What is Beer?
Beer is the most popular alcoholic beverage consumed throughout the world today.
Without getting too specific, beer is a carbonated, alcoholic beverage made by processing a combination of ingredients; including water, malted cereal grain (predominantly barley) and hops and using yeast to slowly ferment the resulting liquid extract (sweet wort).
It is widely believed that beer is actually the first fermented beverage known to humanity. Archaeologists speculate that beer was instrumental in the formation of civilisations. The earliest archaeological, chemical evidence of beer has been dated to around 3500BC and was produced by the Sumarian culture in the region now known as Iran.
Can I Make My Own Beer?
Yes, brewing your own beer is easy. It’s a very satisfying hobby to get involved with and after a bit of practice and by sticking to some basic rules you will brew top quality beers to be proud of.
There are different levels of complexity as far as brewing your own beer is concerned. They are listed as follows in level of complexity and amount of equipment and time required:
Kit or Concentrate – the base fermentables are provided as a liquid or dry malt extract concentrate with hops already added. You just need to add further fermentables and perhaps some extra hops or grain to change the flavour to your liking. All you need is some fermenting and cleaning gear.
Extract – A liquid or dry malt extract is used as the base for the recipe. Water is added to the malt to create the sweet wort. The sweet wort is then boiled and hops added at different stages to obtain bitterness, flavour and aroma. You’ll need a large saucepan or boiler, a long-handled spoon and a hot-plate as well as some fermenting and cleaning gear.
Partial Mash – This is where up to 50% or more of the fermentables are malted grain while the rest is liquid or dry malt extract. You’ll need to convert all the starch from the malted grain yourself. You’ll also need a large saucepan or boiler, a long-handled spoon and a hot-plate, a small esky (chilly bin or cooler), a cooking thermometer and some fermenting and cleaning gear.
All-grain or Mash – the most complex and time consuming brewing method but satisfying all the same. There are various styles of all grain brewing from simple Brew in a Bag all the way through to the more complex infusion and decoction brewing. You will need a lot of gear and a fair bit of time but for those brewers that really like to get down to controlling every facet of their beer production, this is where they end up.
Check out the range of grain, malt extracts, hops and yeast strains that are available to create your own brews or get some inspiration from the Beer Recipes page.
A few things to remember:
Most importantly, experiment and have fun!