Tuesday, May 25, 2010
By Graham Williams
There are two main beer-making ingredients that you can grow. Both hops and barley can be grown at home if you want.
Hops are known by the scientific name humulus. It is commonly referred to as hops vines, however the term vine is misleading. The hops plant is actually a bine plant. These plants use stiff stems with hairs to aid in climbing. They will wrap themselves around something in a clockwise fashion to grow. They grow very quickly, growing from 20cm to 50cm per week during peak growth periods.
Hops are perennial plants and are most commonly grown in the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. They are rather easy to grow and can be grown indoors or out. Hops are susceptible to certain types of insects, so caution needs to be taken to prevent insect infestation. Hops flower during summer and the flower seedpod is the actual hops. These can be picked after the seed is formed, usually in August. The hops are then air-dried for several days at which time they are ready for use.
Barley is another main ingredient in beer. Barley is a grain, commonly grown throughout the Northern Hemisphere. It is grown as a major cereal food as well as for animal feed. There are several types of barley. Each type has a different protein and enzyme content and therefore produces different styles of beer. High protein barley is used to produce malt beer. Two-row barley is used in traditional English style ales. Six-row barley is used primarily in lager beer. Four-row barley is not suitable for use in brewing.
It takes a lot of room to produce barley and it cannot be grown well indoors as it needs quite a tall space. Unless you have a large field, you may not be able to grow your own barley. Picking and husking barley can be a tedious process.
While growing your own ingredients for beer can be rewarding and economical, unless you have the time and the space you may want to leave the growing of hops or barley to others.
Graham Williams is the owner of http://www.gw-ebooks.com this site is full of books that are about hobbies such as Brewing your own beer, Camping, Bird watching, Beekeeping. While your there don't forget to sign up to my newsletter and you will receive monthly discounts in any new book that is added each month you can visit my site here http://www.gw-ebooks.com
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