Sunday, 5 June 2016

Brewers Box - Brewing at home, made easy

"Fermentation may have been a greater discovery than fire." - David Rains Wallace.

For it is the fermentation process we have to thank in turning natural sugars into alcohol that occurs when making our favourite beer isn't it? As a nation of beer lovers, times are currently at an all time boom for our beloved drink. Never has there been such an abundance of different styles, varieties and strengths available from such a wide selection of outlets. Thanks to the ready availability of various grains, a world-wide selection of amazing hops and the all important yeast strains, established and new brewers are cooking up all manner of lovely delicious ales, lagers, stouts and much more besides.

As you sip on your pint in a favourite local pub, or pull out that chilled, hazy bottle from the fridge, have you ever thought to yourself “I wish I could brew something like this”? Well, it isn't as complex as you might imagine. With very minimal equipment required and at a low cost, home-brewing is more accessible than ever for anyone with a desire to make their own beer, and Brewers Box are making the whole idea even simpler and easier for you. Decide on which brew you'd like to make, place your order, and within days you will have everything you need (almost) delivered to your door to make your first batch of beer from your kitchen.

I contacted John at Brewers Box to see if he would be happy to send me a brew box in exchange for this review. I was keen to know just how easy it would be for the first time brewer to make a batch of lovely tasting homemade beer. Within five days of placing my 'order', the delivery arrived at my door. As long as you have pan/brewpot large enough to hold the required volume of water, a stirring spoon (preferably plastic), everything else you need for an end result of about twenty bottles comes with your package. Once you have purchased the equipment and recipe kit, you will only need to order a recipe kit next time as you can reuse the equipment.

At any one given time, Brewers Box have three different styles of beer for you to choose from. They rotate about fifteen different recipes and are looking to see which are the most popular. Currently on their web site, the option is either a Suffolk a bitter, a Yorkshire gold ale or an Irish red. At the time of placing my order there was an option for a stout which is what I went for as it has been a style of drink I've loved for a long time. The ingredients for my stout include the correct pre-weighed grains, hop varieties and yeast. In the equipment package there is a siphon tube and clip and a fermentation bucket. Enough plastic bottles and screw caps to bottle your beer upon initial complete fermentation.

The brewing process is very similar no matter which style you choose from. Cleanliness is key so make sure everything is thoroughly cleaned and sanitized and rinsed, A brew can be happily fermenting away within a couple of hours. Your beer ready to drink after approximately four weeks. I already had a thermometer to check the temperature for the fermentation period, and a hydrometer which measures both the starting gravity and the final gravity to give a measurement of the beers strength. Most of the recipes supplied by Brewers Box to make any of their beer are between 4 and 4.5% making them an easy drinking sessionable beer. My stout came out at 4.4% and here is the end result...

It is rich in colour which at first glance may appear black. The blend of malts (dark, black, chocolate, crystal and flaked oats) making the style instantly recognisable. Offer it up to the light and you can see it is in fact a deep dark red rather than black. It is a little on the thin side body wise, (some stouts are very thick bodied) which will be a result of the amounts of grain used. And the taste and aroma of the hops come through which in the case of this drink are from the Goldings variety. Used for both bittering purposes and aroma, this British hop provides a smooth taste with gentle notes from its floral,earthy and slightly sweet attributes.

The beer will benefit for being left a little longer so I will leave mine sat out of direct light and in the cool temperature of the garage.

Making beer couldn't be any easier really. With the products and variety Brewers Box have to offer, the efficient shipping time and cost, plus the inexpensive overall cost of their beer recipe kits, this is a simple, easy to understand, and low cost way to brew your own beer.


Words - Pete Jackson

Brewers Box official

Brewers Box are part of Brewers Barn, based in Ipswich. Offering a complete selection of homebrewing ingredients and equipment for making beer, cider, wine and spirits at home.