been brewing for millennium, and it is a really good way to make use of simple raw materials and make something special. The fermentation process (if done well) will produce sufficient ethanol as a waste product of the yeast doing the fermenting, to kill a significant proportion of potentially disease causing microbial contaminants that may also exist in the water and produce.
Ethanol as many of you will know has a pleasing effect on the human physiology, and I heartily enjoy it, and the carbonation that can also be achieved. This is the home-brew kit that I have, (this is a similar kit, my original brand lost to antiquity). It has served me well. Honey & water mead, ginger cordial, ginger pulp & water beer, ginger beer kit beer, apple cider kits have all worked well for me, but this time I wanted to give it a go with more raw-materials.
and regular dried bakers yeast (gasp if you will, brewing aficionados, but its never done me wrong), which I "started" in half a pint-mug of warm water with 3-4 tablespoons sugar dissolved in it. I cleaned the fermenter, and all the parts, with the manufacturer approved sodium metabisulfite steriliser. Be aware, this produces a very irritating gas, and will set off asthmatics, but it does a really good job at giving a food-grade clean to your kit, bottles and also to act as a medium to fill the bubble-valve. I have also never bothered to measure the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravity_%28alcoholic_beverage%29of the mixture I am brewing with, to determine the fermentation end point and to calculate the alcohol content, preferring a more rustic "it stopped bubbling much, and tastes good" method. Not very scientific, but in this instance, I depart from my scientific training as a microbiologist, and go with the spirits of my ancestors. Once it is done, I'll be bottling it in the recycled Grolsche bottles that I've been collecting for years.