August 21, 2018
Have you ever wondered what it takes to ferment your own wine or brew your own beer? Well, not all that much as it turns out! Making your own adult beverages at home is easy, inexpensive and fun. And since the National Institute of Health has alerted us to the health benefits of moderate alcohol consumption, more people than ever are jumping on the home brew bandwagon!
We talked with Manager Jeff Jameson of The Brew Hut (on E. Hampden Ave. in Aurora) to gather some tips and information for beginners about making beer and wine.
For beginners, there are a number of places to start, says Jameson. “The industry standard batch is five-gallons, but there’s a growing trend to produce smaller one-gallon batches of beer or wine at a time,” he says, “and the investment, whether it’s one or five, is the same.”
Brewing for Beginners
The cost for a beginner who is curious and wants to experiment is less than $100, plus ingredients for beer. “You can spend $6000 for a system with all the bells and whistles, but our most popular kit is around the $200 range, and with ingredients, another $50.” The main ingredients are hops, barley, water and yeast and these are all available at The Brew Hut. Jameson says the Aurora shop also has a grain room where home brewers can get their “hands dirty” picking out various ingredients.
“The typical home brewer is probably spending $30 to $50 to make about 50 beers from a five-gallon batch,” Jameson says.
“The great part about brewing your own is that it’s totally customizable. You get a basic kit and everything is in the box to make say, brown ale. But then we sell the pieces ala carte so you can choose how the hops go in and what barley you want to use,” Jameson says. “There are even different yeasts that brewers can play with to tweak the taste.”
Jameson says it takes about a month to mix up a batch of beer. “It needs to ferment for two weeks, and then needs to be ‘packaged’, for another two weeks to allow the yeast to produce natural carbonation in the bottle,” he says.
On the Wine Side
For the beginner, the easiest thing to do is get a box kit like The Brew Hut’s popular Wine Expert kit which contains a varietal juice concentrate. “These start with great juices that still retain the major essence of the grape and come in six-gallon sets,” says Jameson. “To get into wine making, you’re looking at $125 for equipment and then a batch can run $75. That’s a lot of fun and super simple and will make about 30 bottles of great wine.”
People make all kinds of wines – raspberry, currant or elderberry – whatever’s growing in their yards, Jameson says. “We also carry fruit purees and wine bases to make those fruit-based wines.
The Waiting Game
“With the boxed kits, labor on the front end is reduced and you can whip up a batch in half an hour,” says Jameson. “It takes a little more handling after that so fermentation might be about five weeks before you’re bottling,” he added.
On the fresh fruit side, there are lots of ways to make wine and beer, and in general most fresh-fruit winemakers let that aging process go longer – from a couple of months up to a year. But it’s not necessary, says Jameson.
“For wine, the longer it’s in the bottle, the nicer the wine. A lot of beers are like that too, like imperial stout, it takes multiple years before it hits its peak.”
Classes to Get You Started
To learn more, sign up for the The Brew Hut’s Introduction to Wine Making class, where an instructor will make one of the kits in class on August 19. And on August 26, The Brew Hut will hold a Beer Sensory class where an instructor takes flavor compounds from the Siebel Institute and adds them to plain beer to train your palate.
The Best of Summer at Southshore
One of best things about the master-planned community of Southshore in addition to life at the lake, is all the nearby amenities, entertainment, recreational, educational and shopping options! If you haven’t yet, tour the stunning models in Southshore from Richmond American Homes, Century Communities, and Toll Brothers, three of Colorado’s premiere builders. New homes in Southshore are available in both ranch and two-story designs and priced between the upper $300s and the $700s.