Myself and two of my friends decided to brew our own beer. I thought it a good idea to setup this blog so that we could track and document our brews. By doing this we can track our progress and better our brews over time and see what works and what doesn’t.
This website will not only address making beer. I will also put up some ideas for anything home-made like pickles and Biltong (Jerky).
I am a bit cautious about our exploration into the distilling of spirits. This is a grey area and I recently read in the news about three youngsters that passed away because of a bad brew. I am still undecided about publishing information about distilling spirits, so if you see an article in the future you will know what my decision was.
I retract on what I said above. Distilling spirits is not rocket science. If you make sure you know what you are doing, it is actually very easy to do. I have already build a pot still and used it with very good results. Making spirits is easy and cheap and you are not limited to the flavors sold at the liquor store. You can make what ever you like, and enjoy it responsibly. At the end of the day, alcohol is bad for you in large quantities doesn’t matter if it is commercial or home made. So enjoy it responsibly and it will not be a problem.
Below is a bit of history on beer. The source of this information is WikiPedia.
“History of Beer
Ale is one of the oldest beverages humans have produced, dating back to at least the 5th millennium BC and recorded in the written history of Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. As almost any cereal containing certain sugars can undergo spontaneous fermentation due to wild yeasts in the air, it is possible that beer-like beverages were independently developed throughout the world soon after a tribe or culture had domesticated cereal. Chemical tests of ancient pottery jars reveal that beer was produced about 7,000 years ago in what is today Iran, and was one of the first-known biological engineering tasks where the biological process of fermentation is used in a process. In Mesopotamia, the oldest evidence of beer is believed to be a 6,000-year-old Sumerian tablet depicting people drinking a beverage through reed straws from a communal bowl. A 3900-year-old Sumerian poem honoring Ninkasi, the patron goddess of brewing, contains the oldest surviving beer recipe, describing the production of beer from barley via bread.
The invention of bread and/or beer has been argued to be responsible for humanity’s ability to develop technology and build civilization. The earliest chemically confirmed barley beer to date was discovered at Godin Tepe in the central Zagros Mountains of Iran, where fragments of a jug, at least 5000 years old was found to coated with beer-stone, a by-product of the brewing process.
Beer may have been known in Neolithic Europe as far back as 5000 years ago, and was mainly brewed on a domestic scale.
Ale produced before the Industrial Revolution continued to be made and sold on a domestic scale, although by the 7th century AD beer was also being produced and sold by European monasteries. During the Industrial Revolution, the production of beer moved from artisanal manufacture to industrial manufacture, and domestic manufacture ceased to be significant by the end of the 19th century. The development of hydrometers and thermometers changed brewing by allowing the brewer more control of the process, and greater knowledge of the results.
Today, the brewing industry is a global business, consisting of several dominant multinational companies and many thousands of smaller producers ranging from brewpubs to regional breweries. More than 133 billion liters (35 billion gallons) are sold per year—producing total global revenues of $294.5 billion (£147.7 billion) in 2006.
Many European nations have unbroken brewing traditions dating back to the earliest historical records. Beer is an especially important drink in countries such as Belgium, Germany, Austria, Ireland, UK, France, the Scandinavian countries, Poland, the Czech Republic, Spain and others having strong and unique brewing traditions with their own history, characteristic brewing methods, and styles of beer.
Unlike in many parts of the world, there is a significant market in Europe (the UK in particular) for beer containing live yeast. These unfiltered, unpasteurised brews are more challenging to handle than the commonly sold “dead” beers; “live” beer quality can suffer with poor care, but many people prefer its taste. While beer is usually matured for relatively short times (a few weeks to a few months) compared to wine, some of the stronger so-called real ales have been found to develop character and flavour over the course of as much as several decades.
In some parts of the world, breweries that had begun as a family business by Germans or other European émigrés grew into large companies, often passing into hands with more concern for profits than traditions of quality, resulting in a degradation of the product.
In 1953, New Zealander Morton W. Coutts developed the technique of continuous fermentation. Coutts patented his process, which involves beer flowing through sealed tanks, fermenting under pressure, and never coming into contact with the atmosphere, even when bottled. His process was introduced in the US and UK, but is now used for commercial beer production only in New Zealand.
In some sectors brewers are reluctant to embrace new technology for fear of losing the traditional characteristics of their beer. For example Marston’s Brewery in Burton on Trent still uses open wooden Burton Union sets for fermentation in order to maintain the quality and flavour of its beers, while Belgium’s lambic brewers go so far as to expose their brews to outside air in order to pick up the natural wild yeasts which ferment the wort. Traditional brewing techniques protect the beer from oxidation by maintaining a carbon dioxide blanket over the wort as it ferments into beer.
Modern breweries now brew many different types of beer, ranging from ancient styles such as the spontaneously-fermented lambics of Belgium; the lagers, dark beers, wheat beers and more of Germany; the UK’s stouts, milds, pale ales, bitters,golden ale and new modern American creations such as chili beer, cream ale, and double India pale ales.
Today, the brewing industry is a huge global business, consisting of several multinational companies, and many thousands of smaller producers ranging from brewpubs to regional breweries. Advances in refrigeration, international and transcontinental shipping, marketing and commerce have resulted in an international marketplace, where the consumer has literally hundreds of choices between various styles of local, regional, national and foreign beers.”