Home Beer Brewing

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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Home beer brewing can be a great alternative for those who are tired of watered-down domestic beers and overpriced imports. While there are always new values in the microbrew world, it can be just as rewarding to create your own batch as it is to stumble upon a hidden gem. The former takes a more concerted effort, of course, as there are dozens of factors that you and you alone control.

Success with home beer brewing depends largely on your knowledge of the process. It's inadvisable for anyone who's never heard of malted barley or hops to buy a home beer making kit and simply dive in, at least with the expectation of satisfying results. A great batch of beer is aided by a familiarity with the germination, malting, sparging, fermentation, and bottling processes, even if some of these will be skipped during home beer brewing.

Finer Points of Home Beer Brewing

The quality of your home brew, as any gourmet cook will affirm, hinges on your ingredients. You wouldn't expect to make an award-winning apple pie from rotten Galas or Granny Smiths, so why would you expect great beer from so-so hops, barley, yeast, and water? To start, you'll want to find a supplier who has access to fresh ingredients, since it's unlikely that you have your hops vines or barley fields in your backyard.

Once you've pinned down the best ingredients possible, you'll need to understand the ways in which their proportions to one another affect aroma and taste. Similarly, you'll want to experiment with your introduction of hops throughout the "boil," as this will determine how bitter or how strong your beer will taste. Most home beer making kits come with an instruction manual that offers tips and suggestions on these finer points, even if every beer drinker's tastes are slightly different.

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