Brewing your own beer

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zenten
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Brewing your own beer

Postby zenten » Mon May 05, 2008 2:48 pm UTC

Ok, I want to brew my own beer, at home. Yes I know there are places I could brew them, but that takes away 1/3 of the fun.

So, any tips? I know there's a bunch of specialized equipment I need to get. And I'm going to buy a book or two on it, on top of reading web pages. But is there anything specific that those of you who've done this before can recommend, as well as any other nuggets of wisdom?

heydonms
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Re: Brewing your own beer

Postby heydonms » Wed May 07, 2008 2:39 am UTC

Get a good air lock (a barrel one, not the S-bend things). Keep it somewhere with a stable temperature (rugs and keg heaters aren't that great). Get glass bottles and a decent capper. Basically don't do it on the cheap, get it right the first time so you don't get put off when your first batch rots/tastes horrible, etc.

Oh, and if you have only ever had store bought beer (especially the rubbish some countries seem to favour, sex in a canoe and all that), homebrew probably will taste horrible the first time you try it. If you can, go grab a few bottles off someone else first and see what you think.

I wish it wasn't just coming into winter here, I am well over due for making another batch up :/

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Amarantha
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Re: Brewing your own beer

Postby Amarantha » Wed May 07, 2008 6:41 am UTC

Different country, but probably similar issues:
http://www.aussiehomebrewer.com/forum/

GMontag
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Re: Brewing your own beer

Postby GMontag » Fri May 09, 2008 9:51 am UTC

zenten wrote:Ok, I want to brew my own beer, at home. Yes I know there are places I could brew them, but that takes away 1/3 of the fun.

So, any tips? I know there's a bunch of specialized equipment I need to get. And I'm going to buy a book or two on it, on top of reading web pages. But is there anything specific that those of you who've done this before can recommend, as well as any other nuggets of wisdom?


Keep a log book. For each batch, record the recipe you use, including quantities and times when you add the ingredients, and add tasting notes later. It will be an invaluable resource.
Also, make sure you clean your equipment well, especially all the hoses. The worst thing that can happen to a batch of beer is it gets infected.

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tehmikey
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Re: Brewing your own beer

Postby tehmikey » Fri May 09, 2008 6:30 pm UTC

GMontag wrote:Keep a log book. For each batch, record the recipe you use, including quantities and times when you add the ingredients, and add tasting notes later. It will be an invaluable resource.
Also, make sure you clean your equipment well, especially all the hoses. The worst thing that can happen to a batch of beer is it gets infected.


Do this for sure. Every small detail you change in a batch affects the outcome.

I was talking about brewing my own beer for about six months, and someone bought me one of the starter kits. It was fine for getting up and brewing quick, but I ended up going out and getting better equipment later. The first few batches were 'drinkable,' but they got better as I read more and realized what I was doing and why.

/Edit I learned this from a friend. Do NOT try to make a bacon porter. I repeat. Bacon porter will make you cry (and possibly throw up).

Chaz
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Re: Brewing your own beer

Postby Chaz » Tue Jun 03, 2008 1:20 am UTC

tehmikey wrote:
GMontag wrote:Do NOT try to make a bacon porter. I repeat. Bacon porter will make you cry (and possibly throw up).


I don't know, I do enjoy a good Rauchbier, that can be fairly bacony....

Chaz
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Re: Brewing your own beer

Postby Chaz » Wed Jun 04, 2008 10:23 pm UTC

For a first book I'd recommend "How To Brew" by John Palmer. The first edition of the book is available at http://howtobrew.com though it's not as complete or up to date as the print edition which is well worth buying.

The classic "Complete Joy of Homebrewing" by Charlie Papazian is decent, was my first book but I read Palmer's shortly after and Palmer's book is a little more solid and current to today's homebrewing trends.

Also check out The Brewing Network. It's a great live streaming radio show where people can call in (toll free number) and ask questions or in the live chat, or e-mail; they have interviews with various professional and homebrewers on various topics and it's in a fun and humorous format, not dry to put you to sleep but still full of facts. You can tune in live for their shows on Sundays, Mondays, Fridays (not brewing related but fun) and Saturdays, or download the shows afterwards in MP3 format or get them podcasted to you.

Some other forums worth checking out:
http://forum.northernbrewer.com (Retailer Northernbrewer.com's forums)
http://forums.moreflavor.com (Retailer MoreBeer/B3's Forums
http://homebrewtalk.com/ Popular forum
http://brewboard.com/ Another popular forum

If you do some searches on those forums you can probably find some good Canadian retailers so you don't have to worry about paying customs duties and maybe higher shipping costs.

I brew all grain, though most people start with extracts (which can make excellent beer too) and if you have any specific questions feel free to ask.

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EsotericWombat
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Re: Brewing your own beer

Postby EsotericWombat » Sat Jun 14, 2008 5:38 am UTC

Any recommendations as to where to get good equipment without getting fleeced?
Image

caje
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Re: Brewing your own beer

Postby caje » Mon Jun 16, 2008 5:37 am UTC

Get glass carboys (not plastic fermenters). Secondary ferment.

Chaz
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Re: Brewing your own beer

Postby Chaz » Tue Jun 17, 2008 9:15 am UTC

EsotericWombat wrote:Any recommendations as to where to get good equipment without getting fleeced?

MoreBeer or Northern Brewer are the ones I shop at and are widely used throughout the brewing community. Austin Homebrew and Midwest Supplies get mentioned all the time too with praise but I've never dealt with them. Those are probably the bigger online stores...

If you live in Boston, as your profile suggests, you might have a pretty decent local homebrew shop? I try to buy as much as I can from my local unless the cost is outrageously different than what I can get online when shipping is added in.

Brewboard has an ok classified section and if you're patient things come up on craigslist every so often that are good deals (I wouldn't buy used buckets or use old hoses though but most everything else is salvageable) especially if you get into kegging they pop up for around $20 each if you look around... Just don't buy a Mr Beer kit.

caje wrote:Get glass carboys (not plastic fermenters). Secondary ferment.

Both widely controversial topics. :D I'm bored so I'll argue...

Glass...
Pro:
Oxygen cannot penetrate glass
Can't scratch
Will not wear out
Clarity for viewing pleasure

Con:
Harder to clean because of the small opening.
Risks involved with handling glass, people have been severely injured from them breaking: http://brewing.lustreking.com/articles/ ... rboys.html
Heavier

Buckets...
Pro:
Lighter Weight
Won't Break
Easier to clean because of the wide mouth

Cons:
Not clear for viewing (though neither are stainless conicals, but it's still fun to watch)
Can be easily scratched which will harbor bacteria and really should be replaced at least yearly
Permeable to oxygen
------------
Many people argue the amount of oxygen that can penetrate the buckets is negligible unless you're storing beer in it more than a few weeks and that the risks of injury are too great to use carboys. Others don't trust buckets at all because they can scratch fairly easily which makes them harder to get sanitary, and some have had infections due to it, others haven't had problems at all. That said, many award winning beers have been made with both so whichever you choose you're beer will probably be fine if you take care, I use both.
-----------
Secondarys... I don't secondary unless it's a beer style that benefits from extended aging like a barley wine.
I have no issues with clarity or excess yeast really and no autolysis off flavors even when letting something sit on the yeast for a few weeks (most beers tend to sit in the primary 2-3 weeks). Beer should stay on contact with the yeast for a little while after fermentation because they need some time to clean up after themselves. Many award winning homebrewers do it one way or the other though... so YMMV.

If you search any of the popular forums you'll hear valid arguments on all sides for both things... It comes up very often... Same with batch vs fly sparge :P


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