Better tasting homemade beer!
As a passionate homebrewer, you want to make the best possible beer relying on equipment available to you.
The good news is that, as the homebrewing community is growing, resources to achieve this have never been easier to access, with blogs like this website, books online, video tutorials … the help is around the corner. Experience, knowledge, and solutions are meant to be shared!
How to make beer at home that tastes better, requires 3 basic things:
- Knowing what YOUR DEFINITION OF QUALITY AND STYLE is. It may sound unnecessary to mention, but only if you recognize what you like and what you are looking for, you will be satisfied with the result of your production. Personally, I am particularly interested in recreating and crafting the best possible expression of a classic old-world beer such as Saison, ESB, Kölsch, Bière de Garde … My personal definition of quality would be about balance, purity, delicate bitterness, clean and precise aromas, and flavors … everything that contributes to an elegant character and that makes the beer enjoyable and easy to drink, by itself, or even better, with food.
- Mastering the BASIC TECHNIQUES OF HOME BREWING. It’s not rocket science, just sticking to the proven methods which keep the beginner and more advanced homebrewer from making mistakes that would impact the quality of your beer. As you are increasing your knowledge and gain experience, your brewing skills will improve.
- Using the BEST AVAILABLE INGREDIENTS. I personally believe organic and local ingredients (as much as possible) are best. For your health, for supporting the producer, and for the land. They also taste better!
What are the benefits of using a sustainable approach?
More control with going all-grain – instead of going with malt extract, in other words, processed base products, you have the choice to source locally grown grain offering QUALITY, VARIETY, and contributing to SUSTAINABILITY as the grain is minimally packaged to be shipped. Get to learn the more local maltsters in your region. Some of them may work with exciting heirloom grains.
Using safe and sustainable materials for equipment. Prefer glass and stainless steel because plastic is subject to quicker degradation and may harbor bacteria that will impact the taste of your beer if the equipment is not perfectly sanitized. Chose equipment that has a LONGER AND SAFER SHELF LIFE.
Organic ingredients. You can choose grain that is PESTICIDE-FREE, HERBICIDE-FREE, RADIATION-FREE, NON-GMO, such as certified organic malts by Ecocert (European standards) or by Tilth (Oregon, US certification) and containing no additives like corn syrup.
Growing your own hops will give you total self-sufficiency over the ingredients. Hops locally grown – in your back yard will definitely impart a sense of TERROIR to your homemade beer.
Reusing spent grain. An all-grain homebrewer goes through large amounts of malt. Once the wort has been extracted after mashing, the spent grain retains lots of nutrients that may be used in many different ways: BREAD, VINEGAR, COMPOST, DOGS’ TREATS …
Chilling efficiently/ saving water. According to a recent study published by Earth’s future, as many as 96 out of 204 water basins providing fresh water to Americans are projected to have monthly shortages by 2070. As the population is growing and the climate is changing, saving water is becoming critical. RECIRCULATING cold water with a small pump or USING recycled plastic bottles to freeze water to chill your wort will be more efficient with your water and energy.
Recycling containers. Most homebrewers are good at recycling their beer bottles. You may want to consider SWING-TOP bottles, which will eliminate the use of new caps every time. KEGGING is the ultimate no-packaging solution.
Using green cleaning and sanitizing products. Choosing a cleaning that doesn’t require excessive rinsing is the sustainable way to go. A widely recommended cleaning agent that is safe and efficient is PWB, an alkaline and caustic product. Sanitizing in an environmentally friendly way can be done with Hydrogen Peroxide. A product called One-Step is actually a great solution since it cleans and sanitizes at the same time. It is totally bio-degradable, as it breaks down into water and oxygen.
How to make beer at home that tastes better while saving your money and the environment?
BETTER BEER: Honing your brewing skills to produce the style and quality of beer you like, which is ultimately a subjective matter, it will require:
- Understanding and mastering the basics of SANITATION, FERMENTATION, and TEMPERATURE CONTROL, YEAST MANAGEMENT, THE BOIL, the RECIPE. This is according to John Palmer, in his classic book “How to Brew – Everything you need to know to brew great beer every time”
- Practice, practice, practice, and learning by trial and error. Keep your brewing log documented in detail!
- Tasting and analyzing as many beers as possible. Joining a brewing club. You may search for an AHA (American Homebrewers Association) registered club here.
SAVING THE ENVIRONMENT: Being mindful of using equipment and techniques that are sustainable. Homebrewers are already by definition following a sustainable approach … probably without even knowing it.
- I highly recommend you get a copy of “Sustainable Homebrewing – an All Organic Approach to Crafting Great Beer”, by Amelia Slayton Loftus. This is an incomparable resource by THE pioneer in organic beer making at home. This book is unique and as an eco-friendly minded homebrewer, you have to read and use it. In it, you will find a wealth of money-saving tips, and wise environmental considerations.
- ThePureBrewer.com promotes energy and water-saving techniques and encourages you to consider using organic ingredients whenever possible.
- ThePureBrewer.com is also working on creating a list of sustainable partners, breweries, farmers, and environmentalists active about doing something for the planet and the people.
Cheers and to our health!