Tuesday, January 3, 2012

How Micro Brewing Started and Homebrewing Tips

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With their varying flavor intensities and alcohol contents, microbrews are here because beer distributors noticed a market demand and took a gamble on imports like Corona in the 70s. This type of flavorful beer sold to a limited yet very enthusiastic crowd. Beer manufacturers create what sells, therefore they didn't believe there would be a significant  market with those types of beers. Consumer studies and sales showed that the biggest part of the American audiences enjoyed watery brew. Then, out of nowhere, microbrews popped up after  the first successful brew, Samuel Adams, fought  with import distributors to try and convince them that a flavorful American beer would sell. Now, we have more microbrews than ever before with more coming out each and every day. Microbrews really hit when distributors really believed that at least some people would buy them. On the other hand, home brewers and brewpubs had legal wars. In 1968, home brewing was legalized  and home brewers now had the support and assistance
of supply and advice stores. Until 1983, brewpubs were illegal in all states.  Late in 1983, California first began to allow brewpubs to brew and distribute their brands of beer on site. These charming, yet small batch
breweries experienced high sales, especially in restaurants. Around a century ago, the United States had more  than 2,000 breweries making many different styles and variations. By the 80's, there were only 40 brewing companies that offered a brand of American Pilsner. Today, there are over 500 microbreweries and
brewpubs in the United States. Over the past few years,  brewpubs have been popping up all over the place,
even in bars that used to only carry the top beers.

History of Microbrews
Many historians believe that the ancient Sumerians and Mesopotamians were brewing as early back as 10,000 B.C. Even though this product would have been different from the bottles varieties of today, it would have still been recognizable. The ancient Egyptians and the Chinese brewed their beer, as did civilizations in America, where they used corn instead of barley. Back then, thousands of years ago, microbrews were very popular and  on their way to what we now know and love today.
In the middle ages, European monks were the guardians of literature and science, as well as the art of making beer. They refined the process to perfection, and even institutionalized the use of hops as both flavoring and a preservative. It wasn't however, until Louis Pasteur came along that a final, important development was determined.Until this time, brewers had to depend on the wild yet airborne yeast for fermentation. By establishing that yeast is actually a living organism, he opened the gates for controlling the conversion of sugar into alcohol.Grapes grow well in warmer climates, while barley grows better in cool climates. This is how the
northern areas of Germany and England first became famous for their beers.

Beer in America
Everything in America went dim until the dark day of 1920, when prohibition took effect. A lot of breweries went out of business or switched their production to soda pop. Not everyone stopped drinking, but gangster related products weren't known for high quality. When Franklin D. Roosevelt became president, he quickly appealed the very unpopular law. The new breeds of now famous beer came after World War
2 were generally mass produced and very bland.

Discovering Microbrews
Brewed on every continent around the world and enjoyed in every nation, beer can quench every type of thirst and go down as easily as spring water to thick, heady concoctions that resemble that of
the thickest oatmeal. Just as the gourmet blends have conquered a large portion of the coffee business, handcrafted brews continue to keep a firm hold on the most serious of beer drinkers.  There are hundreds of thousands of brews out there, which are sure to please even the hardest to please. When it comes to the gourmet types of microbrews, there are some things to keep in mind.  If you are new to microbrews and gourmet types, you'll find the tips below to be very beneficial. Start light When you go to a pub or just out to drink, you should start off light with a basic lager, pilsner, or wheat beer.  After that, you can work your way towards the full flavored beers, such as porters and Oktoberfest beers.  These can be very potent, especially for those who don't really drink that much. Starting light is also good for your overall  tolerance, as drinking light will prepare you for the more potent drinks.  This way, you can enjoy plenty of microbrews without having to worry  about stopping too early.

The ideal way to try new types of beer is to pay a visit to a local brewpub.  Many of these small brewery/restaurants will offer samplers, which feature small glasses with four to five of their
most popular beers.  This way, you can experience a variety of beer tastes without having to spend a lot of money. Once you have tried a couple of the beers, you'll know what to order. 

Small business
Small businesses and small businessmen are yet another reason to get into microbrewed beer other
than the taste.  Local microbrew producers brew their beers in small batches, so you'll be helping
to keep the business afloat, rather than supporting the large giants of the industry. When you know that your money is going to help the little people, you'll normally find the brew to go down much smoother.  Small microbreweries need  all the help they can get to continue brewing,  which is reason enough to support them.  You'll get a great beer for your money - and you'll be  supporting those that actually need your help when they start a microbrewery.

Beer Ingredients
The main ingredients found in beer are water, malted barley, hops, and yeast.  There are other ingredients
such as flavoring, sugar, and other ingredients that are commonly used.  Starches are used as well, as they convert in the mashing process to easily fermentable sugars that will help to increase the alcohol content of beer while adding body and flavor.

Seeing as how beer is mainly composed of water, the source of water and its characteristics have a very
important effect on the character of the beer.  A lot of beer styles were influenced by the characteristics of water in the region.  Although the effect of minerals in brewing water is complex, hard water is more suited to dark styles, while  soft ware is more suited to light styles.

Among malts, barley is the most widely used due to its high amylase content, and a digestive enzyme
that facilitates the breakdown of starch into  sugars.  Depending on what can be cultivated locally,
other malts and unmalted grains can be used, such as wheat, rice, oats, and rye. 
Malt is obtained by soaking grain in water, allowing it to germinate, then drying the germinated grain
in a kiln.  By malting the grain, enzymes will  eventually convert the starches in the grain into
fermentable sugars.

Since the seventeenth century, hops have been commonly used as a bittering agent in beer.  Hops help to contribute a bitterness that will balance the sweetness of the malts.  They also contribute
aromas which range from citrus to herbal. Hops also provide an antibiotic effect that favors
the activity of brewer's yeast over the less desirable microorganisms.  The bitterness in beer is normally measured on the International  Bitterness Units scale. 

Yeast is a microorganism that's responsible for fermentation.  Specific strains of yeast are chosen depending on the type of beer produced, as the two main strains are ale yeast and lager yeast, with other variations available as well. Yeast helps to metabolise the sugars that are extracted from the grains, and produces alcohol and carbon dioxide as a result.  Before the functions of yeast were understood, all fermentations were done using wild or airborne yeasts.

Clarifying agent
A lot of brewers prefer to add one or more clarifying agents to beer that aren't required to be published as ingredients.  Examples include Isinglas finings, which are obtained from swim bladders of fish and Irish moss, which is a type of red alga.   Since these ingredients can be obtained from animals, those who are concerned with either the use or consumption of animal products.

Methods Of Microbrewing
The first thing you'll need to do when brewing is  to sanitize everything that will come in contact
with your unfermented beer.  It will take time for the sanitizer to do its job, so don't rush
things.   Next, you'll need to rinse everything to remove any remaining sanitizer.  Any remaining sanitizer
can kill of your yeast if you don't rinse things well.  Add 3 1/2 gallons of water to your  fermenter then seal it with the fermenter's lid or a rubber stopper.  This should be done as  soon as you can before you begin to cook the wort.

Add 2 gallons of cold water to the pot and bring it to a boil.  Once the water has started to boil,
add your malt syrup or extract kit.  Always watch your pot boil and never leave it.  Stir it well,
until the extract has dissolved.   Boiling over can create a mess and cause you to
loose precious ingredients.  Malt doesn't boil like water, as it comes to a boil the liquid will
expand and foam over the top. Stir constantly and keep a close watch to avoid boiling over. Add a few tablespoons of your boiling wort to  1 cup of cool water in a sanitized container, making sure the temperature isn't too high. Next, add your yeast packet and cover the  container with a saucer or lid. 

Pitching Yeast
After the wort has finished boiling, allow the mixture time to cool to 70 - 80 degrees then pitch the yeast into your fermenter, which you already have filled to 2/3 of the desired
final level with cold water.   These are the basic steps for brewing your
own microbrews.  You'll also have to siphon,
bottle, then pour your brew.  The final steps aren't that difficult, although they do
require a certain level of precision.  If  this is your first time brewing, you should
watch someone experienced first. With microbrewing, there are many different
methods, including fruit.  Fruit is unlike other types of microbrews, as the method
introduces fruit into the equation and makes for a very unique - yet interesting taste. When brewing your own beers, you can use any method you prefer.  Some are harder than others, although a little bit of time is all
you need to become a pro.  Once you have been brewing for a while, you'll be able to brew even the most exotic of microbrews - all it takes is time and dedication.

Home Brewery Supplies

Mr. Beer, Great for Beginners.
 Before you can start brewing beer, you'll need to have the right equipment.  If this is your first time brewing, you should start simple.  Before  you begin, the first thing that you'll need is a brew pot.  Before you rush out and buy one, you  may already have one that will work just fine. The pot should hold at least three gallons of
liquid.  The next thing you'll need is a fermenter. For the average five gallon batch, the fermenter should hold six gallons or more, allowing space for a foam that will form during the vigorous

More Advanced Set-Up.

process of fermentation. For this stage, a glass carboy or food grade plastic bucket is often used.  You'll also need an airlock for your fermenter to allow the C02 to escape while also keeping the air out.  A siphon hose is also needed to transfer beer from the fermenter when it's ready, without having to mix air into it.  When bottling beer, A bottling bucket will also help to make the process much easier.  Bottling buckets are  similar to fermenters, except the fact that they have a spigot at the bottom that allows you to fill the bottles directly, which makes the  entire process less messy and gets things done much quicker.  You'll also need a capper to seal your bottles; as bottles and caps or even a keg will be needed to store and serve yourbrew. If you look around, you may be able to find a kit that will contain everything you need.  You can purchase kits on the internet, many of which offer the top quality equipment  and home brewery supplies that you'll need to brew.  All you have to do is look around the net, as there are many different web sites that offer equipment for microbrews.If you don't want to buy a kit, you can always buy each piece of equipment separately.  This tends to be a bit more expensive than buying a kit, although you'll be able to pick each piece of equipment yourself, without having to take what's included in the kit. Once you get all of the necessary equipment together, you should know how to use it before you get started.  This way, you won't run into any problems once you start brewing.  The  equipment needed for brewing is easy to use, so you shouldn't have any problems. Brewing microbrews can be both fun and exciting, especially when you start brewing your own creations.  You can  bottle the  beer yourself, drink the brew yourself, or serve it to friends and family.  Microbrews are fun to drink and create - which makes having
the proper equipment all the more while. Beer Making Kits - A Great Gift
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Troubleshooting Home Brewing

 Seven Deadly Sins of Homebrewing

1. Poor cleansing/sanitation.
2. Fermenting the beer at too warm or too cold of a temperature.
3. Following the ‘instructions’ that came with your ingredient kit.
4. Using old yeast.
5. Not having brewday checklists to guide you through brewday.
6. Bottling your beer before it is ready.
7. Worrying too much about your beer!
Ok, you’ve got the Seven Deadly Sins of Homebrewing, the better question is how to avoid each
one?!? That’s easy, keep reading!
1. Make sure anything that will touch the beer after boil is over is free of dirt, grime and
slime! And make sure that clean equipment has been sanitized before it touches any of
your beer!
2. The yeast strain you chose will have a suggested fermentation temperature. Make sure
you’re within that range, most ale yeasts can be fermented in the 60s to low 70s F, most
houses have a room that fits the bill.
3. Often instructions that come with an ingredient kit are a bit lacking. Boil your beer for a
full 60 minutes, add bittering hops at the beginning of the boil and then add finishing
hops as directed.
4. Make sure your yeast is fresh, a couple months for liquid and no more than a year for dry.
5. Homebrewing should be fun and easy, what’s more easy than watching someone brew a
batch and using a systematic checklist to help you on brew day?! The BeerEasy.com members section gives you these and MUCH MORE!
6. You’ll never want to bottle your beer before its ready. If you bottle too soon those bottles
of beer may become beer grenades—dangerous and messy!
7. A new homebrewer will often worry about every little thing from brew day and even
after the beer has been bottled. Most of the time, take a deep breath, a sip of your
favorite beer and relax; brewing beer is easy and is VERY forgiving!
You’re armed with the essential information for how not to screw up that first batch! Now all
you need to do is buy your equipment, an ingredient kit, and get a little how to brew training and
you’re set! Good luck brewing your first batch!
Happy Brewing,

Stuck fermentation
Stuck fermentation occurs when your beer fails to ferment to completion.  This can result from the
use of old yeast or poor ingredients.  The best way to take care of this problem, is to prevent
it from starting.  To do this, you should:
 1.  Re-hydrate the yeast by adding it to some water and adding wort to the yeast an hour
or more before you pitch.  This will help ensure that your yeast is still active.
 2.  Use an all malt or a recipe that has a lot of it, as yeast needs nutrients to stay
alive.  Corn and sugar lack these nutrients.  If your yeast still fails to survive, it cannot
reproduce.  For this very reason, distilled water shouldn't be used when making beer.

Under carbonation
If you've used the proper amount of priming sugar and your beer is still flat, it's probably due to the fact that you didn't properly rise the sanitizing solution from the bottles.  If too
much sanitizer is left in the bottles, it can kill the yeast, which results in flat beer.  The
only way to prevent this is to stop it from happening.

Over carbonation
Over carbonation can cause your beer to turn into a foam disaster.  It can result from these causes:
 1.  Too much or uneven priming sugar.  You should measure your primer carefully and dissolve it thoroughly in boiling water and allow it the proper time to cool.  Before bottling, make sure to stir this into your beer.
 2.  Bottling your beer too early can also result in too much carbonation.
 3.  Poor sanitization is also a cause.  If you allow your beer to come in contact with wild
yeast, it can result in over carbonation and  possibly even off flavors.
 4.  Bottles that are under filled can  also contribute to over carbonation.  You should allow 1/2 inch of head space to allow your beer time to pressurize. By taking the proper time to fix problems, you'll
ensure that your brew comes out great every time you brew it.  If you happen to run into a
problem, always take the time to ration it before you rush into fixing it.  If you rush into
fixing a problem, you may start another one.You should expect problems, especially if this
is your first time brewing.  Even for expert home brewers, problems can occur from time to time -
which is something you'll learn to deal with.

Beer Brewing instructions will come with any kit you may buy, but for more in depth knowledge, check out the link below. Good luck and hopefully one day you can run your own successful micro brewery.

Brewing Fruit Beer

If you are thinking of brewing fruit beer, it is a good idea because it can add a new and unique
twist of complexity to the beverage.  A raspberry wheat for example, would add a tart flavor as peach
would add the smooth sweet taste that we all  associate with peaches in your brew. If you plan to add fruit to your brew, it's highly recommended that your fruit is fresh.  The longer fruit is allowed to ripen from the time it has been picked, the greater the chance that airborne bacteria can infect your batch.
Although the fruit will most likely be boiled with the wort, the precaution above is still highly recommended.  Alternately, you may decide to use fruit puree, which will offer homebrewers the
chance to brew with fruit without having the fear of contamination.  Regardless of your style of
brew, you can normally add fruit to it. The process of adding fruit is simple.  Crush,
chop, or break up the fruit that you are planning to use.  Next, place the processed fruit into a bag then let it steep in the hot wort for five to ten minutes after the boiling has
been finished. When you are transferring your brew mixture to your primary fermenter, you may choose to sparge your fruit with some added water to extract every last drop of essence from the fruit.  Always
keep in mind that when you add fruit, you are adding additional sugar to your wort.  This added
sugar concentration will effect your original and final specific gravity when you measure it
with a hydrometer.Some fruits that you use are actually easier to work with than others.  Raspberries for example, may leave seeds in your primary fermenter if they aren't properly filtered.  The basic object to
achieve a quality fruit beer is to capture the essence from the fruit then remove all that
remains before you start the primary fermentation. Adding fruit to your microbrew will give your brew a unique taste.  There are many brews out there that take full advantage of fruit, many of which are extremely popular.  Fruit can bring  a very refreshing taste, especially when it is
brewed the right way.

Different Types of Beer

Lagering, as a process, was discovered around 200years ago in Bavaria.  Here, it was found that
beers experiencing secondary fermentation in casks stored in the caves of the Alps would produce beers
with different characteristics than ales.   The process of lagering became very popular in areas where fermenting with cool temperatures could be maintained, although it wasn't until the invention of the refrigerator that lagers really spread around the world.
Over the last several years, flat sales have been seen for breweries as a growth in sales for American microbrews.  Even though a lot of the  beer volume from lager is composed of cheap quality product from the large breweries, there's plenty of great products available, although most are from Europe. European all malt Pilsener World wild, Pilseners are the most popular style.
The style originated in Bohemia in a town that was named Pilsen by the brewery.  Even though there are some superb Pilseners made outside this region, the style is frequently cheapened and  is also the basis for many beers lacking quality or being just plain ol' cheap beer.

Types of Lagers-

German Pilsener
Classic German Pilseners are very light in color and well hopped, with the hop bitterness being high.  It's a well attenuated, medium bodied beer although a malty accent can be perceived.  There
shouldn't be any chill haze, as the head of the beer should be dense and rich.

Bohemian lager
Lagers in this category are very similar to German Pilseners, although they are more full bodied and can be as dark as light amber.  This style of beer will balance the moderate bitterness and  noble hop aroma with a malty, yet slightly sweet body. 

Pale Ale Beer
English pale ale
The style of English pale ale was originated by producers in Burton during the 1800's.  The high
levels of calcium found in the water compliment this style quite well, by making a more efficient
extraction of bitter resins from the hops. The taste and aroma of English pale ale is similar
to that of the English Bitter.  The term "pale" was intended originally to distinguish beers of this
type from the black London Porter.  Classic English ales aren't pale, rather golden to copper colored.

American pale ale
The types of American pale ales range from golden to light colored copper.  This style of ale is best
characterized by American variety hops used to produce high hop bitterness, aroma, and flavor. 
These types of beers are less malty than their British counterparts. These beers have medium body and low to medium maltiness.  Chill haze is acceptable only at cold temperatures.

Belgian pale ale
The Belgian ales are very similar to British ales, although they are more spicy and aromatic - both
in malt and yeast character.  These types of ales are known by low, yet noticeable hop bitterness,
flavor, and aroma.Low malt aroma and light to medium body are typical
for Belgian pal ale.  In color, they are golden to deep amber.  Noble hop types are normally used,
while low to medium fruity esters are evident in both flavor and aroma.  Chill haze with Belgian pale
ale is acceptable at cold temperatures. Pale ale beers are very popular throughout the world,
being served in hundreds of thousands of bars.  They are also great for social occasions as well, as
millions of people enjoy their dark yet satisfying tastes.  If you've never experienced pale ale beer -
you shouldn't deprive yourself any longer.


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