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.

 

 

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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