Everything you need to know about homebrew kits

Using your beer making kit

Buying it is one thing, using your beer making kit is a skill that like most, has to be developed over time. You can’t just jump straight in and expect a magical potion that will have your friends gagging for more immediately. If you do this, they may be gagging, but not for those reasons! Get the facts before you start.

If you have been to this site before, I’m assuming you’ve had a go with a beer brew kit and found it either was OK or you just didn’t think it came up to the mark. Well, in order to get the taste you crave, you need to start brewing your own. Unfortunately, you will need quite a lot of home brew supplies and that can be quite pricey unless you are wily and go for second-hand equipment via EBay for example.

beer making kit

You need to know how to clean and sterilise all your home brew equipment so you don’t ruin the beer and know when and how to do pretty important things like what to add and when, when to transfer and when to bottle your home beer making efforts.

It is also a good idea to actually understand what is going on as there are many around who have had a brew blow up on them! You need to know about the grains, the mixes and the recipes that work best.

Our suggestion to learn about home beer making is to get a good book to guide you and if possible, some videos to show you how as well. One example we found gives both these mediums at a very reasonable cost. If you want to check it out, click here.

Creating home brew beer is a great hobby

Creating beer as a hobby can be a great method to pass the time, especially in the event you like beer! This really is one thing that a great deal of folks can do at home and have a great time doing it. Numerous people who are looking for something to do and acquiring a creative hobby are experiencing and enjoying the challenge of discovering the very best method to make beer and to do it well.

Several individuals when they retire are looking for something to do in order to pass the time. They’re trying to find a constructive way of creating new things. Making beer and wine at home is something that can simply be carried out. You don’t have to be worried about a few failures as you need to discover by your own mistakes.

Creating beer can be much more fun than you could believe. A whole lot of homebrewers get a lot of enjoyment from creating their very own beer and discovering the different tastes. You can find a whole lot of tastes that an individual can generate with their beer making kits, meaning if you would like a light beer or perhaps a heavy beer you can make that your preference.

brewing craft beer

If feasible, it is a whole lot easier to have a room set up that has all of the intended materials and supplies required to make your beer. These supplies and other things may be inside the basement or garage area. A getaway will allow you to retreat to the area and get started on creating a beer that tastes excellent. This really is a fantastic way of accomplishing something that you simply have usually wanted to attempt.

When you have perfected the art of creating excellent beer, you can pass it out to your buddies and family members members. They’ll appreciate getting to taste all your beer brewing creations. You may want to taste test it initially to make sure that it does actually taste like beer, particularly in the beginning. Even when it doesn’t taste as great as you thought, you are able to nonetheless be proud of what you have achieved.

From basic to advanced home beer making

One of the main considerations when brewing your own beer, even from some of the better beer brew kits, are the different recipes that are available to enhance and create unique flavours for your home beer making brew.

Maybe you started with the all-in-one complete kit that included the fermentation container and are ready to move on to the next stage. i.e. the extract kits. These are normally the cans that contain the extract that can be used to brew a positively huge array of different well-known flavours and tend to only require you to add sugar. Although be warned, if you buy for example, the Tom Caxton Dark Real Ale, don’t expect it to be exactly the same as the commercial variety.

Tom Caxton Dark Real Ale
Tom Caxton Dark Real Ale

The final stage of home beer making and probably the most rewarding is brewing from scratch. For this you will need to make sure you have a few beer making recipes that you fancy and a whole range of equipment. It is also suggested that you get a good book to help you along!

Want To Buy Homebrew Kits and Make Your Own?

One of the problems of home beer making is the smell, mess and the possibility of infection. Now, you can buy homebrew kits to help you brew with ease, with speed and using a method that is completely problem free.

Home beer making kits come with absolutely everything you will need to make the beer from an efficient sterilising product to the malt extract and beyond. You even get fresh hops and grains but without the need for the messy part of straining. Everything is made in the special box and is completely enclosed. Don’t be misled by the ‘kits’ that don’t contain everything as these assume you have the container etc. Garden Tool Box specialise in high quality easy to use garden homebrew kits.

Home Brew Online Standard Beer Starter Equipment Pack With Bottles
Home Brew Online Standard Beer Starter Equipment Pack With Bottles

Buy a kit for someone as a gift and they’ll be making it (and drinking) in no time at all! It is a little more effort than just adding the water, but by following the really simple step-by-step instructions the brew will be ready quickly and totally enjoyable!

Once you’ve made the first box, you’ll want to try another so get one of the many quality beers to try as a replacement kit so you won’t need to buy the box again. As an example, the Irish Stout starter box makes 10 litres from your beer brew kit for just over £22 and you can get refills from around £10 for a further 10 litres.

One thing though, some of the different beers may require bottling after they have brewed. So if you can’t drink all 10 litres in one go, you may need to bottle some off!! Happy brewing with your homebrew kits friends!

Is it cheaper to home brew beer?

Many people find beer interesting in a number of ways and this may lead to the thought of producing your own home brew beer. As to the question of the cost of home beer making, there are a couple of questions that must be answered first.
First of all, one would need to determine how often they will be making their beer brew. Chances are, if you are only planning to make very few batches, it will not be cheaper than buying beer from a store. The reason for this is due to the fact that there will be initial costs associated with brewing equipment. If you have determined that brewing will be a hobby and you will make multiple beer brews, then the next question would be to determine the cost of the beer you currently buy.

If you prefer high end/expensive brews, then it will probably be cheaper to make it yourself. Many brew kits make 5 gallons of beer at a time. This translates to about fifty 12 ounce beers. Prices for the ingredients alone usually start around 25 or 30 quid. This makes the cost of each beer at least 50 cents.

home brew beer

The other costs associated with home brewing beer are the brewing equipment, bottles, and the type of beer. The equipment will generally cost about a hundred quid, but can be reused with each batch. Reusing bottles can also help keep costs down. Some types of beer also require keeping the temperature very cool while it ferments. For those who live in warm climates this could add more expense for cooling, etc.

A further option in deciding whether to home brew beer for yourself is to begin with a home beer making kit. As you don’t have the expense of all the equipment you would need if starting from scratch it’s a good way to try it out.

Overall, if you plan to make multiple batches a year, home beer making is an excellent option for avid beer drinkers.

How do I choose a home brew beer kit?

It is easy to buy a beer from a shop rather than brewing beer at home. But with different the brew beer kit available in the market the task has become easier and it is funnier as well.

There is a variety of kits available to satisfy your needs of 6-7 bottles to 40 bottles of home brew beers. Choose a kit that comes in your budget. Some home brew kits can be very expensive when compared to simpler kits.

A deluxe home brew beer kit will have more components, such as scale and measuring cups, but may not be necessary for your own brewing. Select a less-expensive kit to start. Supplement your kit with a kit for your own malts. Malts is the main component of brewing beer but it can be done independently of specific brew.

home beer brewing keg

Another important requirement is the recipe of the beer. So always buy a kit that comes with a selection of recipes. This way, you experiment with different beers to match your taste and can choose from it. One of the well known brands are the Mr Beer brewing kits which are easily available and simple to use.

So give it a try and all the best!!!

Beer Brewing and Hops, a Great Way to Utilise a Useless Plant

Beer Brewing and Hops, a Great Way to Utilise a Useless Plant

It is SPRING! Everyone is tuning up their brew systems, no matter how simple or complex, for the arduous, seriously fun and frequent brewing season that is soon upon us. The thoughts of many homebrewers in springtime turn to growing their own hops. Why not? It’s relatively simple. And it’s enjoyable! Here’s a quick breakdown on how to do it…

Determine your Variety of Choice

1. Check with your county extension service to find out which varieties do best in your area. Don’t forget to ask them about resistance to local pests and disease.
2. Look up a Hop Variety Chart to determine which of the varieties that do best in your location have the characteristics you are interested in. Not all hops are created equal, some are better for bittering, some for flavouring, and yet others for aroma. Not to mention the subtle note like spice and citrus. You can find hop variety charts online or in the books written by the premier brewing experts.

How to Order Your Hops

Unless you are fortunate enough to have a local source, you will end up ordering online from one of the big hops farms. Hops are usually only available for two months every year: March & April. They sell out fast, so many suppliers offer pre-orders in February. So, unless you can find a nursery nearby who has plants, you are probably already too late. Hops are shipped is what is called a cone; they resemble ice cream sugar cones. When your hops arrive, put them in a cool ventilated place until after your last frost. Check them for moisture periodically.

Where Should You Plant Hops

Although some have had success with hops in pots, it is NOT recommended due to the size of the root system on the plants. You can however, get away with potting them for a year or two if you use large enough pots. You should pick a southern exposure, but East or West will work (but the plants and hop cones will not be as large.) Hops plants LOVE to soak up the sunshine!
In choosing where to plant, LOOK UP! Hops can grow up to a foot a day! You will need some sort of support system 8 – 10 feet tall (old clothes lines work fantastic). You will run a twine from the ground up and over the top of your support and them across to another anchor somewhere. You need a total about about 30 feet of twine for the vine to grow on.

Soil Ph should be as close to neutral (7.0) as possible. Hops like moist to semi-moist feet. But they grow fast and need water to do so. You need a deep hole (12″) because the root system will be big, add a slow release organic fertilizer, then fill the hole and cover the new rizome with only 1″ of soil. It is most common to see hops planted in a mulched mound with a soaking moat around it. Young plants have fragile roots, don’t let them dry out. A generic fertilizer is ample, just be careful how much you use. Too much fertilizer will make BIG PLANTS, but they will have lower alpha acids (the good stuff we want) in the cones.

Harvesting the Hops

You hops will grow and be lush. They will hang so beautifully from the vine. And they will TEMPT YOU! You must resist. Resist the urge to harvest… prematurely.

Your hops will NOT be ready until late August or early September. When you begin to see the first signs of brown on the cones, pluck one. Squeeze the cone between your thumb and fingers. If it feels damp and stays compressed, step away from the hop yard and wait another day or two to check again. The cone should spring back when you squeeze it.

To harvest, cut the supporting twine at the top and lay the vine straight out on the ground. Let it dry there a day or two (some people believe this allows the moisture to retreat into the roots), then pick the cones. Dry the cones in a food dehydrator, on screen in the open air, on a rack in a sheet pan in a 150 degree oven. Whichever method you use, the goal is not to BROWN the cones, but dry them. You will know they are done when you pick one up and it loses a leaflet or two.

Storage of Hops

Hops are very sensitive to oxidation. Most hop growing homebrewers like the vacuum sealer machines. They remove the air and seal the hops in bags, then you can freeze them. Whichever process you use, the container should be airtight and freezer safe.

Second Year Growth

When sprouts start to do their thing, trim the earliest few off, they will be weak. Keep the hardiest 3 or 4 vines per plant so that all of the plant’s energy will go into these 3 to 4 vines.

A Brief History of Beer Brewing
A Brief History of Beer Brewing

A Brief History of Beer Brewing

As almost any substance containing carbohydrates such as sugar or starch can naturally undergo fermentation with the help of wild yeasts that are found just about everywhere, it is very likely that beverages not unlike beer were invented by many of the ancient cultures quite independently of each other soon after the domestication of cereal crops. The history of beer easily dates back to around 6000BC and references to beer are found some of the earliest records of Sumeria, which is often referred to as the cradle of civilisation.

In ancient Mesopotamia clay tablets indicate that brewing was considered a well respected occupation throughout much of the regions history and was a profession chiefly occupied by woman. Ancient Babylonia has also yielded traces of beer and the brewing process to archeologists, where it seems brewers were chiefly women and also priestesses, fittingly as many types of beer were used in religious ceremonies.

Beer was an essential part of the diet of Egyptian Pharoahs over 5000 years ago and was made from barley bread. Aside from being the most appropriate gift for pharoah, beer had a number of important roles in Egyptian society including religious practices and as a treatment for a number of illnesses. Historical evidence suggests that it was the Egyptians who taught the Greeks how to brew beer.

After the rise of christianity beer brewing grew tremendously as monasteries began brewing beer as a trade, monks built breweries as part of their efforts to provide food, shelter and drink to travellers and pilgrims. Saint Augustine of Hippo, Saint Luke the Evangelist, and Saint Nicholas are all saints considered to be patrons of brewing.

Old-fashioned brewery
Old-fashioned brewery

Beer was one of the most common drinks consumed daily in the middle ages particularly in those areas where grape production was difficult or impossible and beer was generally produced in the home. As water was seldom pure alcoholic beverages were favoured simply because the beverage had been boiled as part of the brewing process. Hopped beer was written of in 822AD by a Carolingian Abbot and was perfected by the 13th century in Germany. Prior to hopping beer spoiled quite quickly and was unable to be exported. Around the 13th century production of beer reached a new level of professionalisation in Germany and was produced on a larger scale with typical breweries having around 8-10 labourers. This type of production spread throughout Europe and reached England by the 15th century. Although initially unhoped beer was known as an ale while the use of hops made it a beer by the 16th century all ales and beer were hopped.

The industrial revolution brought about the industrialisation of the brewing industry and further innovations came about with the introduction of the thermometer in 1760 and the hydrometer in 1770, both critical tools for the production of beer. The invention of the drum roaster in 1817 allowed for the creation of very dark roasted malts and did much to remove the smokey flavour that was predominant in many types of beers. The discovery of yeasts role in fermentation was made by Louis Pasteur in 1857, a discovery that was paramount to improving the flavour of beer and also permitted the development of methods to prevent the souring of beer caused by infection by wild yeasts and other microorganisms.

The brewing industry is a huge global business today, consisting of several large multinational companies and an increasing number of smaller producers ranging in size from brewpubs to regional breweries that produce many different types of beer ranging from ancient styles such as the spontaneously-fermented lambics of Belgium; the lagers, dark beers, wheat beers and more of Germany; the UK’s stouts, milds, pale ales, bitters, golden ale and new modern American creations such as Chili Beer, Cream Ale, and Double India Pale Ales.

How to Brew Beer In the back garden

How to Brew Beer In the back garden

The practice of brewing beer has been performed for thousands of years throughout the world. In some cultures brewing beer was a specialised trade, in a few instances even reserved for the chosen few or only for priests and other religious figures. Knowing how to brew beer in those societies was a closely guarded secret and now you can do it in the back garden!

Beer could be considered one of the worlds oldest prepared beverages and may date back as far as 9500 BCE when cereal crops such as barley were first farmed by neolithic man. Early Sumerian writings contain references to beer and the famous Ebla tablets note that the city of Ebla in Syria produced a range of beers, including one named after the city itself. The tablets include instructions on how to brew beer in the form of a hymn to the godess Ninkasi, the Mesopotamian godess of beer. The middle east was not the only known consumer of beer at this time, Europe was introduced to beer by Germanic and Celtic tribes as far back as 3000 BCE.

How to Brew Beer In the back garden
How to Brew Beer In the back garden

For much of its history brewing beer and its early equivelents was performed in the home at a domestic level and learning how to brew beer was passed down through the generations through word of mouth. By the seventh century beer was also being produced and sold by monastries. The beer produced by early Europeans might not be recognised as beer today, it contained a basic starch source and was flavoured by fruits, spices, honey and other plants. Hops were not used in beer until around 822 AD and the uptake of hopping beer was slow and not considered an essential component of beer until the late 1400’s. Adding hops to beer prevented it from spoiling and was a key factor in allowing it to be exported.

The industrial revolution brought about great changes in the way beer was produced and beer brewing became less of an art as it started to produced on an industrial scale. After this time in many countries homebrewing was made illegal and domestic brewing of beer virtually ceased, only being legalised again in the later half of the 20th century. In most countries homebrewing beer is once again quite legal with no limits to the strength or quantity of beer produced with the only limitation being that it must not be sold but consumed in the household in which it was produced. Other countries impose limits on how much beer the household can produce and some, Japan for example, limit the alcohol strength of the beer yet freely admit that there is no way to police the homebrewer effectively giving them a free hand in whatever they produce.

A wise first step for anyone considering homebrewing as a hobby would be to determine if brewing beer at home is legal in the part of the world they reside and what limitations and regulations are imposed on them before they start.

The objective of this web site is to teach the reader how to brew beer. In the last twenty five years there have been great advances in homebrewing that have increased the number of choices available to homebrewers. Early homebrewing followed traditional methods of mashing malted and cracked barley and adding hops at a boil off stage. This is referred to as all grain brewing and it closely follows the way beer has been produced for centuries but using modern equipment. A later advancement came in the form of prehopped malt extracts that take much of the work out of home brewing. Prehopped malt extracts are a concentrated wort that has been mashed and hopped then boiled to reduce it to around 1.5 litres in volume. It is then sealed in a can and all the homebrewer need do is mix it with water and add yeast, taking much of the work out of brewing beer and allowing for a more consistant end result.

These days the majority of homebrewers prefer to use prehopped malt extracts as they are easy to make and cheap to buy. The end product rivals a commercially made beer in quality and the results are generally more consistant. All grain brewing is in decline as it can be somewhat more expensive and definetely more time consuming to produce a beer from scratch. Having said that I know many all grain brewers that take significant pride in their finished beers and produce a unique product that can be considered the work of an artisan.

Whether you choose to use a prehopped malt extract or kit beer as they are sometimes called or make your beer using grains is a personal choice. I advise beginners to start with malt extracts until they get the hang of things and then progress to grains when they feel confident, if they feel the need to brew their beer the traditional way at all. If you like a beer and just want to save a few dollars then malt extracts are all you will likely need or want. If you take your beer a little more seriously or would like a hobby that will provide hours of enjoyment then all grain beer brewing might be just what you need. Both of these types of beer brewing are covered on this website and we certainly hope that it helps you learn how to brew beer.