Saturday, December 29, 2007

Is homebrewing beer legal?

Adam recently discussed the U.S federal limits on home brewing on his Beer Bits 2 blog, and I thought that it might be interesting to compare this with the legislation here in Norway. I have had several inquiries about the laws here in Norway, so this might be useful information for more people.

Up until July 1999 home brewing was illegal in Norway, unless you malted your own grains. Of course, malting is out of reach for most amateur brewers, so they brewed at home anyway. There is a page at the Norwegian Homebrewer's Association (which was started in 1997) site that has some detail about the recent changes. It is also worth mentioning that there were no such restrictions regarding making your own wine at home. Growing your own grapes might have been an option, but it's rather difficult this far north. Interestingly, there is one single winery in Norway making red wines, but that is besides the point.

Anyway, since 1999 it has been legal to brew beer at home without unreasonable restrictions. As far as I know there are no limits on how much you can brew either. As distillation or using various techniques to increase alcohol content, other than fermentation, is illegal one has to rely on fermentation alone, which is fair enough as most beers are made that way.

The current legislation is pretty straightforward: you can make as much beer as you like at home, and you can serve it to anyone you like, but you cannot sell it. You can even let someone with a license serve it, but they will then have to pay the associated taxes (including taxes on alcohol and VAT, and probably some more).

The home brewing legislation in Norway is surprisingly liberal given that alcohol is otherwise heavily taxed and is strictly regulated.

My own beer production has been 405 liters this year, which is a personal record. I guess it will be standing for a while, as we're getting our first child soon, and the brewing frequency will be reduced for obvious reasons.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Brew #56: Doppelbock

I kegged the German Pilsener today, and since I had a fresh and healthy yeast cake in the fermenter this was a perfect opportunity for brewing a strong doppelbock for the spring. The recipe should hopefully result in a rich and malty bock. I mashed quite high, so there should be lots of complex non-fermentable sugars. Interestingly the mash efficiency seems to have increased. I'll leave this in the fermenter for about three weeks.

The batch was brewed 2007-12-20.

25 liters. All grain, batch sparge
45 EBC (Brown)
26 IBU
6000g Münchener malt
1500g Vienna malt
350g Carapils
350g Caravienna
350g Dark crystal malt
100g Chocolate malt
69C, 60 min
76C, 10 min (mashout)
76% efficiency
70g Spalter Select pellets, 4.5%, 60 min
30g Spalter Select pellets, 4.5%, 10 min
Wyeast 2206 Bavarian Lager, on Brew #55's yeast cake
90 min
In the fridge at 9.0 to 10.5 C.

OG: 1.078 FG: 1.021 abv: 7.5%