It’s a hobby. A serious hobby. One that supplies beer enough to drown your town for a day. It’s called home brewing.
Home brewing has been around for centuries, unregulated and very much enjoyed by everyone practicing it. Although in some countries in Europe, home brewed beverages require license, the majority of countries around the world allow for unregulated quantities of homebrewed beverages for personal consumption. A handful of these impose quite strict laws on distilling and distribution, though.
Beverages That Can Be Homebrewed
From beer to wine to non-alcoholic beverages, there is no short supply for beverages that can be brewed at home. Beer and wine are quite arguably the most popular among home brewers but brewers who produce cider, silju (a Finish home-brewed alcoholic beverage), ginger beer, Kumis, Sake (Japanese rice wine), Chhang (a popular Tibetan alcoholic beverage), Kvass (a Polish bread drink), mead or honey wine, and kombucha are not uncommon favorites.
Practically everything that can be brewed by large commercial distillers has their own versions among home brewers. Though taste varies, the form and basic brewing processes are comparable. Only, the amounts of beverages produced are much lower in quantity.
Home brewing Kits And Equipment
As much as a cook needs his pans and kitchen utensils, a home brewer needs brewing equipment to produce good quality beverages. The following are the most essential items:
A Brewing Guide
Recipes are needed to create homebrewed drinks. And a guide is the best source for such. A basic guide will also walk you through the basic things you need to know about the process. Dozens of books have been written on the subject. Some are published free online, others are available only by purchasing them. There are also home brewing shops that sell guides with accompanying lessons or classes that will get your feet wet, so to speak. Over all, a book on home brewing is the best place to start with the hobby.
No home brewer will ever leave without a good brew kettle. It’s what you use to boil the beer.
Most home brewed recipes start with 5 gallons, so you’ll need a stainless steel pot that could contain that much. If you’ve moved on with brewing 6 to 8 gallon-recipes, a larger pot would do the job. A ceramic on steel pot or a home canning pot is also a good option, given of course that the ceramic isn’t chipped. Otherwise, it’s best to settle with a stainless steel pot. An aluminum pot is by far the least preferable as it absorbs the flavors of the brew.
While the brew ferments, it has to be free from contaminants such as dust and airborne microorganisms. An airlock fermenter, therefore, is needed. For the majority of home brewers, a good carboy, typically a glass bottle that holds 5 to 6 gallons of brew, will do. A high quality plastic bucket is also not an uncommon choice among serious brewers.
On top of these, other equipment needed are as follows: funnel, straining tools, siphoning equipment, bottling equipment, thermometer and hydrometer, wort chiller, and cleaning and sanitizing tools.