Why Make Your Own Alcohol?
If you're new to brewing then here is a good place to start. Contrary to the negative stories various people might tell you about their exploits into home brewing, nowadays it is both easy to do and the modern kits are of a very high standard, This means you can now create your own beer, cider wines and even spirits that will stand up against most commercially produced brews. Plus it will save you a bundle of cash!
The commercial brewing industry has traditionally surrounded itself with a certain amount of myth and created the impression that brewing requires enormous expertise and expensive equipment that is unavailable to the home brewer.
The reality is, brewing is a very straightforward science! Ethyl Alcohol (or Ethanol) is the alcohol we can drink which is made by fermenting sugar from grain (beer) or fruit (cider or wine) using an appropriate yeast. This sugar is extracted from plants such as barley, wheat, grapes, fruit and vegetables, virtually any crop will produce alcohol to some degree, either directly or through a second stage of production. The wonderful side effect of this is that the flavour and aroma of the original plant follows through the process giving us the fine selection of tastes we can choose from, whether it's beer, cider, wines or spirits. It's just the quantity of alcohol and flavour that varies between these drinks.
Ethanol can only be fermented using yeast to a maximum of 20-22% so any alcoholic drink above that can only be achieved by distillation or separation of the alcohol from the water.
There are three different types of home brewing, each with their own methods of production.
Beer - Made from malt and hops fermented to a low alcohol content (between 3.5 - 8% ABV) and either drunk flat or carbonated with CO2. (Cider is made the same way only using juice from apples or other fruits)
Beer Making from Kits
Wine - Fermented from grapes or fruit with a higher sugar content thus achieving a higher alcohol content (11 - 15% ABV) and bottled without carbonation. (Champagne style wine the exception).
Wine Making from Kits or Wine Making from Fruit
Spirits - Using special Turbo Yeast, household sugar or brewing sugar (dextrose) and fermented into raw Ethyl Alcohol at approx 14% then distilled to remove the alcohol from the water and waste somewhere between 55% - 93% (depending on what type of still is used) then diluted to 40%, filtered through a carbon filter (to remove any aromas) and mixed with a flavour essence to yield a pure and clean spirit or liqueur of your choice.
Spirits and Liqueur Making
Most of the equipment needed for each method is interchangeable so you don't need to purchase much more to make something different (apart from a still for spirits). Either way the initial setup cost of equipment is very quickly paid for with the savings you make not having to buy commercial alcohol.
Enjoy Your New Hobby!
So, what would you like to make?
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