going to foster an evening of warm and engaging conversation.
Equally as important as the wine and pairings you serve, is what type of setting you serve it in. With winter here and everyone huddling indoors, a fireplace creates the ideal ambience for a memorable evening

Hot Focal Points: Fireplaces Set the Stage for Great Evening

Whether or not you have a fireplace, you can still create the same effect with faux fireplace that doubles as an energy-efficient heater. A fireplace heater lets you fill your home with a mesmerizing, soft glow without the hassle of burning ash and buying wood.
Conventional fireplace are often limited to a large home that can accommodate the space and chimney necessary to install a traditional fireplace. With an electric fireplace heater, it’s possible to have a fireplace no matter what size or type of home you’re in.
Portable fireplace heaters are perfect if you live in a small home or apartment and prefer the stylish addition of a fireplace. Fireplace heaters make it possible for these types of spaces to still enjoy the warm glow of a fireplace – especially at your next wine party!
The look of an electric fireplace heater is surprisingly realistic, simulating the gentle smolder of a fire down to the glowing embers. With portable fireplace heaters, you can get the coveted architectural element of a fireplace, without the cost – plus its portability allows you to move it to whatever room you decide to hosts your guests in.
With the last touch of a fireplace, you can certainly recreate the philos of Grecian gatherings.
Wine, Food, and Fireplace is brought to you by Shireen Qudosi.

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Beer Reviews #2 - Victory Hop Devil

Monday, October 05, 2009

Menacingly delicious, with the powerful, aromatic punch of whole flower American hops backed up by rich, German malts. HopDevil Ale offers a roller coaster ride of flavor, coasting to a smooth finish that satisfies fully.

Malts: Imported, German 2 row
Hops: American whole flowers
Alcohol by volume: 6.7%

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