Alcoholic beverages play an important social role in many cultures around the world. We are a good example of it, we love to meet up in pubs and terraces with colleagues or friends and enjoy a good time with a nice drink in our hand.
But for a change, how about making our own alcoholic beverage at home and organising a tasting session with friends? Trust us, it's doable and very easy.
Types of alcoholic beverages according to their production
To start with, we must know what types of alcoholic beverages exist. We can categorise them according to the way they are produced. We have beverages produced by alcoholic fermentation and alcoholic beverages produced by distillation.
We will only highlight one difference between these beverages. Drinks produced by alcoholic fermentation have an alcohol content usually bellow 15%. They are more accessible for home brewing. Those produced by distillation have a higher alcohol content. Indeed, they are obtained by separation of water and alcohol from a liquid after its fermentation, meaning they are more laborious to produce.
Drinks produced by alcoholic fermentation
Drinks produced by alcoholic fermentation are easy to make at home under the right guidance, so we will talk you teach you how to do brew them yourself and give some examples of fermented drinks that you can make with guaranteed success.
To make alcoholic beverages through fermentation, they key step is to obtain the fermentable liquid. This liquid contains fermentable sugars which allow the yeast to ferment and produce ethanol and CO2.
The most known fermented beverages are wine, cider, kombucha, beer, hard seltzer and mead:
Wine is obtained by the alcoholic fermentation of grape must or grape juice. This lovely drink can be obtained through different ways depending on characteristics of the grapes and how it is vinified.
Cider is originally made from apple juice, although there are more and more variants available on supermarket shelves. Cider made from strawberries, blackberries, pineapple or pears for example.
Kombucha, very fashionable these past years due to its health benefits, is made from the fermentation of sweetened tea (generally green or black), together with SCOBY (an acronym for a symbiotic colony of yeast and bacteria).
Beer, one of our three favourites fermented beverage is made from malted grains of barley or other cereals, as you probably already know if you follow us.
Hard seltzer is brewed using dextrose and nutrients to support yeast fermentation. Natural flavourings are then added, offering a wide range of possibilities.
And finally, the very old mead is made from the fermentation of pure honey. A delicacy of the gods.
How to brew craft beer at home
The stages in the production of craft beer are generally: Malting, Milling, Mashing, Rinsing, Boiling, Cooling, Fermentation and Conditioning.
- Malting consists of germinating the grain by soaking it in water, drying it with hot air and roasting it to achieve different degrees of colour. Each malt imparts different flavours and aromas, and is used by combining base malts and special malts.
- Milling consists of opening the grain without breaking the husk, so that during mashing the starch in the grain can be dissolved and broken into simple sugars.
- Mashing is an infusion of water and malt to obtain a sweet wort. This wort is rich in fermentable sugars obtained from the starch.
- Rinsing is carried out to wash away the sugars retained in the grain, in order to take advantage of all the sugars in the mash (the spent grain).
- Boiling consists of bringing the wort to boiling temperature and adding hops to the solution to give the desired bitterness, flavour and aroma.
- Cooling is a vital step to inoculate the yeast without risks of killing it.
- Fermentation is performed by the yeast in cold wort. Once it has fermented, beer can be packaged where it will age and can be tasted later.
If you find it a bit complex, don't worry. There are guided kits on the market with everything you need to brew, and you can reuse your tools with refills of raw materials and continue learning.
These home brewing kits can be divided into two main groups, grain-based brewing kits and hopped malt extract kits.
- In the grain kits, beer is brewed from malts and hops, just like in a brewery But it is adapted to the kitchen and the utensils that we usually have in it. All you need to do is buy a kit (including tools + raw materials) and bottles for bottling, or a barrel for kegging, whichever you prefer. If you like the idea, with My Brewery you will be able to try more than a dozen beer recipes.
You can also buy the innovative All Grain Kit from BNKR BEER on Amazon to brew directly in the barrel and it is available for sale in several countries, a best seller on this Market Place.
- With extract kits, instead of brewing from raw ingredients, the process is simplified with a can of malt extract already hopped, going straight to the boil. There are kits like this that include accessories, such as a hydrometer and a measuring tube to learn how to calculate the alcohol content of your beer, just like a pro.
How to make Hard Seltzer at home
This trendy drink in the USA is very refreshing, low in calories and gluten-free, making it a perfect gift for people who cannot tolerate gluten. It has an alcohol content of 5% and can be customised once brewed with other additives such as fruit, herbs, syrups, angostura bitters and anything you fancy.
If you want to know more about how to make it, be sure to read our post "How to make your own Hard Seltzer".
How to make mead at home
According to Norse mythology, mead is the only food of the Odin God, a drink that even after death, in the paradise of Valhalla, accompanies the Norse warriors for the rest of eternity.
If you want to make mead, the greatest difficulty you will encounter will not be the preparation of mead itself, but finding the highest quality ingredients. Ingredients used for its preparation are extremely important in order to obtain a very good result.
For this reason, we recommend the 'Mead, Drink Like a Viking' kits, of which there are three delicious recipes (Ull, Odin and Freya). To be brewed with the exclusive honey from the Andalusian highlands.
Needless to say, the tremendous pleasure of tasting these alcoholic beverages with your family and friends is knowing you have brewed them yourself. If you are curious and enjoy new experiments, then you will definitely love it. Brew, taste and tell us about it!