Guide to Homebrewing: How to Make Wine, Beer, Cider, Soda and More

By Staff
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This Guide to Homebrewing has tons of know-how on tap for tackling this delicious hobby, from assembling your home brewery to bottling your finished product. You’ll learn the science behind fermentation, fundamental brewing techniques and the basic brewing process, complete with step-by-step instructions to shepherd you through your first batch and beyond.

After you’ve gotten the gist, imbibe recipes for a brown ale, hard cider, blackberry wine, root beer, grape soda and several more delightful drinks. You’ll also find do-it-yourself plans for building a cider press and wine rack, as well as comprehensive articles on growing apples, grapes and other brewing ingredients for an even more locally concocted libation. Bottoms up!


A Cheap and Easy Homemade Wine Recipe
Gary Miller shares his easy homemade wine recipe using fruits or honey to create a cheap wine from home.

Growing Grapes and Making Wine
Do it yourself, from vine to wine! With a few grapevines, some patience and a little know-how, you can create fabulous organic wines at home. Here, get information on the best grape varieties for wine, planting and tending your vines, and the full winemaking process, from gathering supplies to racking.

Mint Wine Recipe
Have an abundance of mint on your hands? It’s a common problem. Let us help you put a delicious dent in that profusion with this mint wine recipe.

Home Winemaking the Right Way
Author Erin Shafer shares the humble beginnings of her family’s winery and summarizes winemaking equipment and ingredients, pressing, fermenting and more. In addition to learning how to render wine from grapes, get the goods on making wine from flowers, elderberries and vegetables (many veggies in fact yield snappy, interesting wines!).

How to Make Wine at Home
An overview of primary fermentation, secondary fermentation, and the racking and bottling aspects of wine-crafting, along with a recipe for blackberry wine and how-to for wine variations using apples, pears and other fruits.

Grow a Vineyard to Create Homemade Wine
A practical, results-oriented introduction to the art of home viticulture and winemaking.

How to Make Mead
Mead, sometimes called “honey wine,” is a fermented blend of honey and water. You can prepare a batch of this storied, refreshing wine with just a trio of ingredients — ideally honey courtesy of your own hives! — and some everyday gear.

Elderflower Wine and Elderberry Wine
Our favorite way to make elderflower wine at home is also the simplest. Here are two basic recipes, one for elderflower wine and one for elderberry wine, plus some excellent general winemaking tips.

Dandelion Wine Recipe
Simple and seasonal.

Bottling Your Homemade Wine
With fermentation complete, it’s time to bottle! A winemaker writes of her winter to-do list, tossing in some quick hints for readying wine bottles and corks.


Brewing Beer: The Basics
Bottle your own beer by using four ingredients and following just four steps.

Brew Your Own Beer
Hop to it! A fast yet comprehensive guide to homebrewing as a fun, money-saving hobby. Includes a recipe for American brown ale.

Homebrewing: How to Make Homemade Beer
In-depth information about equipment and ingredients (required and optional), and step-by-step instructions for making all-malt ale beer, light summer ale, dark beer and Byron Burch’s Favorite Stout.

How to Brew Beer: Growing Barley and Making Beer
Good beer brewed from good malt, made from good barley, flavored with good hops, and fermented with good yeast — what could be more natural than that? Take a detailed look at from-scratch beer-making, including growing barley, malting, and morphing your malt into beer.

Homebrewing: A Beginners’ Guide
You needn’t be a scientist to craft a great beer. Author Horst Buchs breaks down his personal beer-making procedure, outlines his cardinal rules of homebrewing, and furnishes a glossary of beer terminology, all to demystify the entire homebrewing process for anyone just getting started.

Brewing Your Own Beer
“Homebrewers have a personal relationship with their beer. They learn that it is alive and requires cultivation and love just like tilling the earth.”

This lively, solid guide to the beer-making process also gives the history of homebrewing in the United States and features a section called “What Ingredients Will Make My Beer Taste Like …” so you can match the flavor of your home-concocted beverages to those of some top premium brands. Includes a recipe for 5 gallons of classic English pale ale, plus info on hop cultivation.


Make Your Own Hard Cider
Brewing hard cider from nonalcoholic (or “sweet”) cider is a snap with this precise, step-by-step tutorial, and your inebriating end product will be as delectable as it is discombobulating.

Making Apple Cider
After you quaff your first mug of raw cider straight from the press, you’ll never again settle for those refined, watered-down drinks masquerading as cider at the supermarket. Here’s what you need to know to get started squeezing your own juicy apples into arguably the best seasonal beverage known to humankind. Your palate will thank you tremendously!

An Apple Education: Cider Resources
A roundup of top print and Web resources for learning about the vast, fascinating world of heirloom apples and cider-making, plus find out how to locate an artisan cider-maker in your neck of the woods.

A Celebration of Heirloom Apples and Artisan Ciders
MOTHER EARTH NEWS was invited to the nation’s capital in December 2009 to decorate rooms in the president’s official guesthouse and the U.S. State Department’s Harry S. Truman Building, and we seized the opportunity to put the spotlight on American artisan foods. For our displays, we coordinated with orchards and cideries around the country to showcase North America’s best heirloom apples and hard ciders. Peruse the varieties and beverages that made the cut for our “Extravaganza of Apples.”


Brew Better Soda at Home
Making soda yourself enables you to control the amount of sugar in these typically sugar-packed beverages. This soda-making rundown tackles equipment, ingredients and the science of carbonation, and delivers recipes for root beer, licorice-root beer, honey ginger ale and grape soda.

Make Your Own Root Beer
Whip up flavorful root beer reminiscent of the cold, creamy kind you had from the soda shop as a kid. This extract-based recipe is as effortless as they come.

Making Ginger Beer
Quench your thirst with this effervescent brew — which has only a small alcohol content — made from golden raisins, lemons, raw sugar, spring water and, of course, freshly ground ginger, which lends a spicy kick.

Pop Culture: How to Make Soda Syrups, 3 Ways
Resist popping tabs! Instead, take to making natural soda syrups from fresh fruit and herbs. Give it a whirl with these splendid concoctions for rhubarb soda, Mexican root beer and honey citrus soda.

A Real Grape Soda Recipe
Follow this real grape soda recipe for an alternative to commercially produced grape soda.

Homemade Blueberry Soda Recipe
Make this all-natural syrup for a zippy, homemade blueberry soda.

Liquor and Liqueurs

Artisan Home Distilling
Use a small pot still to make eau de vie (brandy) from your fruit harvests to capture the exceptional, sumptuous flavors and aromas of ripe fruit.

A DIY Home Brewery

Build Your Own Wine Rack
Construct a diamond-pattern wine rack that holds four cases of bottles in each full diamond, and between 15 and 21 bottles in each smaller triangle — a total capacity of about 364 bottles. Yep, you’d better get ready to make lots of wine!

Make a Wine Bottle Tree
This compact tree holds up to six cases of wine bottles, allowing you to maneuver your vintage vessels around the winery with ease. A bottle tree works well for sorting bottles as they pass through the bottling line, drying bottles after you’ve cleaned them, and for bottle storage.

How to Build a Cider Press
When the apple harvest arrives, get in on the gratifying process of pressing autumn’s crisp abundance into your own cider. Here, find DIY plans and instructions for making a barrel-based cidermaker.

Build Your Own Cider Mill
A cider mill is a combination of an apple grinder and an apple press that’s designed to glean as much exquisite juice from the harvest as possible. Assemble a do-it-yourself cider mill with this synopsis that covers materials and construction steps.

How to Build a Homemade Fruit Press
What could be a better old-time, fall activity than pressing homegrown fruit on a low-tech, home-built fruit press? Author John Vivian guides you through every facet of constructing and using this sturdy, beautiful tool for your home orchard, from selecting the lumber to applying the finish to understanding the juice-extraction process.

Convert a Washing Machine Into a Homemade Cider Press
“All in all, it took me about $20 worth of materials and 16 hours to make my moonlighting Maytag … but who can put a price on a frosted mug of tart, tangy cider on a brisk autumn night?”

Over the years, MOTHER EARTH NEWS readers have transformed washing machines into cement mixers, potter’s wheels — even outdoor showers. What’ll be next? While we eagerly await that answer, here’s a particularly clever reader reincarnation of the appliance: a homemade cider press!

Homegrown Homebrewing Ingredients


A Guide to Grafting Apple Trees

How to Prune an Apple Tree
A little judicious tree pruning can improve the appearance, yield and health of your apple trees.

Growing Apple Trees Ecologically: A Guide to a Low-Spray Orchard

How to Espalier Apple Trees
Learn how to prune and train your apple trees into fence- or wall-hugging espaliers to save space and amplify production. This guide covers the six basic espalier styles and the espalier requirements for some popular apple varieties.


Enjoy Fresh Blackberries
Your future days spent savoring straight-from-the-cane blackberries, blackberry cobbler and blackberry wine start here. Check out our handbook for growing these super-healthful, bountiful bramble fruits.

Growing Berries in Your Backyard


All About Growing Grapes
Bring your “grape” expectations of homemade raisins, jelly, jam, juice, wine and more to fruition with our guide to growing, trellising, pruning and propagating the best grape varieties for your region.

Sensational Seedless Grapes
Seedless grape varieties are self-pollinating and quite winter-hardy, and they’ll grow superbly in most parts of the country. Unlike supermarket grape varieties, which taste ordinarily mild and tart, homegrown grapes burst with full-bodied flavors that range from slightly spicy to surprisingly sweet. Get growing with this guide, complete with recommended varieties and know-how for outsmarting pests and diseases.

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