The Top 10 Facts About Homebrewing


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The Top 10 Facts About Homebrewing


If you enjoy brewing your own beer at home, then you will enjoy these top 10 facts about beer and homebrewing. Beer has been around for at least 7,000 years. Brewing beer was an intrinsic part of ancient household chores and is undergoing a major resurgence today.

HOMEBREW AND YOU

Homebrewing beer is becoming more and more popular. By definition, it is the brewing of beer on a small-scale for personal use. Not only is homebrewing very cost-effective with beer kits being substantially cheaper than commercial beer, it also offers the opportunity for anyone to create their perfect beer in the comfort of their own home. Alcohol content, flavour, body, and mouthfeel can all be customised to suit individual palates.

Microbreweries are popping up everywhere and online homebrew suppliers are busier than ever. Homebrewing is a creative and money-saving hobby that has a long history. Here are ten interesting facts with which to amaze your friends next time you share a homebrewed beer.

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FACT #1 GET THAT SKUNK OUTTA HERE!

Up until the 1930’s, beer was kept in green or clear bottles. When they were kept in dark, cool places, the beer remained aromatic and flavoursome. When the bottles were exposed to light, however, the beer developed a “skunky” aroma. Brown-tinted bottles are used to stop light penetration. This is the same reason medicines and essential oils are stored in brown bottles. Beer with little hop content is not affected by light and therefore can still be kept in clear or green bottles. Beer with a high hop content needs to be stored in brown bottles.

FACT #2 HOMEBREWING AT THE SOUTH POLE

HOMEBREWING AT THE SOUTH POLE

Antarctica might be an inhospitable frozen desert, but homebrewing is in full swing on the icy continent. There is no indigenous population, but when the summer research season comes around, the population can swell to 4,000 people. Unlike American bases where the codes of conduct prevent alcohol consumption, Australian bases have long brewed their own beer. Casey base has the “Casey brew club” which keeps the base bar “Splinters” well-stocked with the refreshing amber fluid.

FACT #3 YEAST IS REUSABLE

Yeast is a living organism that multiplies when given sugar and warmth. The brewer’s yeast used for brewing beer can be reused a number of times. When the brewing process has finished, you can wash the yeast to use again. This is a great trick in any homebrewer’s arsenal. One method is to pour one litre of cool, sterile water onto the yeast cake. Agitate well, then pour into a separate sterile container. Let settle for half an hour, then decant the cloudy stuff, leaving the dead yeast, turb, spent grains, and hop fragments behind. Cover the yeast mixture with sterile foil.

FACT #4 BREWING AT THE WHITE HOUSE

BREWING AT THE WHITE HOUSE

American presidents as far back as Thomas Jefferson have brewed their own beer. Barack Obama was the first president to brew beer at the actual White House. From his first term in January 2011, the in-house chefs brewed “White House Honey Ale” from a brew kit Obama purchased himself. During the ensuing years, “White House Honey Blonde Ale,” “White House Honey Porter,” and “White House Honey Brown” were added to the menu. The honey is sourced from beehives maintained on the South Lawn. The recipe is available on the White House blog.

FACT #5 HOPS ARE RELATED TO MARIJUANA

The hop plant is closely related to cannabis. They both belong to a small family of flowering plants known as Cannabaceae. Both plants are redolent with the terpene humulene, and both share similar biological features. The leaves are palmate with veins and leaflets, and the flower structures are stacked calyxes. In 2002, molecular biologists confirmed via genetic sequencing that both plants are closely-related. They share similar molecular compositions, which is why they are both intoxicating for humans.

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FACT #6 DO MASH TEMPERATURES AFFECT FLAVOURS?

DO MASH TEMPERATURES AFFECT FLAVOURS?

Does mash temperature affect beer quality? The results from a recent “exbeeriment” say yes and no. During the brewing process, there were obvious differences. However, responses seemed to depend on individual palates regarding whether standard mash or heated mash provided different results. In a triple blind test, tasters were asked to give their impressions about smell, taste, and mouthfeel. The responses varied considerably with no conclusions being made. The best thing would be for you to buy a beer kit and do the test yourself to discover which method suits your personal taste.

FACT #7 WHAT DO BREAD AND BEER HAVE IN COMMON?

Brewing beer and making bread have something in common; the formidable yeast fungus. These industrious creatures were among the first to be domesticated by humans. How this came to be is lost in the mist of history, but where there is leavened bread, beer, or wine, there was yeast. When yeast is warmed then given sugar and deprived of oxygen, it metabolises energy from the sugar. The waste products are carbon dioxide and alcohol. The carbon dioxide is what makes bread dough rise and gives beer its bubbles. The cooking process kills the yeast in bread before it can make too much alcohol. The beer brewing process kills the yeast when the alcohol content exceeds 10%. Yeast, we salute you!

FACT #8 HOMEBREWING IS ANCIENT

HOMEBREWING IS ANCIENT

Human beings have been brewing and drinking beer for at least 7,000 years. Homebrewing or “boutique brewing” was ostensibly all there was until the advent of mass production and commercialisation. Brewing beer began during the Neolithic period in Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq), Egypt, and China.

Brewing beer was traditionally done by women and was considered a tenet of gathering. Brewing beer was considered a domestic chore in a number of ancient cultures and was thought of as a part of baking. Tang Dynasty China, Rome, and Greece all brewed beer. Usually done by slaves under the watchful eye of the house matriarch, it was the industrial revolution that saw the demise of homebrewing and the rise of commercial beer production. Taxes levied on homebrewing were designed to force purchases of mass-produced beers. Most countries repealed these taxes between 1920 and 1970, and homebrewing has since undergone a dramatic resurgence.

FACT #9 HOMEBREW HANGOVERS AREN’T AS BAD

Hangovers from homebrewed beers are not as bad as those from commercial beers. Apart from adding suspect chemicals to their beers to increase shelf-life and kill-off excess yeast, commercial beers are pasteurised and filtered in a way that removes the vitamin B content. Vitamin B is a brain-friendly vitamin that helps ease the pounding of hangovers. Homebrewed beer retains the full complement of vitamin B, therefore reducing the effects of hangovers naturally. Homebrewed beer also puts you in charge of the ingredients. Organic grains for higher-quality nutrients, spring water, and your choice of conditioning sugars make for a healthier drop.

FACT #10 EVEN CELEBRITIES LIKE A HOMEBREW

EVEN CELEBRITIES LIKE A HOMEBREW

Celebrities are also enjoying the benefits of homebrewing. Some even put their personal favourites on the market. Everyone’s favourite idiot Tom Green, in partnership with Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company, released a 5% milk stout called Tom Green Beer. Bruce Dickinson from Iron Maiden has had reasonable success with his 4.7% English cask ale brewed in partnership with Robinsons Brewery in Stockport. Star Trek: The Next Generation fans will know that Wil Wheaton who played Wesley Crusher has his own beer called Wootstout. Brewed in partnership with Stone Brewing Company in Escondido, it is a 13% ABV imperial stout made from rye, wheat malt, and pecans aged in bourbon whiskey barrels.

HOORAY FOR BEER

Beer has been around almost as long as civilisation itself. Brewing beer has similar effects to meditation as concentrating on the process allows the troubles of the world to temporarily fade away. Beer is held in high regard as a social lubricant; so much so that bars and pubs were built especially to congregate, socialise, and of course, drink beer. Brewing your own beer at home is a relaxing and creative hobby that should be experienced by any fan of the amber gold.

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