The science of alcohol
The science of alcohol

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The science of alcohol

4 Homebrewing

Much like baking home goods to wow your friends, you can do the same with brewing. Home brewing is a popular hobby that is easy to get into. Specialist shops and websites stock all the necessary materials, but starter kits can be purchased from large supermarkets and online vendors.

For this course, as for others, there is no better way to support your learning than to put it into practice. This is not a requirement of the course, but it would be a fun way to visualise what you are studying – a genuine home experiment. Conveniently most homebrews take about eight weeks, which is also the length of this course. It doesn’t matter what type of beer you decide on as the basic processes are the same but you should aim to start your homebrew this week. So watch this video and consider putting your study into action.

In this video Danny Allwood introduces homebrewing, its attractions and how to get started.

Download this video clip.Video player: soa_1_w1_s4_vid_homebrewintro.mp4
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So as you go through this course, you'll learn about the different processes and the ingredients that go into making beer. And it can seem like a very scientific process, which it is. And ordinarily in my day job as an organic chemist I would tell people don't try this at home, but brewing is one of these things that you absolutely can try at home. And if you ask the majority of brewers who work in industry at microbreweries and commercial breweries, the vast majority of them will have got interested in the topic as a result of becoming a home brewer. Homebrewing may seem like a very scary, intimidating thing to do, but the processes are exactly the same as the ones that you're going to learn about in this module, and there's no better way of learning about something than actually doing it and getting hands on. So we're going to take you through how you brew your own beer at home. I'm going to take you from a first-principles approach from raw ingredients, which is exactly how it's done in the brewing industry, but I'll point out along the way where you can come in at sort of a simpler method with using malt extract. And you can buy kits where everything is packaged up for you, and all you need is a little bit of sort of kitchen utensils and that sort of thing and you can make your own beer at home. So as an educational resource, it's invaluable to be able to do something instead of just learning about it on the screen or on paper, but also it's an incredibly fun hobby. That's how I got into it. I now do brewing research, but that came about because it was my hobby. It's a fantastic talking point. You present someone with a bottle of beer in your house or draft beer if you're me and you say, I made this myself, and it's a fantastic talking point. You get your friends to try your beer. They give you sometimes honest feedback. And it makes fantastic gifts and things like that. If you get really into it, you can enter competitions. You can go to homebrew clubs. You can make new friends that way just by discussing something as delicious and simple as beer. So homebrewing really is a fantastic way of learning about the brewing process, but also it's a brilliant hobby as well.
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In the next section, you’ll start to think about setting up your own experiment.


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