Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

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SurgicalSteel
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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby SurgicalSteel » Mon Aug 26, 2013 6:24 pm UTC

So, I'm thinking about making bottling easier by getting an auto-siphon and putting a pvc ball-valve at the end of the siphon tube. Is there any reason I shouldn't use a ball-valve? I can't think of one, but I see a lot of mention of people using pinch clamps, and nothing about people using ball-valves, so I'm wondering if there's a reason.
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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby Diemo » Mon Aug 26, 2013 6:48 pm UTC

Hey, so I got my first batch today, but after sanitising (with VWP) sanitiser, i forgot to rinse it out with cold water. Do any of ye know if that is going to ruin the beer?
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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby ImagingGeek » Thu Sep 12, 2013 8:06 pm UTC

Its been so long since anyone posted here (about 12 batches of homebrew, by my reckoning. . .which may mean that I have a problem) that I forgot to look. A few answers...

SurgicalSteel wrote:So, I'm thinking about making bottling easier by getting an auto-siphon and putting a pvc ball-valve at the end of the siphon tube. Is there any reason I shouldn't use a ball-valve? I can't think of one, but I see a lot of mention of people using pinch clamps, and nothing about people using ball-valves, so I'm wondering if there's a reason.

The biggest disadvantage is that they (ball valves) are a bitch to sanitize; it is hard to ensure sufficient volume gets into the mechanism to provide full sanitation and gunk tends to get stuck in the mechanism and grow nasties. I very rarely bottle anymore, but when I do I use a bottling wand - basically a plastic tube with a simple "push-vale" (sorry, don't know technical term) on the end. Pushing it on the bottom of the bottle starts the flow, and lifting it off the bottom stops the flow. Easy as pie.

It looks like this:
Image

The best solution is a kegging system - and they need to be expensive. I got most of mine off craigs list. The cost was about $50 for CO2 + regulator + 4 kegs + taps.

EDIT: autosiphon is a must. When I think back to all those years I struggled priming siphons I shudder...

Diemo wrote:Hey, so I got my first batch today, but after sanitising (with VWP) sanitiser, i forgot to rinse it out with cold water. Do any of ye know if that is going to ruin the beer?

The answer is "it depends". VWP is a chlorine-based sanitizer. Unfortunately, these have to be rinsed as chlorine will react with phenols in the wort, producing chlorophenols. These have a sharp flavour often described as "band-aid" or "plastic". Exactly how strong these flavours will be depends on just how much VWP residue was left in the fermenter. It may be unnotisable, or it may render your beer near-undrinkable (emphasis on the 'near')

Best advice would be to let it go and see what you get - best-case scenario is you get good tasting beer. Worst-case scenario is you'll have to pre-drink (to dull the senses) before hitting the homebrew ;-)

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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby SurgicalSteel » Thu Sep 12, 2013 11:58 pm UTC

ImagingGeek wrote:EDIT: autosiphon is a must. When I think back to all those years I struggled priming siphons I shudder...
God yes, I bought an auto-siphon and used it on my last batch. I don't know how I lived without it before.

I bought a ball valve from Northern Brewers. The valve spins 360 so I'm hoping it can be sanitized by just running hot water through it and spinning the valve several times, then doing the same thing with star-san.

Also, star san is something else I don't know how I did without. Seriously, fuck bleach.
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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby ImagingGeek » Fri Sep 13, 2013 12:58 pm UTC

Star san rocks - no need to rinse, and a $12 bottle lasts for ever (1.6ml per litre, for any other metrisized brewers out there). I was hesitant to recommend it because Diemo already has VWP, and AFAIK it works quite well too. Just remeber, star san is a sanitizer only; it doesn't clean worth a damn (as I learned the hard way when I began using it).

And this, in my last post was a typo: The best solution is a kegging system - and they need to be expensive.
It should have read: The best solution is a kegging system - and they need not be expensive.

I'd blame the typo on homebrew, but sadly, that was written while I was in a state of pure sobriety.
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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby SurgicalSteel » Sat Sep 14, 2013 1:18 am UTC

The other reason I like homebrewing? Making my own labels:
1271886_10100610291957065_673983215_o.jpg
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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby Diemo » Sat Sep 14, 2013 4:47 pm UTC

Yeah, I ended up just letting it brew. I bottled it there about 3 days ago and it didn't smell like choline or bad at all really. Now I'm going to taste it and see what happens :).

I have also got my first batch of cider brewing at the moment as well. That is fermenting much faster than the beer (well, producing a lot more gas anyway).

I'll update with taste tests soon hopefully.
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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby SurgicalSteel » Sat Sep 14, 2013 5:04 pm UTC

Diemo wrote:I have also got my first batch of cider brewing at the moment as well. That is fermenting much faster than the beer (well, producing a lot more gas anyway).
I've heard that using fruit causes much more vigorous fermentation (because there's sugars from the fruit). The pictures on reddit.com/r/homebrewing from people who thought primary fermentation was done and discovered, a couple days and a removed blow off tube later, that it wasn't are always fun.
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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby ImagingGeek » Tue Sep 17, 2013 12:42 pm UTC

Be careful with cider - because the nutrient and protein levels are low, fermentation can take a long time. A real 'burst' of fermentation near the beginning is normal, but it may take a few weeks for the SG to stabalize. This is especially important if bottling afterwards - I've had a few cider bottle bombs brought on by nothing more than my impatience.

I too like making my own labels.
Image
Image

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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby SurgicalSteel » Sat Sep 21, 2013 3:54 am UTC

I love the labels, especially the "3.9% alcohol, 100% screwup." Definitely made me chuckle.

That Righteous American Ale was my third batch, and I'd like to try something a little more complex now. I found a recipe that seems interesting, and a little challenging. Chocolate-Orange Stout. I'm pretty sure I know what to do here, but I'd like to write down what I think the process will be and if someone could tell me where I'm right and where I'm wrong that would be awesome. Thanks.

1) Steep grains in about a quart of 160 degree water for about an hour with a grain sock
2) Sparge the grains back into the wort using about a quart of hot water
3) Add a gallon and a half of hot water to bring it up to my normal boil volume of 2 gallons.
4) Add the extracts and boil for 60 minutes
5) Add the Northern Brewer hops 15 minutes into the boil (t-minus 45 minutes)
6) Add an ounce of Citra 50 minutes into the boil (t-minus 10 minutes)
7) Add the last ounce of Citra and an ounce of cocoa nibs 59 minutes into the boil (t-minus 1 minute)
8) Add wort to 3 gallons of cold water in the primary fermenter.
9) Pitch yeast once it cools to about 70 degrees.
10) After primary fermentation is done, rack to a secondary fermenter and toss in remaining cocoa nibs and sweet orange peel.
11) Bottle after about 2 weeks or when fermentation stops, whichever comes last, using 3/4 cup corn sugar.

Also a couple questions:
1) Is racking to a secondary necessary?
2) If I can't find sweet orange peel, can I just use zested valencia orange peels?

Thanks a bunch.
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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby ImagingGeek » Tue Oct 01, 2013 12:42 pm UTC

Surgical, sorry I'm late. Your method looks good but for one thing - its normal to steep adjunct grains for 20-30 minutes, not an hour. Hour-long soaks are generally for mashing, which requires a base malt (and must be done at very specific temps) - your recipe has only adjuncts, so a long soak is not required. The issue tends to be that you extract harsher flavours with longer soaks. Since you're doing a stout this shouldn't be an issue (the strong flavour of the stout should mask any issues), but for future brews this is something you want to keep an eye on.

If you haven't read it yet, John Palmer has an old edition of his book on the web for free. He covers this sort of brewing in good detail:
http://www.howtobrew.com/section2/chapter13-2.html

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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby SurgicalSteel » Tue Oct 01, 2013 11:21 pm UTC

Thanks Bryan. I actually posted an (almost identically) similar thread on r/homebrewing and got a lot of good help. I followed the advice in there, and some from my local homebrew shop, and the beer is fermenting in my kitchen right now. It smells fantastic. I also made muffins with the spent grain the next day.

Thanks for the link to the book too.
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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby ImagingGeek » Wed Oct 02, 2013 1:00 pm UTC

So are you going to share that muffin recipe, or do I have to beg?

<we need a begging smily>

I sometimes make bread out of some of my used grain; here's my recipe:
1 1/8 cups water
2 1/2 cups white bread flour
1/2 cups wheat bread flour
1 1/2 Tbsp. dry milk
1 1/2 Tbsp. honey
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. butter
2 tsp. fast rise/breadmaker yeast
1 cup spent grains

Add all ingredients in the order above ( if your grains are particularly wet, you may need to add more wheat/white flour), bake using brown bread setting on breadmaker.

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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby SurgicalSteel » Wed Oct 02, 2013 1:40 pm UTC

ImagingGeek wrote:So are you going to share that muffin recipe, or do I have to beg?
Haha, sorry.
http://www.friendyourbeer.com/recipe-ba ... n-muffins/

I also tried this recipe for dog treats
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/spent-g ... ies-87097/

Dog was not a fan. I might try it again after another brew if I use less dark grains.
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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby ImagingGeek » Wed Oct 02, 2013 2:28 pm UTC

Thanx!

I've done dog treats like those in the past. My dog will eat anything, so she gobbled those down. I have to admit - the dog treats made pretty good people treats as well.

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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby SurgicalSteel » Wed Oct 02, 2013 2:32 pm UTC

Mine ended up very bland, and the taste of the peanut butter didn't come through at all. 4 cups of grain to 1 cup peanut butter may have contributed to that issue.
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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby Mr. Mack » Sat Jan 18, 2014 2:39 am UTC

I'm going to practice my necromancy and revive this thread.

I got a beer brewing kit for Christmas. My first patch needs to sit in bottles for another week before it's finished carbonated. I figure I'll try my next batch after I see how the first one turned out, but I think I should figure out what I'm going to to next before then. Can anyone recommend some recipes that are good for beginners? Something all-grain and dark? Most of the recipes I find myself are either a bit too complicated or use malt extract, which I have no interest in because I'm cheap/poor.

I'll probably have other questions, since the kit really only taught me the basics. In case anyone's wondering, the kit in question was from here, but was for a blonde ale.
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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby SurgicalSteel » Sat Jan 18, 2014 4:04 am UTC

IMG_2463_web.jpg
Latest brew. Turned out pretty good, and my friends seem to like it too.

Mr. Mack wrote:Can anyone recommend some recipes that are good for beginners? Something all-grain and dark? Most of the recipes I find myself are either a bit too complicated or use malt extract, which I have no interest in because I'm cheap/poor.
Most extract recipes can be approximately converted to all-grain recipes, and vice versa. I'll try the web site I read with the instructions on how to do it.

Other than all-grain over extract, what kind of beer do you want to make next? Another blond? A dark, heavy stout? I can look through some of my books and find something for you.
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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby Mr. Mack » Sat Jan 18, 2014 5:57 pm UTC

SurgicalSteel, that picture looks great. Also, I'll have to try that recipe once I'm competent.

My long term goal is to develop my own recipe for a mint chocolate milk stout. So I was thinking about some kind of simple stout for my next beer, plus I read those are good for beginners. Although looking at BrewToad.com, it looks like a few black lager recipes are also pretty straight forward (my first "favorite beer" was Sam Adam's Black Lager).

The stout recipes I like are this recipe called "Simple Stout," this recipe called "Simple stout," and CN Simple Stout (I hope CN doesn't mean cyanide, that'd taste awful).
For black lagers I'm looking at Black Shuck, 4C, and 4A.

Any opinions on which of those are best for a beginner?
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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby Nath » Sat Jan 18, 2014 6:02 pm UTC

Mr. Mack wrote:(I hope CN doesn't mean cyanide, that'd taste awful).

Do you not like almonds?

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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby SurgicalSteel » Sat Jan 18, 2014 11:19 pm UTC

Mr. Mack wrote:SurgicalSteel, that picture looks great. Also, I'll have to try that recipe once I'm competent.
Thanks. Feel free to PM me for the recipe when you want it, It's very similar to the one I posted, but I made a couple small changes at the suggestion of others.

Here's a pretty good article about converting extract recipes to all-grain.

Are you wanting to do all-grain because you will think it is easier, or cheaper, or both? I'm not sure about cost, but from what I've read all-grain is a bit more complicated then extract, the partial-grains I've done certainly have been. I'm not saying they are impossible for a beginner or that you shouldn't try, just saying I don't think it will be easier. Was the kit you got extract or all-grain? If it was extract, I think you'll need to buy some more equipment before you can go all-grain. If I'm wrong, ImagingGeek will probably be around at some point to correct me and offer helpful advice.
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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby Mr. Mack » Sun Jan 19, 2014 4:23 am UTC

What I read said that extract is a lot easier, but that all grain is cheaper and gives you more control. The kit I got was all grain, albeit a very simple one with just one type of malt and one kind of hops, so I don't see much reason to learn to use extract. Plus the main reason I never bought myself a kit was because I didn't want to spend the money.

Thanks for the article! I've skipped quite a few recipes because I didn't want to buy the more expensive extract.
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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby SurgicalSteel » Tue Jan 21, 2014 2:15 am UTC

I looked at the recipes you posted and all the stouts look pretty good for a beginner wanting to do all-grain. If you can set a kitchen timer and respond to it, you should be fine. The black lagers look a little more complex, only because they appear to require mash rests, which may require more temperature control than you have if you're just starting out. Also, for me it would be more complicated because I don't fully understand mash rests yet.

Check out reddit.com/r/homebrewing too. I got a lot of help there when I was brewing the Devilish Engine up there.
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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby SurgicalSteel » Thu May 22, 2014 4:28 am UTC

I realize this is a dead thread, but I'm going to try to revive it.

So, I had a bunch of grain left over from previous batches, and decided to just do a kind of left-overs brew using only things I already had (except the yeast). It ended up being about a gallon batch of about 40% Black Patent, 40% Chocolate Malt, and %20 Flaked Barley. Tiny tiny amounts of Cascade and Amarillo (about 0.25oz total) added in the last 5 minutes of the boil. Pitched some kind Safale, don't remember the specific one.

Nothing happened for about three days, as I expected since I had no base malt, and most likely very little fermentable sugars. So I added about 3oz of clover honey (again, leftovers, this was just the last of a bottle of honey I use for things like tea and toast). About 4 hours later I got a nice little krauzen starting and the airlock is bubbling away. When it's done fermenting I have some cracked cacao beans left over from my last chocolate stout I might throw in just for the hell of it. I'm not really sure how it's going to taste. I suspect the large amount of Black Patent will give it kind of a harsh flavor, but on the other hand the flaked barley should give it a smooth mouth feel, perhaps making the harshness tolerable. We'll see in a few weeks.

This brings me to a question. This batch is only a gallon. Is there a way to take a gravity reading that doesn't involve removing so much beer (nor a refractometer)? With such a small batch already I'm not really keen on removing such a relatively large amount. If you sanitize all your equipment (thief, hydrometer, test vessel) is there any reason the tested beer shouldn't be returned to the fermenter?
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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby freezeblade » Thu May 22, 2014 4:15 pm UTC

As far as I can tell, the only fermentables you have in there are the honey, and there's so little of it, that you at most got to 1.010, although i'm guessing closer to 1.005 as a OG. With all the black malt in there, that "beer" is going to be pretty much undrinkable, and at most get to 1% alcohol, settling right to complete dryness, 1.000

If I were you, I would make this into a braggot, it's only a gallon batch afterall. General rule for wine-strength meads are 3# per gallon of water. 2# would put you at about 8% final abv, age it about a year or more, and it might be decent.
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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby SurgicalSteel » Thu May 22, 2014 5:55 pm UTC

That's an idea. What would that involve do you think? Just add some more honey, and when fermentation is done bottle it and wait a year to drink it?
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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby freezeblade » Thu May 22, 2014 6:17 pm UTC

SurgicalSteel wrote:That's an idea. What would that involve do you think? Just add some more honey, and when fermentation is done bottle it and wait a year to drink it?


i would say to just add honey, let it ferment a month in there, then move it to a secondary (another gallon container) topping it off with steril water. let that sit for a few months untill it clears up, then bottle it (I usually get 7-8 12oz bottles from a gallon, plus a little for tasting)
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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby SurgicalSteel » Mon Jun 23, 2014 1:34 am UTC

If anyone's wondering, it ended up tasting like coke-cola black. But it's also not a terrible mixer with vodka or honey liquer.
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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby Whitekiboko » Tue Jul 01, 2014 10:19 pm UTC

I prefer White Labs over Wyeast. Does anyone else use them? I'm curious if there's any difference in flavor between the High Gravity and the Super San Diego. I bought both and will end of using them, just wondering since a local brewery is ramping up their local iron chef style competition (they make a batch of the winning brew). Hope the secret ingredient is better than the last two years (honey and a selection of herbs).

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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby freezeblade » Tue Jul 01, 2014 10:37 pm UTC

I've only used white labs, as most of my brewing was done when I was living in San Diego, which is where White Labs is based out of.

Haven't tried either of the two you mentioned, but I have used quite a lot of their catalogue, and haven't found something I didn't like yet. My favorites are WLP023 (bitters) or WLP005 (browns) for english-y stuff (most of what I make). I just noticed that one of my favorite yeasts they did is no longer in production, what used to be "yorkshire square fermenter yeast" which was the yeast that Samuel Smith's uses.

If you use the googlefu, you can find a list of yeast sources for each strain, ie. what brewery they came from.
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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby Whitekiboko » Wed Jul 02, 2014 12:26 am UTC

My main concern is how clean in the taste. The WLP099 is coming off the starter smelling fairly neutral.

I once bred up a strong strain of yeast up to the point where it would reliably deliver about 22-23% given time (Stick blender for aeration). Sadly I lost that strain when I moved. An individual of the alembic persuasion could find such a thing useful if so inclined.


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