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December 16, 2017 / 9:11 pm EST

Food and Drink

Home-Brewed Organic Beer
Home-Brewed Organic BeerMar 16, 2009

Today, there are over 3 million Americans who buy organic food for both health and environmental reasons. If you are one of those consumers and you enjoy a cold beer, you already have several reasons to try your hand at organic brewing. Organic beer is rapidly escalating in popularity and has been increasingly noted as award-winning in home brewing contests sanctioned by the American Homebrewer’s Association. If you find yourself near San Fransisco, CA on June 18 - 20, 2009, you might want to consider spending some time at the next national competition.

There are many reasons to choose the organic brewing process, but better beer, better health, and a better world take center stage.


Brewing with organic malt and hops produces an excellent beer. Organic ingredients provide exceptional clarity and a clean, flavorful taste, without the use of chemical fining agents or filtration.

From a more technical point of view, organic malts generally have a lower protein content which produces a clear mash and less haze problems in the finished beer. Also, organic malts generally have a higher mash efficiency and a faster fermentation. If you are an experienced brewer, one of the first things you will notice is the exceptionally fast starch conversion and better than normal mash efficiencies. Fermentation of organic beer is typically rigorous even under less than ideal conditions, but it is unusual to see a stuck fermentation using organics. Organic malts and hops have no chemical residues to interfere with fermentation to give the organic brewer a clean, unadulterated beer.


Much of living an organic lifestyle is about control over what we put into our body. By using organic ingredients, the home brewer can better control what goes into our beer and subsequently our body.

In agricultural areas many of the chemicals sprayed on the crops eventually filter into the ground water. Serious health problems such as cancer, reproductive disorders, respiratory ailments, and allergies have been linked to these ground water toxins. Conventional growers of barley and hops use these mainstream chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Trace residues of these toxins are present in the barley, hops, water, yeast, or adjuncts used to make traditional beer. The organic brewer can be highly selective as to the use of non-toxic ingredients and subsequent human exposure to these toxins.


Today’s agriculture relies heavily on chemicals and is responsible for erosion and depletion of soil nutrients through a loss of biomass. Organic farming utilizes natural methods to fertilize crops and fight pests and disease. It also contributes to the reduction of erosion, pollution, and water shortages. Organic farming generally involves a more labor intensive environment and provides more agricultural jobs per acre than conventional farming. A well-established organic farm can often produce higher yields than a conventional farm. Workers on organic farms are also protected from the health hazards of working with pesticides and herbicides.


By using organic ingredients to make your own beer, you not only produce a beer with the highest possible purity, but you also support the growing industry of organic farming. Each consumer that switches to organic contributes to an increasing amount of land that is farmed in a sustainable fashion that is free of chemicals. Raise your glass to the environment.

Happy Brewing and Happy St. Patrick’s Day, too.

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