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Thread: Home brew

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    Home brew

    My wife got me a homebrew kit for Christmas. Anything I need to know? I'm thinking of getting a recipe kit from Midwest supplies. Also, the kit included a carboy but it doesn't sound like a lot of people use those any longer?



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    Re: Home brew

    Take your time, keep things clean, you'll be fine and the beer will taste even better knowing you made it yourself.



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    Re: Home brew

    Clean and sanitize. If you aren't doing a full boil (only boiling 2.5 gallons then topping off) add only 1/2 the liquid malt extract at the beginning. Then add the rest with about 10 minutes to go. Also, take it off the heat when you add the extracts until you are 100% Sure that it is all dissolved in the water. If not, there is a good chance it will scorch on the bottom of your pot. Cool everything down as soon as you can. Then, just because your room temp is 68 degrees, doesn't mean the beer will be fermenting at that temperature. If you get an ale kit (get an ale kit, lagers are a whole different ball game of temperature control) you want it to ferment under 70 degrees. So keep an eye on it, if you have to, put an ice pack or 2 next to the bucket. Then, even though you will want to taste it, give it time to age. 3 weeks primary, then another 3 weeks in bottles. If you taste it too early, you'll wonder what you did wrong, when really, the only thing you did wrong was taste it too early. The kits instructions will lie to you. It will not be ready to drink from extract to final beer in one month.

    I only use a carboy for dry hopping or if I don't have an open keg. But, that's because I keg. I leave my beers in primary for 3 weeks, then I just rack it to a keg and let it sit there for another couple of weeks, while adding CO2 to it on a daily basis.

    Basically, take your time, plan everything out well and you won't be disappointed. Best thing I ever did was start brewing my own. I can have whatever style of beer I want on tap at any time. It's a wonderful hobby. I do suggest picking up some Starsan though. It's the easiest sanitizer to deal with. it's a no rinse sanitizer, so you don't have to worry about rinsing everything out, just drain it off and you are good to go. Basically though, don't sweat it. In the end, as long as you sanitize, it's really hard to not make beer. It might not be the best beer you've ever had before, but it will be beer and you'll learn a lot for your next brew.

    After that, I would look into a kegging set up. You aren't washing and sanitizing 50 bottles every couple of weeks. One container, on tap and 5 gallons is actually a lot more portable than people think.

    Also, visit homebrewtalk.com. There is an endless wealth of information there.



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    Re: Home brew

    Lots of good advice in this thread:

    http://www.cyclonefanatic.com/forum/...ers-unite.html

    Also, I bought The Complete Joy of Homebrewing (The Complete Joy of Homebrewing Third Edition: Charles Papazian: 9780060531058: Amazon.com: Books), used the advice from this thread, and checked out homebrewtalk.com. I've made 4 or 5 batches and things are getting better and better. For your first several brews, just follow the kit directions and you should be fine.



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    Re: Home brew

    +1 on StarSan. That stuff is amazing. Also agree with homebrewtalk and the Papazain book - great references!

    Clonefan94 gave a lot of the same advice I would give. My simple advice would be to take good notes, make sure everything is sanitized well, and each new batch you should use a technique or new piece of equipment that you've never done before. By doing this, I make sure that my skills keep advancing. At first, it was simple things like doing a partial mash, writing my own recipe based on other recipes, using custom hop bag system, etc. It's not long before you get to things like all-grain brewing, writing recipes from scratch, washing/reusing yeast, yeast starters, etc. Feel free to PM me if you have specific questions once you get started.



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    Re: Home brew

    How to Brew by John Palmer is also another great resource.

    It's available online for free, but after a few times referring to it, I went ahead and bought the printed copy.

    How to Brew - By John Palmer




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    Re: Home brew

    For someone wanting to do this is there a certain starter kit you guys would recommend? TIA!



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    Re: Home brew

    She might as well bought you Crack, its probably less addicting than homebrew. Seriously!

    Some great advice here already.

    00Clone mentioned How to Brew book by Palmer and this is a great read for someone who is new to Home Brew and actually wants to learn how to make good beer.

    Others have mentioned, time can heal a lot with Homebrew, dont expect it to taste great after a couple of days or even a couple of weeks. Give it 6-8 weeks from the time you make it and it will be just starting to get good.

    Lots of great information on this website as well : HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

    Good luck!!


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    – columnist Sean Keeler, Des Moines Register

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    Re: Home brew

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawkfan44 View Post
    For someone wanting to do this is there a certain starter kit you guys would recommend? TIA!
    Are you looking for an equipment starter kit or an ingredient kit?

    There are tons of suppliers on-line that sell pretty much everything you need (and tons of stuff you dont) to get started.

    There are also home brew shops in some of the larger cities/towns that will also have starter equipment kits and ingredient kits.

    One word of caution on the ingredient kits from local shops is that sometimes they can get old sitting on the shelf might be a good idea to find a recipe that you like and then have them get you the ingredients separate to ensure freshness.


    “It’s beyond pride. It’s a restored trust. There’s a confidence again, a passion that teeters on swagger. More than anything, (Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads) has restored the Iowa State “it” factor, the steadfast belief that it is great to be a Cyclone...the man’s enthusiasm is genuine to the core...”
    – columnist Sean Keeler, Des Moines Register

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    Re: Home brew

    The "give it time" method that others have mentioned is important. I used to set aside a six-pack from each batch and drink one per month starting a month after the bottle conditioning period. I found that many of my home brews continued to improve, even over 4 to 6 months, as long as they were stored properly.



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    Re: Home brew

    Clonefan94 nailed it. Welcome to the hobby!



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    Re: Home brew

    I guess I am looking for the kit with the most essential of equipment but knowing where you all get your ingrediants would be great!



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    Re: Home brew

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawkfan44 View Post
    I guess I am looking for the kit with the most essential of equipment but knowing where you all get your ingrediants would be great!
    If you live in Des Moines, check out Beer Crazy in Urbandale. If not, some of the good online shops are:

    Midwest Supplies - Homebrewing and Winemaking : Midwest Supplies
    Austin Homebrew Supply
    Northern Brewer - Home Brewing Supplies and Winemaking Supplies
    Beer Making Kits and Home Brewing Supplies | MoreBeer

    Depending on where you live, you may have a local homebrew shop (LHBS) in your area.



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    Re: Home brew

    Thanks for the info!



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    Re: Home brew

    I haven't done it yet, but want to. My bro-in-law has been brewing for many years, and he says, "If you can boil water, you can make beer."


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