BEER BLOG AND INFORMATION PAGE

This page includes tips and information on all things BEER! To view our complete beer product selection available online and in-store, go to the products + online shopping tab.

BAVARIAN PURITY LAW

Beer purists are thrilled with our Barons beer kits which adhere to the Bavarian Purity Law of 1516 - beer must only be made with barley, hops, water and yeast.  Pure and simple!  Now compare this to what could be in your commercially made beer: 

To read the Chemical Additives used in Commercial Beer click here

 

 

I'm new to beer making, could you walk me step by step through the beer making process?

Our mission at The Home Vintner is to teach you how to make the best micro brewery style beer at home.  The Barons beer instructions included with your kit will walk you through the beer making process.  I will provide you with a few tips to make you successful your first time.  Always take your time, if you try to shorten the process you will end with a poorer tasting beer along with lower  Read more...

 

 

WYEAST CULTURE COLLECTION FOR BREWING

Wyeast Laboratories revolutionized home brewing in 1986 when they introduced 100% Pure Liquid Yeast Cultures.  Hobby brewers worldwide count on the reliability, purity and extensive strain selection provided by Wyeast to produce beers of unequalled quality and diversity.  Some liquid yeast is available at 14 St NW, NE and Airdrie.  While we can't carry every yeast at all times, we can bring in requests. For Beer yeasts available online or in-store click here. For Wine yeasts available online or in-store click here.

HIGH QUALITY BEER STARTER KITS

Our high quality beer starter kits include everything that you need to start making beer at home.  High quality 5 grade polypropylene primary with bung, air lock and stick on thermometer, 23 litre Italian glass carboy, sanitizing system with instructions, stir stick, syphon and hose with stop clamp and hydrometer for your complete start up needs.  We also reduce the cost of our starter kit when you purchase it alongside a wine or beer kit. To view this product click here.....   Optional upgrade to an auto syphon for $10, also available is a beer thief for testing from secondary carboy.

Read more about primaries

 

 

 

 

 

 HEAT BELTS FOR BEER

Beer likes to ferment warmer than wine.  At 23 C / 73 F the beer will be ready to rack out of the primary usually on the 3rd day.  At 20 C / 68 F it will take almost a week before the specific gravity (SG) is low enough.  At cooler temperatures it can take up to 6 or 7 weeks for the SG to reach its lowest level.  At cooler temperatures the yeast can stall at 3 weeks and then kick in again at 4 weeks.  When people call saying that the SG won't drop we suspect right away that the beer isn't warm enough.  The answer is an electric heat belt which goes on the primary and then on an Italian carboy (if you have a Mexican or North American carboy do not use the heat belt on them).  The heat belt maintains the temperature at exactly 23 C.  Click Here to find heat belts available online or in all our stores.

 

IMPORTANCE OF THE HYDROMETER

Do not follow instructions according to the number of days.  This is only an approximation for timing.  Depending on the temperature of your beer the days become irrelevant.  Only move onto the different steps in the instructions when your specific gravity hits the correct number indicated in the instructions.  One of the most important tools in your beer making process is the hydrometer. 

The principle of the hydrometer is to measure the density of your wine & beer.  As the wine & beer ferments creating alcohol, the hydrometer will sink deeper into the wine & beer, giving you important readings as to the progress of your fermentation. Click Here to find this product online or available in-store.

Over the years The Home Vintner has educated over 9,000 wine & beer makers through our classes, stressing the importance of taking readings.  It is essential to take a reading BEFORE you pitch the yeast; BEFORE stabilizing; & BEFORE bottling.  ...read more

 

HOW TO DETERMINE THE ALCOHOL LEVEL

Take your starting specific gravity, subtract your finished specific gravity and divide by 7.36.  For example: Initial S.G. 1.050; Final S.G. .008; drop in gravity .042.

Next, the figure obtained in this way is divided by 7.36.  The result obtained is the % of alcohol by volume in the wine, i.e. 42 / 7.36 = 5.7% alcohol.

P.E.T.BOTTLES poly(ethylene terephthalate)

P.E.T. Bottles are a cost effective alternative to glass for bottling homemade beer.  These bottles and caps are reusable.  The majority of PET bottles are porous (a beverage held in PET will eventually go flat).  However, our PET bottles have a nylon barrier which helps to prevent both the ingress of oxygen and the loss of CO2 for up to 6 months. If you want to bottle your beer for longer you may choose to use good quality glass bottles. Click here to view selection available online or in-store.

500 ml PET brown - sold by the case of 24 and includes the plastic caps.

500 ml PET clear - sold by the case of 24 and includes the plastic caps.

1 litre PET - sold by the case of 12 and includes the plastic caps. (Caps also available separately)

 

GLASS BEER BOTTLES

Glass bottles have been the most popular form of storage container for home beer brewing.  Glass beer bottles do not allow any oxygen or other gases to affect the beer and allow the beer to be stored for much longer than plastic beer bottles. If you are planning on sharing your beer with your friends and family, home brewed beer looks more appealing when it is presented in a traditional beer bottle than other forms of storage containers. Click here to find this product available online or in-store.


500 ml amber glass - case of 12, 4 cases required to bottle 23L kit. Uses crown caps.
650 ml amber glass - case of 12, 3 cases required to bottle 23L kit. Uses crown caps.
500 ml amber EZ Cap (flip top style) - case(flip top style) - case of 12, 4 cases required to bottle 23L kit.
500 ml clear EZ Cap - (flip top style) - individually in-store or case of 12
500 ml cobalt blue EZ Cap (flip top style) - individually in-store or case of 12
1 Litre amber EZ Cap - (flip top style) - individually in-store or case of 12
1 Litre cobalt blue EZ Cap - (flip top style) - individually in-store or case of 12

New in 2015 - Growler style glass beer bottles. 36 oz or 64 oz! View this product here.....

Click here to see available caps. Click here to view hand and floor cappers for crown style caps available online or in-store. We also loan out cappers to our customers making our kits! Please make sure to reserve in advance at your regular location. 

 

COBALT BLUE 500 ML & 1 L BOTTLES

We are Western Canada's exclusive provider of 500 ml brown beer bottles.  Now we are introducing our new 500 ml & 1 Litre Cobalt Blue EZ Cap beer bottles.  Also available is a clear 500 ml EZ cap.

      

BOTTLING BEER

Dear brewmaster: "When I open some of my home brew it is over carbonated".

If you bottle according to the number of days in the instructions you will not hit a low enough specific gravity.  The number of days is to be used as a general guide only, you must always use your hydrometer and watch the specific gravity.   When there is any surface activity in your carboy your beer is still fermenting.  When the yeast ferments the natural sugars, both alcohol and CO2 are produced.  If you bottle too early the residue sugar will ferment in the bottle along with the dextrose producing excess CO2.  Patience is the key when brewing beer - I know you can't wait to start drinking the beer but delaying bottling a week or two will avoid this problem.

To avoid uneven carbonation from one bottle to another -occasionally stir the beer in your primary while you're bottling.  Another common error is overfilling the bottle - use one of our bottling wands to ensure the proper height.

From Ron our manager of the NW store, former AB Wine Maker of the Year 2011.

 

BEER BOTTLE LABELS

Removable White I.D. Labels - Avery 06498 Laser / Ink Jet available in our stores for $13.74.  These are excellent beer labels because they stick,stay and remove cleanly. 

Click here to see image examples and learn how to download the label program.

 

 

HOW TO CORRECTLY BOTTLE BEER AND THEN HOW TO POUR A HOMECRAFTED BEER

The natural carbonation of our beer is done just before bottling by racking the beer back into the primary and then adding 220 grams of dextrose. Dissolving the dextrose in a little bit of hot water helps to evenly dissolve it throughout the 23 litres. Once bottled the yeast ferments the sugar thus producing additional alcohol and CO2 which is trapped in the bottle. This further fermentation in the bottle produces a new yeast bed in the bottle. To avoid stirring up this sediment always leave your beer bottles upright.  Do not drink from the bottle...If you have a surface scum on the beer, continue reading this article...

read more... 

BREWERY IN THE BASEMENT

In September I moved into a house with two roommates and a lot of extra space. The carboys, empty bottles, wine rack, corks, and the "art of wine and beer making" certificate of attendance moved in soon after. My roommate Scott always wanted to make his own beer, and our house and its big basement provided the perfect opportunity. Scott loves beer and he loves saving money, so homebrew made sense. I was in complete support of Scott’s new hobby. Who doesn’t love cheap beer?

My previous experience with homebrew involved a friend’s very sketchy moonshine and my frugal grandfather’s basement brew. Scott originally started making beer to save money but his intentions shifted after attending a three hour wine and beer making course at the Home Vintner (that resulted in the aforementioned official certificate of attendance that remains on our fridge).  Posted by Annalise Klingbeil from Open File Community Powered News Calgary

read entire Open File article...

 

HEALTH BENEFITS OF BEER, WHO KNEW?

Health benefits of beer include anticancer property, reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases, increased bone density, prevention of dementia and coronary disease, aiding digestive system, anti-aging properties, countering diabetes, gallstones, kidney stones and osteoporosis, hypertension, apart from acting as a stress buster and diuretic.

Beer is a beverage which people usually prefer to take along with meals in North America and Europe. Beer has greater protein and vitamin B content than wine. Its antioxidant content is equivalent to that of wine. Hops, major component for brewing beer, are rich source of flavonoids, which are potent antioxidants. It is a very good source of some minerals which play roles in various metabolic processes. If taken in moderate quantities, beer will surely benefit one’s health.

read more...

 

 

AGEING HOME CRAFTED BEER

I think most of us have seen those tv ads for commercial beer, touting it's "freshness". I was always a little skeptical of the advantage of freshness, as beer is a femented beverage, and, like wine, should probably smooth out and generally improve with some ageing. Since I started making my own beer, however, I have chosen to throw the fresh idea out the window. Here's why.  Last summer, my friend and I made a straight-up Dutch Lager using a Baron's kit with the yeast and hops that were included in the box. We drank most of it soon after it became nicely carbonated, which took about a month of it sitting in an upstairs bedroom (about 20°C) It quickly became a favourite. We detected a very slight "home made beer taste", which was acceptable because it was by a long shot better than any other home made beers we'd ever tried. 

 click here to read the rest of Terry's blog..

 

 

U-DO Beer Kits Are Exclusive to The Home Vintner 

click here for more info... 

These kits are not yet available for on line purchase, please send us an email at "hvintner@telus.net"

or call us at 1-888-222-0486 to inquire about or to reserve one of these kits.

 

 

BARON'S PREMIUM BEER KITS

Barons Kits have been discontinued and are no longer in production.  The Home Vintner is working on a replacement to match our grain add paks.

We may have a few kits left, but when these are gone, there are no more available.

 

Barons Beer Brochure click here

 

BARONS SECRETS FOR MAKING YOUR BEST BEER EVER

There are hundreds of styles of beer, and sometimes you want ot make a beer truly your own, with different hops, added grains and specialty yeast. This is where Barons really shines, as a blank canvas for your beer ideas. For our advanced beer makers we are happy to provide this 4 page handout covering: a listing of the specifications for each beer kit, some changes you can make to modify the kit and some additions you make to the kit.

read more...

 

Beer Add on Kits & Recipes

Exclusive to The Home Vintner – beer add on packages with instructions and the extra dry ingredients intended to pair with our Barons Beer Kits.

• Belgian Wit – cracked wheat, oats, cracked coriander and orange peel. Use American Lite or Mexican Cerveza and Belgian Wit yeast.
• Cherry Porter – chocolate malt and roasted barley. Use Barons Brown Ale, try Irish Ale Yeast. Now re-worked for any season!
• India Pale Ale – cascade hops and oak chips try British or American Ale Yeast, recipes included to make an Innis & Gunn Style & a West Coast       IPA. You can also twist this recipe further with other options including Decadent Velvet and Scotch Soaked.
• Redwood Chocolate (or Chocolate Raspberry) – crushed chocolate malt. Use Barons Redwood Ale, try Scottish Ale Yeast.
• Stout – roasted milled barley & oatmeal. Use Barons Brown Ale, try British Ale or Irish Ale Yeast.
• Tartan Ale – crushed smoked malt. Use Barons Amber Ale, try Scottish Ale Yeast.
• Wheat Beers – cracked wheat. Use Barons Cdn Lager or Ale, try American Wheat Yeast.

• Rye beer options include a Roggenbier or a Rye IPA. Also new to the Add-Pack lineup, Hemp Nut Brown Ale.

click here to read the entire list...

Barons Amber Ale

Malty rich flavour and body. This reddish ale has slightly more bitterness than typical ales but its maltiness gives a nice balance between sweet and bitter. Our unique blend of 2-row pilsen, crystal and chocolate malts gives this ale its incredible character.  Comparable to a Sleeman's Amber Ale.

Our HV Tartan Ale recipe starts with a Barons Amber Ale and includes fragrantly smoked malt and dry malt rather than dextrose.  Try Wyeast 1728 Scottish Ale yeast.  We were pleasantly surprised with this Scottish style ale with warm amber hues and complex aromas, giving it a full-bodied taste with a slightly smoky finish.

 Click here to read our blog on Alexander Keith's Limited Release Tartan Ale.

 

Our new Winter Spice Amber Ale recipe is now available.   Nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, orange peel and coriander...mmmm!  Just need to find a fireplace.

 

 

 

 

  Barons American Lite

Low alcohol beer with a golden straw colour and a smooth, mellow flavour. Light & refreshing – a joy to savour on a hot summer's day!  Recipes available to make a natural Lime Lite.

For those that like a lighter beer how about a Belgin Wit, recipe is now available.

 

 

 Barons Brown Ale

Deep chestnut coloured ale with a full-bodied, roasted malt flavour.  Precisely balanced with hop flavour, aroma, and maltiness to bring out this beer's true character!  

This brown ale is more full bodied and flavorful than lagers in general, thereby providing a nice autumn or winter drink as well as many food pairing possibilities.  With its smooth mouth feel, lightly roasted sweet malt taste, and subtle nutty butteryness Baron's Brown Ale makes for a very pleasant drink similar to our English neighbors Newcastle.

Try this Ale with 1056 American Ale yeast.

Add 2 cups honey to carboy and make a Honey Brown or purchase our Stout additive pack and produce our Award winning Stout!  With roasted milled barley, oatmeal and Cascade Hops you will enjoy the adventure of simmering these grains and adding them to your Brown Ale Kit.  Try Wyeast 1084 Irish Ale yeast.   If stored in a glass bottle try aging your stout - had a bottle that was 4 years old, it was amazing!

 

Pat's Cherry Porter recipe is now available.  Each glass of Cherry Porter is lush and creamy with a fruity aroma. Rich and sensual, the flavour is reminiscent of Black Forest cake, with sweet chocolate notes and a slightly smoky character from the roasted malts- add on packs includes Black Patent Malt, Chocolate Malt and Roasted Barley.  Try Wyeast 1084 Irish Ale.  3 lbs of cherries for each 5 litres of wart. This recipe is now re-worked to that seasonal fruit is not required when not available.   read more... 

Step by step with Ron as he made a Cherry Porter with daily pictures and updating read more...

 

Barons Canadian Draught

Enjoy the smooth refreshing draught experience in your backyard this summer.  Creamy beer with a sparkling golden colour. Lightly hopped to bring out the true, just-tapped flavour of pub-style draughts.  Notes of a citrus background.

Liquid yeast option - either 1098 British Ale or 2565 Kolsch

read more - wikipedia

 

 

To make a wonderful wheat beer we sell bags of wheat along with a recipe, try Wyeast 1010 American Wheat yeast as the perfect liquid yeast option to achieve this style of beer.  (picture on the right)

 

 

The Obamas Make History With Homebrewed White House Honey Ale - try brewing your own Honey Golden Ale - recipe in our stores.

White House beermaking is a milestone in American culinary history that the Chefs will continue; there might even be Hops planted in the Kitchen Garden...

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama made culinary history when they served homebrewed White House Honey Ale, made with a pound of honey from the White House Beehive, to guests at last month's Super Bowl party. They are the first presidential couple to ever charge their chefs with the ancient--and now wildly popular--art of homebrewing, according to White House Curator Bill Allman.  read more...

Barons Canadian Lager

A bright golden, smooth, easy drinking lager - with a true Canadian taste that delivers the perfect balance of sweetness with a slightly hoppy bitterness and medium body with a refreshing finish.  Clean and clear - crisp and cool.

Try Wyeast 2565 Kolsch yeast with all our Lager styles.

 

 

 

 Barons Canadian Pilsner

Light in colour - slightly more hop flavour than typical domestic lagers with a smooth finish.  This Pilsner is for those who want more flavour than found in a Canadian style beer.  The flavour is balanced between sweet and bitter with a hint of buttery flavor.  Comparable to a Czechoslovakian Pilsner.  Try using 2278 Czech Pils liquid yeast - a classic pilsner strain from the home of pilsners for a dry but malty finish.

Black Pilsner - Use Canadian Pilsner or Dutch Lager.  Our Black Pilsner is a dark lager that balances roasted yet smooth malt flavours with moderate hop bitterness.  Light to moderate malt flavour, which can have a clean, neutral character to a rich, sweet, Munich-like intensity.  Light to moderate roasted malt flaavours can give a bitter-chocolate palate that lasts into the finish, but which are never burnt.  Medium-low to medium bitterness, which can last into the finish.  Light to moderate noble hop flavour.  Add on package includes  the extra malt and hops needed to create this on trend beer.  Use either Bavarian Lager, Czech Pilsner or Kolsch liquid yeast.

click here to read more...

click here to watch Ron as he walks you step by step in the making of our Black Pilsner... 

Barons Dutch Lager

This globally popular beer reflects the styles of Grolsch and Heineken, with a crisp golden lager character and smooth spicy hoppiness, rounding out to a gentle, grassy finish. Crisp, distinct and delicious.  If you like more hops we recommend adding in an extra package of hallertau hops.

Try Wyeast 2565 Kolsch yeast with all our Lager styles.  Picture on the right is our Kolsch style in Kolsch glasses.                                       

Try Wyeast 3822 Dutch Castle yeast. 

Black Pilsner - Use a Dutch Lager or Canadian Pilsner with our add on pack to make our Black Pilsner - click here to read more...Read more above under Candian Pilsner.

The Home Vintner Gluten-Free India Pale Ale

We're excited to announce that after much research, The Home Vintner has sourced ingredients to make a great gluten-free beer kit  - all ingredients are certified gluten-free!  Using BriesSweet White Sorghum Syrup, Cascade Hops and Nottingham Brewing Yeast.

Gluten-free beer is beer made from ingredients that do not contain glycoproteins (gluten). People who have gluten intolerance (including celiac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis sufferers) have a reaction to certain proteins in the grains commonly used to make beer, barley and wheat. The hordein found in barley and the gliadin found in wheat are types of gluten that can trigger symptoms in sufferers of these diseases. Gluten-free beer is part of a gluten-free diet.

click here to read more... 

 

 Barons Mexican Cerveza

A personal favorite, and recommendation for those who want a great summer beer is the Mexican Cerveza - nothing quenches better than this – light and easygoing. Fresh, bright, light bodied, clean flavour - great on the patio and beach. Comparable to a Pacifico. 

How about a lime, raspberry, blueberry or mango Cerveza?  Recipes are in our stores now.

You can create a wonderful Belgian Wit using Mexican Cerveza as the background.  A light, refreshing beer with a clean crisp profile. As with most wheat beers, the relatively high protein content leads to haze, giving the beer a light golden colour . With light body, slight sweetness and a zesty orange-fruity finish. Coriander, orange peel and our special Wyeast Belgian Wit yeast produces the complexity and depth of fruity flavours contained within the glass.

Use Belgin Wit - 3944 Wyeast Belgin Witbier yeast, and our add on pack of cracked wheat, coriander and orange peel.  read more - wikipedia

Watch Ron as he makes a Belgin Wit, click here to watch the process...

Ronnie's Roasted Pumpkin Cerveza - Les calls this new beer, "Thanksgiving in a glass!"  Our pumpkin beer is mild, with no bitterness, with hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves.  Pumpkin Cerveza will add seasonal cheer to your beer collection.  The Barons Mexican Cerveza allows the pumpkin pie flavours to come through beautifully.

 

 

 

 

 Barons Pale Ale

One of our most popular beers, Pale Ale is a delightful interpretation of a classic English pale ale.  It has a rich, chestnut color and an exceptionally full-bodied, complex character.  Goldings hops give the Pale Ale its fragrant bouquet and spicy flavor.  It is a flawless beer that opens with bright, perky high notes of maltiness and orange blossom and segues into a delectable hoppiness. 

For IPA lovers we have the ingredients and recipe for our award winning India Pale Ale.  Try it with 1098 Wyeast British Ale yeast.  You can change your IPA into an Innis & Gunn style beer adding Brandy, Rum, Scotch or Disarrona at bottling time - ask for the recipe the next time you are in.  Use our IPA add on package and use a 19 L carboy to make a West Coast IPA.

Try this Ale with 1056 American Ale yeast.  Ron will daily update you on his progress of making a Pale Ale with American Ale yeast, click here to see..

IPA is light amber to copper in colour and was introduced in the late 18th century in response to the long ocean journey from England to India. To stabilize and help avoid spoilage more hops were used in the brewing process. This added to the beer's bitterness which worked to mask any stale flavour resulting from the long voyage. The antiseptic properties of alcohol assured Indian expats the safe arrival of their ale.

“This is my favourite beer-kit shop! I bought their Pale Ale kit, and it was quite tasty; the employee even suggested I should add some oak chips to the Pale Ale if I wanted to make it an authentically true India Pale Ale. I took one of The Home Vintner’s courses to make sure I did everything correctly for my homebrew and I learned more than I expected. The pale ale was very flavoursome, reminding me of Australia's Coopers Sparkling Ale. The staff were very helpful and the consistency of the beer is very high. I would buy another.” customer

 Barons Redwood Ale

Deep copper with hints of garnet and amber.  Big, round, rich, full-bodied brown ale in the English style - our Redwood has a complex taste with perfect balance.  It is full of flavour, with notes of toast, fruit and nuts.  The superior maltiness and body in this flavoursome ale are derived from a special blend of blonde and crystal malt.  Full and refreshing.

Redwood Chocolate Ale is made with the addition of chocolate malt available with our recipe.  The final product is an extremely dark, rich ale.  Redwood has become my favorite because it's snappy and robust.  The chocolate creates a great background flavour that, in it's own way is a bit mellow.  I may be biased here because I am a chocoholic but this ale tends to leave a very characteristic taste that lingers on long after the last mouthful - from Rob the creator of this great beer!  Click here to read our blog on this beer...

Try Wyeast 1728 Scottish Ale yeast.

Click here to follow Ron as he takes you step by step in making the Redwood Chocolate Ale.

The state of the suds industry in Alberta

The pros and cons of beer privatization  June 16 – June 22, 2011 Fast Forward Weekly  Published June 16, 2011 by Kevin McLean in Booze

It was late Saturday afternoon and we were in a rush because government offices aren't open on Sundays. We pushed our way inside the overcrowded, stuffy, grey room and grabbed a number.  Standing on my tiptoes I could just barely see over the counter as I watched my dad grab a form and fill it out. While we sat waiting, I was fidgeting with my hands and peering around the stark room, watching others solemnly wait their turn. Finally, a man behind the shrouded glass counter called our number; we approached the window and my dad slipped his form under the glass. The man looked down his nose at the form, reviewing it carefully, then without a word he disappeared into the back, returning a short time later and sliding a warm case of Labatt Blue under the glass.    read more...

 

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