Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

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Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby Ulc » Thu Sep 15, 2011 9:33 am UTC

Since this is a forum where I generally trust people's taste, I thought it would be nice with a homebrewers thread, since all other forums I read I have to ponder the "is this person sane and/or does he actually posses taste buds" question before listening to their advice. Whereas here, I know people's taste, and I can generally consider them

I'm thinking that I'll update this first post as we go along with recipe's that people post, particularly useful advice and useful links as we go along.

Don't be afraid of this thread just because you haven't brewed a lot, or anything at all, post and ask.

Beginners corner
http://www.beersmith.com/blog/2009/01/10/how-to-brew-beer-5-steps-for-making-beer-at-home-part-1/
A simple guide that quite easily shows the process, even if this is going to be a fairly boring pale ale.

http://www.homebrewhq.com/Beer/beginner_steps.aspx
This guide is quite complete, but a bit on the long side.

Useful links

http://beercalculus.hopville.com/recipe
Fill in the data on your recipe, and it calculates IBU, alcohol strenght and lots of other nifty stuff. It can even save your recipe's!

People's recipe's
When you post a recipe in this thread, be sure to go back and edit your post with tasting notes when you actually get to taste the beer. Then I'll add a link to your recipe post and we'll hopefully work up a large amount of recipe's :D

Useful tips

Whenever someone is having a problem, and the solution is posted, I'll update this section.
Last edited by Ulc on Fri Sep 16, 2011 8:50 am UTC, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby Ulc » Thu Sep 15, 2011 9:44 am UTC

Since that was mostly a archive for further edits I'll post the first post in this thread as well.

I'm finally starting up brewing again after a long break, and I just ordered the malt I need for brewing a pale ale on sunday - It's going to be on simcoe hops for the bitterness, simcoe/cascade for the aroma hops and cascade for dry hopping it all the way to hell :D

Generally, I never do anything useful on a sunday, and since I have two fermentors I'm planning on alternating them and brewing a batch every sunday (bottling the one from last week as well, since I'll not be making pilsner all fermentation will definitely be done after seven days).

Of course, that'll quickly give me a very large stash, but I believe that I have a decent solution for that ;)
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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby ArgonV » Thu Sep 15, 2011 11:02 am UTC

First useful link: http://beercalculus.hopville.com/recipe

(credits go to netcrusher88)

I also have a question: If you want to start, with small batches, just to get a feel, what kind of equipment do you need? Brewing vats and stuff like that. Also, does it smell? Because my high school was located about 300 meters from a brewery and sometimes it would smell like cow feed all day. Don't think the neighbours would appreciate that...
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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby Malconstant » Thu Sep 15, 2011 1:17 pm UTC

I approve of this thread. Though I haven't ever really seriously thought of home brewing, I like the idea. Does anyone want to offer up a brief tutorial/faq for us interested noobs, or should that work be rightly delegated to wikipedia?
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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu Sep 15, 2011 1:21 pm UTC

I've retired my stuff, but do want to say to anyone interested: Go for it! It's a lot cheaper to get started than you think (maybe 60 bucks for a carboy, ale pail and gas trap, small length of tubing for racking and a big stainless steel pot), and there are beginner kits available at any brew store that will give you an idea of how to start, what results in what, and instructions to get cracking. If you have a stove, a sink, and a corner, you can brew beer.

I had a pretty low success rate (50-60%) but was wildly experimental with most of my stuff. Personally, I don't like hoppy beers, and dug adding other finishers to round out flavors.
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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby Ulc » Thu Sep 15, 2011 2:01 pm UTC

ArgonV wrote:I also have a question: If you want to start, with small batches, just to get a feel, what kind of equipment do you need?


Not much really, a brewing vat that you can close right, including a gas trap, a small scale that is accurate in the 10-20 grams range, a large stainless stell pot, a thermometer (I use the same one I use for meat in my oven), a stove, a hose to transfer from brewing vat to bottles and some bottles that you can close tight. And that's really about what is strictly necessary, though other equipment is quite nice to have.

If you start with malt extract (and really, you should!) it's really quite easy, and you avoid the messiness of mashing.

You can probably get the basics for $60-80 - though you need some more stuff when you go to larger batches, and you will, sine there's practically no difference between making 5 litres and making 25 litres, except for the bottling.

It smells a bit, but not the same smell that a real large brewery has, and personally I think it's a rather pleasant smell.

Malconstant, I'll dig out a easy beginners guide - it's quite easy, fun and you even save money. And a bonus, people in general don't know much about it, so they get mightily impressed when you arrive at a party with homebrewed beer ;)
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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby mercutio_stencil » Fri Sep 16, 2011 6:19 am UTC

Ulc wrote:
ArgonV wrote:You can probably get the basics for $60-80 - though you need some more stuff when you go to larger batches, and you will, sine there's practically no difference between making 5 litres and making 25 litres, except for the bottling.


If your just starting out, find your nearest homebrew shop and buy a kit from them. You could try and assemble one from scratch, or buy it online, but chances are one way or another, you are going to develop a relationship with the homebrew shop, so you might as well start early. That way you get to take advantage of their knowledge from the start.

I'd suggest starting at 5 gallons, just because that's what most kits are sold as. Once you've gotten to a point where you know what you want in a system, then you can think about different scales.

Actually, I'm sure you have a friend or two that already homebrews, everyone does, try to hang out with them on a brew day and see how you like it.
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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby Ulc » Fri Sep 16, 2011 8:50 am UTC

A few beginner guides

http://www.beersmith.com/blog/2009/01/10/how-to-brew-beer-5-steps-for-making-beer-at-home-part-1/
A simple guide that quite easily shows the process, even if this is going to be a fairly boring pale ale.

http://www.homebrewhq.com/Beer/beginner_steps.aspx
This guide is quite complete, but a bit on the long side.

The entire trick in making good beer lies mostly in three things:
The mash profile, what temperatures do you extract the sugar from the malt at? And for how long. It makes a fair difference if you extract at 63 degrees celcius rather than 68 degrees celcius, where the former provides a fuller, smother beer. The latter makes for a crisper, drier beer.

The profile, which hops boils with it for how long and how much of it. The longer hops boil, the less hop flavours there will be, leaving only the bitterness.

Yeast - choosing the appropriate yeast for your particular style of beer is rather important, and treating it well so that it has ideal fermentation qualities.

But really, apart from the hops you can pretty much skip the other steps and go for the easy solution at first, and still produce some damn good beer, by using malt extract along with a simple yeast.


Edit: Actually, fermentation temperature is quite important as well, but also incredible difficult to control at home.
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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby mercutio_stencil » Fri Sep 16, 2011 10:46 pm UTC

Ulc, you're exactly right, minus one important step, obsessive sanitation. All the rest doesn't matter much if you beer picks up a funky yeast strain or bacteria.
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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby Ulc » Sat Sep 17, 2011 10:41 am UTC

I've seriously never had a problem with sanitation - and I'm really not sure how people actually have that problem. Sure, everything that comes into contact with the beer should be sterilised, but the beer honestly doesn't go bad all that easily due to the combination of alcohol, hops, low ph due to the yeast and the fat that the yeast basically eats *everything*.

Sure, it's important but people are overreacting. The first time I brewed that overreacting had scared me quite a bit and I basically sterilised anything within 3 metres of where I brewed - when all that's really needed is to boil everything that comes into contact with the cold wort, or wash it in a good cleaning agent.
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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby mercutio_stencil » Sun Sep 18, 2011 8:17 am UTC

Ulc wrote:I've seriously never had a problem with sanitation - and I'm really not sure how people actually have that problem. Sure, everything that comes into contact with the beer should be sterilised, but the beer honestly doesn't go bad all that easily due to the combination of alcohol, hops, low ph due to the yeast and the fat that the yeast basically eats *everything*.

Sure, it's important but people are overreacting. The first time I brewed that overreacting had scared me quite a bit and I basically sterilised anything within 3 metres of where I brewed - when all that's really needed is to boil everything that comes into contact with the cold wort, or wash it in a good cleaning agent.


I'm glad you've had good luck, but I've lost enough beer to infections, and had serious taints in otherwise good beer that I wouldn't advocate such a nonchalant attitude. There are plenty of things that can live in beer, and most of them don't contribute positive flavors. You have all sorts of Lactic acid bacteria that just love beer, and are pretty ubiquitous in the environment, not to mention wild yeasts that just taste funny, and a few stray oddballs like Zymomonas that contribute their own unique flavors. If you leave a lot of yeast in the bottle you have a measure of protection, but then you have really cloudy beer.

If you're not a fan of chunky beer, sanitation is the best alternative.
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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby icanus » Mon Oct 17, 2011 6:17 pm UTC

I'm currently drinking a very pleasant pint of my very first homebrew (a Woodforde's Wherry kit), after being inspired to finally get round to giving it a go by this thread.

So cheers!

Only thing I wasn't happy with was my attempt at carbonating - I bottled it in recycled beer bottles with a half-teaspoon of sugar in each, and while it just about forms a head, it's pretty flat. I'm thinking I might have kept it a bit too cool after bottling, or should I have added more sugar?
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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby mercutio_stencil » Wed Oct 19, 2011 5:04 am UTC

icanus wrote:Only thing I wasn't happy with was my attempt at carbonating - I bottled it in recycled beer bottles with a half-teaspoon of sugar in each, and while it just about forms a head, it's pretty flat. I'm thinking I might have kept it a bit too cool after bottling, or should I have added more sugar?


How long did you let it wait after bottling? It can take up to a week, sometimes two for full carbonation. A half teaspoon does sounds\ just a little low, but I usually use a priming solution to ensure sterility.

Also, has anyone else found that certain beers make them sneeze? Or worse, make them want to sneeze? I swear I'm not crazy...

It's almost hoppy beers that do it, but not all hoppy beers. Far as I can tell (I'm just starting my investigation) it's some hop oil or something. Nugget and Millennium seems to set me off, but Cascade doesn't, suggesting Caryophyllene or Humulene. Caryophyllene seems the likely suspect at this point, seeing how it's also found in cloves and black pepper, both somewhat irritating (In the sensory sense of the word) flavors.
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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby icanus » Wed Oct 19, 2011 5:00 pm UTC

mercutio_stencil wrote:How long did you let it wait after bottling? It can take up to a week, sometimes two for full carbonation. A half teaspoon does sounds\ just a little low, but I usually use a priming solution to ensure sterility.

About a week for the first bottle, almost 3 weeks for the latest - I've been opening one every few days (it's a very nice tipple to have with my dinner), and there doesn't seem to be any change in the carbonation so far. Guess I was just a bit too cautious with the sugar - lesson learned for the next batch...

edit: batch 2 is now in bottles, with a heaped teaspoon in each bottle. Now to see if I get any bottle bombs...
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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby dcb2011 » Fri Nov 04, 2011 8:39 pm UTC

I usually visit the Delicious website once a day and, coincidentally, one of the pages listed on their homepage was a collection of links on home brewing:

Brewing Beer
http://www.delicious.com/stacks/view/LQLfFf

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

Postby mercutio_stencil » Sun Feb 26, 2012 6:32 am UTC

I'm bumping this thread a bit because I'm just finished brewing up a batch of IPA, and realized that the last runnings make a very tasty beverage. I know barley water is a fairly standard drink in Britain, and Japan has their barley tea, but having never had either, I'm not entirely sure how similar they are.
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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby Ulc » Mon Feb 27, 2012 8:13 am UTC

Sadly, I haven't been able to brew for a while now, due to real life interference, and on satyrday I'm moving somewhere and I don't think my new roommate would like it.

But at least I have started brewing large scale :)

I'm thinking I'll head down on thursday and taste it after fermenting and see how much dry-hopping it needs :D
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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby SurgicalSteel » Fri Jun 08, 2012 9:55 pm UTC

I have a question for more experienced brewers:
I'm learning from Papazian's Joy of Homebrewing and in it he says to take a hydrometer reading right after filling the fermentation vessel, but then does nothing with it until a few weeks later when he's checking levels every other day or so to see when they stop changing. So my question is, do I really have to take a reading right after I fill the fermentation vessel if all I'm looking for is changes, not specific values? I ask because my hydrometer isn't arriving until Tuesday, but I'd like to start the process this weekend, instead of waiting until next weekend.
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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby Ulc » Sun Jun 10, 2012 8:58 am UTC

Yes and no.

It's by using the hydrometer that you can calculate the precise alcohol content, the difference between the initial and post-fermentation weight/volume gives you an easy way to calculate that. But if you don't care about that, go ahead and ignore the first reading.

I generally don't care about it, it's not important - I already know the rough alcohol content when I start the brewing process, and I don't really have any need for a very precise one.
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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby SurgicalSteel » Sun Jun 10, 2012 2:33 pm UTC

Thanks. I'm not terribly concerned about the precise alcohol content for my first one, so I guess I'm good.
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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby SurgicalSteel » Tue Jun 12, 2012 1:03 pm UTC

So ... I think I screwed up. The book said to detach the blow-off hose and attach the fermentation-lock after a couple days when the foaming subsided. So I did. But, there are no bubbles in the fermentation-lock as the book says there should be. Is this a bad sign? Has my yeast died? Also, there's a brown crust all around the top of the fermentation vessel (a glass carboy). I have the sinking feeling I screwed up and will have to start over.

Oh, and if it makes a difference I was trying to brew a stout.
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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby mercutio_stencil » Wed Aug 08, 2012 10:50 pm UTC

I'm bumping because it's hop harvest season. I have a few ounces of hops fresh off the vine, but right now my house is far to warm and fluctuates to much to reasonably ferment anything but a saison. Anyone have a recipe that might work, or even have a commercial example that I could try to clone?
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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby Whitekiboko » Sat Sep 01, 2012 2:08 am UTC

I wanted to play around with Citra and Sorachi Ace for a while and now that i've gotten both, I was think of this for a stronger ipa:

5gal
10# pale
3# vienna
3# munich
1oz liberty 3.0aa 60min
1oz citra 12.3 20min
1oz sorachi ace 11.6/6.7 20 min
2 oz citra 5m
2 oz sorachi 5m

Although I was also debating splitting the 3oz each 1.5/1.5.

I noticed my WLP 001 California, 008 East Coast, 022 Essex and 060 American Blend were expired, so I made 1L starters.* After a day the Essex is really struggling, even though there are 2 vials in the flask. The East Coast has an impressive krausen and along with the American Blend smells great.

Should I make 4 batches of the same recipe each with a different yeast, or should I try the 2 of one hopping rate and 2 of the other?
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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby mercutio_stencil » Sun Sep 02, 2012 6:29 am UTC

Whitekiboko wrote:I wanted to play around with Citra and Sorachi Ace for a while and now that i've gotten both, I was think of this for a stronger ipa:

5gal
10# pale
3# vienna
3# munich
1oz liberty 3.0aa 60min
1oz citra 12.3 20min
1oz sorachi ace 11.6/6.7 20 min
2 oz citra 5m
2 oz sorachi 5m

Although I was also debating splitting the 3oz each 1.5/1.5.

I noticed my WLP 001 California, 008 East Coast, 022 Essex and 060 American Blend were expired, so I made 1L starters.* After a day the Essex is really struggling, even though there are 2 vials in the flask. The East Coast has an impressive krausen and along with the American Blend smells great.

Should I make 4 batches of the same recipe each with a different yeast, or should I try the 2 of one hopping rate and 2 of the other?


First of all, you aren't dry hopping, which should be solved right away, especially if you really want to get a full sense of hop character. I'm not a fan of Liberty as a bittering hop, it doesn't give you much flavor, or bittering. Also Munich and Vienna malts are close enough that I would simplify and just use one. Either way, it's going to be pretty dark, I might actually cut back a little.

If I were you, I would brew single hop batches, one of Sorachi Ace and one of Citra, skip the 5 minute hops, but dry hop instead. If you want to go crazy, divide the wort in half (or is it beer at that point) during secondary and dry hoping them differently.
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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby Whitekiboko » Mon Sep 03, 2012 12:29 am UTC

I'd had a few before posting, but that doesn't forgive/explain me forgetting dry hopping. The first of the four is in the carboy. All my kegs and carboys (6 each I believe) are empty so it makes it easier not having to transfer liquids.

My reasoning behind liberty was to use it up, and just provide a baseline of bitterness. I fully expect it to be trampled by the citra and sorachi. The munich, which I'm trying to use up also, is 10L so I wasn't worried about the color. I honestly don't remember how I got the munich, they must have been out of vienna one of the times I bought grain.

I split the 3oz 20min/5min/dry hop. I did throw a whirlfloc in for giggles, but don't have enough for all batches.
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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby mercutio_stencil » Thu Sep 06, 2012 3:13 am UTC

[quote="Whitekiboko"]I'd had a few before posting, but that doesn't forgive/explain me forgetting dry hopping. The first of the four is in the carboy. All my kegs and carboys (6 each I believe) are empty so it makes it easier not having to transfer liquids.

Part of me wants to say if you can't brew drunk, you can't brew. Unfortunately, it's just not really true, and I do most of my brewing is done sober, or at least the stuff I really care about.

I also just had my strangest homebrew fail ever, I tried and failed at making a sour beer. I brewed a batch of a saison and took about a gallon of boiled wort, mixed it with a gallon of unboiled last runnings and let that ferment without intentionally aerating. It's somehow, against all odds, not at all sour, and in fact has a pleasant crispness to it that the ordinary fermentation didn't get. Next time I'm just going to have to inoculate.
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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby Whitekiboko » Thu Sep 06, 2012 2:52 pm UTC

mercutio_stencil wrote:Part of me wants to say if you can't brew drunk, you can't brew. Unfortunately, it's just not really true, and I do most of my brewing is done sober, or at least the stuff I really care about.

I also just had my strangest homebrew fail ever, I tried and failed at making a sour beer. I brewed a batch of a saison and took about a gallon of boiled wort, mixed it with a gallon of unboiled last runnings and let that ferment without intentionally aerating. It's somehow, against all odds, not at all sour, and in fact has a pleasant crispness to it that the ordinary fermentation didn't get. Next time I'm just going to have to inoculate.


Oh, I brew well lubed. It was the spitballing ideas when I failed to remember dry hopping. I brew like I cook, general idea ahead of time, then from the hip.

Did you pitch saison yeast, or just left it to the critters? Saison yeasts can get pretty hardy to both heat and booze, maybe the conditions were too much for the natural guys. I have natural cultures of my last 2 houses (a few miles apart but vastly different settings) but haven't bred into anything I'd want to brew with yet.
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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby ImagingGeek » Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:15 pm UTC

Woohoo, one of my favourite topics. As for links, I have a blog on brewing (not much useful there...yet; if you care, its in my sig). To add to the useful links list:

Something spoilered, just in case recommending other boards isn't kosher here...
Spoiler:
good brewing board: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/


Free homebrewing book (old version, new version in book stores)
Home brewing wiki
Brewing magazine, with lots of free on-line material

How beer saved the world (youtube)

SurgicalSteel wrote:I'm learning from Papazian's Joy of Homebrewing

A word of warning - Papazian's books are a little dated, and 'normal' brewing procedures have changed quite a bit since then. Many (most?) of us don't secondary, for example, unless a long ageing period or lagering is required. Many (most) now do 2-3 weeks in the primary, then keg/bottle.

SurgicalSteel wrote:he says to take a hydrometer reading right after filling the fermentation vessel, but then does nothing with it until a few weeks later when he's checking levels every other day or so to see when they stop changing. So my question is, do I really have to take a reading right after I fill the fermentation vessel if all I'm looking for is changes, not specific values? I ask because my hydrometer isn't arriving until Tuesday, but I'd like to start the process this weekend, instead of waiting until next weekend.

Some don't even use them - the hydrometer is good for figuring out if a ferment is done, and what % alcohol you have. Its not necessary - simply waiting for the krausen (foam) to subside in the primary is usually sufficient for telling when its time to bottle/keg/transfer. Also, keep in mind that every time you try to draw off a sample for measuring gravity you a) decrease the total amount of beer you get, by ~1/2 pint per test (you should never return the test volume to the fermented - infection risk), and b) you increase the risk of infection just by opening the lid/inserting a thief.

If you want to take frequent readings, I'd recommend getting a refractometer and a package of sterile, individually-packaged sample pipettes. Both are available on ebay for cheap, and you only need a drop of two of beer to take your readings. Just use a sterile pipette to grab a sample, then toss the pipette.

If you use either a hydrometer or refractometer, what you are looking for is a stabilization of the S.G. at a level typical of a finished beer. The final gravity of a beer can vary greatly by style/yeast, but for your average ale/lager it'll be below 1.015. Malty beers can be much higher - brown ales can be as high as 1.020, I had a barley wine finish at 1.028. Stabilization at a higher-than-expected gravity can indicate a beer that is either maltier than expected, or in which fermentation is incomplete. The former case is usually due to an error in the mash, the later can be rectified by pitching new yeast. If you're brewing from kits or extract, its unlikely you'd experience the former problem, so pitching some new yeast is typically the answer.

SurgicalSteel wrote:So ... I think I screwed up. The book said to detach the blow-off hose and attach the fermentation-lock after a couple days when the foaming subsided. So I did. But, there are no bubbles in the fermentation-lock as the book says there should be. Is this a bad sign? Has my yeast died? Also, there's a brown crust all around the top of the fermentation vessel (a glass carboy). I have the sinking feeling I screwed up and will have to start over.

So I realize I'm waaay to late answering this, but DON'T THROW IT OUT!!! The main phase of fermentation, especially for lighter beers, can be complete in as little as 48 hours. The layer of crap on the surface is a mix of yeast and proteins, and is totally normal. Keep the airlock on it until that layer is largely gone and bottle.

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

Postby SurgicalSteel » Thu Sep 13, 2012 1:26 am UTC

ImagingGeek wrote:a whole bunch of nice responses to my questions. thanks dude!
Haha, yea, I guess I kind of forgot to put any sort of updates here. I didn't throw out the beer, I consulted some other people (including my father, who used to homebrew when he was my age) and left it. I've been drinking my first homebrew for the past 2 months or so (I know, I'm a slow drinker and I quickly get bored with one style, so I go buy other beer, which means my homebrew doesn't get drunk as fast).

I'm actually using the 3rd edition of Papazian's book, and he doesn't tell you to secondary for quite a few of his recipes, and definitely not in his beginner's section. The guy at the brew shop recommended it, and my dad learned from the first edition of Joy of Brewing.

I'm going to have to look into this refractometer and pipette method. Thanks.

Also, since like I said I get bored with one style, is it possible to make beer in batches smaller than 5 gallons by just dividing the ingredient quantities, like normal cooking? I thought it would be but a friend who's also just getting into homebrewing said he doesn't think you can for some reason.
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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby ImagingGeek » Thu Sep 13, 2012 4:08 pm UTC

SurgicalSteel wrote:I'm actually using the 3rd edition of Papazian's book, and he doesn't tell you to secondary for quite a few of his recipes, and definitely not in his beginner's section. The guy at the brew shop recommended it, and my dad learned from the first edition of Joy of Brewing.

Even the 3rd edition is quite out-of-date. The new (non-free) version of the free ebook I linked to above is considered today's "standard manual". Not that following Papzians book will lead to bad beer...

SurgicalSteel wrote:Also, since like I said I get bored with one style, is it possible to make beer in batches smaller than 5 gallons by just dividing the ingredient quantities, like normal cooking? I thought it would be but a friend who's also just getting into homebrewing said he doesn't think you can for some reason.

That will generally work, although the bitterness of the hops may not translate perfectly, as hop bitterness is not entirely a linear thing. If you get serious into this, buy beersmith (or another brewing program; personally, I prefer brewsmith). These programs include scaling features that can take into account the non-linearness of bittering.

Brewing partial batches is a good way to experience a broader range of styles - I did that for many years. 2-3 gallon batches work well, below that and its hard to justify the effort/time, given the amount of beer you get (the time doesn't change much with smaller batch sizes). The other option is to have 2-3 styles on-tap at any one time (+/- drinking buddies, depending on your drinking habits). that way you don't get board, but take advantage of full-sized batches.

I know the initial outlay is expensive, but kegging is fantastic - 1,000,000,000.95% better than bottling, and convenient as hell.

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

Postby freezeblade » Thu Sep 13, 2012 5:31 pm UTC

I really need to get back into brewing. I'm missing some equipment after a move to the bay area (turkey frier, carboys) and I truly miss having a bunch of lovely strong belgians laying around the house. I still do small mead batches in gallon cider jugs. I've also been negelecting the community over at homebrewtalk, where I was a pretty active member (some of my recipies are still over there probably, however a bit buried).
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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby Whitekiboko » Sat Sep 15, 2012 5:58 am UTC

ImagingGeek wrote:I know the initial outlay is expensive, but kegging is fantastic - 1,000,000,000.95% better than bottling, and convenient as hell.


If I knew how much better kegging was to begin with, I would have never ever bottled.
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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby ImagingGeek » Tue Sep 18, 2012 8:39 pm UTC

Whitekiboko wrote:
ImagingGeek wrote:I know the initial outlay is expensive, but kegging is fantastic - 1,000,000,000.95% better than bottling, and convenient as hell.


If I knew how much better kegging was to begin with, I would have never ever bottled.

My first time kegging ended with me standing next to a full keg, trying desperately to figure out what was next. The idea that 5min of siphoning = done was hard to accept. My only issue with kegging is its a little too easy to have "just a bit more". A batch of beer doesn't last nearly as long as it used to.

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

Postby Whitekiboko » Wed Sep 19, 2012 3:47 am UTC

ImagingGeek wrote: A batch of beer doesn't last nearly as long as it used to.


Especially if you have a night where you find the maB in your hand.
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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby ImagingGeek » Mon Feb 04, 2013 2:51 pm UTC

Seeing as its FeBREWary, its time to try and revive the homebrewing thread. What brews are upcoming for our resident homebrewers this month? For me, a beer built around a club challenge - 100% grocery-store sourced beer. I'm malting the quinoa right now for this brew. Also putting together a double-IPA; by far the most I've ever spent on a beer, and the only time I've ever had the cost of hops beat out the cost of everything else.

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

Postby SurgicalSteel » Sat Jul 20, 2013 9:23 pm UTC

I have a question for the more experienced here: I have a carboy of something brewing, and last time I checked the gravity I tasted the beer too. It tasted absolutely horrible. Should I just dump it and try a different recipe? Or is there a chance the flavor will change enough after bottling to make it drinkable?
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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby Whitekiboko » Sat Jul 20, 2013 10:40 pm UTC

SurgicalSteel wrote:I have a question for the more experienced here: I have a carboy of something brewing, and last time I checked the gravity I tasted the beer too. It tasted absolutely horrible. Should I just dump it and try a different recipe? Or is there a chance the flavor will change enough after bottling to make it drinkable?


If you don't have a lot of grain/hops invested into it, it won't hurt (aside from your pride) to dump it, but I always try to salvage things. What style is it and what was wrong with the taste? Was it vinegary? Musty? Flat out sour? Blandly flat and bitter?

Some styles are easier to fix. Imperial Stouts obviously beings the easiest, more dakka and/or more time tends to fix most problems. An off-tasting mild on the other hand, is a safe drain pour candidate.
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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby SurgicalSteel » Sun Jul 21, 2013 2:08 am UTC

It's a brown ale, and it's only 2.5 gallons so I don't have much of anything invested in it. I guess I would describe it as vinegary, or like a chemical taste. I used a no rinse sterilizer though, and followed the instructions. One thing, I had to wait two days between making the mash and pitching the yeast, because I didn't realize I'd run out of yeast and the only beer shop in town was closed for two days. I think I'll probably dump it tomorrow. Do you think the waiting two days affected the taste? If so, I'll try the same recipe again (normally I love brown ales), if not, I'll try a different recipe.
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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby Whitekiboko » Sun Jul 21, 2013 6:23 am UTC

If it wasn't vinegary, I'd say bottle a couple bottles just to see how your local wild brown turns out. I would let the bottles sit it wasn't for the vinegar taste. Worst case scenario, if you do bottle some, maybe just let it sit and let it fully convert, and boom... 'Artisan' malt vinegar.

I have 2 locally captured cultures (one downtown, one next to the marsh where I now live) but haven't been brave enough to try a beer with them. When I do, my thought is to do the same beer but with changing the culture and seeing if there is any difference.
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Re: Bring your own beer - or the homebrewers resource thread

Postby SurgicalSteel » Sun Jul 21, 2013 8:19 am UTC

I think I might bottle just a couple to see if it turns out. That's a good idea. If it ends up tasty, I'll know I should try the recipe again and bottle the whole thing. Thanks for the advice Whitekiboko.
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