.:: Apparatus :: Ingredients :: How To ::.
Are you a beer drinker? Ever thought about making some at home? You'll be surprised at how easy it is to brew your own beer.
In fourteenth century England, ale was commonly brewed from malted barley grains, rolled oats, water and yeast by and for peasants in lieu of the more expensive wines of the elite. By the seventeenth century, hops were boiled into the sweet wort as a preservative and for the thirst-quenching bitter flavor and distinctive floral aromas they yielded. Sealed keg conditioning with "priming" sugar yielded a refreshing light carbonation.
Commercial mass-marketed lager is generally centered on the flavor spectrum, to appeal to the broadest possible market. It is pasteurized to lengthen shelf-life, filtered to improve clarity, then mechanically injected with carbon dioxide gas to put the fizz back in. Sounds like "two steps forward, one step back" to me... These processes sometimes lead to excessive bitterness and mask original natural brewing flavors. If you limit your beer experience to products "centered" for the quaffing masses, you are missing out. I don't always like a new beer style I try, but at least now I can knowledgeably describe why.
You can easily make your own rich, full-bodied beer at home. All you need is an ability to follow directions and a little patience - like, for assembling Christmas toys. It also helps immensely to have a companion who at least doesn't mind the rich aroma of boiling malt and hops, possibly shares your appreciation of the taste of freshly brewed full-bodied ales, and is even willing to help. Um, tell her beer provides the four major food groups: water, grains, hops, and yeast... What could be more "naturale"?
Haiku to homebrewing:
Brew kettle bubbles
Hoppy aires cheer weekend's morn'
Chickens gobble trub
$85 Beer brewing starter kit:
Carboy, bucket fermenter, gas trap, siphon, thermometer, bottle capper, cleaning brushes, brewing guide, hydrometer
Basically, everything you need to get started, less the recipe ingredients.
Ahh, I love the heady aroma and merry agitation of a boiling wort (pronounced 'wert') in the morning! Merry, merry, boil and bubble, keep me happy and out of trouble.
It's a thrill to watch the frantic churning of yeast frolicking in their bath of malted barley sugars, hear the satisfying "blurp, blurp" of the gas trap, and know a new batch is on the way.
The earliest written description of the brewing process by the ancient Sumerians appears in The Hymn To Ninkasi, their goddess of beer. Impressed in a 3800-year-old clay tablet, the hymn serves as a recipe as well as a song of praise. Contained in the verse are directions for the making of beer using loaves of bread. The Sumerian bread of the time was known as bappir and, aside from its brewing applications, was only consumed in periods of famine. This fact alone lends credence to the argument that suggests that beer, not bread, is the cornerstone of civilization.
The process was fairly straightforward; A heavy dough was made using a considerable amount of yeast; this was then formed into loaves and lightly baked. It could be that this was just a convenient way to store ingredients as a compact "kit"-loaf. On "brew day" the bread was crumbled into water, steeped and later strained to produce a wort. "Sweet aromatics" were then added to improve flavor and dates or date juice to increase sweetness. The resulting liquid was fermented in large vats by yeast-laden grapes or raisins and eventually placed in sealed jars to be stored and transported.