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Homebrew Q & A

Have you ever thought about making your own beer? A lot of people have questions about homebrew. To answer these questions, we have launched a new section of the website to focus on home brewed beer.

We have also compiled a list of the most commonly asked questions about homebrewed beer. Take a look, and visit the homebrew section at www.drunkmansguide.com/homebrew.

Q: How long does it take to make a batch of homebrew?
A: It takes about 2 hours to “brew” the beer. The beer ferments for 2-3 weeks. It takes a couple hours to bottle your brew. Finally, it takes another 2 –3 weeks for your beer to carbonate. Total labor: 4 hours. Total time to make drinkable beer: 4 – 6 weeks.

Q: Is it hard to make beer?
A: If you can follow instructions, then you can make beer. There are opportunities to learn all about the chemistry and biology of beer, but most homebrewers never get that deep into it. As long as you follow the instructions on this site, you will have great beer.

Q: Is homebrew any good?
A: Just like any food you eat, the taste of a beer depends totally on the talent of the brewer or chef. If the beer is brewed under sanitary conditions, and it is allowed to ferment at the correct temperature, it will usually taste great.

Q: Is home made beer legal?
A: In the United States and most western countries the answer is Yes! Homebrew is legal almost everywhere. You should check your local laws, of course, but home made beer has been legal in the United States since the late 70’s.

Q: How much does it cost to make a batch of homebrew?
A: Most styles can be made for around $25 – $35 for 2 cases (48 beers).

Q: What sort of equipment do I need to make homebrew? How much does it cost?
A: Home brewing equipment is like fishing equipment – you can spend as much as you want. Just like with fishing, a basic setup costs about $50, but some homebrewers spend thousands on their equipment.

Q: What kinds of beer can I make?
A: There are two kinds of beer: Ale and Lager. As a new home brewer, you will almost certainly start off making Ales. Lagers are more complicated, require a higher level of skill, and you need more expensive equipment to make it.

Q: Ok, what’s the difference between Lager and Ale?
A: The bottom-line difference between Lager and Ale is that Ale is fermented at around room temperature (68 – 70 degrees F or so), whereas Lager is fermented at colder temperatures (37 – 65 degrees F). The strain of yeast used in the beer determines the style. Lager usually has a smoother, more finished taste because it ferments more slowly at colder temperatures, and it is held for a longer period of time before it is served.

Many people have the false impression that Ales are dark in color while Lagers are light in color, or that the alcohol content determines the style. These are misconceptions. There are loads of “Dark Lagers”, and Ales can be made in any shade or strength.

Q: Speaking of strength, what is the alcohol content of Homebrew?
A: As a homebrewer, you have a great degree of control over the amount of alcohol that is in your beer. Generally speaking, most styles of homebrew are above 3% and below 10%. However there are ways to push the alcohol content up to around 15% or even higher if you know what you are doing.

Q: Is Homebrew safe to drink? Will I go blind if I drink it?
A: Beer is inherently safe to drink because the acids in the Hops and the antiseptic nature of Ethanol combine to suppress bacteria and keep the brew from spoiling. In fact, beer, in various forms, has been used as a way to safely store water for thousands of years before the days of modern water treatment.

As for going blind – no, you will not go blind from drinking home made beer. This myth is loosely associated with the speak-easies of the prohibition era when prohibitionists widely publicized a few cases where unscrupulous underground tavern owners served their customers turpentine- and methanol-laced liquor in order to cut costs. The myth still effectively persuades many people not to distill their own liquor (a practice that is illegal almost everywhere). As a Home brewer, you are not distilling anything and you are not going to put these poisons in your brew. So, you have nothing to worry about.

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November 12, 2007 - Posted by | beer, Homebrewing | , , , , , ,

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