Monday, February 11, 2013

Gathering Supplies

I've started an article series on homebrewing your own beer.  I've called it "Febrewary" because I'm clever like that.

Is it legal?

Yes, homebrewing is legal!  This wasn't always the case of course.  In 1920, one of the worst laws to ever be put on the books arrived in the form of the Eighteenth Amendment which, along with the Volstead Act, lead to the dark times known as Prohibition.  All production of alcohol was illegal, leading to massive job loss and the rise of organized crime.  The Twenty-first Amendment, in 1933, saved what was left of the American beer industry but the damage was already done.  
While Prohibition had ended, it still wasn't officially legal to brew your own beer yet.  Wine making was legal but through an omission, "and/or beer" never made it into law.  We had to wait until 1979 for the Federal Register to be corrected and allow beer production.  

Is it expensive?

No, not at all.  Many starter kits, with everything you need for a first batch of beer, are available at affordable prices.  You don't have to buy the kit I linked to but that's the one I have so that's what I'll be using for this demonstration.  In addition to the equipment in a starter kit like the fermenter and capper, you'll need to add your own kettle and a few common kitchen implements.  

Everything you see here

What do I need?

I started with that kit linked above.  It includes the fermenter, threaded stopper and three-piece airlock, sanitizer, auto-siphon, and hose.  Also included in the kit was a bottle filler, capper, and bottle caps.  Of course, this kit also includes your first recipe.  I went with the Irish Red.  I really only had to add my own kettle, scissors, and beaker.  

Is that all?

Not yet, just one more thing, but you'll like this.  You need to get a dozen empty beer bottles.  You can buy them from your brewing supply house but there's a better way.  Get a dozen-bottle variety case of your favorite craft beer.  You see where this is going.  Drink it responsibly between brewing day and bottling day. Soak the empties in warm water to remove the labels; brown glass bottles with non-twist-off caps are preferred.  Now you have everything you need for your first batch.  Enjoy!

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