Beer Facts and FAQs
Is it hard to make beer?
Not at all. While there are indeed some complex reactions going on during fermentation, you don’t need a chemistry degree to make great beer. After all, we were making it thousands of years before the invention of the textbook — or even the thermometer for that matter. If you have a cool, dark storage space and squeaky clean, sanitized equipment, anyone that can cook oatmeal is perfectly qualified to brew excellent beer.
But how does it taste?
I won’t lie. I’ve tasted some horrific homebrews (in all fairness, several were mine). But in most cases, you can point the blame at an easily correctable mistake. With a little practice and careful attention to detail, you’ll be making great beer in no time.
Most of our customers bring in a bottle from their first batch. And I can honestly say that the overwhelming majority aren’t just drinkable — they’re delicious. One cream stout in particular was worthy of mention. So can you top some of the commercial beers out there? Let me answer a question with a question. If you take fresh beef and quality seasonings and grill a burger in your backyard, can you outdo McDonald’s?
The same thing applies here.
How long does it take?
That depends on what you’re brewing. A simple unfiltered wheat beer might be ready to bottle and drink in just a few weeks, where a barleywine might need six months or more of extended aging. Generally speaking, most beers will need less than two months from start to finish. Keep in mind, your active role in this process is only a few hours — after that, the yeast does all the work.
How much does it cost?
A basic start-up equipment kit and a sturdy brew kettle will average maybe $100 to $120. After that initial upfront investment, ingredients to brew a typical 5-gallon batch will run $30 to $35, which nets down to about $4 per six-pack.
Home brewing is very affordable relative to other hobbies like scuba diving or bug collecting — and it goes much better with pizza.
Can you give me a quick rundown of the process?
We could. But the American Homebrewers Association (AHA) has already put together a great introductory video. Follow this link to see “Homebrewing 101”
Can you get Yeungling?
Sorry, no. See our earlier comments about the 3-tier system. As soon as Yeungling expands westward into Louisiana, trust me Brewniverse will be the first to place an order.
We love beer factoids. Feel free to use anything on the list below to amaze (or annoy) your friends, colleagues, or the guy at the next bar stool.
- Under the strict code of Hammurabi, Babylonian merchants could be put to death for diluting beer. The Babylonians also gave us the term “honeymoon”, which referred to the practice of the bride’s father supplying his son-in-law with enough honey mead to last a month.
- Ancient Egyptian workers received their wages in the form of beer. Two containers were the reward for a hard day’s labor.
- Bishop Arnold of Metz, the Patron Saint of Brewing, was a tireless advocate of beer and warned peasants not to drink water. At his funeral in 642 AD, the last mug of beer was rumored to have replenished itself and never run dry.
- In medieval Europe, it was common custom to bathe and baptize newborns and young children in beer.
- When the pilgrims arrived in America in 1620, they chose to settle at Plymouth Rock because the Mayflower was running low on provisions, chiefly beer.
- In 1775, General Washington directed Continental soldiers to be given daily beer rations. As President, Washington would later become one of the nation’s first homebrewers (he had an affinity for spruce beer).
- The lyrics to the “Star Spangled Banner” are sung to music derived from a British drinking tune called “Anacreon”
- The colloquial saying “mind your Ps and Qs” is derived from old English tavern slang urging patrons to keep track of the number of pints and quarts they downed. The beer industry also gave us the “rule of thumb”, which is how brewers gauged temperate in the days before the thermometer.
- Louis Pasteur is credited with discovering the pasteurization process that keeps milk from spoiling, but few realize he was actually trying to prolong the shelf life of beer.
- Every day, drinkers around the world consume approximately 7 million glasses of Guinness.
- According to the Beer Industry League of Louisiana, there are approximately 50 million cases of beer sold statewide each year accounting for $1.8 billion in direct economic impact.
- While overall U.S. beer consumption has leveled off at 200 million barrels annually, sales of craft beer (full-flavored brands brewed in small batches with quality ingredients) are accelerating. Shipment volume rose 5.9% in 2008, 7.2% in 2009, 12.0% in 2010, 13.0% in 2011 and 15% last year. Annual sales volume now stands at a record 13.2 million barrels.
- In dollar terms, craft beer retail revenues rose $10.2 billion, or more than a dime out of every dollar spent on beer nationwide.
- The Great American Beer Festival in Denver released 49,000 tickets to the public this year — they sold out in just 45 minutes.
- We remind you to drink responsibly and please designate a driver.