Jump to content

Anyone here home brew?


Rich Maund
 Share

Recommended Posts

I swear the older I get, the more sensitive my pallate has become. I've become a beer snob and coffee snob along the way. The problem is, the good stuff is expensive. Inspired by some of my fellows at Ural Rallies I decided to try my hand at home brewing. We're lucky to have an excellent and experienced shop over in Norfolk that carries an excellent selection of supplies. My first batch will be a Belgian trappist style dubbler ale. :beerchug: Pertty exotic ingredients if I do say so!

 

The last thing I need to get is a large enamel or SS pot. Picked up the rest from the shop this afternoon. I figured if I'm gonna try this, I'll do it right. Got some good equipment, supplies and ingredients for a bit over $200. Future batches will be much less of course.

 

Anyone else here have tips to share on this? I've been studying up on it the past month. It looks really interesting.

 

If it comes out well I'll bring some to share at FART! "Sidecar Dubbler Ale"?? :thumbsup!:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 30
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

I used to, still got the gear. The secret s are absolute cleanliness and patience. Watch out for the kick too, the stuff is usually more potent. Try to use spring water without any chlorine or fluorine additives. If you are making a dark beer use raw cane sugar and add about half again as much as the instructions.

 

I REALLY must get another batch on the go. I have an English friend down the coast and his stuff is magic.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

:thumbsup!:

 

I've been brewing for 12 years, at least once a month. I make 10 gallon batches using all grain recipes. I started out with a beer kit and after one batch, switched to malt extract brewing, you have more control of the taste. All grain is the least expensive for ingredients, but the most expensive for equipment. I got some of my equipment from a couple of friends who had stopped brewing. You can also find cheap equipment on Craig's list, or your local nickel ads.

 

I recommend a stainless steel brew kettle, the enamel can chip on the enameled pots. Harbor Freight has 20 quart stainless steel pots that will work just fine for extract brewing.

 

Buy Charlie Papazian's book, "The Complete Joy of Homebrewing", it has a lot of good advice. Brew your Own magazine ( http://www.byo.com/ ) has great articles. American home Brewer's Association's ( http://www.beertown.org/ ) magazine Zymergy is very good also, though more technical.

 

SB is right, sanitize everything!

 

I'll be happy to answer any questions you may have.

 

Dave

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I used to do my own, but it was too good and then I ended up drinking way too much.

 

Like others have said the key to success is cleanliness, otherwise you will get skunk p__ss.

 

One of the most fun beers I did was using sap from sugar maples instead of H2O. It had a nice maple undertone and went great with pancakes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I brew on a semi regular basis. Brew kettles can be really expensive, but necessary for grain brewers. A large 10 to 20 quart stock pot will work fine for extract brewing. That would include kits too. They can be had new for around $30 - $50.

 

Cleanliness is key as others have said. So is inspecting and replacing your hoses regularly. If you get a scratch from something on the inside of your racking hose, you'll never get it truly clean again. Just replace it.

 

Oh and here's the one thing I wish I had known. You won't save any money on your beer. Good beer costs money. I usually get 50 bottles out of a 5 gallon batch. Or 2 cases and 2 bottles. It usually costs me something like $30 for the ingredients. Spring water is about a buck and a quarter a gallon at the grocery store, and you'll want 6 gallons to cover evaporation durring the boil and later topping off. So when you're all done and drinking, you're looking at roughly $20 a case. But it will be much better than anything you can find at you're local beer depot.trikes Again!

 

The nice thing is, homebrewing affords you one more reason to tinker and create the needed accessories. Wort chillers and quarter barrel brew kettles are only a start.

 

John W.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have been brewing for many years, I am a retired Pro. brewer as well. The suggestions that have been made are to be well heeded, especially the ones about being clean. Brewing is about 25% actual brewing and 75% cleaning. One of the most important things that is often overlooked is water, remember, beer is over 98% water, many famous beers are famous because of the water quality, and the dissolved minerals that is in it. Distilled water makes terrible beer. Just use your own tap water, and boil it the day before, and it will be sanitary, and the chlorine will be driven off during the boil. I contacted my water supplier and requested a H2O analysis and made beers from around the world that my water closely matched. I would say that #2 in sanitation and being clean. I would get an iodine based sanitizer, instead of using chlorine. A non-rinse type is best. If you use a sanitizer and then rinse it off with tap/spring water you just defeated the process. (you just put bad things...microbes...right back on your equipment). Next, is your yeast choice. Not one thing was said about this. This is what beer is all about. Packaged dry yeast is marginal at best. Other choices are liquid forms and smack packs. These are liquid packages that you smack to burst a bag inside a larger package(for the yeast) that contains food for the yeast and starts to balloon up as the yeast multiply and form CO2. Last and not in the least important, is the temperature that you ferment your beer at. Different yeasts require different temps. to work.IE ale yeasts = warmer, lager/pilsner = cooler temps. Ignoring this step will result in nasty off flavors (too warm) and the production of your higher alchohols, the ones that lead to the infamous hangover. There are many great books that can teach you the ins and outs of brewing, find one that matches your style, you can make brewing as simple or as complicated as you desire. Don't be afraid to try, because no matter how bad your first batch is it can only get better with more practice. And due to its nature, no matter how bad it tastes, it will be harmless to drink, as there are virtually "0" pathogens that can grow in beer. As for cost savings, I don't take that into consideration, as I can make better beer at home than I can buy anywhere, and most seasoned home brewers can. I don't drink for effect, I drink good beer because I love beer. And the extra effects it provides, I think of as a bonus. Like I use tell everyone, when I was brewing as a job/hobby, what I do everyday puts a smile on everyones face, including mine JC

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good point about the yeast. Some friends that ´brew for effect´. use a special superstrong yeast used in wine making. If you are going for effect and using a kit then you can add about half as much sugar again as the kit says. Any more and the teaste really suffers.

 

Or

 

Just mix sugar and warm water and then add yeast. Keep in a place with the temp (like the man says) matches the yeast. Every month for about 6 months add a kilo of sugar for about 6 month. Wait til the fermentation is finished and decant into plastic bottles, only filling them 3/4 full. Now put all the bottles in a freezer for a couple of days. After a couple of days drain off the stuff that doesn´t freeze. Voila! absolutely lethal hootch. You can even use it to light barbiques! I did this ONCE, not sure I´ll ever do it again!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For ingrediants the shop sold me four kinds of cracked toasted grains, two kinds of malt extracts, Belgian ale liquid yeast, Belgian rock sugar candy, Irish moss as well as pellets of hops and the finishing hops to be put in near the end of the brew.

 

A 4 gallon enameled pot from Wal Mart for $22 did a fine job.

 

We did use a no rinse type sterlizer. As an ex nuc plant worker I am familiar in the handling and preventing of contamination. :thumbsup!:

 

I did the brew this afternoon. I thought it went very well, but we'll see in time after we get to taste it. :flame-on!: I studied a few different books on the subject and pestered the brew shop with many questions after my studies. Those folks were great. They've done this for twenty years and have a great depth of knowledge to share.

 

I chilled the hot wort in a sink full of ice water down to 75 degrees F. Strained it into the primary fermenter, whisked it for oxygenation and pitched the yeast in. Added cool water to the five gallon mark. It's now sealed up and has the bubbler installed. Now I get to watch it for a week.

 

Specific gravity on the wort was 1.75. Potential for up to 10% alcohol content. So you're right about the strength! Recipe says final content will be 7.5%.

 

I used filtered city water that was allowed to stand in a cooler to to allow the chlorine to fume off. The city water we get is actually very good. I only used the pot lid to achieve the boil. Then left it uncovered to allow evaporitives to leave the water. We even cleaned the stove and surrounding areas and soaked all utensils too.

 

That steeped grain smelled wonderful after the sparging! When it cooled I put it out in a garden for the birds to eat.

 

In a week I'll take a gravity reading. Then again a day later. If no change I'll siphon it to the carboy for the next fermentation.

 

Unfortunately it won't be ready for the Fall Rally. This recipe calls for two weeks and two stages of fermenting and then a couple weeks, preferably four weeks, of bottle conditioning.

 

Wish me luck! This was fun to cook up. Nice way to spend an afternoon!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I use whole hop cones/flowers and put them in a cheesecloth bag, like a big tea bag. I throw them in the wort at the time the recipe requires. After they have steeped the required time, I remove them from the wort and squeeze them out into the brew kettle. Using whole hops instead of pellets, like that means you don't have to strain the hop residue out of the wort. Whole hops may not be available everywhere, there are times when I have used hop pellets, like when I couldn't get the variety of whole hops that my recipe called for. Whole hops are way easier.

 

Dave

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I didn't think that straining the wort into the fermenting bucket was too bad a job. We used a large soup strainer. Donna held it for me and I tipped the big four gallon wort pot up and poured it through. It formed a nice big green sediment plug in the strainer! When it cooled I tipped that into a plastic bag for disposal.

 

I have a long gauze bag for the grains. It worked fine. Like a giant tea bag! I remember my boss at the Chinese restaurant I worked at when I was 16 brewing his tea blend in a bag like that.

 

I saw that the mix is gassing off a bit of CO2 now through the bubbler. Just slowly. But it has sat less than a day so far. I imagine the fermenting runs like a bell curve as it ramps up and then falls off again as the sugars are consumed. It'll be interesting to watch this next week.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

JC

 

I keep re-reading your post. Good advice there. Thank you for it. I have always loved cooking and building things. I can still make home made pecan rolls just like my Grandma made. :flame-on!: I am doing this for the fun & challenge and eventual satisfaction (When it comes out right!). Not to save money or to get drunk easier. Alcohol doesn't seem to have the effect on me it has on most folks. I skip the having fun stage and just go to the sleepy stage. A glass of wine or beer in the evening makes me sleep like a baby. Now Donna on the other hand....... :unsure2: Get a few glasses of wine into her and that really quiet reserved lady I married is capable of doing Karaoke! :thumbsup!: But I have never suffered a hang over. Maybe because I skip the having fun part? She can get a whopper of one. It has been many years since either of us has drunk enough to really get drunk. Two drinks in an evening means we must be at a party. And I do not drink at all if I must drive. That's a pet peeve of mine.

Back in 1995 my buddy on the CVN-71 was getting ready to retire. He insisted I go to some bar on the Greek Island of Corfu for his retirement party and match him shot for shot as he had never seen me drunk. He had a good time and got quite tipsy. He Chief was really having a even better time. I got tipsy and quiet. Not much of a good time fo me. I could feel the effect of the alcohol. But everyone there insisted I wasn't drunk. I could walk fine. Speak fine. It was interesting as an experiment. About 2:30 am I told the guys we needed to walk back to the Hotel. I was bored and sleepy. On the walk back (We almost were carrying his Chief!) we were stopped by the Shore Patrol. I told them our Hotel was just up the road and that we'd take care of the Chief. I didn't know that a curfew had been set and that was why they stopped us. So they let us go and thanked me for staying sober to take care of my friends! My buddy cracked up at that since I had had like 8 shots of liquors and a few British Ciders in the evening just like they had. But didn't say anything to the SP's. We got back to the Hotel and went to sleep. I was up at 7 in the morning all set to go raid the free breakfast buffet. I couldn't wake up my friends though. They were moaning and telling me to be quiet. Finally Blue looks at me and says "You're not hung over are you?! Maund, you goofy bastard! Arghh!" So I just let them sleep and I went downstairs for my breakfast. It was a few hours before they were mobile again. I was fine. They hated me for that!!

So much for my one drunken adventure in the Navy!

 

I was inspired to do this brewing by friends in the Ural group. But it's about the quality and flavor. Not getting drunk that drives me. Sipping a great Belgian Dubbler pale ale is a real pleasure. If I can create my own, all the better! Thanks for sharing your thoughts guys!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's alive!!

 

Its been a day now. You can see the CO2 build up in the bubbler for ten seconds then it goes "clunk, clunk clunk" as the CO2 burps out.

 

We have it sitting on a dresser in my daughters room since she's away at college. I just think its fair that we get a chance to grow mold in her room since she did it for years too. Parental revenge! :rolleyes:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Gotta love watching the airlock work, that means the yeast is working its magic. :cheers:

Not sure what you are fermenting in, but keep it out of the light. Especially sunlight or fluorescent.

 

I've been brewing for about 2 years. Good luck with the Belgium. The first batch I made was a Russian Imperial Stout.

If you can wait, give it some more time to condition. A high gravity, high alcohol beer may be ready to drink in 4 weeks, but it is interesting to see the change if you can give it more time. Remember, you are making real ale, and it will improve with age. If you are like me, about the time it really gets good, you run out :rolleyes: The fresher the beer the better only works for fizzy yellow beer.

 

I like John Palmer's book "How to Brew" , although Papazian has the best philosophy "Relax, don't worry, have a homebrew".

No matter what happens to it, It will still be beer.

 

-JD

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Its in a white opague plastic bucket for the first fermentation. And the room is dark with the blinds drawn.

 

After I transfer it to the glass carboy I'll drape a towel around it. And the room will stay dark of course.

 

I plan to make a few smallish bottles that I can try at the two and three week points and then compare the taste at the four week point when it is supposed to be ready. All in the interest of science of course. :cheers: The recipe says two weeks of conditioning. The folks at the brew supply shop recommend four. So we plan to settle it once and for all! :rolleyes:

 

It clunking along nice now. Four clunks every five seconds.

 

Anyone do infusions of fresh fruit?

I really enjoy the pale ales with the citrus touch in them. Maybe in another batch I'll put the zest from a few oranges in the pot during the last 15 minutes of boil? What do you think? Might go good with the homemade fruit & nut bread I make!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...