This past-time is fast gaining popularity… and not only for beer lovers.

Beer, cider, kombucha… all these fermented drinks are easy to make at home, provided you have a little understanding and some time up your sleeve.

Brewing at home can have varying levels of success. This, according to master brewer Garrett Sherman, is because a number of factors affect the outcome.

“All home brews need to be kept at a specific temperature in order to have the best results,” explains Garrett, who brews at home and is employed as a brewer at Sydney’s 4Pines. “What you end up with will also depend on the equipment you use and the quality of the ingredients.”

Here are a few starter tips for three popular home brews:

What beer lover doesn’t get excited by the idea of brewing the perfect beer at home?

Garrett recommends learning as much as you can beforehand and then investing in good ingredients and equipment.

“You can brew beer in a bucket,” he says, “but you will get better results using stainless steel, glass or ceramic vessels.”

Likewise, you can use malt extract or powdered malt extract to make your beer, but nothing will come close to one of those delicious craft beer concoctions you buy in the shops unless you extend your budget to the real thing.

The same goes for cider, which can be made from apple extract. Many store bought ciders are made this way because it is easier, cheaper and gives a less cloudy result without sacrificing too much of the taste cider fans are used to.

“If you are making cider with fresh fruit, you can use a juicer or invest in a press to create a more authentic tasting beverage which keeps for as long as commercially produced ciders.” says Garrett. Contact a local orchard to see if you can procure the right varieties or get hold of some pre-pressed juice will put you ahead of the game.

Kombucha is a fermented tea drink with an almost vinegar-like flavour said to enhance the body’s digestive system, reducing issues such as constipation, headaches and even acne. The flavour is slightly tart and can be very refreshing.

To make kombucha, you require a ‘scoby’ starter, which is a culture of yeast and (good) bacteria. Add black tea and sugar, store your mixture out of direct sunlight and save the scoby at the end to use for your next batch.

“Kombucha requires regular tasting”, says Garrett, “so you can make sure it hasn’t gone too acidic.”

Creating delicious home brew takes time, at least two – three weeks for each of the drinks mentioned above. The process is a labour of love and it does take a certain amount of trial and error before you hit on a method to match your tastes. Garrett’s final tip is to remember to sterilise and use clean equipment – “many people neglect to take note: sanitisation is also paramount to make a quality final product.”

Happy Brewing!

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