The Drama of American Home Brewing

American home brewing adapts to the changes in the political and economic climates of the country. Back in the 90s, America had been the top producer of beer. However, with the global recession that is happening now, many companies are closing. Although of course, some argue that as the economy worsens, beer sells more – many get depressed and thus forget their economic woes through the messy route of drinking. Some people, instead of wasting precious money by raking the bars every night, adapt to the situation – and that is by turning towards home made beer.

As was mentioned, American home brewing has been very flexible through time. Back in the old America, home brewing was already a part of colonial lives. Even famous personalities such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were home brew aficionados.

During the prohibition, no one was allowed to brew their own drinks at home. A penalty of one thousand dollars was imposed on those who were caught – and back then one thousand dollars went a long way. Either that or they were sentenced one year imprisonment. Everybody had to content with a watered down lifeless beer – well not really beer but something which was a very poor substitute for it. Nothing substantially alcoholic was allowed and few took efforts in making their drinks less alcoholic but tasty. Thirsty daring beer lovers stealthily bought ingredients and beer brewing equipment. Some very enterprising shop owners found ways of selling them without associating them with beer making or anything about beer at all. Beer ingredients, after all, are as normal as other ingredients – grains, yeast, etcetera, and the equipment – buckets, vats, what really is there to question when they are put up for sale? The situation varied from state to state. In some states, only those selling home brews were caught while in some, brewing for personal consumption also meant facing legal charges. And since ingredients and materials had to be sold and bought discreetly, there really was nothing much to experiment on. Those years could probably be considered the dark ages for home brewing.

In 1935, the law was improvised a bit. Home wine making was allowed without taxes but to brew beer, the interested party must first secure permits and comply with regulations. But despite the heavy regulations, some beer advocates pooled their efforts to promote home brewing. One of the greats in the field, Charlie Papazian first entered the scenario during this time and taught home brewing classes. However, government maintained that unregulated home brewing was still unlawful as any type of brewing could still be employed by moonshiners.

But thankfully, in 1978, Jimmy Carter rescued the doomed souls of beer loving Americans and signed Senate Amendment 3534 allowing households to brew their own beer as long as they don’t go beyond 200 gallons a year. After the lifting of the prohibition on alcoholic beverages, it was home brew beer enthusiasts who worked hard to revive the brewing industry. Today, there are over 1,463 breweries in the United States, a much improved American home brewing state.

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The 101 on Home Brew Supplies

If you are into brewing your own beer, then you need home brew supplies and lots of them. Although many shops offer a variety of products on home brewing, you still have to discern which among the many homebrew kits fit what you need.

The first thing that you need to know is how much beer do you actually want to produce? If you want to make around five gallons of beer then your brewing kit must be able to yield this amount. There are brewing kits that would give you this and there are those that won’t. Thus, when purchasing home brew supplies, make sure that you read the details attached to the items. It is also advisable for you to ask someone who works at the shop to help you if you need clarifications regarding home brewing products.

Second, your home brew supplies must include buckets for fermenting and bottling. Your fermenting bucket must have an airlock so that bacteria and oxygen cannot get into your supply of unfermented beer. It is recommended for your bottling bucket to have a spigot because the spigot makes it easier to transfer the beer from the bottling bucket to the beer bottles or beer keg – if bottles are too much of a hassle for you. You may also use kettles and various pots for brewing, boiling and mashing the ingredients for your homemade beer.

In addition to the above, you need a siphon in order to transfer your fermented beer from the fermenting bucket to your bottling bucket. Automatic siphons are good home brew supplies because they are more sanitary than non-automatic ones. Quality cappers and caps are also items that you should add to your home brewing kits.

Grains, malt extracts and yeast are also essential because they are basically the source of your beer. How would you produce beer without them? Similarly, if you want to add flavor to your home brew beer you need to put in flavorings and spices such as licorice stick, spruce essence and dried ginger root. Aside from these, hops such as Cascade Leaf Hops can also be used to add taste to your home made beer.

To control the temperature of your beer and therefore improve its quality and consistency, you need a thermometer that gives an accurate measurement. In addition, you should include a hydrometer in your list of beer making must-haves because this instrument keeps track of the beer wort’s density rather than water density. By doing so, the hydrometer is able to determine if the beer is fermented enough for bottling.

Finally, you need sanitizers and cleaners for your beer brewing equipments. Even if they are not really part of your beer brewing supplies, they are obviously necessary to keep your items clean and reusable.

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