Archive for December, 2008

A Definitive List of Beer Styles

Friday, December 19th, 2008

Before you even begin your homebrewing experience there is one important aspect you have to look at: What style of beer do you want to make? There are literally hundreds of different styles out there and all differ in significant ways. These differences include:

  • Taste
  • Color
  • Aroma
  • Strength
  • Texture

For your first homebrewed beer I think that you should look at the styles of beer that you like best. Whether it is a lager, or a stout, this is a good starting point, and you shouldn’t be dissapointed with the end result.

Lots of people have commented that they don’t like their first homebrew beer. On one occasion the person had made a stout. I questioned them on whether they liked Guiness, to which they replied: ‘Not Really.’ If you don’t like a style of beer, then don’t make it.

Here is a definitive list of beer styles. If I have missed any, just comment below.

  • Ale
  • Lager
  • Stout
  • Pilsner
  • Wheat Beer
  • Pale Ale
  • Dark Ale
  • Bitter
  • Cider (Apple Beer)
  • Mead (Honey Beer)
  • Red Ale
  • Blonde
  • German Beers (there are literally hundreds of german varieties to list, and I wouldn’t know where to begin)
  • Porter
  • Barley Wine
  • Draught
  • Steam Beers
  • Smoked Beers

Most countries have their own variations on a standard style which I havn’t listed. For example, an English Ale and an American Ale are still both within the Ale category.

Top 6 Beer Blogs

Thursday, December 18th, 2008

If you search throughout the internet there are hundreds of sources of homebrewing information, but if you sift through all the rubbish you can discover some truly great beer blogs. I have narrowed these down to the top six, in no particular order:

BS Brewing’s The Champagne of Blogs

Blog Sober’s indepth look at various beer related subjects makes a great read, and I recommend them to any beer lover.

A Blog About Beer

Luke looks at all kinds of beer information, and homebrewing secrets.

Stonch’s Beer Blog

A London beer blog run by a publican.

Fermentedly Challenged

This Colorado based beer blog has heaps of great beer reviews in case you are looking for some different flavors to try.

Beer Utopia

Full of homebrew beer tutorials and equipment reviews, Beer Utopia easily makes the list.

Fermentarium

Fermentarium has a lot of advanced homebrewing beer tutorials and other information.

I think that all beer lovers should glanch through all of these top blogs, and subscribe to your favorites.

Homebrew Beer Fermentor Types

Thursday, December 18th, 2008

There are a variety of different types of fermentors that you can use for brewing your own beer, and they all have pros and cons which must be weighed up based on your own scenario.

All a fermentor really is is a container for holding your beer while it is fermenting, however it does have certain characteristics:

  • It needs to be air tight, so that oxygen does not get into the bucket during fermentation.
  • It needs to be easy to clean so that bacteria does not stick to the walls or lid

The three most common types of fermentors are the carboy, the pail and lid, and the less common demijohn.

Carboy

The carboy is my personal favorite and is the type of fermentor that I currently use. It is pretty much a large plastic container, which a hole in the lid for an airlock and a tap in the bottom.

Pail and Lid

The second most common type of fermentor is the pail and lid, which truly is a bucket with a lid. It also has a tap at the bottom.

Demijohn

Usually much smaller than the other two fermentors, the demijohn is made of glass, and is more useful for smaller batches of beer.

From my position I cannot choose which fermentor is best for your situation, however the most common is the carboy, and it is a good starting point for any homebrew beginner.

The Best Homebrew Beer Starter Kits

Thursday, December 18th, 2008

One of the most common questions I am asked by people interested in starting to brew their own beer at home is ‘What is the best starter kit?’

My answer is always the same: ‘Well, it depends…’

There are dozens of different starter kits available, each with their own features and at different prices. I suggest if you are interested in buying a homebrewing kit, then have a look at these. According to Amazon.com, these are the most popular homebrew beer kits, and they are all pretty good.

Coopers Brewing Micro Brewery Kit:

Coming with 50 PET bottles and caps, as well as books, an instructional DVD, your first brew’s ingredients, a hydrometer, and your fermentor. A great place for any beginner to start.

Mr. Beer Premium Edition Home Microbrewery System:

This is a much smaller kit, and probably wouldn’t be best for continual use, however it is pretty cool to look at. The most impressive feature is the fermentor/keg, however it doesn’t come with any important extras, such as cleaning products, spoons or funnels.

The Great American Micro-Brewery Co. The Beer Machine:

Again, this is different to most usual homebrewing kits, as it creates its own kegging system inbuilt into the fermentor. This would be a good way for a beginner to get involved, but is a bit limited for extended or advanced use.

Carboy Homebrew Kit for Home Made Beer:

One of the more extensive homebrew starter kits, this contains everything you can possibly need including 6 gallon glass carboy, 7.8 bottling bucket with spigot, Fermentation lock and bung, Siphon tubing, Siphon assembly, Bottle filler, Bottle brush, Adhesive Thermometer, Bottle capper, 144 bottle caps, Triple Scale Hydrometer, and sanitizer, and Brew Handbook. Perfect!

My biggest recommendation is the final kit, because it contains everything you possibly need. It is a little more expensive than the others, but it really does have everything that you will need.

Homebrew Beer Equipment

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

Here is a short list of all the equipment you will need to begin brewing your own beer:

  • Brewing Pot
  • Fermentor
  • Air Lock
  • Large Spoon
  • Hydrometer
  • Thermometer
  • Bottles
  • Caps
  • Capper
  • Funnel

Naturally there will be several miscelaneous items that I have forgotten, but this is enough to get you started.

A Simple, Proven Method for Brewing Your Own Great Tasting Beer

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008

One of the most rewarding, environmentally friends, and economical skills you can learn is how to brew your own beer. It is actually REALLY easy to brew a delicious tasting beer at a fraction of the cost of buying domestic beers, however actually starting to brew is a tough step.

This is where BeerEasy.com steps up.

Homebrew Beer Tutorial

Justin Sieglaff has created one of the most informative, and easy to follow homebrew beer guides that I have come across. Check out his free video tutorial samples to see for yourself, and you will realize that this is the best way to learn about brewing beer from scratch.

For some indepth knowledge in homebrewing your own beer I recommend that you should check out:
BeerEasy.com’s informative video tutorials, recipes and instructions.

There are dozens of different aspects you have to look at when considering brewing your own beer. These include:

  • Sanitation
  • Equipment
  • Ingredients
  • Bottling and
  • Recipes

Even though homebrewing beer is quite easy to do, you really need some help at the beginning, and with 8 Video tutorials and over 600 easy to replicate beer recipes, you will soon be able to create beer as good as you can buy it.

Click Here To Get the BeerEasy.com

Home Brew Training Now!

How to Bottle Your Homebrew Beer

Saturday, December 6th, 2008

Once your beer has finished fermenting, it is time to transfer it from your fermentor to bottles or kegs. This article will describe the process of bottling, including secondary fermentation using sugar, capping, and settling.

Cleaning

Make sure that all your bottles are sterilized and cleaned extremely well. Any kind of contamination can ruin your entire batch. Any kind of brewing cleaner can be used, such as Pink Stain Remover (PSR) or Sodium Metabisulphate. Mix the cleaner with a sufficient amount of water. This changes depending on what you are using.

Soak all the bottles in hot water, and scrub them well using a bottle cleaner. Also clean the bottle caps that you plan on using. All the bacteria that can potentially ruin your beer must be eliminated.

Prepare Your Empty Bottles

Secondary Fermentation

Dissolve about 180 grams in dextrose in hot water, and pour it into your fermentor. This gives the remaining yeast some more sugar to survive on, causing a secondary fermentation to take place. This means that once the beer is in the bottles it will begin to create more carbon dioxide, carbonating the liquid.

Bottling

Insert the bottling tube or boot valve into the fermentor, and remove the air lock tube. Fill the bottles completely to the top. As soon as your remove the tube from the bottles, the amount of liquid will fall, making sure that all the bottles have a constant amount of beer.

Capping

This depends on what kind of capper you have available. I strongly recommend buying a stand alone capper rather than a hand held one. They are a hell of a lot quicker, and easier. Fill all your bottles with beer and then cap them each in turn. Make sure that the caps are sealed completely and don’t allow any carbon dioxide to escape, or your beer will turn out to be flat.

Storage

Leave your beer in a cool, dark place for at least two weeks before refrigerating and drinking it. I strongly recommend leaving it for at least a month though, and others recommend leaving it longer than that.

Once this process is complete, you can finally begin to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Environmental Benefits of Homebrewing Beer

Friday, December 5th, 2008

With so much concern about the environment, there is an easy way to cut out your carbon footprint. Every beer that you drink from a brewery causes a lot of pollution – proccessing, and transportation. By brewing your own beer you can dramatically reduce this environmental impact.

After some amount of practice you can brew beer that either imitates your favorites beers or tastes even better than them. So if you are concerned about how your beer drinking can impact on the environment, than don’t fear, there is an easy solution – homebrewing.

If you buy a single carton of beer, think about the huge amount of packaging that is included – the beer bottles, their labels, the box, and the six pack plastic wrapping. Homebrew beer removes these completely by ignoring all the packaging and recycling the bottles.

This impact becomes even more dramatic when buying imported beer. These often travel thousands of kilometers, burning through massive amounts of fuel and polluting the environment. Brewing your own beer completely removes the need for packaging and transportation, making it a much more environmentally friendly alternative.

Reduce Your Carbon Footprint - Brew Your own Beer

Reduce Your Carbon Footprint - Brew Your own Beer

Why Brew Your Own Beer

Thursday, December 4th, 2008

People have been brewing their own beer for thousands of years, and it is becoming increasily popular in the modern world. Even though beer is readily accessible, creating your own is a great experience for several reasons:

  1. Price – Brewing beer is extremely cheap, especially after the initial cost of setting up a system. It can cost as little as $15 to brew up to 20 litres of beer. That is less than $1/litre.
  2. Taste – Because you get to choose exactly what goes into your beer, you can influence exaclty what comes out.
  3. Environment – Homebrewing beer is much better for the environment than buying beer.

I recommend that everyone should start to brew their own beer, just for their own sake. Start investigating what kind of beers you like, and within a few days you can start to make your own in only a few short weeks.

Australian Lager

Thursday, December 4th, 2008
  • 1 can Golden Harvest Lager
  • 1 kg light liquid malt extract
  • 0.5 kg dextrose
  • 0.3 kg maltodextrin (corn syrup)
  • 15 gram Saaz hop pellets (prepared as per the two can recipe)