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Home Brewing At Its Best: Save Money and Still Have Alcohol

Friday, September 03, 2010

Home Brewing At Its Best: Save Money and Still Have Alcohol

With the prices of nearly everything increasing, you may be looking for ways to save some money. If you like to drink beer every night or throw parties every Friday and/or Saturday night, you know it can get costly to buy your alcohol. Why not save money by doing some home brewing? You don’t have to limit yourself to just alcoholic beverages like beer and wine. If you want, you can make non-alcoholic drinks as well such as cider.

Home brewing is as it states… it’s nothing more than a small-scale fermentation alcohol-making process for your own consumption (although you can make additional beverages for parties). Home brewing may be considered a hobby now but it’s got a history… one that includes an era of illegal activity. If you want to save money and have patience, creativity and like it when things are clean, then you can turn this hobby into a rewarding experience that ensures you admiration from both family and friends.

From The Past To The Present – How Home Brewing Changed Through The Times

Home brewing alcohol drinks is certainly not a new conception. It, in fact, is over 7,000 years old; it began with the Egyptians, Chinese and Mesopotamians. Their brewing beer and wine formulas and procedures were passed on to the Greeks and onto the Romans. It wasn’t until the Sumerian civilization that these brewing methods were written down. When the Sumerians prayed, they would have to sing the recipe to honor the goddess of beer for giving them the best beer. After all, very few Sumerians could read and write.

Bear in mind that whole civilizations came and went and the laws of those remaining civilizations changed. When the Pilgrims first came to North America, landing at Plymouth Rock, they made the decision to include a brewery so they can replenish their beer supply when it got low.

When the Industrial Revolution took off (in the 1700s), beer, wines and other alcoholic beverages were mass produced. However, home brewers could use the hydrometers and thermometers to continue making the product; yet with more precision and reliability. French microbiologist Louis Pasteur discovered and shared his thoughts on the fermentation process while brewing. His thought yielded a whole new way people could brew, which gave their beers and wines some complexities.

The Prohibition Era – How Home Brewers Got Their Alcohol

There have been many dark points in United States history including two World Wars, the Vietnam War, September 11, Civil War, slavery, assassinations, the Great Depression, etc. In 1920, the U.S. had another dark point and it was called Prohibition, which outlawed any and all home brewing activities. Although it was outlawed, lots of people did not obey and continued to make their alcoholic beverages. Some people believe that the law did nothing more but encourage people to make them.

Since people were not able to purchase alcohol in public, they choose to discretely make their own. Two homemade answers to skirting around the law came about. First, there is moonshine, which was alcohol distilled by the moonlight. Second, there was bathtub gun.

Grape Growers and Prohibition

Although people were hiding their alcohol-making habits, grape growers saw an increase in demand, which meant they needed to increase their land space to grow more grapes. These farmers ended up acquiring 700 percent more land to meet the demands. When they sent orders to their customers, they usually came with warning labels, letting them know how to make alcoholic drinks in their advertising without coming out and directly saying.

13 years after it was first passed, the Prohibition Act was repealed but there was a catch. The document that repealed the act did not legalize home brewing of beer; it would stay this way until 46 years later when then-President Jimmy Carter signed a bill into law on February 1. Although there is no federal home brewing restriction, individual states could pass whatever laws they want against it. Today, just three states ban the practice:

- Oklahoma
- Alabama
- Mississippi

Home Brewing Equipment Must-Haves

Are you ready to make your home brews? Does the idea appeal to you to try your hand at making your own beer? If so, then you need to know the home brewing equipment you need. If you want to try and make your own brew, then you can purchase kits that contain the liquid malt extract and no-boil wort.

So what do you need?

1 - You need a plastic carboy, large glass or food-grade bucket. You want something that will tightly seal.
2 - You’ll need a fermentation lock to place at the top; this will allow the carbon dioxide gas in the fermentation process to escape.
3 - You’ll need hydrometers and thermometers so that the ingredients and the process is consistent, which lessen the chance for errors in the brewing process.
4 - You’ll want another carboy if you plan on enhancing the flavor of your beer, wine, etc. With a second carboy you further age your beverage, giving it its final taste.
5 – You’re also going to need some capped or corked bottles once the fermentation process is complete. These will also help in the aging process of your beverage. Now, if you don’t want a bottle capper for your locking mechanism then you can buy flip-top bottles with rubber stoppers.

How To Do Home Brewing – It’s Easier Than It Sounds

When you start home brewing, you have to understand that this is not an overnight process; it’s going to take several weeks of your attention to get done and get done right. The first step you need to take is to make sure everything you’ll be using is free of bacteria, microbes, dirt and more. Unclean tools, bottles, containers and surfaces can make for ruined alcoholic drinks.

Don’t forget the primary ingredient in your recipe, which is wort. You can find it in kits or by cooking and boiling dried or liquid malt extracts. You’re also going to need bittering hops and flavoring hops. Bittering hops needs to be added at the beginning while flavoring hops needs to be added near the ending of the process. This will also depend on what beer style you’re going for.

The actual fun of the process is the experimentation, as you can come up with a wide range of beverages.

After you’ve created the wort, you’ll need to add it to your sterilized food-grade plastic bucket or carboy with water and yeast to begin the first fermentation process. This part of the process can take nearly two weeks, sometimes longer. If you’re doing a second fermentation, you’ll need another clean bucket. Be sure you leave behind some sediment in the first fermentation process.

Once your beverages have fermented, your beer will have to be primed and bottled. Priming is what creates the carbonation in the beer you drink. It’s done by adding tiny amounts of sugar into the bottles or beer before you cap them. If you want this carbonation in your beer, you’ll need to leave the bottles alone an additional four weeks… at least. After you’ve done this, put them in ice or in the refrigerator and then serve them.

The Benefits To Home Brewing As Opposed To Buying Alcoholic Drinks

All persons want to be praised for a job well done and this holds true when it comes to home brewing products. Home brewers are often dedicated to their work and put in long hours to ensure they get a quality batch of beer or whatever concoction they want to have.

Besides getting praise, there are other reasons to make your own batch of beer brew. If you’re the type of person who enjoys saving the environment, you can do so by making your own beer. You don’t use near as many packaging materials and you don’t need to do much transporting of your brew. On top of that, you use those jugs and bottles again and again..

Remember that the price for nearly everything is increasing; this includes liquor. If you want to save money, this is the way to do so without giving up your pleasure of alcohol. The ingredients for your homemade brew can cost anywhere from $25 to $45 per a five-gallon batch. Keep in mind that a five-gallon batch is equal to 24, 12-ounce bottles per case. Initially, the equipment can cost you $80 but in time, it’ll pay for itself.

It’s not that difficult to make your own batch of beer. You can make some today and before you know it, you can sit back in your American Heritage collection furniture and enjoy what you made with family and friends. If you want to, you can always store the extras in your Home Styles bar wine cabinet until you’re ready to drink it. With a little creativity and time, you can have the best beer you’ve ever tasted… made right in your own home.

Article Author Tidbit

Former bar/restaurant owner and publisher Tom Holmes became highly interested in the home brewing process when he received a wine-making kit from his six children as Christmas present a few years ago. Since then, he kept his eyes and ears open for anything regarding the newest fashions in bar designs and anything related to wine and beer brewing.

Today, he not only shares information regarding beer and wine making, but he’s also keen on sharing information about home bar furniture and tools. You can check out his website for all in home bars to see what would look best for your home today.


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