Catalog of breweries
Until recently, making beer at home was considered an incredibly difficult and unpredictable undertaking, which was undertaken only by people who were brave and somewhat obsessed with the craft. Since then, a lot of water has flowed, and even more beer has flowed. If earlier beer enthusiasts had to deal with the manufacture of equipment and the search for raw materials from brewery suppliers, today all this can be bought in the form of ready-made kits for making beer at home, which are commonly called home breweries. There are a lot of such sets and choosing the first one becomes a real test for a beginner. Let’s try to help him!
Depending on the configuration, two types of home breweries are distinguished: collapsible and monolithic.
The main advantage of collapsible units is their compactness. At a time when the device is not in use, it is easy to disassemble and send for storage. In this case, the whole set will not take up much space.
This design also has a drawback. Over time, the tightness of the installation decreases. The fermenter may start to leak. Violation of the tightness can cause a violation of the must fermentation process, which will negatively affect the quality of the finished product.
When asked which is better to buy a home brewery, team or solid, the answer is unequivocal: choose the second option. It is preferable to use a one-piece container, since it ensures complete sealing of the wort during boiling and during fermentation.
The main disadvantage of a monolithic fermenter can be considered impressive dimensions.
Principle of operation and device
The design of the simplest brewery is a sealed container in which the fermentation of the product takes place. Structurally, the fermenter is a container for the fermentation of beer wort with a tap for draining the product and a hole for a water seal in the lid. The tank can be equipped with a foam trapping system and a blast valve to relieve excess pressure. The materials for the tank can be: food grade plastic, glass, stainless steel.
For the preparation of grain beer, the following components have been added to the standard package of extract brewing:
- Wort boiler;
Depending on the configuration, the set of mini-brewery equipment can be supplemented with a device for rapid cooling of the wort (chiller).
The principle of operation of a mini-brewery is simple: the extract mixed with water is poured into the fermentation tank of the beer machine. Next, brewer’s yeast is added to the liquid, and the apparatus itself is placed in a place where the optimum temperature for fermentation will be observed. Next, the fermenter is sent to a cool place for maturation, carbonization, clarification, etc. This stage usually takes up to 5 days.
Beer brewing technology
Beer can be prepared using two fundamentally different technologies using malt extract or grain. Before you decide for yourself which brewery is best to buy for home, you should decide on the cooking technology, which will determine the choice of tools and ingredients to get a good product.
Beer from malt extract
Malt extract is a dehydrated product obtained by heating beer wort to a powder or syrup. There are 2 types of extract: hopped and unhopped. Making a drink from hopped extracts is recommended for all beginners;
- The extract is diluted with water;
- Brewer’s yeast is added to the resulting wort.
Further, in the fermenter, the wort is fermented at a certain temperature.
Important! Unhopped extracts should initially be brewed with hops. Only after that, yeast is added to the resulting wort, which is necessary for the fermentation of the product.
The advantage of extract brewing is the simplicity of the steps to get a guaranteed good result. The disadvantage of this technology lies in the fact that the beer recipe has already been chosen for you and it is almost impossible to influence its taste.
«Foamy» from malt and hops
Classic all-grain beer should be brewed exclusively with barley malt, hops and water. Today, along with barley malt, craftsmen actively use wheat and rye malt. Even fruits, berries are added to the wort, and herbs and mushrooms are used for some recipes.
The principle of making grain beer is quite laborious:
- The malt is crushed and mixed with water;
- Next comes the fermentation step;
- The next stage is the filtration of the liquid fraction;
- Boiling with hopping.
All processes are carried out in strict observance of the temperature regime. To create a good grain beer requires serious theoretical training, the practice of preparing an extract product, good equipment.
Did you know
Every second, 10 million people are drunk on beer.
As polls and studies show, at any given time, about 50 million inhabitants of the Earth are drunk, and about 10 million are drunk from beer. And no wonder, because it is beer that is considered the most popular alcoholic drink on the planet and the third most popular among all drinks, alcoholic and non-alcoholic. The first place in this ranking is logically occupied by water, the second — by tea.
High-calorie beer is a myth
The average beer, both light and dark, contains approximately 42 to 75 kcal per 100 ml, while Coca-Cola is not much less caloric (38 kcal / 100 ml), and natural apple juice (without sugar!) is quite comparable and is 46 kcal / 100 ml. Another thing, of course, is that no one will drink 5 half-liter glasses of apple juice, eating it with chips, but you already have an argument in case of a dispute.
There is a special science about beer
And it is called Zythology, from the Greek Zythos and Logos, beer and study, respectively. Quite serious scientists study beer and its properties, sitting at the Munich Beer Institute. And they found out, among other things, that one liter of unfiltered for an adult will be more useful than a liter of milk.
Today you can buy ancient Egyptian beer
Not literally, of course, but only recreated after analyzing the vessels in which the ancient Egyptians kept beer. The beer is made in Britain, called «Tutankhamen» and will cost 50 pounds one bottle. By the way, we can assume that this beer was prepared according to the world’s first recipe, since it was invented in ancient Egypt, moreover, approximately 9.5 thousand years before our era. The Egyptians drank an intoxicating drink through a straw, as they did not know how to filter beer.
beer instead of water
… used in Europe in the Middle Ages. We can easily imagine the quality of water in wells in those days by analyzing the number of epidemics, not to mention the evil enemies who deliberately poisoned wells during wars and confrontations. Since fermentation kills most pathogenic bacteria, Europeans preferred to drink beer instead of water with an incomprehensible composition. In addition, beer also dulls hunger well, as it is rich in carbohydrates. And, although we remember that it is not very high in calories, it all depends on the quantity — for example, a completely pious monk-brewer (namely, the monks were in charge of brewing) could drink up to 5 liters of intoxicated per day, and this is at least 2000 kcal.
The main criteria for choosing a mini-brewery
In specialized stores and the Internet, a fairly large assortment of mini-breweries is presented, which differ in size, materials of manufacture, equipment and cost. There are many criteria that you should pay attention to when choosing such equipment. Let’s consider them in more detail.
When using technologies for preparing a drink from beer extract, the correct fermentation of the wort occurs at a temperature of 18-24°C. The fermentation process takes 3-5 days. Further fermentation and fermentation processes take place in the cold.
Attention! When preparing grain beer, it is necessary to observe the temperature regime, on which the activation of various groups of enzymes responsible for the taste, density, transparency, foaming and alcohol component of the product depends.
Look for settings that can accurately maintain the temperature for each step of production. Acid pause occurs in the range of 35-45°C; protein pause 44-59°C; saccharification 61-72°C; mesh-out 77-79°C, etc.
Before choosing the right brewer for your home, you should understand that inside the machine there is a process of natural release of carbon dioxide as a result of the fermentation of brewer’s yeast. All modern models of microbreweries are equipped with a valve through which excess carbon dioxide is released.
The brewery has a valve to release carbon dioxide
But what if there is little carbonation in the finished drink? The answer is obvious — to gas. Choose plants equipped with a carbonization unit and special cartridges for additional product gasification.
The volume of production of the finished drink
The volume of the product obtained depends on the capacity of the wort kettle. The standard work cycle of a home microbrewery takes from 7 to 14 days. During this time, you can get about 10 liters of excellent home-made beer when using a model with a minimum volume of the wort kettle.
How to choose the right size for your home brewery? The choice of model according to the volume of the finished product should be made based on the frequency of consumption of the drink. Household models are equipped with a fermenter from 10 liters. If this is not enough for you, you can purchase a tank of 20 or 30 liters:
- 10 l — easy to use and store. Recommended for beginner brewers;
- 20-30 l is the optimal volume for lovers of home brewing;
- 50-100L is a good option for commercial home brewing.
Microbrewery 10L Minibrewery 30L Minibrewery 50L
Important! Homemade beer is not subject to long-term storage. That is why consciously choose the capacity of the tank in order to make the preparation process not too frequent, and not to allow the drink to be stored for a long time.
Dimensions and weight
There is another important criterion that you need to build on before choosing the best mini-brewery for your home — these are the dimensions of the device.
In some models, the process of initial fermentation of the wort occurs at a temperature of 18-24°C. The final stage of fermentation, gassing and clarification should take place in the refrigerator.
It should be understood that for 4-5 days there will be a brewery in the home refrigerator, which, by the way, takes up quite a lot of space. If this is not possible, then pay attention to the devices, the technology and design of which provides for the possibility of draining the wort and fermenting the product already in bottles.
Mini-breweries are equipped with a set of equipment and ingredients depending on the technology of making the drink.
A home extract brewery may include the following elements:
- Water seal;
- Overflow siphon;
- Disinfectant solution and a set of ingredients (extract, brewer’s yeast, dextrose, etc.)
If you plan to produce a pure grain product, then you will need to purchase for this kit:
- Wort kettle;
- Thermometer with probe;
- «Beer paddle» or a special paddle-mixer.
In addition, you may need: corks and a capping machine for threadless bottles, a pan for boiling unhopped extract, measuring utensils, funnels, scales.
In principle, you can purchase a basic kit with a minimum number of elements, and then buy everything else in a specialized store. Well-equipped microbreweries are much more expensive than basic kits. Nevertheless, to get a good quality drink, experts recommend paying attention to the “advanced kits”.
Minimum set of brewer
And here you can get acquainted with the minimum set for grain brewing.
So, let’s talk about the minimum set of a brewer. What we need to make our first live beer (this kit is only suitable for extract brewing):
Fermenter (fermenter), fermenter
Fermenter — a container for fermenting beer wort, the volume of the container will depend on which extract you will use. There are fermenters on the market with a volume of 10 to 30 liters. In fact, you can use any tightly closed container in which you need to make two holes: for a water seal, which can also be replaced in the old fashioned way with a hose and a jar of water, and a faucet for bottling (optional, but very convenient).
A water seal for a container is necessary for the release of carbon dioxide, while preventing bacteria from entering the tank, with the help of a water seal it is easy to monitor the fermentation process and establish the completion of this process, as I wrote, you can replace it with improvised means or make it yourself.
A hydrometer with a measuring cylinder or other special container — using a hydrometer, you can find out the density of the wort and subsequently the strength of the beer, as well as determine whether the beer is ripe, and is also useful for home experiments.
Bottling medium — the process of filling beer for further carbonation is a very delicate process. This is due to the fact that bottling should be carried out with minimal contact of beer with the external environment.
Disinfectant — Neodisher Cl is sold in all specialized stores, I highly recommend buying it. However, you can get by with substitutes, all specialized stores have substitutes, you can also buy ordinary bleach and induce a very weak solution, or get by with iodine.
Tare – after fermentation comes the stage of bottling beer and the process of carbonization, I recommend preparing in advance for the collection (purchase) of containers.
It is important that PET bottles that are not intended for non-carbonated drinks are not suitable for bottling, since it is in the container that the carbonization process will take place, which means that the container can simply be torn apart
Now let’s move on to the ingredients for making beer:
- Malt extract — can be both hopped and unhopped, for the second you still need hops;
- Yeast — usually comes with malt extracts;
- Sugar or dextrose in the amount necessary for fermentation and carbonation;
Rating of the best microbrewery manufacturers
Based on reviews, the following manufacturers enjoy the confidence of the domestic consumer: BeerMachine, InPinto, Beer Zavodik, Mr.Beer and BrewDemon. We present to your attention the rating of the best home breweries in various price categories.
|Mini Brewery Kit
This model is a 13 liter plastic fermenter with handle and lid. The kit includes the accessories needed to produce 10 liters of beer in one cycle. Complete set: tank, two-chamber water seal, drain tap, malt extract, cleaning agent and instructions. The average cost is 1900 rubles.
Pros — A great set for an entry-level brewer.
Disadvantages — rather expensive raw materials.
|Beer Zavodik Mini
This mini-brewery allows you to get 25 liters of real «foamy» with almost no serious effort. The basis of this set is a polypropylene fermenter with a capacity of 33 liters.
In addition, the basic kit includes a two-chamber water seal, a plastic drain cock, malt extract, self-adhesive LCD thermometer, dextrose, cleaning agent and instructions. The average cost is 2500 rubles.
|iBrew Basic Starter Kit
This microbrewery model includes the necessary elements to brew 23 liters of homemade «foamy» drink in one cycle. This equipment makes the cooking process as simple as possible.
Enters a set: fermenter with a cover, with a capacity of 30 l; two-chamber water seal with sealant, tap, malt extract, self-adhesive LCD thermometer. In addition, the manufacturer supplies: a funnel, a bottle filler, two types of dextrose, an adapter tube, a cleaning agent and instructions. The average cost is 2.6 thousand rubles.
The downside is the expensive ingredients.
Middle price segment
A very popular and simple model designed for home brewing beer with natural carbonation. The fermenter with a built-in faucet for bottling is made of high-quality plastic, with a volume of 10 liters. The maturation process takes place in separate containers.
In the basic configuration, the mini-brewery set includes: monolithic fermenter, LCD thermometer; cleaning agent; a spoon for stirring the wort; hydrometer; glass bottles with corks; malt extract kit; instructions. Production: Czech Republic. The average cost of a basic set is 5 thousand rubles.
|Mr Beer Deluxe Kit
The perfect kit for the amateur brewer. Plastic fermenter with pressure relief slots and tap. It is used for the preparation of beer by the method of natural carbonation. Tank volume 9 l. The volume of the finished product is 8 liters. The process of final maturation and carbonization is assumed in separate tanks.
Basic complete set: a fermenter with a cover and a sealing elastic band; extract, brewer’s yeast, cleaner; scapula; LCD thermometer; bottles, labels, DVD. Production: USA. The average cost is 6.5 thousand rubles.
|Craft Brew Beer Kit
This model is distinguished by the richest complete set, which allows you to prepare 8-10 liters of beer in one cycle. The design and material of the fermenter allow you to observe the fermentation process. The tank is prefabricated, consists of three elements: a cover, a middle part and a base with a tap and legs. The removable middle part allows you to remove the foam formed during the fermentation of the wort.
Complete set: complete fermenter, tap, PET bottles for after-fermentation and final carbonization of the product, hydrometer with cylinder, LCD thermometer, watering can for filling bottles, carbonization candies, instructions. The average cost is 7.5 thousand rubles.
The disadvantage is the prefabricated design of the tank.
|BeerMachine — 2000
Well proven model with good equipment. The fermentation process in a plastic barrel with a volume of 10 liters. The process of carbonization is natural or artificial. Fermentation — in a fermenter or additional containers. The device is equipped with a carbonizer, a pressure gauge to control the main parameters, an overpressure valve and a foam trap to protect against foam leakage.
Complete set: fermenter, carbonizer, bottling valve, demolition valve, foam trap with lid, manual, box. Production: USA. The average cost of a basic set is 9 thousand rubles.
There are no disadvantages.
|FastFerment Basic Kit
This model is designed to produce 23 liters of homemade beer from liquid extract. Plastic fermenter with sludge collection tank, water trap and wall mounting. Tank volume 30 l.
The set includes: collapsible stand, malt extract, dextrose, stirring paddle, hydrometer, LCD thermometer; cleaning agent. All components of the FastFerment home brewery come in a beautiful color box. The average cost of a set is 11.5 thousand rubles.
The disadvantage is that there is no wort boiler in the kit.
The main difference of this model is the presence of a 26-liter conical fermenter made of stainless steel. Thanks to this design, all fermentation by-products are deposited at the bottom of the tank, which significantly reduces the area of contact between the product and the sediment.
The fermenter comes with: malt extract, cleaning and disinfection products, a full range of tools for monitoring the fermentation process, a bottle capper, a set of crown caps. The average price is 22 thousand rubles.
- If you are new to brewing, then get a ready-made beer brewing kit with the option of using liquid extract. It is usually difficult for a novice brewer to work with dry ingredients;
- As practice has shown, for the preparation of a «foamy» product at home, fermenters with a volume of 26-30 liters are optimal. On the other hand, such a volume is an impressive size. First of all, decide on the location of the installation;
- Do not save, but do not purchase premium models at the initial stage. Brewing is a long process of trial and error. Only after gaining experience, you will be able to decide on the technology and equipment of the mini-brewery that you need.
Watch a video about Beer Zavodik Mini mini-brewery
Useful tips based on feedback from the owners of the best home breweries: 1. Quality, fresh ingredients are needed, they should be stored strictly in accordance with the requirements. 2. Tap water is not suitable for making a quality drink. You can use spring or bottled purified water. 3. Before use, the brewery must be disinfected. 4. For better control of beer brewing, you can additionally purchase a thermometer and pressure gauge. 5. It is better to pour the finished beer into glass bottles: this increases the shelf life. 6. Roasted malt is used to make dark beer.
It must be remembered that excessive consumption of a foamy drink can lead to poor health. Also, beer is contraindicated for pregnant women and children.