If you are looking for a new hobby? A cheaper alternative to store bought beer, or a new addition to your mancave. Brewing your own beer may be just what you’re looking for.
Most people at some point have tried a home brewed beer. Possibly at a friend’s place, out of an old recycled brown bottle. That’s certainly how I remember my first experience and I can say, it left a lot to be desired. Poorly brewed beer, in poorly a washed glass. It tasted a little like flowers and a lot like crap. Fortunately, this is not the destiny for all home brewed beer. Lets look at how the world of brewing has changed and how you can have brilliant setup at home.
Gone are the days of the old brown glass. No more washing thirty bottles every time you wish to store your brew. Most importantly, no more mess either. That means no pouring jugs, no empty bottles and no reason for the wife to give you a hard time. (at least that’s the plan)
Introducing, homebrewed kegged beer! This has made the world of difference to homebrewers everywhere and I cannot recommend it highly enough. The process is cleaner, faster and produces a better beer. Instead of cleaning 30 bottles you will be washing just one keg. Storage is easier too.
Here is what you will need for a great setup.
Beer brewing kit
Brew kits can be purchased from your local brew shop or in Australia, you could try kmart etc. These kits typically consist of everything you need to start brewing. The brew barrel, stirring and mixing tools etc.
You will need a beer to brew. When starting out I recommend a simple brew from coopers. While beer options have grown immensely, having too many options can cause headaches. Stick to something easy to make and easy on the palette when starting out. I get great feedback from Coopers Australian Pale Ale. It tastes very much like a store-bought beer. You will need a fermentable too. In the past, brewers have used white sugar from the supermarket shelf. This can lead to the floral taste in homebrew and should not be your first choice. You should be using Dextrose this is an alternative to white sugar and is readily available at brewing stores.
After brewing your beer, you will need a place to store it. If you can afford it, buy lots of kegs. The kegs used are typically 19ltr reusable kegs known as “corny kegs” These are commonly available at brew stores and online. I have purchased mostly refurbished kegs as they are cheaper. One of the advantages of storing your beer in kegs is that they are protected from sunlight. Another advantage is less handling and washing of storage containers. Lastly, having your beer stored in kegs allows immediate transfer into your keg dispenser. If storing dozens of brews in corny kegs is not possible, than I recommend food grade plastic water containers. These are available at camping stores.
Home brew keg dispensers come in all shapes and sizes and a quick search on YouTube will give you some great DIY examples. While building your own setup may be perfect for your next project, its not for everyone. Luckily, there are plenty of ready-made store-bought options. Either option can look brilliant and make a great addition to your mancave or footy room. I use a Keg King branded “kegerator” This unit is a small, stainless coloured fridge that holds 3 corny kegs or one large keg at a time. A co2 gas bottle at the rear for gassing your beer. A font with three dispensing taps on top for pouring your beer.
Your dispenser requires food grade co2 gas. This gas is available in small bottles from your local brew store. The Co2 is what carbonates your kegs and pressurises your beer lines. Gas settings will vary depending on the lengths and size of the lines, to and from your beer kegs.
Finally, you will need some glasses to pour your beer into. When purchasing glasses, consider buying a few varieties before you settle on your favourite. Glasses can greatly change the way your beer pours and to some degree, the way it tastes. Try some different sizes, with or without handles. You will undoubtably find your preference and stick to that.