Introduction to Home Brewing

Home brewing evolved in agricultural communities where the materials for beer production were easily obtainable. As time went on, home brewing led to organized breweries which were maintained by craftsmen and guilds. Home brewing still exists and gives the opportunity for the ambitious soul to experiment and develop unique flavors which are not commercially produced. An exciting facet of home brewing is the application of chemistry, microbiology, biotechnology, and physical chemistry. Manipulating process conditions such as temperature, pressure, and ingredient concentrations will affect the taste and texture of beer. Experience will provide the home brewer with the knowledge and expertise needed to manipulate process conditions, leading to the completion of a successful batch.

Ninety percent of all manufactured beer in the United States comes from 6 Mega-brewers. The Mega-brewers have the capacity to produce 31 million gallons annually. With the legalization of home brewing in 1979, the head of a household (over 21 years of age) is permitted to produce up to 100 gallons of beer annually. This law is extended to 200 gallons per couple, with the limitation that the beer is for personal consumption and not for commercial profit.

Before you get all excited about starting your own home brew, you should think about the positive and negative points of home brewing.

Pros:

1. Allows for creativity and individuality

2. Educational experience which incorporates science

3. Production of exotic beers that are not available

4. Recipes already exist

5. Low cost and maintenance

6. Materials readily avaliable through catalogs

Cons:

1. Technical process

2. Completion time for a batch is about 1 month

3. Potentially dangerous

4. Takes up time and space

5. Success is not guaranteed


If you decide that you want to start a home brew, you will need some hardware. Most of the hardware that you will need can be found in the kitchen. Below is a list of the equipment that you will need to get started.

1. Thermometer

2. Coffee grinder

3. Glass container

4. Measuring cups

5. Pots

6. Strainer

7. Bottles and caps

8. Storage Area(cold and dark)

If you purchase a home brew package from a catalog you have many options. The equipment that you receive is directly related to the price you are willing to pay. Packages exist which provide all the necessary ingredients and hardware which you will need. I recommend that you inventory all the items that you have available in your household before you purchase a brew kit. After taking inventory you can purchase the kit that best fits your needs. I wish everyone happy brewing.


Beer and Wine Production, by Gump

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