Skip to comments.Advice - I Want to Home Brew Weekend Vanity cuz I Figure All Home Brewers are, well, at Home Tonight
Posted on 04/17/2009 4:29:41 PM PDT by IrishPennant
Happy Friday!!!! Beer lover here. Not a connoisseur, but a little above a warm PBR you might say. I have been thinking for sometime about brewing my own. I have the room, time and enjoy a good hobby as much as the next Joe...and I figure since I can change the head gaskets in my car, recharge the A/C in the old truck and know my way around the kitchen pretty well, I can do this.
I was looking around the web and there are kits and forum sites, etc, but I figured asking for some general advice in a place where I love and trust my FRiends would be fun.
Any FReepers out there brewing your own and want to tell a rookie where to start. I understand the kit avenue is not real good, and supplies and hops and such can all be picked up locally (I'm just outside Memphis in Northern Mississippi).
I did read that Ales were the easiest to make but I do like a good stout beer...From time to time I travel to Germany, just outside Frankfurt for work. The locals are drinking mostly from local breweries and kid me about the amount of great stuff int he beers...claim each beer is the equivelent of eating a loaf of bread. Regardless, I cannot remember the brewer, but the beer was great.
Read “The New Complete Joy of Homebrewing” by Charlie Papazian front to back before making any decisions.
Bump for home brewing. Knewshound knows!
Also, stouts are ales.
Sweet - thanks for the read heads-up...but do you mean before I decide what to brew or before I decide IF to brew???
hat makes a stout...More hops and barley???
Darn it darn it darn it...unannounced and unappreciated in-law arrival down stairs. I’ll be back but any thoughts the meantime will be appreciated!!!!!
Man, I gotta stop posting without reviewing first!!!
The best advice I can give: Invite me over to test each batch.
I would advise going with a kit the first time around. (There are start-up kits which give you the buckets, bottle-cappers, etc.)
After you see how the first batch goes... just getting it to ferment, I mean — You’ll have the general-knowledge of how to do things and can begin making your own recipes.
(I made one that had a 11.2 ABV! It tasted great too. Though I lost the recipe. :( )
The addition of roasted malt and/or roasted barley.
knews_hound has a good page to get you started.
It is a worthy hobby with many benefits. The beer is fresh and soooo good.
And the ingredients are tax free in many locales.
“It’s a far better brew when you know the government’s getting the screw.”
Charlie's got a complete list of what you'll need, but basically you need:
1. Brewkettle - 5 gal is standard - with lid
2. Submersible thermometer (you can clip a candy thermometer to the side if you angle it away into the wort).
3. Long stirring spoon.
4. Carboy. This can be an old class water bottle and most of them are.
6. Strainer that fits the funnel.
7. Tube fitting the top of the carboy that you can put into water for primary fermentation.
8. Vapor lock that fits the carboy for secondary fermentation.
9. Big bucket (5+ gal) that you can sterilize for beer transfer.
10. Chlorine bleach (or iodine - bleach is less messy).
11. Bottles, caps, and a bottle capper.
12. Small-diameter tube for syphoning the beer from the bucket into the bottles.
13. Small muslin bags for the hops.
14. The makin's - malt, yeast, hops.
15. Beer. It is a scientific fact that one makes better beer when drinking beer. It's magic.
I've probably forgotten some stuff such as a saucepan for the priming malt but that ought to get you started. FR homebrewers, pick me up here if I've missed anything critical.
I have an idea for a home brewing machine that would look much like, and fit into the niche normally used for a washer-dryer combo, using the same attachments.
The “unitank” washer side would be used to add the pre-made, concentrated hopped wort liquid, perhaps 10 gallons of bottled water, yeast, and even special sugars to augment the process. The mixture would be kept at the ideal temperature and gently agitated, while the CO2 produced would be vented through the dryer vent, or compressed for later use.
This would accomplish the fermenting and lagering. Then the bright beer would be filtered and pumped to the dryer side. Additional carbonation could be used with the compressed CO2, both for a finer head, and to pump the beer from the internal keg. The dryer would be a small portable refrigeration unit with a draft tap on top, so could be wheeled and plugged in where wanted.
The washer side could then be put through an automatic wash and rinse cycle with a mild, flavorless detergent, then with a final rinse cycle using bottled water.
Actually the difference between an Ale and Lager is the yeast. And with the difference in the yeast comes a difference in fermentation time and temperature. Ale yeast can ferment a batch of beer in as little as three weeks to bottle and need at least 55-60 degrees. Lager yeast can take over 6 months to ferment a batch and like around 40 degrees.
If you use bottles I found a nice attachment for a faucet made out of brass that squirts water upwards at a nice strong stream when your dirty bottle is placed on it. And I like to use 2-liter pop bottles for most of a batch to cut down on work.
When the wort is fully boiled and ready to cool, transfer the pot to the sink from the stove and drop in the coil. connect to the faucet and turn on the cold full blast. Cover the brew pot and let the water run into the sink until tepid or room temp. Remove coil, pitch yer yeast in and put it in the brew pail. Stir in a little air with a drill and a stainless of plastic rod with right angle bend in the end.
Follow the usual instructions. Rack on time. Bottle whenever. Add dextrose priming sugar (I lean on it a little for extra carbonation). Bottle and store for a good long while - I find a couple months to be best.
Read up before you start. Papazian’s books are classics but there are other resources, especially on-line.
Buy a gear kit and a recipe kit and give it a go.
The key is to sanitize absolutely everything.
A corollary is to not drink while you brew. Mistakes will happen. Get it in the carboy and then have at it.
Also, be patient. You probably won’t be able to drink your first batch for a month or so.
Tons of work and tons of fun. If you have the time.
Irish: I’ve brewed my own many times, and here is what I can offer:
1. You will need bottles - ask your local bartenders if they will save you the capped bottles they pour - not screw heads, but cappers - and give them $5 or $10 per case - reuse them. Soak them in bleach and water before each use, and let them dry for a few days to be sure the bleach gets out.
2. Search the online sites - then call or e-mail them with questions. They can set you up with the equipment you will need - not expensive - a couple of food grade 5 gal. canisters, an airlock, canned materials. Mix the canned stuff with the yeast, and go for it.
If you get good at it or really like it, you can order the separate ingredieants (hops, yeast, etc.) and really make it from scratch, but I recommend canned ingredients to start - you mix it, seal it up, let it bubble, strain it into the bottles, add a little sugar to each bottle (to pressurize the bottle) and cap it. Home brewed beer is better than anything you ever tasted. Send me a bottle.
All...this is great 0- thanks soooo much for the feedback...on the books and all. I snuck away from the in-laws for a few - surprised so many into home brewing...I gotta go back and read it all now!!!!
I hope I don't forget to thank someone...oh what the heck...it is a fun topic, huh????
Oops, I misread your reply. You are correct.
Just bought all the ingredients to make an Irish Stout. Get back to me if anybody wants to know how to make it.
Guys - thank you so much...I think what I am reading is it is a very LOVED hobby...I need to read the Boble o’ Beer and maybe at the same time try my hand a few times with a kit to get the rookie hang of it. Then when I get good (or brave), devote the entire laundry room to my hobby (I’m in - I get clean underwear from Walmart anytime and I can shower with my clothes on - the wife may be a different story tho’), save my beer bottles now (Cus I ain’t brewing yet - buyin’ off the shelf - might as well stop pretending I am recycling and really do it for me - heck with the world - we are dying from global warming anyway)and then keep in touch with you guys along the way. Is that pretty much it?????
Cool, Thanks RA- kinda looks like something from an OB/GYN’s office, tho :)
Does that count?!
Yes’m - Friday brew drinkers always count.
Well if you sat on it, it would give you one heck of an enema...LOL.
So I can get one on-line at Bwarnyfwank.com???
Almost every city has a beer brewers club.
Avoid them for one year. Most of the members are too busy trying to impress newbies than help them.
They are, however, very good help after you know what you are doing.
Go to your beer supply store and ask them for some names of guys who have just started. Call them for help. Ask them to watch while they make a batch. Best way to learn.
Tell us how to make IPA’s
Apologies to Dynachrome who did ping me but I was too buzzed to see it :)
Except for the carbonation, which I am still having trouble getting right, my Coopers Stout turned out wonderful.
If there is a local brewhouse you frequent that has a particular IPA you like, ask 'em what's in it (i.e. hops) and go for it at home.
Fuggle? Fug you to pal!
/sarc Got a good recipe for bud lite? /endsarc
He probably tests them all before he mails them, you still want one?
The more you make beer, the easier it gets. I buy recipes and enhance. Last year I made a coffee stout that was so good. Flying fish put out the same product and I thought they stole my recipe.
When I cook food I don’t ever refer to recipes. I know what I want.
Right now I have another coffee stout fermenting, but I found Vanilla corn syrup in Aldi’s and I added that. it’s on its second fermentation. It has been gurgling up a storm.
I plan on aging it a few months. This will get better with time.
I’m a home-brewer, can I be of assistance? Actually, there’s already some great advice on this thread so far. The New Complete Joy of Home Brewing is really a great first step, next would be to seek out a local brew-supply store and pick their brains.
Neither of these things are necessary but it will likely prepare you to make great batches from the start. In there is any one piece of advice I can give you is the be a madman about sanitation. Sanitation and preparation are the keys to make great beer, if you get those two things down you’ll be surprised just how good your beer will turn out.
Not to mention that you'll probably make a sticky mess of the place sometime or other - everyone does eventually.
Assuming she does, the best suggestions I can make is:
(1) Get lots of bottles - most recipes you'll find in the basic books are for five gallon batches; that's a little more than two cases. You're probably gonna want more than one batch going at a time once you get the hang of it. You'll have people advising you to use soda kegs and such instead. Pay them no mind - suffering for your art is good for you, at least at first.
(2) You say you like stouts - good, they're probably the easiest thing to make starting out - but don't be afraid to branch out into other styles once you've made a couple of batches. The first dunkelweizen (dark wheat ale) I ever tried was the one I made - it's one of my favorites now.
(3) Homebrewing is very susceptible to economies of scale and the principle of Many Hands Make Light Work, so get your neighbors interested in it, too.
(4) See Tagline - zymurgy is as much art as science, and art doesn't always turn out like you think it should. Everyone screws the pooch once in a while - just learn your lesson and persevere.
An excellent excuse, IMHO!
Relax, don’t worry, have a homebrew.
Truer words have never been spoken.
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