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Frequently Asked Questions with regards to homebrewing are listed below. Do email us if you need more information.
Do I need a license to brew? When homebrewing was legalised in 2004, it costed $100 for a 2 years license. Now it is FREE! You will need to abide to the following 'rules', stated by Singapore Customs.

Q1 Do I have to apply for a license for home-brewing of beer and other fermented liquors?
A You are not required to apply for a license to manufacture beer and other fermented liquors if the conditions in Q3 are fulfilled.

Q2 What is meant by "Beer and Other Fermented Liquors"?
A The term beer includes beer, ale, stout, porter, shandy and all other fermented liquors made from malt, cider and perry.

Q3 What are the conditions that I have to comply for home-brewing of beer and other fermented liquors without a license?
A An individual shall comply with the following conditions:

- The individual shall be 18 years old and above; - The manufacture of liquor shall be by fermentation and not by distillation; - The amount of liquor manufactured shall not exceed - (i) in relation to beer, 30 litres per household of the person per month; and (ii) in relation to any other fermented liquor, 30 litres in total of all such liquors per household of the person per month.

The liquor manufactured shall be for personal use and is not for sale; and The manufacturing activities shall not create a nuisance to the public or degrade the environment. The above conditions are specified in the Customs (Home-Brewing of Fermented Liquors)(Exemption) Order 2008 which was enacted to enable an individual to home brew beer and other fermented liquors without the need to apply for a license.

Q4 What shall I do if I could not fulfill the conditions specified in the Order but wish to manufacture fermented liquors?
A You will have to apply for a manufacturing license.

Q5 I understand that home-brewing can only take place at the home of an individual. Is there any restriction on the type of residence, like HDB or private property?
A Home-brewing of beer and other fermented liquors can take place at any type of residential property as long as the brewing activity would not cause any nuisance to the public or degrade the environment.

Q6 Besides Singaporeans, can a Singapore PR (permanent resident) or a foreigner home-brew beer and other fermented liquors in Singapore?
A Yes.

Q7 Do I have to inform Singapore Customs each time I home-brew beer or other fermented liquors?
A No.

Q8 Can I sell the home-brewed beer or other fermented liquors to friends?
A No. It shall be for personal use and not for sale.

Q9 Should I decide to cease home-brewing of beer or other fermented liquors, can I continue to keep the brewing kit?
A Yes.

Is home brewing cost-effective?

When you brew your own beer, you save $$$!
A basic set of ingredients include a Beer Kit and 1kg of Brewing Sugar, which cost between S$39 to $50, makes your 23L of beer!
Which means a 660ml bottle of homebrewed beer cost about S$1. Comparing that to the commercial beers on the shelves, average of S$4, you are saving 75%!
Not only that, you are saving the environment too. The bottles which you are reusing, can help to prevent carbon being release into our atmosphere.
How do I get started in home-brewing?

For a start, you will need a Complete Brew Brewing Kit. It comes with everything, expect water, you need to brew your first batch of beer.
As you progress on this journey of crafting your own brew, you will need more equipments, eg. Braumeister, Wort Chiller.

Is the water used for beer brewing important?

Water is a very substantial ingredient of beer, composing of 90-95 percent of beer by mass. Water is utilized in almost every step of the brewing process. The chemistry of the water can influence not just the taste but also the brewing efficiency. Therefore, it is essential that the water supply used is adequate for the job.
Chlorine is present in most municipal water supplies. It is added to water to eliminate bacteria or other contaminants. However, excessive chlorine can greatly affect other beer ingredients, resulting in a harsh aroma and flavor. Chlorine can easily be removed by boiling or filtration.
Another unwanted aspect of public water is its lack of hardness. Municipal water is generally soft due to the lack of minerals from filtration. Beers brewed from soft water tend to exhibit a milder flavor than those made from hard water. As a result, some beer recipes call for the addition of water hardeners such as table salt (NaCL) and gypsum (CaSO4).
Looking at the other end of the spectrum of water being too clean, it can also be contaminated. Bacteria is a major concern in water quality. The presence of bacteria can spoil the wort and cause a souring of the beer. Boiling is again effective in the removal of contaminants.
What is malt extract?

Malt extract is basically an unrefined sugar derived from malted barley. It is the primary source of fermentable sugars in homebrew. The more you add, the greater the alcohol content, body and flavor of your beer.

What is the difference between "Gold/Light" malt, "Amber" malt and "Dark" malt?
For the most part, malt extract manufacturers will not disclose the mash ingredients of their extracts. "Gold", "Light" and "Pale" are three names for the same thing. These malt extracts are primarily made from Pale Malted Barley, such as American 2-Row (if it is an American extract), or British Pale Malt (if it is British). Light malt extract is the lightest, and most neutral extract you can buy.

A The term beer includes beer, ale, stout, porter, shandy and all other fermented liquors made from malt, cider and perry.

Q3 What are the conditions that I have to comply for home-brewing of beer and other fermented liquors without a license?
"Amber" malt extract is darker and sweeter than "Gold/Light/Pale" extract. Like light malt, it is normally made from a base of Pale Malt, and may be darkened with caramel malts, Vienna malt, or Munich malt.
"Dark" malt extract is normally the darkest malt extract you can buy. It leaves behind more residual sugar than Light or Amber malt. Dark malt is normally made from a base of Pale or Munich malt, and darkened with caramel malt or a very small amount of black malt. It does NOT contain a substantial amount of roasted grains, such as chocolate malt or roasted barley. If you are making a porter or a stout, you would often be better off working with light malt extract, and steeping chocolate malt and/or roasted barley.

What is the difference between malt extract syrup and dry malt extract (DME)? What is the ratio of DME to malt extract syrup?
DME is malt extract that is almost completely dehydrated, whereas malt extract syrup still contains some water. Because of the additional processing, DME is normally more expensive than malt extract syrup.
A good rule of thumb is that dry extract is 1.2 times as concentrated as syrup. Syrup is 0.8 times the concentrate of dry. For example, 1 pound of dry extract would equal 1.2 pounds of syrup, and 1 pound of syrup would equal .8 pound of dry extract.

What are "specialty grains"? How to they differ from other grains?
There are two major classes of "specialty grains". Caramel malts (often called "crystal malts") impart an amber color and a sweet, malty flavor in beer. Roasted malts range from light, toasted malts like the biscuit flavored Victory Malt, to the very dark, very roasty character of chocolate malt. Specialty grains contain very few fermentables, so their flavors will remain relatively unchanged throughout the fermentation process. Most other grains are "fermentable malts" or "base malts." These include pale malt, lager malt, color malts (Vienna, Munich and Aromatic), and wheat malt. These grains require mashing to convert starches to fermentable sugars, and should not be steeped.

How long and at what temperature should I steep specialty grains?
Steep specialty grains for about 20 minutes at 65˚C to 75˚C. Tannins, which cause astringent bitterness and chill haze, are efficiently extracted by boiling water

Can I crush the specialty grains in a coffee grinder or blender?
Specialty grains do not add many fermentables and thus "mill size" is not critical. However, it is important not to grind grain so fine that husk material exits the muslin bag and transfers harsh flavors to the wort during the boil. We suggest milling the grain with a roller mill, or cracking at home with a rolling pin.

After the specialty grains have been crushed, how long will they be fresh?
Like coffee, crushed grains are open to the atmosphere and gradually lose some aromatics and flavor. It is best to use crushed grain within two weeks. Store crushed grains in a tightly closed container in the freezer.

What are hops?
Hops are a cone-shaped flower. They are responsible for beer's bitterness, which balances the sweetness of the malt. They also contribute aromatic, floral, and perfumy flavors and odors. There are many different varieties of hops, each with its own bitterness and aroma qualities.

When should I add hops?
Bitterness is extracted from hops as they are boiled. Bittering hops should be added at the very beginning of the boil, which usually lasts for 60 - 90 minutes. Approximately 90% of hop bitterness is extracted after a 60 minute boil; over 95% of hop bitterness is extracted after a 90 minute boil. A 60 minute boil is most common.
Hop flavor is maximized by adding hops 10 minutes before the end of the boil. Nearly no hop flavor remains after 30 minutes of boiling.
Hop aroma comes from very volatile hop oils, and is maximized by adding hops at the very end of the boil. Almost no hop aroma remains after 15 minutes of boiling.

What is dry hopping? What is the best way to dry hop my beer?
An intense hop aroma, similar to the aroma of fresh, uncooked hops, can be achieved by dry hopping, or adding hops directly to the fermenter. Dry hops should be ideally added to beer as you rack from the primary fermenter into the secondary, just after the head has fallen back into the beer. Pellet hops can be poured right on top of the beer; they will float, absorb moisture, and form a green "muck" on top of the beer. Plug hops should be added to a sanitized muslin bag, and weighted down so they submerge. Dry hops should be in contact with the beer for two weeks to maximize the aroma. Worried about bacterial contamination? Hops are a natural preservative, and we have never known raw hops to cause infection
The liquor manufactured shall be for personal use and is not for sale; and The manufacturing activities shall not create a nuisance to the public or degrade the environment. The above conditions are specified in the Customs (Home-Brewing of Fermented Liquors)(Exemption) Order 2008 which was enacted to enable an individual to home brew beer and other fermented liquors without the need to apply for a license. What are Home Bitterness Units (HBUs) or Alpha Acid Units (AAUs)? How are they calculated?
The easiest way to estimate the bitterness of a beer recipe is to measure it in Home Bittering Units (HBUs). This simple calculation allows you to accurately and consistently replicate recipes, despite fluctuating alpha acid contents. HBUs (a scheme used by Charlie Papazian) and AAUs (used by Dave Line) are the same thing. To calculate HBU for a 5-gallon batch, simply multiply the alpha acid content of the hops by the number of ounces used. For example, a recipe bittered with two ounces of our Perle hops at 7.0% alpha would have 7.0 x 2, or 14 HBUs of bitterness. If we made this recipe a month from now with 10.0% alpha Perle hops, we would need to use fewer ounces. 14 HBUs divided by 10.0% alpha would require 1.4 ounces. HBUs should only be calculated on hops boiled for 60 minutes or longer. Flavor and aroma hops do not contribute significantly to bitterness.

What is the difference between a lager and an ale?
True lagers are fermented at cool temperatures (7˚ - 12˚C), stored at cold temperatures (0˚ - 3˚C) and use a yeast cultured to perform optimally at these temperatures. They continue to improve with cold aging up to several months. The cool fermentations create a clean, neutral flavor profile, accenting the malt and hops of the wort.
Ales ferment warmer, up to (18˚ - 25˚C), and the yeasts used at these warmer temperatures usually produce flavors and aromas absent in lagers. These can be fruity and spicy. Ales are usually consumed young, but high-gravity ales improve with age.

What is the difference between a liquid yeast and a dry yeast?
Liquid yeasts are pure cultures that have been isolated and packed into foil-sealed packages in sterile conditions. Dry yeasts are granules packed in foil pouches. They should be re-hydrated in water before using. Unfortunately, the production process is harsh on yeast and their resulting characteristics aren't necessarily the best for brewing. Dried yeast always contains a percentage of dead, wild and mutant yeasts. Many also contain bacteria. Because of the heat-tolerance needed to survive the production of dry yeast, no satisfactory lager yeast strains are available. We strongly recommend spending the extra money--yes, liquid pure culture yeast can be 10 times as expensive as dry--as it shows up in a better tasting beer.

What is a yeast starter? How will it make my beer better?
One of the easiest ways to improve home brew is by making a yeast starter, and pitching large volumes of actively fermenting yeast. This simple process will dramatically reduce the "lag phase", the amount of time between pitching yeast and active fermentation. By pitching an active starter, the lag phase can be reduced from over 24 hours to under 12 hours. Consequently, DMS and other chemical off-flavors produced during the respiration phase of yeast growth are minimized.

What is the best way to reuse yeast?
Collecting yeast from the middle layer of a healthy primary fermenter. If you can time your brewing, a more practical option is to siphon a quart of actively fermenting wort and pitch directly into your cooled wort.

What are adjuncts?
Adjuncts are unmalted grains (such as corn, rice, rye, oats, barley, and wheat ) used in brewing beer which supplement the main mash ingredients . Ref: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adjuncts

How will honey affect my beer?
Most of the sugars in honey will ferment, leaving the beer dry. Rather than sweetness, honey will impart a smoothness, dryness and perhaps a floral bouquet depending on the honey variety.

What is the best way to make fruit beer?
A simple method is to use natural fruit extracts at bottling stage. These products will impart its natural flavours as it ferments in the bottle. In addition, unlike fresh fruit added to hot wort, their delicate aromas are not driven off by boiling.

Help! I've pitched the yeast and my wort is not doing anything.
The first phase of fermentation is yeast reproduction. This is the "lag" period when nothing appears to be happening. Once sufficient yeast has been produced, they begin to eat the sugars and fermentation is evident by slight white dots and foam that soon builds into a large, foamy head, or "krausen." The lag phase can last from a few hours to several days. Ideally, activity should start within 24 hours, but may take longer if a smaller population of yeast was pitched.

How to keep fermentation temperature "cool"?
Invest in a fermenter chiller that can maintain the fermenting temperature.

Is it really necessary to do a secondary fermentation?
Not a must. But using a secondary fermenter allows you to rack beer off of the dead yeast and other precipitated solids. The resulting beer is cleaner tasting and less prone to haze or infection.

How long can I leave the fermented beer in the carboy without bottling?
The higher the beer's gravity the longer it may condition in the carboy. Most ales (SG: 1040-1050) can mature in a carboy for 1 to 1 months. Strong ales (over SG: 1070) should be stored for a minimum of 4 months. Lagers should be aged longer than ales. The Brewer's Companion from Randy Mosher provides a useful chart on pg. 153.

My beer has bubbled up through the airlock; should I dump it?
No. Remove the airlock, thoroughly clean and sanitize. If the carboy is still foaming over, install a blow-off tube that fits snugly into the mouth of the carboy, with the other end submerged into a sanitized water solution.

Can I use clear bottles?
Not recommended. Care must be taken to keep them completely protected from sunlight and artificial lighting. We recommend dark brown bottles.

How much sugar should I use to carbonate my bottles?

For 330ml: Use 2.5g. For 660ml: Use 5g. For 750ml: Use 6g.
Carbonation varies from different style of beer. You may want to use more sugar for wheat beers and high carbonated lighter beers. Use lesser for English style bitter and low-carbonated beers.

My beer has been in the bottle for two weeks and has no carbonation, should I dump it?
No. The problem may be correctable. There are five major reasons for lack of carbonation:
1. Too-cold storage. Are the bottles being stored below 18DegC? Yeast are inhibited by cool temperatures. Bring them to a warmer temperature and see if that solves the problem. 2. Using twist-off bottle caps. Although some bottles may seal fine, twist-off bottles frequently fail. 3. Not adding enough priming sugar. 4. Insufficient rinse of sanitizer. If chlorine bleach and other sanitizers are not completely rinsed, they may exist in concentrations large enough to inhibit yeast activity. 5. Insufficient dispersal of the priming sugar in the bottling bucket. If the priming sugar is not evenly dissolved, this may cause some bottles to be undercarbonated, and others to be overcarbonated.

When I open my bottles my beer "gushes." What causes that?

Several things may be the cause:
1. Too much priming sugar. 2. Fermentation not completed when bottling. 3. Uneven dispersal of priming sugar during bulk primping (thorough, but gentle, stirring without splashing) 4. Bacterial or wild yeast infection continuing a secondary fermentation in the bottle.

Bottling sucks. What other options do I have?
The next best option to bottling is kegging. Kegging is similar to bottling without the trouble of cleaning, sanitizing and capping dozens of bottles.

Sensible beer drinking is healthy!

One 25 cl glass of beer is better than none. Two are even better, but more than three is ill advised.
Beer is not unhealthy. On the contrary, if drunk moderately it acts against the occurrence of heart and circulatory diseases, possibly plays a protective role against some forms of cancer, and reduces the general level of mortality. This has been shown by various scientific studies.
Beer also provides a number of important nutrients, including carbohydrates, amino acids, minerals and vitamins. It is not without reason that beer is called liquid bread. Beer does not make you fat either: 1 litre of lager contains fewer calories than the same quantity of wine or soft drink.
Moderate beer drinking is good for the heart and blood vessels?
In comparison to non-drinkers and heavy drinkers, moderate beer drinking reduces the risk of heart and circulatory diseases, and death due to heart and circulatory diseases. This has been demonstrated in dozens of studies that hundreds of thousands of people participated in.
This protective effect is very probably an effect of the alcohol itself because it is also found among wine drinkers and spirits drinkers. Whether this protective effect is more pronounced in the one drink or the other is difficult to say.
A number of studies have indeed made a distinction between the type of alcohol consumption - beer, wine or spirits - and the risk of heart and circulatory diseases. In general it can be said that the risk seems to be reduced just as much with the three types of alcoholic drink. It is not the type of drink, but the alcohol that provides the protective effect. The influence of other non-alcoholic drinks on heart and circulatory diseases is not yet clear on the other hand.

Beer reduces the risk of cancer!
Hops, the component of beer that gives it its bitter flavour, contain flavanoids, which belong to phyto-oestrogens. Phyto-oestrogens are biologically active substances of a vegetable origin that imitate the action of the female hormone oestrogen. Many kinds of favourable effects are attributed to phyto-oestrogens. Thus a diet rich in phyto-oestrogens protects against heart and circulatory diseases and cancer, and a high intake of these substances moderates menopausal complaints in older women. These effects have been scientifically studied on a wide basis. Breast cancer occurs significantly less frequently in women with a diet rich in phyto-oestrogens (1) and the risk of cervical cancer is lower in women whose diet contains a lot of fibre and soya (2). Soya is rich in phyto-oestrogens. In population groups where a lot of soya is eaten, fewer men have prostate cancer (3). The best known source of phyto-oestrogens is soya but hops are also rich in phyto-oestrogens. As hops are an important component in beer, the question arises as to whether beer drinkers also benefit from the favourable effects of phyto-oestrogens on health. Scientists are ready for a new challenge here. Studies are underway to examine whether beer reduces the risk of certain cancers as a result of the phyto-oestrogens.

References (1)Case-control study of phyto-oestrogens and breast cancer. Ingram D. et al. Lancet 1997;350:990-994. (2)Association of soy and fiber consumption with the risk of endometrial cancer. Goodman MT et al. Am. J. Epidemiol. 1997;146:294-306. (3)Phyto-oestrogens and prostate cancer: possible preventive role. Stephens FO et al; Med. J. Aust. 1997;167:138-140.

Beer, the remedy for all sorts of ailments!
In Babylon and Egypt, long considered as the birthplace of beer, the drink was offered to the gods and was mainly used by kings and at important festivals. The Egyptians also attributed a therapeutic effect to beer, and women of the upper classes used it for cosmetic purposes, ie. to freshen their skin and reduce the risk of certain skin conditions.
In ancient Greece Hippocrates used beer as a remedy to facilitate diuresis and the drink was also considered to act against fever. Alcohol was also used at this time to heal wounds. Aretus of Capadocia recommended it for diabetes and migraine.
In the Middle Ages beer was used as a stimulant to improve mood. Appetite generating and calming properties were attributed to the hop, a component of beer. Up until a hundred years ago, hop-filled cushions were recommended for sleeping disorders.
In the beginning of this century, the harmful consequences of alcohol abuse came to light, and medicine adopted a sceptical attitude towards alcoholic drinks, including beer. The emergence of powerful medicines further pushed out the use of alcohol as a remedy. It is only in the last few years that there has been renewed interest for the beneficial effect of alcohol on health.

Nutritional aspects of beer!
For a large section of the Belgian population, beer is a not unimportant component of the diet. The alcohol in beer provides calories and influences the consumption of other nutrients. Soft drinks contain twice as many calories as lager. The energy value of alcohol is 7 kcal/g. Four 25 cl glasses of lager (around 40 g of alcohol) provide as many calories as 70 g of sugar. Four glasses of a soft drink, coke for example, contain as many calories as 132 g of sugar. This is around twice as much as four glasses of lager. But there is something special about the energy value of alcohol. When alongside the basic intake of 2,200 kcal/day, a further 2000 kcal are added in the form of beer, then this person will not get as fat as if he had consumed the 2000 extra calories in the form of chocolate. This has been found experimentally, but there is currently no explanation for it. Presumably alcohol is broken down less efficiently than sugar. Moderate beer drinkers thus do not need to worry about getting fat straightaway.

Is there such a thing as a beer belly?
Alcohol contains 7 kilocalories per gramme. Forty grammes of alcohol (which corresponds to four 25 cl glasses of lager) contains as many calories as 70 g of sugar. As a comparison, four glasses of soft drink (eg. coke) contain as many calories as 132 g of sugar, which is twice as many as four glasses of lager. Beers with a higher alcohol content contain more calories. Wines and spirits contain more calories than beer. Drinking beer in moderate quantities will not necessarily mean putting on weight, which has been confirmed in recent research on beer consumption and obesity. In a group of people who had drunk beer over the previous year there were fewer obese people (> 30 kg/m2) than in the group that had not drunk any beer at all. After correcting for all co-factors (such as smoking, age, sex, etc) it was found that beer consumption does not increase the amount of obesity. The data will be looked at later in this chapter. An isocalorific diet means that the excessive drinker leaves out other (frequently essential) components of food and opts for a more "consistent" diet. The idea that beer makes people fat probably has its origins in the lifestyle and eating habits that are often coupled with beer drinking. Drinking beer increases the appetite and alcohol also relaxes control over our eating behaviour. Heavy beer drinkers generally go for fatty calorific food (snacks, chips, sausages, nuts, etc) and generally do little exercise. Research has also shown that the bodies of people who drink a lot of beer burn less fat. The body is probably inclined to burn the alcohol first. The excess fat has to go somewhere and is accumulated above the abdominal muscles. The result is well known. The so-called beer belly is thus not a direct effect of high beer consumption, but rather the unhealthy diet and lifestyle coupled with it, in combination with reduced fat combustion by the body. It is thus better to have beer as a component of the diet rather than a stimulant consumed separately from meals (beer already has this image).

Being a responsible drinker means knowing when to drink, how much is too much, planning ahead, and being in control of your drink.

It's better to be safe!
If you are going to drink alcohol, make transport plans ahead to get back home safely. Get help if necessary, from people you can trust. Do not leave your drink unattended in order to prevent others from spiking it. Help your friends if they have had too many drinks. Do not drink at all for several hours before you do activities that are potentially risky, such as driving, swimming, boating etc.

Be in control!
You can have control over what and how much you drink. In addition, there are also ways to reduce the harm from drinking. The important thing is to make safety and health your priority. Here are some tips:
Keep track of how much you are drinking by checking the number of standard alcoholic drinks consumed. Do not allow or do top-ups; finish your drink before refilling in order to keep track of how many drinks you are having. Set a limit for yourself and stick to it. Women should drink no more than 2 standard drinks a day and men should not drink no more than 3 standard drinks a day. Be assertive and do not allow yourself to be pressured to drink more than your limit. Have a "spacer" by alternating between non-alcoholic drinks and alcoholic ones. Drink slowly and do not drink alcohol to quench your thirst. Do not just sit around and drink. Instead, go up and dance or chat with people. Avoid drinking games. These make it easy for you to lose track of the amount you are drinking. Eat before and during drinking, but avoid eating food that makes you thirsty. Try a low alcohol alternative or a pre-mixed drink.
Courtesy from Health Promotion Board