Organic HomeBrews

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KnightBrewer

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I'm looking for some organic homebrew sites and the only one i am finding is www.breworganic.com or northernbrewer.com (1 kit only)

From my search, this appears to be one of the few places to get organic ingredients/kits. Anyone have experience with organic homebrews?

I have some real hippies in my family that do not eat or drink anything that is not organic and if the reviews are good, they are all getting organic homebrews for the holidays.

Much appreciated
 

Revvy

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I'm looking for some organic homebrew sites and the only one i am finding is www.breworganic.com or northernbrewer.com (1 kit only)

From my search, this appears to be one of the few places to get organic ingredients/kits. Anyone have experience with organic homebrews?

I have some real hippies in my family that do not eat or drink anything that is not organic and if the reviews are good, they are all getting organic homebrews for the holidays.

Much appreciated
There's really not a lot of info out there beyond what you found...one option is to expand your search and look at the gluten free and kosher brewing websites as well...it's still not a lot...

But I don't quite get the "organic brewing" thing...I mean we're not mixing up artifical products...we're using 100% malt (especially if we are brewing allgrain), water, hops and yeast...it can't get more organic than that. right?
Wasn't that what Reinheitsgebot was/is all about?

Are there even organic 2-row and hops growers out there?

If you do find stuff on your own, be sure to share it here...THere wasn't alot of gluten free brewing info, and some people here started digging, so now the knowlege base is a little bigger...perhaps the same with this issue. :mug:
 

ShortSnoutBrewing

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There are organic two row options. Great Western and Bries all have organic options.
I even think there are organic DME options out there. Just cause it grows from the ground doesn't mean it's organic. It has to do with farming practices and their impact on the earth.
 

Revvy

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woot woot woot!!
I found you one more piece of info...Basicbrewing radio did a podcast on it...

February 8, 2007 - brewing Organic
Amelia Slayton from Seven Bridges Cooperative in Santa Cruz, California tells us about brewing with organic ingredients and why we should try it.

Click link below to listen...

http://media.libsyn.com/media/basicbrewing/bbr02-08-07.mp3
 

landis

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I know there have been a number of organic microbrews, maybe they would be willing to share information. I had a case of Wolaver's Organic Oatmeal Stout not that long ago.

They are based out of Vermont and certified by the Vermont Organic Farmers. I guess they use all locally grown products.
 

Revvy

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One option/thought....You may want to look at home malting your own grain if you can find a local source for organic 2-row. It's a it of a pain, but a few people on here do it, and have come up with some interesting DIY setups and experiments...
 

abracadabra

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I'm a proponent of organic produce:

But I buy organic where it makes sense Nectarines, Peaches, Strawberries, Pears, Apples, Cherries, Green Beans, Bell Peppers, Celery, Cucumbers, Potatoes, Tomatoes, Peas & Lettuce. These things are very high in pesticides.

I buy organic when it taste better than conventially produced stuff I got no problem paying extra for a steaks that's organically produced it tastes so much better than a regular steak there's almost no comparison.

Paying extra money for organically grown grain isn't worth the money in reduced pesticides or improved taste IMHO.....

The grain it's self isn't usually sprayed with pesticide and herbicides are only used when the plants are vevy, very young way before the grain kernels start to form to reduce competition from weeds and allow less fertilizer to be used according to Fifelee a HBT member whose father grows barley.
 

Brew-Happy

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Another aspect of organic grain is to guarantee the grain has not been genetically modified. That one could be hard to prove since you are many steps removed from the producer.

I agree with the reduced pesticide useage. That is one area that is getting a lot of press and scrutiny.
 

david_42

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Seven Bridges Cooperative Carries organically-grown hops & malts.

Our cooperatively owned business is dedicated to promoting all organic beer, brewed only with organically grown malt and hops. Currently there are not enough organic hops available to brew enough 100% organic beer to meet the current demand. As a result, we have pledged to only sell our organic hops to brewers who can verify they are using the hops to brew organic beer.
 
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KnightBrewer

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Thanks for the good info, I'll keep looking buy probably go with breworganic.com. I'll let everyone know if I find out anything and how the organic brew tastes.
 

Blender

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I use base malt from Seven Bridges. They are the local shop here and all in all they are fine. I don't think you will find that the beer produced tastes all that much better or worse. They sell Gambrinus,Briess and Weyerman malts. The extract is from Briess. The hop selection is mostly British and Noble hops although you can get Cascades. It's expensive to live and rent here so the prices will be higher than most shops plus you do pay a bit more for organic products as a rule.
 

david_42

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I didn't make the connection. Here's a source for organic hops & rhizomes. Paris View They are out of hops right now, but should be harvesting soon.
 

elkdog

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I think the trick for you is going to be moving away from kits. Northern Brewer has some good organic extract options as well as a decent selection of organic grains, so you'd have a lot more flexibility formulating your own recipe (or using one from the database here). Hops might be more difficult until the link david_42 just posted has some in stock, but hops are difficult in general right now. Consider growing your own hops, too, to give you better control of that process and to ensure that you can get your favorite hop grown in a way you're comfortable with.

The organic brews I've tried taste just like non-organic brews, which is a good thing. Good luck and let us know how it goes.
 

Revvy

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I didn't make the connection. Here's a source for organic hops & rhizomes. Paris View They are out of hops right now, but should be harvesting soon.
It's hard, because there is such a dearth of information and suppliers...it may be worth adding what little info is available to the wiki, so it is in one place.
 

Gabe

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Seven Bridges is my LHBS. I usually get my grain there depending on what type of beer I'm brewing. If you go to their website you can go to the products page and see which companies make which malts. There is actually a lot more of a variety then you would think. Also on a side note: Seven Bridges is putting on a National Organic Comp. Brews must be made with 100% certified organic ingredients. I grow all organic hops!
Cheers, Gabe
 

Blender

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..... Also on a side note: Seven Bridges is putting on a National Organic Comp. Brews must be made with 100% certified organic ingredients. I grow all organic hops!
Cheers, Gabe
Gabe, you entering a beer in the contest?
 

dragonlor20

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At least one other person out there must be thinking this with me:

Just make the beer, swear it is organic, save yourself the trouble, serve it, let them all get drunk and be merry. I mean, really, what a hassle for a negligible benefit.
 

mysteryberto

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Northernbrewer sells 3 different all grain organic kits and they also sell an extract organic kit. It seems that finding organic malt is easy but organic hops are harder to come by.
 

Gabe

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Yeah, I would say that the hops are hard to come by, especially if your looking for any type of American variety. But again, look at 7 Bridges site for a lot of English and German Noble varieties.
 

gregs765

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From my organic brewing experience, those are the main sources. As you can see from 7-Bridges, there is a nice variety of grains and hops available, but not many retail sources for them. You might want to see if your LHBS can special order some organic ingredients for you. Mine (Great Fermentations in Indianapolis) ordered me a sack of Breiss organic 2-row, which lasted me all season. Then I get my main specialty grains from someone like Northern Brewer or 7-Bridges. I just use conventionally-grown ingredients for some of the more unique items, but can do a good chunk of my brewing organically.

Yes, organic kits are hard to come by, so I suggest buying your main ingredients in bulk, then adding conventional ones as needed. Or create your own buying club to split bulk purchases.

FYI, my personal interest in organics comes in part from wanting to keep pesticides, etc. out of my own body, but also in part because I want to reduce the amount of chemicals in the ecosystem. Conventional agriculture uses a lot of petroleum-based chemicals, many of which end up in our water. Okay, too much soapbox there. Sorry.

Greg (Muncie, IN)
 

explosivebeer

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I just wanted to give this thread a bump and see if anyone had come across any new organic sources for malts or hops. I'd love to do an all-organic brew or two to see if there's a noticeable difference in quality, if not for the fundamental support of the organic cause.
 

Bob

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None that I've found, alas. I've been looking rather closely, too.

Organic brewing is a pretty narrow niche of an already niche market. There might only be room for one or two comprehensive suppliers like 7 Bridges.

Cheers,

Bob
 

explosivebeer

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Very true, Bob. I've been waiting for some organic products to start flowing into homebrew shops since there are a fair amount of commercial beers starting to tout that aspect of things, but it may just be too small of a market. I'll keep my fingers crossed though.
 

fifelee

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The grain it's self isn't usually sprayed with pesticide and herbicides are only used when the plants are vevy, very young way before the grain kernels start to form to reduce competition from weeds and allow less fertilizer to be used according to Fifelee a HBT member whose father grows barley.
abracadabra mentioned me early in this thread, so I figured I would post my whole rant. I really hope this post doesn’t end up sounding combative, as I really do believe in most organic produce especially with fruits and vegetables. But I also feel the organic label is just blindly accepted as better when that isn’t true in all cases. In my experience grains are one of the exceptions where organic is actually worse.

My father and I farm barley and wheat in central Montana. I feel I have some unique insight as I have seen our land farmed many different ways over the years. My grandfather was organic by default (everyone was organic in those days). My father has followed more conventional farming changes. As a conventional farmer I understand if you are wary of my information, but nonetheless I will try to accurately describe the pros/cons of the different farming practices I have witnessed.

I do see the benefit of organic when it comes to fruits, vegetables, and even hops. These items often get directly sprayed with nasty chemicals. But when it comes to grains, they are typically only sprayed with herbicides before planting (with the same Roundup people use in their yards) or in the plants infancy long before the seed is even formed and sometimes not at all if the farmer had good weed control before planting. As for pesticides, I can't even remember the last time we sprayed them on grain fields.

From what I can gather organic farmers of fruits and vegetable produce similar yields (sometimes even better) to conventional farming methods. This is far from true with grain farming. Talking to organic grain farmers in our area and knowing what my grandfather produced, organic grain land produces less than half the yield of conventional methods. This decreases the food supply and increases prices. Now this is great for the farmer, but bad for the consumer especially the poor who struggle to afford food. Another side effect of less productive organic land is that more land has to be broken up from its "natural" state to grow the same amount of food. Unlike fruits and vegetables where lots of food can be produced on a small amount of land, grains require vast areas. Lower yielding organic grains cause vast tracts of land to be broken up from its natural state. Largely because of the high grain prices (yes ethanol is a major factor, but lower yielding organic grains also play an big economic role) we have broken up 700 acres that where previously in native grass.

To control weeds organic grain farmers go back to the old days of plowing a field. This drastically increases land erosion often into river and streams. The recent drought was just as bad as the dust bowl of the 1930's. The reason topsoil didn't blow away and the country didn't starve this time was because of newer farming practices, practices that organic farmers can't use. In addition to erosion, plowing a field burns vastly more fossil fuels than the alternative. Since we started using more modern non-organic farming practices our diesel consumption has dropped by over half.

Let me also address some of the concerns organic proponents often mention. Again I feel these concerns are much more valid for fruits and vegetables than grains.

Pesticides – Only used in very rare cases for grains. We haven’t uses them in over 15 years.

Human waste for fertilizer – While I can’t say it doesn’t happen it would be waste (pun intended) on grains because of the vast tracts of land needed. I am guessing, but I doubt if all the waste in our country couldn’t even fertilize 1% of the grain crop. Again if someone did fertilize with human waste it would make much more sense to do it on fruits and vegetables.

GMO – I to have some concerns about GMO, but we also have to face reality in that GMO creates better yields in grains. Lower yields mean more land is needed to get the same grain. Therefore non-GMO organic grains means less natural land. I have no idea which is better for the big picture, GMO and more natural land or organic food. No good answers here.

Chemical Fertilizers – Most grains are raised with dry fertilizers. The fertilizers are largely just nitrogen, phosphate, and potash. Yes these fertilizers cause damage like what we see in the Gulf of Mexico. Without them we would need at least twice the amount of land in grain production, which causes increased erosion and habitat loss. No good answers here either.

Radiation – As far as I can tell, radiation only applies to fruits, vegetables, and meat to eliminate the potential of things like e-coil. Grains are dry and don’t carry such diseases.

I hope it doesn't seem like I am attacking organic supporters, as I am an organic guy in many cases. I just think there is a lot of disinformation out there especially when it comes to organic grains, which do have some very serious environmental side effects.
 

explosivebeer

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Thanks for your very informative post fifelee. I don't think it's combative at all. It's good to get an informed opinion, which is hard to find when it comes to things like the term "organic". Most organic products seem to struggle with higher prices and lower quality when they first hit the market. I assumed that was just the case with mixed reviews on organic grains. It sounds like there's a good chance they won't make the strides that other organic products do. It'll be interesting to see if organic grains gain traction in the market and how that impacts growers and brewers alike.
 

GearBeer

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Thanks fifelee, that was a very informative breakdown. I think you've clarified the issue and underscored why organic grains are so expensive.

I didn't make the connection. Here's a source for organic hops & rhizomes. Paris View They are out of hops right now, but should be harvesting soon.
Is it just me or does the concept of an "organic rhizome" seem kinda rediculous?
 

Bob

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Is it just me or does the concept of an "organic rhizome" seem kinda rediculous?
How so? If the plant is raised organically, the rhizome is also organic - at least until it gets to you, whence you can do whatever you like to it. The produce from that point may very well no longer be organic.

Cheers,

Bob
 

Revvy

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abracadabra mentioned me early in this thread, so I figured I would post my whole rant. I really hope this post doesn’t end up sounding combative, as I really do believe in most organic produce especially with fruits and vegetables.
Wow awesome info, and I didn't think it was combatative at all.

I learned a whole bunch of stuff from it. :mug:
 

GearBeer

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How so? If the plant is raised organically, the rhizome is also organic - at least until it gets to you, whence you can do whatever you like to it. The produce from that point may very well no longer be organic.

Cheers,

Bob
The reason I find it rediculous is the fact that the term organic refers to the yield of the plant, not the plant itself. I would argue that you could take any (female) rhizome from any supplier and produce organic hops from it merely by cultivating it with organic methods. The only potential complicating factor that I see is any previous use of chemical fertilizers, which could reasonably be considered to be completely exhausted after a couple seasons.
 

monty73741

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also if you use a extract i pretty sure it cant be certified organic. their is a big difference between certified organic & organic.

Plus since you ad water it cant be organic because water cannot be certified organic
 

amoxus

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For me "organic" also includes striving to use as few unnatural chemicals as possible in the brewing process, such as campden tablets (I assume this is unnatural). Does anyone maintain any knowledge of alternatives? Especially for cider brewing?

Many thanks in advance folks,
Micke :mug:
 
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