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Old 05-29-2007, 06:57 PM   #1
John Sanderson
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Default Making an "ALL" home brew?

Just wondering.. But is is possible to make a Home brew... that tastes good, from ingredients gathered or grown completely on your own property? Using home grown Hops, barleys, wheats, naturally occouring yeast, well drawn water. I realize it is possible and probably how most ancient beers were made. But I am just interested in tasting a beer made with an ancient techniques/ingredients. But using modern equipment and sterilization and so on... I.e. I would like to in some way find the beer to be drinkable.

Just a post Dooms day expiriment I suppose. If all that was left was my family, could I truly make my own beer starting with good soil?? and more importantly.. would I like it?

what would this look like and how would I go about finding the right ingredents to grow. how would naturally occourng yeast be harvested or applied? where would I get the right grain? Wild grain? lots of questions.

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Old 05-29-2007, 07:03 PM   #2
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Profound question.... I would have to say that this is, in theory, very possible.

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Old 05-29-2007, 07:04 PM   #3
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All that is possible. You can grow your own hops and barley. You have to learn to malt your own grain and roast your own malt, but there is info out there to learn about those things.

The one I would really worry about is the yeast. I would not be very excited about letting my home produced wort get ruined by some nasty local yeast.

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Old 05-29-2007, 07:06 PM   #4
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Absolutely it is possible. You hear about all grain brewers testing their well water, culturing their own yeast, growing their own hops, even malting their own barley all the time. But that would be a lot of effort. I think we sometimes take for granted the work involved in the provision of our ingredients, like malts and hops. So perhaps it is worth thinking about what would be involved in truly doing a brew from scratch (just to be 'philosophical' about it, I mean!).

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Old 05-29-2007, 07:09 PM   #5
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First off, yes, it's possible. Would it produce good beer? Probably not. Would it be prohibitively expensive to undertake such a thing? Probably so.

First off you'd need to have the land and the correct growing conditions for the barley, wheat and hops. Then you'd need to harvest and dry the hops, not that big of a deal. The big deal would come with the malting process. Professional maltsters these days make highly-modified malt, and they do it well. To get anywhere near their quality level would take a large investment of time and money on your part, I would guess.

And last but not least, the commercially available beer yeasts that are used to make the vast majority of beers today aren't the same ones that are floating around in the air. If you tried to naturally harvest wild yeast, you'd end up with something that, at best, resembled Belgian Geuze - very sour and dry. I've had batches get infected before, and they become just that---sour and dry.

So, yeah, possible, but not recommended. I had a friend who thought about doing this until I reminded him what an undertaking it would be to harvest and malt enough barley to make even a single batch of beer.

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Old 05-29-2007, 07:11 PM   #6
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If you culture your own yeast, which is easy to do, you would be OK on the yeast front. I was reading your post as asking if you could spontaneously ferment, like the Belgium brewers. That is what I would avoid. Culturing yeast yourself is a fun side line of this hobby and worth at least learning the basics of.

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Old 05-29-2007, 07:13 PM   #7
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Yeah, the yeast is the difficult element - but if you can maintain an extremely sanitary environment, you can keep a strain going for a long time. I wouldn't toy around with wild yeasts unless you happen to live near a brewery in Belgium.

There are some brewers who have begun experimenting with malting their own barley, I think Basic Brewing Radio did a podcast on that sometime fairly recently. Now, how you would go about creating all of the different specialty malts one might like to have for a brew, that would be a challenge (kilning at precise temperatures, etc), but it's theoretically do-able - and just making a base malt is something that people do (although no one here that I am aware of).

I would wager than at least half of the "regulars" here have at least experimented with growing our own hops.

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Old 05-29-2007, 07:19 PM   #8
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I see I misread the bit about the yeast. Yes, BrewPastor is correct that this could be the 'rate limiting step' in the all homegrown homebrew equation.

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Old 05-29-2007, 07:32 PM   #9
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I'd say yes. I know a guy that makes potato beer. Haven't tried tasting it yet so I can't say how good it tastes. Probably not that great he's more interested in alcohol level than great taste.

He use's Flischmann's dried yeast for both his wine and beer.

Also you could easily grow your own corn. But moonshine might taste better than the beer.

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Old 05-30-2007, 12:28 AM   #10
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I seem to recall something from one of Papazian's books about the Peruvian(?) corn beer recipe. The corn doesn't develop the enzyzmes required for starch conversion by malting, so the corn is chewed (in someone's mouth) and spit into a pot. The enzymes in the saliva convert the starches. The yeast source for this already delighful sounding brew? The feces of an unweaned infant child. Turns out the yeast in the feces is our good buddy saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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