Help with hob­bies

Home brew­ing

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Learn the brew­ing ba­sics

Whether you’re new to the plea­sures of the home brew, or are an old hand, we’re will­ing to bet you’ll find plenty of in­ter­est­ing nuggets at Jim’s Beer Kit ( www.jims­ The site’s au­thor, Jim Dun­leavy, has posted de­tailed guides on how to set up beer-brew­ing equip­ment and goes into de­tail on the brew­ing process. The site also of­fers video tu­to­ri­als. Watch this one at www.snipca. com/23800 to find out what you need to do to pre­pare for an all-grain brew. The rest of Jim’s videos can be found on his Youtube chan­nel: www.snipca. com/23802.

Chat with fel­low en­thu­si­asts

The fo­rum on Jim’s site is also very use­ful. It has thou­sands of posts to pe­ruse and a com­mu­nity that’s happy to of­fer ad­vice to new mem­bers, and sto­ries of what went right (and wrong) in their lat­est brews. The fo­rum’s cat­e­gories even in­clude dis­cus­sions on the pro­cesses of mak­ing wine, cider and mead. To cre­ate an ac­count (so you can post ques­tions on the fo­rum), go to www.jims­ fo­rum and click Reg­is­ter at the top right.

Cal­cu­late your beer’s per­cent­age

Reg­u­lar con­trib­u­tors to Jim’s fo­rum in­clude Gra­ham Wheeler, au­thor of ‘Brew your own Bri­tish Real Ale’, the un­of­fi­cial bi­ble on home brew­ing. He also has his own web­site: www.prac­ti­cal­brew­ The site is only par­tially com­pleted, so the only fin­ished page is the Fin­ing page, but the web­site does have one use­ful tool. Click Beerengine at the bot­tom of the left-hand panel (or go to then click the ‘Beer En­gine v1.09’ down­load link at the bot­tom of the page. It’s a recipe pro­gram de­signed to help brew­ers mon­i­tor their beer as it is fer­ment­ing.

To start you off, in­stall and open the pro­gram, click File, Load Ex­am­ple Recipe, then choose one of the op­tions. You’ll see the ex­act amounts of malts and hops you need and the fi­nal per­cent­age in Beerengine’s main screen (see screen­shot be­low). Once you’re more con­fi­dent in your brew­ing tech­niques you can add your own recipes to Beer En­gine.

Mon­i­tor your brew’s tem­per­a­ture

Our favourite sin­gle-board PC, the Rasp­berry Pi, can be used for all kinds of tasks – from run­ning Kodi (see our Cover Fea­ture, page 50) to play­ing vin­tage video games. But you can also use it to mon­i­tor the tem­per­a­ture of your beer as it brews.

The Brewpi Spark ( is a mod­i­fied Pi with its own screen (see im­age above). It uses soft­ware and heat sen­sors to pro­vide pre­cise tem­per­a­ture read­ings of your fer­ment­ing beer. The ba­sic equip­ment – a Brewpi, two sen­sors and two solid-state re­lays for heat­ing – costs at least £100 (de­pend­ing on which ver­sion you opt for). The Brewpi, there­fore, is aimed at se­ri­ous home brew­ers.

Dis­cover new recipes

The in­ter­net is awash with great beer recipes. Re­turn to Jim’s Beer Kit for hun­dreds of recipes ( www.snipca. com/23806), while Brewuk ( www. lets you search 240 recipes and sort them by type and style.

Get in­volved with CAMRA

If you’re look­ing for in­spi­ra­tion re­gard­ing your next brew, why not at­tend a real ale festival? CAMRA (the Cam­paign for Real Ale, holds reg­u­lar beer fes­ti­vals up and down the coun­try.

If you want to take beer brew­ing to the next level, con­sider buy­ing a Brewpi Spark

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