Is this book just about beer brewing?
Nope! We have eight whole chapters with eight entirely different fermented beverages going on in here: soda pop, kombucha, kefir (both milk and water kefir), hard cider, beer, mead, sake, and fruit wine. Each chapter starts with a master recipe that will walk you through the particular quirks and techniques for that particular beverage, and is followed by a whole bunch of recipes you can make at home.
My apartment is tiny. Can I still make these brews?
Definitely. All of the recipes in this book are scaled to 1-gallon batches or smaller. This means smaller equipment (and less of it) and less space needed to store all your goods.
Wait, 1-gallon batches? Why so small?
Aside from taking up less space, I think 1-gallon batches are ideal for beginners just learning how to brew things like beer and mead. It's easier to keep track of all the various steps and avoid mistakes when you're working with a gallon or smaller. Plus, smaller batches means you'll drink through them more quickly, which means you get to brew another batch of something else! Also if something does go wrong, it's a lot less painful to pour 1 gallon down the drain than 5 gallons or more. Trust me on that one.
Once you master the 1-gallon batch, it's an easy step up to larger batches. The process is basically the same (using bigger pots and bigger carboys) and all the recipes can be scaled up.
How many bottles can you get out of a gallon?
About 10 bottles.
I've already been brewing beer [or mead, wine, etc.]. Will this book still have something for me?
I hope so! Part of the reason I wrote True Brews was because I wanted to try brewing all these different kinds of beverages — beer was my gateway into homebrewing, and it just made me all the more curious about brewing soda pop...and then mead...and eventually all the rest of them. I think that if you're already knee-deep into brewing one kind of homebrew, chances are good that there's another project in this book that's going to spark your interest.
If I'm brewing all these things, will I need to buy a lot of equipment?
Nah! All the recipes use the same basic brew kit, so you won't find yourself constantly buying new tools just for one project. A lot of the equipment will be things you probably already have in your kitchen, like soup pots and canning jars. The few truly brewing-specific tools, like carboys and racking canes, can easily be found at your local homebrew shop (and since this is the Age of the Hipster, I am willing to bet that you have a local homebrew shop somewhere closeby).
Not me! I live in Nowheresville and there's not a single homebrew shop to be found. Where can I pick up all the special equipment and ingredients I need to make these awesome brews?
The internet is your friend! Here are my favorite sources for homebrewing equipment and supplies:
* MoreBeer - soda, beer, cider, mead, wine
* Northern Brewer - soda, beer, cider, mead, sake, wine
* Cultures for Health - kombucha and kefir
Hopefully this little FAQ takes care of your most burning questions! Wondering about something that I don't mention here? Leave a comment!
Photo Credit: Paige Green (c) 2013 for True Brews