Finding ingredients for home brewed beer

If you’re setting up your own home brewery, you need to know how to find beer ingredients. Here’s a list of all the essential ingredients you’ll need for brewing your own beer and tips on how and where to find them:

Hops

These are best purchased at home brewing stores. They can also often be found at wine making stores. These are specialty shops that assist customers in brewing their own wine or beer. These shops can be physical stores or online vendors. It’s usually best to go with fresh hops bought in your area, but online suppliers are fine too. The hops should be green in color, which indicates freshness. If they are brown or yellow or have a funny smell you probably shouldn’t use them because it may mean they are not as fresh as they could be. Hops also need to be refrigerated so if you find a vendor who has them out on display for long periods ask him if he refrigerates them.

Yeast

You can’t use just any old yeast for brewing beer. You need to get hold of brewer’s yeast. This can also be bought at local or online brewery supply shops. Interestingly, it can also be purchased at pharmacies because it is recognized as an important nutritional supplement. It is a source of B vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. The yeast should be the right variety for the type of beer you are brewing, so get background information about the kind of yeast you need before you buy any.

Spring Water

For beer brewing (actually even for drinking), you want to avoid the use of chlorinated or fluoridated water. These ingredients are not only bad for health, they create an unpleasant taste in beer brewed with them.
You should also avoid using distilled water, because it doesn’t have enough minerals, which assist in yeast fermentation. Distilled water is fine for drinking of course, but it is not recommended for beer brewing.

Barley Malt Extract

Again, brewing stores will supply malt extract. They may also be sold by retailers of malt and sugar products. This product is sold either in syrup form or powdered form. These extracts relate very directly to the type of beer you’re brewing. They come in light, amber, and dark varieties and produce the corresponding types of beer.

Clarifying Agents

Various proteins in home brewed beer can give it a hazy look, so some home brewers use clarifying agents to help the beer attain a clear consistency. The most popular of these is Irish moss, a type of North Atlantic seaweed. Another such clarifying agent is Isinglass, which is derived from the swim bladders of fish.
Home brewers should make sure that suppliers of these products are reputable, especially in the case of swim bladders. These will be in beer you drink, so you want to make sure they are taken from wholesome sources.

Go Organic

It is possible to use all organically grown ingredients in your home brewed beer. This may cost a bit more, but the lack of pesticides or other artificial chemicals usually produces great tasting pure beer. The hops, yeast, malt, added together with some good spring water in organic beer should all come from certified organic sources. Brewing suppliers and various organic sources such as retailers or even the farms themselves will be able to supply you with these ingredients.

Home Brewing Kits

Home brewing kits are very helpful for fist time brewers. These kits include all the equipment needed for first time brewers: fermentors, bottling buckets, hydrometer, bottle filler, airlock and stopper, tubing, bottle capper and caps, racking cane, bottle brush, and so on.
Some of these kits include ingredients as well (even organically grown ingredients), but make sure these companies are reputable and that the ingredients are fresh before buying anything.

As is fairly clear, all the ingredients you need to brew beer can be purchased from specialty beer brewing suppliers. The key is to get the right ingredients at the right price. Home brewing supply is a booming industry and there are a lot of suppliers to choose from. You can most probably get started brewing your own beer for under $100. But do background information as to the reputability of suppliers and the purity of their ingredients in order to assure that the beer you brew is of top quality.