I recently closed this question about taking steps to brew beer in a country that has prohibited it.

But I can imagine some potential answers that may be of genuine help, such as alcohol-free brewing, although it seems implied in the question that an alcoholic beverage should be the result, clearly in breach of local laws.

Is this grounds enough to close the question, or should it be opened again?

Also, my understanding is that prohibited means not allowed by law, at least that's the definition I found online. Is there a distinction between prohibited and illegal?

  • Good question, I'm going to think about it a bit and review some of the SE guidelines around this. – Nathan Koop Sep 27 '13 at 15:01

I agree it should be closed, although I can see some value in parts of the question. It could be pointed out that it's nearly impossible to make an alcohol free beer without first making one that contains alcohol, and that to do it properly takes special equipment. Yes, you can heat the beer to drive off some alcohol, but the results will be poor both in terms of alcohol content and flavor. It could be pointed out that it's very difficult to make decent malt yourself, and it's best done as a curiosity, not a brewing staple. He seemed to overlook the need for hops. He asked about making a lager, so it could be pointed out that he needs special equipment for that. But I'm not certain that supplying that info is a reason to open the question. Although, I'm not necessarily opposed to opening it if we're certain it doesn't violate the rules.

  • I was thinking the same re: hops, home made malt and refrigeration, plus lager with bakers yeast simply isn't possible, so a blonde ale or something equally light would have to be brewed instead. But as you say, it's the legality of it that's really the issue - if that's shown not to be cause for concern, then we clearly have plenty of advice to offer on all the other points. – mdma Sep 27 '13 at 20:30

Homebrewing is not 100% legal in all 50 states in the USA (or at least it wasn't when I started brewing).

Should be screen all questions to ensure that the poster of the question doesn't reside in Mississippi or Utah? Of course not. The legality of the hobby varies wildly from region to region, and it is silly for us to shoot down questions posted by users who happen to mention that they live in such an area in an attempt to give us all the details regarding their situation.

  • The difference here is that the poster has made it explicitly clear about the situation. Posters from the US typically don't specify their location, so we have simply have to assume they are engaging in making beer legally. The poster specifically states that alcohol is prohibited in his country which puts the onus and responsibility onto this site as to how we treat the question. – mdma Sep 30 '13 at 13:05

I think based on the way the OP worded the question it should be closed.

If they'd said "If I live in a country where brewing is prohibited..." and consequently found supplies difficult to attain, that's one thing. However, "...a country where alcohol is prohibited..." is something else altogether. There's more than enough information online about how to make alcohol if that's the only goal. This question doesn't belong here for reasons beyond legality.

  • Thanks for your thoughts. Although the prohibition is on alcohol generally, the poster is not asking about making alcohol generally, but specifically about making beer from a limited selection of ingredients. (E.g. maybe beer is his favorite type of alcohol.) To my mind, if the legal issues were put aside, the question could equally have been "I can't get hold of brewer's yeast, malt or hops, just fresh grains, how can I make beer?" Which I feel would be valid here. – mdma Sep 27 '13 at 20:32

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