Residents hopes to see more home brewsPublished 12:05am Sunday, July 21, 2013
If Allen Richard is craving a good craft beer, all he has to do is step out his back door to get one.
Richard has been home brewing beer for the past two years after a friend told him about the process.
“From there, I just realized all the different sources that are available and bought a starter kit,” he said. “The rest is kind of history.”
Richard’s home brewing operation has evolved from first making beer in five-gallon buckets, which he said is typical of home brewing, to having a Kegerator set up for five-gallon kegs.
With a new law this year legalizing home brewing in Mississippi, Richard said he hopes to see the local home brewing movement pick up steam in Natchez.
Richard considers himself a craft beer aficionado.
“I’m always looking for different kinds of beers, something with more flavor than your run-of-the-mill beer that most people drink,” he said.
The craft beer movement has gained momentum in recent years, and Richard said when he figured out he could make his own beer, it became his hobby.
And Richard actually prefers his home-brewed beer over store-bought beer.
“Anything you can make at home is better than what you buy in the store,” he said.
The home brewing process starts with sparging water over grains to make a tea-like liquid called the wort, which is then boiled from 60-90 minutes, Richard said. Yeast is then added and then the brew ferments.
You can rack the brew, Richard said, which involves moving it from one container to another container. Racking allows the sediment of the brew to be left in the original container.
Once the brew is fermented, it can be bottled or put in a keg.
“The whole process takes a minimum of a month,” Richard said. “You’re looking at about a month or two months before it’s drinkable.”
But it’s worth it, Richard says.
“Everything I’ve tried is better than what I can buy,” he said.
Richard prefers a really hoppy beer and very dark stout beers.
“There are lots of weird things in between, but I am not into any kind of extreme tastes,” he said.
Richard used mostly recipes from brewing companies, but he said he is hoping to make a kudzu cream ale using kudzu flowers and also a peanut butter and jelly beer.
Home-brewed beer or wine, which Richard also makes, is a great gift, Richard said. He labels some of his products and calls his home brewing operation Batsnapper Brewing.
“When people ask you to bring wine or beer to a party, what better way to do that then to bring your own that you have made,” he said.
Richard registered a Natchez brew club with the American Homebrewers Association and hopes to get other home brewers together to talk about what they’re doing.
Home brewing is not difficult, Richard said, and anyone can get it going with a starter kit. Cleanliness, particularly sanitizing equipment, and patience are the two golden virtues of home brewing, Richard says.
“Make sure everything is clean every step of the way, and be patient,” he said. “If it’s not right at first, give it some time, and it will be.”