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BEER ISSUE


Homebrewing for Dummies (and Smarties)


/ BY BEN DARCIE MAKE YOUR OWN BEER


If home brewing seems like a daunting task, Saugatuck Brewing Company offers a “Make Your Own Beer” session for novice, as well as seasoned brew- ers. SBC brewers Barry Johnson and Dexter Gauntlet walk students through a four-hour brew-on-premise session, drawing from more than 100 recipes in virtually every style (e.g., Porter, IPA, Lager). Two weeks after the session, you’ll be the proud possessor of about 11 gallons of beer – enough to fill 60 bottles (22 oz.). The cost is $250, which includes the bottles. Reuse the bottles in future sessions and save $50. For more info, visit saugatuck- brewing.com or call (269) 857-7222.


B HOMEBREWING SUPPLIES


O’Connor’s Home Brew Supply 613 Lyon Street NE, Grand Rapids 616-635-2088 / oconnorshomebrew.com


Siciliano’s Market 2840 Lake Michigan Dr. NW, Grand Rapids 616-45309764 / sicilianosmkt.com


Cascade Winery 4665 Broadmoor Ave SE #135, Kentwood 616-656-4665 / cascadecellars.com


Pauly’s 11250 Fulton Ave. E, Lowell 616-897-2669 / paulys.net


Brewer’s Edge Homebrew 650 Riley St., Holland 616-805-8278 / brewersedgehomebrew.com


Bell’s General Store & Eccentric Café 355 East Kalamazoo Ave., Kalamazoo 269-382-2322 / bellsbeershop.com


BrewGadgets.com 328 South Lincoln Avenue, Lakeview (866) 591-8247 / brewgadgets.com


28 | REVUEWM.COM | OCTOBER 2011


rewing in your own home requires a small amount of initial capital. The nice thing is it’s a one-time investment. “You’ll have to spend some money up front to get the equipment, but after that you’re only paying


for ingredients – which turns out to be cheaper than commercial craft beer,” said Ben O’Connor from O’Connor’s Homebrew Supply. Many equipment kits can be found at your local homebrew


store and include fermenters, along with various helpful tools for your brews. Outside of the kit, the other primary need is a brew kettle (a 5-7.5 gallon pot to boil in). “Once you’ve brewed four batches, the equip-


ment has paid for itself,” says Doug Dorda of Siciliano’s Market. When you have your equipment, you’re set


to brew batch after batch to your heart’s content. There are four ingredients in beer: water,


malt, hops and yeast. Water for the foundation of your brew, malt for the fermentable sugar, flavor and color addition; hops for bittering to balance out the sweet of the malt, and yeast to eat those sugars and turn them into alcohol and carbon dioxide. So how do you take this and turn it into a cold beer


to pour for your friends? There are primarily two options: extract brewing and all-grain brewing. Extract brewing is the easiest and most accessible form of


brewing out there. Brews are based on a super-condensed malt syrup or powder that has to be diluted in water. Homebrew


supply stores carry beer kits from around the region or ones that are assembled in-store. “A kit comes with all the ingredients you need to brew a


style,” O’Connor said. The process can start on anything from a stovetop to a


propane burner with your brew kettle, and all kits come with a detailed instruction manual that will help guide you through your brew. Next are the hops. “You’re going to boil your wort for 60 minutes adding hops periodically,” O’Connor said. “An average hop addition is at the start of the hour and one at 15 minutes left in the boil.” The longer your hops remain in


the kettle, the more bitterness they provide (but they contribute fewer flavors). The hops added later don’t have the time to be broken down and just contribute fresh hop flavor and aroma. After boiling, cool your wort to


room temperature and add the yeast. O’Connor says yeast survives be-


tween 60-75 degrees for an ale, and to make sure to keep the temperature stable


throughout the process. Once your brew has been through primary and secondary


fermentation, it’s time to bottle, a fairly straightforward process. “You’re taking your fermented wort, which is now beer, and adding a simple sugar with your uncarbed beer,” O’Connor said.


Home brewing goodies at O’Connor’s Home Brew Supply


PHOTOS: RYAN PAVLOVICH


sense things like sanitizing down, you cannot make


have common as you can “So long


a bad beer.” —Doug Dorda


SCHEDULE | DINING | SIGHTS | SOUNDS SCENE


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