Home Brewing

Home Brewing

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We meet several award-winning home brewers in southern Illinois who are creating craft beers that rival the quality of commercially-made beer, including Ryan Tockstein of Benton, Ill., president of the Southern Illinois Brewers club and co-owner of Scratch Brewing Company, in Ava, Ill. Tockstein shows us how easy it is to brew beer at home from scratch using a method called “all grain” brewing. We also visit with other club members to compare and contrast their operations to those used by Tockstein’s.

Home brewing systems can be fairly elaborate, as InFocus learns when we examine a heat-controlled mash tun (pronounced “tune”) built by Sam Davis of rural Du Quoin, Ill. Davis says he built this device in order to have complete control over his mash temperature during the process of steeping barley malts into wort (pronounced “wirt,” as in “dirt”). Wort is the starchy essence of barley malts steeped in hot water, to which yeast is then added to cause fermentation.

We also discover that brewing can be very simple, as well. Marika Josephson of Carbondale is vice-president of the Southern Illinois Brewers club, co-owner with Tockstein of Scratch Brewing Company, and an SIU graduate student who built her basic brewing system on a college student budget. Josephson says she uses special ingredients, such as dandelions, to augment the hops she adds to her wort as a bittering and flavoring agent.

InFocus also introduces home brewers Matt McCarroll and his wife, Jen, who are the owners of Windy Hill Hops Farm in rural Murphysboro, Ill., where they grow and sell organic hops for local brewers and offer specialty brewing supplies and ingredients.

As the home brewing trend gains popularity around the country, even non-brewers are jumping on the craft beer bandwagon. Brands never before imported are showing up on store shelves and an explosion of domestic microbreweries and brew pubs is taking place as people develop a thirst to explore hundreds of new styles of beer.Â

Shawn Connelly of Carbondale, Ill., a local beer expert known as the Beer Philosopher, blogs about this trend on his site at beerphilosopher.blogspot.com. Connelly’s expertise about beers and flair for writing about them led to his position as the style writer for the national publication Beer Connoisseur. In order to help develop local appreciation for hand-crafted beer, Connellyconducts regular tastings open to the public at Kindling in Carterville, Ill.

The growing number of home brewers in southern Illinois is one of the reasons why Ryan Tockstein founded the Southern Illinois Brewers beer club. Home brewers are constantly seeking to improve their skills and need feedback about the quality of their handcrafted beers, which many people believe exceeds the quality and originality of commercially-produced beer. Club members sample each other’s beers at meetings, prepare for contests, and share the best they have to offer at regional festivals, such as the Big Muddy Monster Brew Fest at Riverside Park in Murphysboro, Ill.

As the excitement for locally-brewed craft beers continues to grow, club members hope to follow in the footsteps of local vintners and open a network of local breweries as an adjunct to the region’s successful wine industry. Dubbed the “Beer Path” by Matt McCarroll, this new regional industry hopes to add to the long list of reasons why so many people consider Southern Illinois a great place to visit, live, work, and play.
Video Rating: / 5

20 Comments

  1. 3:07 I'm I the only one that thinks that girl is seriously cute.

  2. https://youtu.be/7PbKdzOhB0k?t=722 Great temperature system, but keep an eye on those pesky flies!

  3. Perd Hapley

  4. So much more tasteful than budweiser, busch, or natural ice. Make it, then drink it.

  5. The chick is hard core! Sitting on the pot with a fermenter at her feet….

  6. holdtheonionsplease

    45,000 views and 161 likes, really?  I don't even drink beer and thought this was awesome.

  7. Marika….can you tell me how long, how much  and when to add the fresh Dandelion to get the best results from your experience please ?

  8. Great film guys, get some peach beer on the go its fantastic. Brendan from the UK.

  9. I think its funny, all grain makes the best beer possible and its also the cheapest.. the only downside is it takes more time.. I've never done it.. the most brewing I've done is dry malt extract with specialty grains and hop additions.. I did an IPA with light DME carapils and a little chocolate specialty grains. 4 oz mixed of cascade,wimlliamette,and citra and then dry hopped with amarillo.. turned out badass.. 6.4% abv. with 80 ibus

  10. As a home brewer of 20 years now i see such a wave of interest in not only home brewing but micro brewing As a Brit that emigrated down under i had little choice as the availability of British beers and affordable beer just was not an option here. The passion for home brewing in America really is for enjoyment and experimentation as opposed to economics. I really think north America is leading the way as far as diversity and evolution within the brewing world.

  11. Great upload, I've just started standard home brewing again after many years. This is inspiring to watch. These people are truly great for doing what they enjoy from the grass roots of brewing. Micro brewers of the future.  

  12. Big Boss Brewing Co

    Nice video!  

  13. Lourdes E. Moya

    Cannot be to hot because yeast easily die over 120 degreesIndeed you can use potato and yes can be a secret ingredient. But becareful about temp when add yeast. 

  14. I could easily believe "The beer philosopher" was the son of Nick Cage. The look, mannerisms and tone are a dead ringer.

  15. Good to know the West Coast is ahead of you guys. Wtf are these people doing they know how to brew and the kid is young but they're making basic ales. If you want to make your beer known now you have to do something interesting and unique. California, Colorado, and Oregon I would put against any state brewing wise.

  16. Great Video. Hoping to see more of this type of brewing interest where I live in the Middle Tennessee Nashville area. I've been home brewing now for 3 and a half yrs and for the last yr and a half have been all grain brewing. Looking to one day start growing my own hops and to possibly start sharing them wih other local brewers and to one day possibly have a brew pub or micro brewery of my own.

  17. great vid

  18. Has anyone heard of putting a grated potato in a 5 gallon batch of beer ? When I was 16 my Dad gave me a recipie and was told to grate a potato  I thought it gave it more alcohol content .

  19. FrauenArzt2012

    Can anyone recommend a good grain for a golden ale? nice golden colour that would work great for a neutral flavour not too malty ready for infusion with bananas at the hop stage. i really want the banana taste to come out so the grain can't be a strong flavour. any help appreciated its my first time brewing with grain and having trouble deciding on which one to go with. thanks!

  20. Marika, I started drilling the 300 holes in the bottom of a plastic bucket.  Got to 125, unplugged my drill and threw it through a sheetrock wall!  I'm so proud of your patience!

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