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Homebrew Thread


laripu
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The poster known as "Five by Five" asked me to write more about homebrewing. I'm happy to do that.

 

I've been making mostly beer, but also mead (and wine, a long time ago) since 1990. Is a great hobby.

 

Probably 90% of it is cleaning, sanitizing and waiting. Another important part is controlling temperature.

 

I make many different kinds of beer. The one I made a few days ago, which I've made many times before, is a strong blond ale that I call "Cats & Myces". (After the biological name for brewer's yeast: Saccharomyces Cerevisiae.)

 

The constituents of beer, mostly are water, barley malt (for the sugars and other nutrients that yeast turns into CO2 and alcohol), hops (for bitterness to balance malt sweetness, and other flavors and aromas), and living brewer's yeast - which does the metabolic work.

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How many square feet do I need to support 4 peoples diet for beer?they drink a lot

Cheapest Beer right now is a 25 oz can for about a buck.. 50 cents a beer

 

If I could break even brewing my own I would.. because I know the beer would be better and I made it

I have a dedicated refrigerator, and a large table and cabinet. It takes up half a room. Plus, when I brew I use the whole kitchen for an 10 hour day. Then there's siphoning, bottling, etc.

 

If I count my hours (and I'm well paid :)), my strong blond ale costs me about $60/liter. :D

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60$ a litre? Can we get that down 2$?

The ingredients required for 23 liters of cheap crap beer (about 4% to 5% abv) will run about $30. The minimum time for that will be about 5 to 10 hours. The minimum time between brewing and drinking will be one month, but two months would be better.

 

The beer I make takes almost 3 months to be ready. The ingredients are more expensive, sometimes up to $55. The alcohol level is about 7%. The number of hours of work is around 23.

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There are many ways to brew beer, but they're all variants of two main ways: all-grain brewing, or extract brewing.

 

All grain brewers produce "wort", pronounced "wirt". This is boiled with hops, cooled, then fermented with yeast to make beer. The beer is separated from most of the yeast, then packaged in either a keg or bottles.

 

Extract brewers do most of that. The difference is that they don't produce their own wort. Malt extract is concentrated wort. An extract brewer adds water, then proceeds the same way. Malt extract is either a dry sticky powder (DME) or a liquid goop (LME) like something between honey and molasses.

 

Plenty of people brew variants where some grain is used and some extract is used.

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Once a brewer has wort, the wort is boiled for an hour, with hops added at various times throughout the hour. The longer the hops boil, the more bitterness they add. Hops that are not boiled, added at the end of the boil, give aroma, but no bitterness. Hops boiled for 15 minutes only add flavor, and a little bitterness, but not much aroma. Playing with quantities and times gives a wide variety of hop characters.

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So malt is for yeast to convert to alcohol. Whatever is left that the yeast didn't convert gives the beer malty sweetness. That sweetness is balanced by hop bitterness, flavor, and aroma. The hop character can be spicy, or floral, or earthy, or citrus, depending on the variety and the place it was grown.

 

The genius of 'lite' beers is that they maximize profit for the brewer. They've convinced you that a low-malt, low-calorie beer is a good thing. Because there's almost no hop sweetness left, there's no need for much hop to balance.

 

They get to sell you less product for the same money.

 

Because this kind of beer is essentially unsatisfying, you drink more of it, which makes them more money.

 

Compare that to: when I drink a 500 ml bottle of my sweet and bitter, high-calorie, 7% ale, I'm done. There is no second beer. No need or desire. I'm satisfied.

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The most important thing in beer making is sanitization. That's the process of reducing the numbers of spoilage bacteria. You can't sterilize because bacteria are everywhere. You breathe billions in and out with every breath.

 

But the yeast that ferments the beer competes with spoilage bacteria. If you sanitize everything the beer touches to reduce bacteria count, boil your wort to kill off everything in there, and introduce a large health yeast colony, the yeast will prevent bacteria from causing off-flavors. Fermenting at cool temperatures (63°F to 68°F) will also prevent the yeast itself from causing off-flavors.

 

Another bonus: the bittering compounds extracted from boiling hops are also anti-bacterial, but not anti yeast. That's probably why, in the 15th century onward, hops beat out all other herbal flavoring agents that were used in antiquity. If you're interested, look up gruit.

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