Monday, May 31, 2010

The Home Of Microbrews

Everyone knows that if your looking for the best in
coffee, you go to Seattle. For wine, you go to
California. When it comes to the best in beer, you
go to Portland Oregon, where your never more than
15 minutes away from a quality brewpub.

The Williamette River in western Oregon has been
the center of hop growing and brewing since the
days of the pioneers. When the microbrew revolution
began, the history and the hops were already there,
along with the spring water, the grain, and the
fruit for summer beers. As a result, regional
brewers and microbrewers began to pop up all over
the place.

After that, it didn't take long at all for the
brewpubs to follow. These beers weren't just for
washing down food anymore. The hand crafted beers
could be used in cooking, just like wine. In
the brewpubs of Portland, the beer also forms a
base for salad dressing, spices up marinades, and
even helps to sweeten the desserts as well.

Many brewpubs will offer a sampler of the best
in beer tasting. You can think of it as wine tasting
without the snooty steward. You sip on small
amounts of a variety of brews to see what the
brewer can do, from the light and hoppy to the
dark yet sweet brews.

What to expect
1. Good head on the beer. Good head
ensures that you'll get a strong smell of the
brew, so be sure to pour it into your glass very
2. Always use a glass. You should always
use a clean glass, a very clean glass. In most
brewing establishments, the glasses are always hand
washed and air dried to ensure that there isn't a
speck of grease in the glass to deflate the head
and leave soapy looking bubbles behind.
3. The English are right. As the English
know, refrigerated beer is too cold to fully
appreciate the taste. In brewpubs, the beer is
served at temperatures that are cool but not that
cold. The iced and chilled glasses are saved for
4. Vocabulary. Beer has a mouth feel,
which describes the body of the brew - light,
medium, and full. The color can be misleading,
as even light bodied beers can be full bodied.

Anytime you are looking for the best in microbrews,
you can count on Oregon to deliver the best in
beer. There are hundreds of brewpubs here, with
everything you could ever want. Anytime you
are in the area, don't hesitate to stop off and
see why the microbrews here are easily among the
best in the United States - or the world for
that matter.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Is There A Beer Culture?

Social context
Many social traditions and activities are very
associated with drinking beer, such as playing cards,
darts, or other games. The consumption of beer in
isolation and excess may be associated with people
drinking away their troubles, while drinking in
excess with company may be associated with binge

Around the world
All over the world, beer is consumed. There are
several breweries in the Middle East countries as
well, such as Iraq and Syria. There is also
breweries in African countries and other remote
countries such as Mongolia as well.

Glassware serving
Getting an appropriate beer glass is considered
desirable by some drinkers. There are some drinkers
of beer that may sometimes drink out of the bottle
or can, while others may choose to pour their
beer into a glass. Drinking from a bottle picks
up aromas by the nose, so if a drinker wishes to
appreciate the aroma of a beer, the beer is first
poured into a mug, glass, or stein.

In my college hometown, there was a local pub
that kept mugs for its regulars on a hook behind
the bar.

Similar to wine, there is specialized styles of
glasses for some types of beer, with some breweries
producing glassware intended for their own styles
of beer.

The conditions for serving beer have a big influence
on a drinker's experiences. An important factor
when drinking is the temperature - as colder
temperatures will start to inhibit the chemical
senses of the tongue and throat, which will narrow
down the flavor profile of beer, allow certain
lagers to release their crispness. My father who
came from England, almost always drank his beer at
room temperature and in a pint glass.

The process of pouring will have an influence on
the presentation of beer. The flow rate from the
tap, titling of the glass, and position of the
pour into the glass will all affect the outcome,
such as the size and longevity of the head and the
turbulence of the bar as it begins to release the

The more heavily carbonated beers such as German
pilseners will need settling time before they are
served, although many of them are served with the
addition of the remaining yeast at the bottom to
add extra color and flavor.

Beer rating
The rating of beer is a craze that combines the
enjoyment of drinking beer with the hobby of
collecting it. Those that drink beer sometimes
tend to record their scores and comments on various
internet websites.

This is a worldwide activity, as people in the
United States will swap bottles of beer with those
living in New Zealand and Russia. The scores may
then be tallied together to create lists of the
most popular beers in each country as well as
those throughout the world.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Troubleshooting Home Brewing

Stuck fermentation
Stuck fermentation occurs when your beer fails to
ferment to completion. This can result from the
use of old yeast or poor ingredients. The best
way to take care of this problem, is to prevent
it from starting. To do this, you should:
1. Re-hydrate the yeast by adding it to
some water and adding wort to the yeast an hour
or more before you pitch. This will help ensure
that your yeast is still active.
2. Use an all malt or a recipe that has
a lot of it, as yeast needs nutrients to stay
alive. Corn and sugar lack these nutrients. If
your yeast still fails to survive, it cannot
reproduce. For this very reason, distilled water
shouldn't be used when making beer.

Under carbonation
If you've used the proper amount of priming sugar
and your beer is still flat, it's probably due
to the fact that you didn't properly rise the
sanitizing solution from the bottles. If too
much sanitizer is left in the bottles, it can
kill the yeast, which results in flat beer. The
only way to prevent this is to stop it from

Over carbonation
Over carbonation can cause your beer to turn into
a foam disaster. It can result from these causes:
1. Too much or uneven priming sugar. You
should measure your primer carefully and dissolve
it thoroughly in boiling water and allow it the
proper time to cool. Before bottling, make sure
to stir this into your beer.
2. Bottling your beer too early can also
result in too much carbonation.
3. Poor sanitization is also a cause. If
you allow your beer to come in contact with wild
yeast, it can result in over carbonation and
possibly even off flavors.
4. Bottles that are under filled can
also contribute to over carbonation. You should
allow 1/2 inch of head space to allow your
beer time to pressurize.

By taking the proper time to fix problems, you'll
ensure that your brew comes out great every
time you brew it. If you happen to run into a
problem, always take the time to rationalize it
before you rush into fixing it. If you rush into
fixing a problem, you may start another one.

From everything I've read, the biggest issue that
most homebrewers run into is sanitation, or lack thereof.
Meaning, do everything in your power to have your buckets
clean, your bottles clean, anything that touches the
wort clean, the brew pot clean, any utensils must be clean,
etc.... Otherwise you risk the possibility of your beer
turning out with an "off" or rancid taste.

You should expect problems, especially if this
is your first time brewing. Even for expert home
brewers, problems can occur from time to time -
which is something you'll learn to deal with.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Home Brewing Process

Brewing is the actual process of alcoholic beverages
and alcohol through fermentation. This method is
used with beer production, although the term can
also be used for other drinks as well. The term
brewing is also used to refer to any chemical
mixing process as well.

The process of brewing has a long history indeed,
which archeological evidence tells us that this
technique was actually used in ancient Egypt as
well. Many descriptions of various beer recipes
can be found in Sumerian writings, which are
some of the oldest writings of any type.

Even though the process of brewing is complex and
varies greatly, Below, you'll find the basic
stages relating to brewing.

1. Mashing - This is the first phase of brewing,
in which the malted grains are crushed and soaked
in warm water in order to create an extract of the
malt. The mash is then held at constant
temperature long enough for the enzymes to convert
starches into fermentable sugar.
2. Sparging - At this stage, water is
filtered through the mash to dissolve all of the
sugars. The darker, sugar heavy liquid is known
as the wort.
3. Boiling - The wort is boiled along
with any remaining ingredients to remove any excess
water and kill any type of microorganisms. The
hops, either whole or extract are added at some
point during this stage.
4. Fermentation - The yeast is now added
and the beer is left to ferment. After it has
fermented, the beer may be allowed to ferment again,
which will allow further settling of the yeast and
other particulate matter which may have been introduced
earlier in the process.
5. Packaging - At the final stage, the
beer will contain alcohol, but not too much carbon
dioxide. The brewer will have a few options to
increase the levels of carbon dioxide. The most
common approach is force carbonation, via the direct
addition of CO2 gas to the keg or bottle. I'm not a
big fan of this. I normally let my home brews gain
CO2 by simply sitting in the bottles for a minimum
of three weeks.

After it has been brewed, the beer in normally a
finished product. At this point, the beer is
kegged, casked, bottled, or canned. Beers that
are unfiltered may be stored for further fermentation
in conditioning tanks, casks, or bottles to allow
smoothing of harsh alcohol or heavy hops.

There are some beer enthusiasts that consider a
long conditioning period attractive for various
strong beers such as Barley and wines. Depending on
the beer enthusiast and what he likes to drink,
it will vary.

Home Brew Supplies

So you are out at your local beer establishment or pub and you try one of their in house beers. Usually you'll find that they have much better flavor than the standard beers that you may be used to without having that watered down taste. With any luck they might have a sampler where you can try anything from an ale, a lager, a malt, belgian tripel, and on and on. Its amazing that sometimes you will find chocolate stouts that taste incredible and a pizza beer on the same beer menu. You think to yourself, I would love to be able to brew my own beer but I don't know where to start!

Some of us are lucky enough to have a local brew supply store and they can help guide you along the way. Pretty much what happens though, is that if you don't have a job at the store, you won't have the time for someone to sit there and hold your hand with all of your questions. Its amazing when you get into the home beer brewing hobby, the range of questions that will cross your mind. How many different types of hops there are? What brand of hops do I need when brewing a specific beer? What type of sugar do I need to use? How do I ferment the beer? What does ABV mean? How do I bottle? The questions can go on and on.

So, what home brew supplies do you need to begin making your first beer? Well, for me, I needed a large pot to boil the ingredients, a glass carboy, a plastic bucket with a lid that seals and yet allows CO2 to escape, a siphon, and 48 non screw top empty beer bottles. I can tell you that what I mentioned above is a good home brewing supply starting point.

What you will find in time is that some specialty brews require larger pots to handle all of the ingredients. You'll come to realize though time that some home brewed beers have a higher CO2 (carbon dioxide) level and may require a larger tube to let out the gas. If you do have a local brew supply store, you will not only be able to choose from a variety of beer kits but you should also be able to purchase either a beginners or advance home brewing supply kit. Of course some of us are not lucky enough to live within a few miles of such a store.

It sound complicated when you are a beginner but the truth of the matter is that if you have the right ingredients and home brew supplies, home brewing is fun and the end result is something that you can be proud of and share with friends.With any luck, you could be drinking your own home made beer in the next few weeks.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Process Of Home Brewing

The normal batch of homebrewed beer is five gallons
in volume, which is enough for 2 cases, or 48 12
ounce bottle of beer. However, take it from someone who
has brewed beer before. I don't like sediment in my beer
so I often end up with anywhere from about 41-43 beers or so...
give or take + or - 3.

The typical homebrewed beer is produced by boiling
water, malt extract and hops together in a large
kettle and then cooling the resulting wort and adding
yeast for fermenting. Experienced homebrewers will
make their own extract from crushed malt barley by
a more complicated process of mashing the grain in
boiling hot water.

With both cases, the wort is boiled for 15 min to
an hour, to help remove some impurities, dissolve
the character of the hops, then break down some of
the sugar. The wort is then cooled down to a
pitching temperature.

The cooled wort is then poured into the primary
fermenter in a manner of aggression, as to aerate
the wort. Sufficient oxygen is also necessary for
the yeast's growth stage. The yeast is then put
into the wort.

The primary fermentation will take place in a large
food bucket or carboy. Sometimes it is left open
but often stoppered with the carbon dioxide gas
that's produced by venting through a fermentation

The process of making microbrews takes a lot of
time indeed, although you can take the necessary
short cuts once you learn more about how the
process works. If this is your first time brewing,
you should always use common sense and know what
you are doing.

One of the best things about making your own
homebrews is the fact that you can experiment with
ingredients and brew your own creations. You can
brew almost anything, providing you have the right
type of equipment - which can easily be found.

Microbrew - Beer Ingredients

The main ingredients found in beer are water, malted
barley, hops, and yeast. There are other ingredients
such as flavoring, sugar, and other ingredients that
are commonly used. Starches are used as well, as
they convert in the mashing process to easily
fermentable sugars that will help to increase the
alcohol content of beer while adding body and flavor.

Seeing as how beer is mainly composed of water, the
source of water and its characteristics have a very
important effect on the character of the beer. A
lot of beer styles were influenced by the
characteristics of water in the region. Although
the effect of minerals in brewing water is complex,
hard water is more suited to dark styles, while
soft water is more suited to light styles. I
personally use distilled water in my brewing.

Among malts, barley is the most widely used due to
its high amylase content, and a digestive enzyme
that facilitates the breakdown of starch into
sugars. Depending on what can be cultivated locally,
other malts and unmalted grains can be used, such
as wheat, rice, oats, and rye.

Malt is obtained by soaking grain in water, allowing
it to germinate, then drying the germinated grain
in a kiln. By malting the grain, enzymes will
eventually convert the starches in the grain into
fermentable sugars.

Since the seventeenth century, hops have been
commonly used as a bittering agent in beer. Hops
help to contribute a bitterness that will balance
the sweetness of the malts. They also contribute
aromas which range from citrus to herbal.

Hops also provide an antibiotic effect that favors
the activity of brewer's yeast over the less
desirable microorganisms. The bitterness in beer
is normally measured on the International
Bitterness Units scale.

Yeast is a microorganism that's responsible for
fermentation. Specific strains of yeast are chosen
depending on the type of beer produced, as the
two main strains are ale yeast and lager yeast,
with other variations available as well.

Yeast helps to metabolise the sugars that are
extracted from the grains, and produces alcohol
and carbon dioxide as a result. Before the functions
of yeast were understood, all fermentations were
done using wild or airborne yeasts.

Clarifying agent
A lot of brewers prefer to add one or more
clarifying agents to beer that aren't required
to be published as ingredients. Examples include
Isinglas finings, which are obtained from swim
bladders of fish and Irish moss, which is a type
of red algae.

Since these ingredients can be obtained from animals,
those who are concerned with either the use or
consumption of animal products should obtain detailed
information from the brewer.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Microbrew Equipment

Before you can start brewing beer, you'll need to
have the right equipment. If this is your first
time brewing, you should start simple. Before
you begin, the first thing that you'll need is a
brewpot. Before you rush out and buy one, you
may already have one that will work just fine.
I'll tell you my experience. I found that by going
to my local home brew establishment, I was able
to buy a complete kit for about $120.

The pot should hold at least three gallons of
liquid. The next thing you'll need is a fermenter.
For the average five gallon batch, the fermenter
should hold six gallons or more, allowing space
for a foam that will form during the vigorous
process of fermentation.

For this stage, a glass carboy or food grade
plastic bucket is often used. You'll also need
an airlock for your fermenter to allow the C02
to escape while also keeping the air out. A
siphon hose is also needed to transfer beer from
the fermenter when it's ready, without having
to mix air into it.

A bottling bucket will also help to make the
process much easier. Bottling buckets are
similiar to fermenters, except the fact that they
have a spigot at the bottom that allows you to
fill the bottles directly, which makes the
entire process less messy and gets things done
much quicker. You'll also need a capper to
seal your bottles; as bottles and caps or even
a keg will be needed to store and serve your

If you look around, you may be able to find a
kit that will contain everything you need. You
can purchase kits on the internet, many of
which offer the top quality equipment you'll
need to brew. All you have to do is look around
the net, as there are many different web sites
that offer equipment for microbrews.

If you don't want to buy a kit, you can always
buy each piece of equipment seperately. This
tends to be a bit more expensive than buying
a kit, although you'll be able to pick each
piece of equipment yourself, without having to
take what's included in the kit.

Once you get all of the necessary equipment
together, you should know how to use it before
you get started. This way, you won't run into
any problems once you start brewing. The
equipment needed for brewing is easy to use, so
you shouldn't have any problems.

Brewing microbrews can be both fun and exciting,
especially when you start brewing your own
creations. You can drink the brew yourself,
or serve it to friends and family. Microbrews
are fun to drink and create - which makes having
the proper equipment all the more while.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Original Microbrews

Beer is almost as old as civilization itself. It is
mentioned in Sumerian texts that date back more than
5,000 years ago. Beginning in the 1950s, scientists
debated the notion that beer, not bread, was actually
the start of the development for agriculture.

Almost every culture around the world has invented
its own concotion of beer. History says brewing
was a home based operation, as part of the preparation
in meals. From South Africa to China, the production
of beer grew in scale with the rise of society,
then later became primarily a function of the state.

The physical evidence of ancient brewing isn't easy
to obtain. With most cultures, home beer brewing
required only the basic of ingredients, such as a
fire, cooking vessels, and some jars. None of these
materials are unique to the brewing process. Jars
that were found near a kiln could have been used
for storing barley or wheat for bread, while cooking
pots could have been used for heating liquids.

So far, archaeologists haven't been able to find a
complete set of evidence. One of the oldest
breweries was found in southern Egypt and dates back
to over 5,000 years ago. At this site, teams found
well heated vats that were encrusted on the inside
with a cereal based residue.

Another ancient brewery was discovered along the
Nile in the middle of Egypt. The site was located
in what is thought to be the Sun Temple, where
a king's wife was buried. Archaeologists found
a complex set of rooms that had been used for
cereal processing. Ovens, grains, and larger jars
indicate that the rooms were used as a bakery or
a brewery.

In a different area of the world, excavators found
a brewery dating back to the times of the Romans.
On this site, there were preserved tables that
date from A.D. 100, with beer being specifically
mentioned on several of the tablets.

The chemical evidence of beer would prove to be a
site's purpose once and for all, although that
normally isn't easy. Alcohol is much too delicate
to last for centuries, as any cereal based residue
found could have come from baking just as easily
as from brewing.

Throughout the course of time, there will always
be evidence of beer being brewed many centuries
ago. Without actually finding physical evidence
though, it can be really hard to determine. If
there were physical evidence, it would be really
different indeed.

Now the original microbrews may date back thousands
of years but won't you join me in this wonderful hobby
and learn the fine art of home brewing. No, you won't be
one of the original microbrews but you can make your beer
your own original "brew".

Monday, May 24, 2010

Introduction To Microbrews

With their varying flavor intensities and alcohol
contents, microbrews are here because beer
distributors noticed a market demand and took a
gamble on imports like Corona in the 70s. This
type of flavorful beer sold to a limited yet very
enthusiastic crowd.

Beer manufacturers create what sells, therefore
they didn't believe there would be a significant
maket with those types of beers. Consumer studies
and sales showed that the biggest part of the
American audiences enjoyed watery brew.

Then, out of nowhere, microbrews popped up after
the first successful brew, Samuel Adams, fought
with import distributors to try and convince them
that a flavorful American beer would sell. Now,
we have more microbrews than ever before with more
coming out each and every day. Heck, I brew beer out
of my home, recently completing a great tasting
Belgian Tripel.

ATTENTION: You're About To Discover The Secrets To Brewing Delicious Beer In Your Own Home! "If You Can Boil Water, You Can Single Handedly Brew Your Own WILDY SENSUOUS Beer!"


Microbrews really hit when distributors really
believed that at least some people would buy them.
On the other hand, home brewers and brewpubs had
legal wars. In 1968, home brewing was legalized
and home brewers now had the support and assistance
of supply and advice stores.

Until 1983, brewpubs were illegal in all states.
Late in 1983, California first began to allow
brewpubs to brew and distribute their brands of
beer on site. These charming, yet small batch
breweries experienced high sales, especially in

Around a century ago, the United States had more
than 2,000 breweries making many different styles
and variations. By the 80's, there were only 40
brewing companies that offered a brand of American

Today, there are over 500 microbreweries and brewpubs
in the United States. Over the past few years,
brewpubs have been popping up all over th e place,
even in bars that used to only carry the top beers.

The History Of Microbrews

Many historians believe that the ancient Sumerians
and Mesopotamians were brewing as early back as
10,000 B.C. Even though this product would have
been different from the bottles varieties of today,
it would have still been recognizable.

The ancient Egyptians and the Chinese brewed their
beer, as did civilizations in America, where they
used corn instead of barley. Back then, thousands
of years ago, microbrews were very popular and
on their way to what we now know and love today.

In the middle ages, European monks were the
guardians of literature and science, as well as
the art of making beer. They refined the process
to perfection, and even institutionalized the use
of hops as both flavoring and a preservative.

It wasn't however, until Louis Pasteur came along
that a final, important development was determined.
Until this time, brewers had to depend on the wild
yet airborne yeast for fermentation. By establishing
that yeast is actually a living organism, he opened
the gates for controlling the conversion of sugar
into alcohol.

Grapes grow well in warmer climates, while barley
grows better in cool climates. This is how the
northern areas of Germany and England first became
famous for their beers.

In the U.S., a microbrew is a beer produced either in the home or in
a microbrewery that brews no more than 15,000 barrels of beer per year.
Some call these microbrews, craft beers.

Everything in America went dim until the dark day
of 1920, when prohibition took effect. A lot of
breweries went out of business or switched their
production to soda pop. Not everyone stopped
drinking, but gangster related products weren't
known for high quality.

When Franklin D. Roosevelt became president, he
quickly appealed the very unpopular law. The
new breeds of now famous beer came after World War
2 were generally mass produced and very bland.