Things have improved dramatically since the 1970's; boil in the bag, instant homebrew kits have been replaced by rare hops, specialist malts and exotic yeasts. The internet has also led to the formation of some brilliant online forums, and YouTube channels where home brewers can get advice from other home brewing devotees.
The world is definitely in the midst of a home brewing revolution. Home brewers now are prepared to invest in specialist equipment, producing beers whose taste and quality matches those of a professional brewery. Years ago, home brewing was all about producing cheap beer and saving money, but today things are decidedly different. The modern home brewer is confident enough to try out expert techniques such as aging beers in old wine casks, changing the chemical composition of local water supplies and even cultivating their own yeast strains. Attention to detail is paramount within the home brewing community, and the results can be staggering!
The first step in producing a great tasting, home brewed beer is to invest in the right equipment. A quality online brew shop can provide you with all the equipment necessary to get your home brewing venture started, including, airlocks, heat pads, bottles, crown seals and sterilisers. If you are new to home brewing you could start by buying a DIY Beer Kit which will provide you with everything you need to produce your first home brewed beer; many also come with instructional DVD's which answer all your questions.
Start by keeping things simple. Beer kits and recipe packs can allow you to master the basic brewing techniques, and to learn what sort of ingredients are used in beer production. When you have mastered these basic techniques you can then go on to experiment and to develop your own recipes.
Sanitation is incredibly important. Equipment must be kept scrupulously clean or you run the risk of your beer being completely ruined by infection. Everything that comes into contact with your beer must be sanitised. A product such as Mangrove Jacks No Rinse Steriliser will effectively sterilise everything you use for brewing, winemaking and distilling.
Home brewed beer has a number of advantages. It is a great hobby for those who lead busy lives as brewing takes just a few hours of your time, spread out over a number of weeks. Home brewing is a creative process, and it's very satisfying to consume something that you have made yourself. It's also of course, great fun sharing your home brew with friends and relatives!
As you become more experienced you can start to experiment with different ingredients, styles and techniques. Because your beers are hand crafted you can use brewing techniques and ingredients that are not financially feasible for the big breweries.
Home brewed beer is, in general, free from cheap additives, and contains large quantities of yeast, which in turn contains Vitamin B. This vitamin is proven to reduce the effects of a hangover. Commercially produced beers are pasteurized and filtered which strips the beer of Vitamin B and can result in a sore head after over-indulging!
Alcohol, consumed in moderation (about 1-2 units per day) has been found to have a number of health benefits. Darker beers in particular, provide similar benefits to red wines as they contain flavonoids which help to keep your heart healthy. All natural ingredients, which include a large dose of brewer's yeast also contribute towards the health enhancing properties of home brewed beer. In addition, beer has less calories than fruit juice, soda or milk.
It is generally cheaper to brew your own beer. Online brew shops are very competitive and like to keep their prices as low as possible. Most home brewers can produce 5 gallons of beer for less than it would cost to buy a commercially produced, comparable product.
Making high quality beer at home is a real challenge. Home brewing is addictive and you will soon find yourself drawn into the home brewing community; whether in your neighbourhood or online. Making, and of course consuming beer is a great social pastime. Sharing your home brew with friends and neighbours is a real pleasure, especially when you have tried a new recipe or brewing technique that has produced really good results.
You can produce a huge variety of beers if you choose to brew at home. Brew shops stock kits in a number of styles including English, Belgian and German as well as all the home brew supplies you will need to get started. Extract beer kits are the perfect choice for the beginner and intermediate brewers. The development of the recipe is all done for you, you just pick the brew that you fancy and, by following the simple instructions, bring it to life!
Buying your home brew supplies online is cost effective; many online brew shops are able to sell at significantly less than the manufacturer's RRP. What's more, home brew supplies can be quite heavy to carry, and if you don't have transport can be a real pain to get home! By shopping at an online home brew shop all the leg work is done for you, and your kits and equipment are delivered direct to your door. You will also find that online stores give you access to a huge range of products, and that you can make your purchases at a time to suit you; and all from the comfort of your own living room!