Matt Sinko

Household beer brewer

Street Talk

How'd you get into brewing beer?

I started about three years ago. It was just a hobby that I thought would be fun and different, and it's been great. It's something unique that I take a lot of pride in.

Is it an expensive hobby to get into?

Not really. I spend about $15 for every 50 beers I make. It's even cheaper for big breweries like Budweiser. It hardly costs them anything.

So what does the process of brewing beer entail?

I won't get into all the specifics because there are several steps, but it can take anywhere from 3-5 weeks. I've rarely brewed anything but ales and lagers, and mostly ales because they ferment at room temperature. Lagers ferment at a lower temperature so you either need a big fridge, or it has to be winter. Commercials go on about the hops they use, but you're only going to use 2-to-3 ounces of hops for five gallons of beer. It's the grain that gives beer its body and alcohol content.

How much can you brew?

Legally, 100 gallons per person and 200 per household in a year, so I won't say anymore about that.

How long did it take you to start brewing drinkable beer?

I started with cans because they're hard to mess up, then graduated to bottles. I've done pretty well, but I have had a few disasters. I didn't let one batch of lagers ferment long enough, and they started blowing up. And another batch I wasn't clean enough with, and they went bad.

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