Anyone here brew their own beer?

Discussion in 'Beer' started by mcdrier, Jan 22, 2015.

  1. mcdrier

    mcdrier Member

    Dec 11, 2013
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    Yeah I use LME still. I have not gone to all grain yet either. It does take a long time to do all the steps. I bet it is more like 3 or 4 hours when it is all said and done.

    I should try doing at night. I like to play golf and I like to play in the mornings. I can brew in the garage under the lights. It is just a habit doing it in the morning.
     
  2. mcdrier

    mcdrier Member

    Dec 11, 2013
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    I use a homemade wort chiller and an ice bath. A combo of that works really well. The high end burner I have cuts about 20 min. of my initial boil time. It heats up fast....in fact I have had some boil overs b/c I do not realize how fast it heats up. I think I have it down now though.
     
  3. mcdrier

    mcdrier Member

    Dec 11, 2013
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    I should try brewing under the lights. I like to play golf and I like to play in the mornings. Not sure if I would want to waste morning light brewing, or golfing?

    Must be something left over from brewing in the winter time. But I can easily brew in the garage under the lights, get the wort in the primary fermentor, and then maybe save cleaning and sanitizing overnight, or for in the morning.
     
  4. Clonefan94

    Clonefan94 Well-Known Member

    Oct 18, 2006
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    HAHA, cool, stick to warm Natty Light then. Sounds like you've found your preference. Thankfully I'm not like you. I don't bash what other people like, just because I don't like it. It's also a good thing you aren't part of my group of friends though. Seems you'd have a really bad time hanging out with us, as the consensus among them is to drink my beer first. I brought a 2.5 gallon keg of an IPA I made and a 2.5 gallon keg of my Amber to the Iowa ISU football game party a friend threw last year. There were all kinds of commercial beer there. Miller, Bud, Sierra Nevada, 312, my kegs were gone before most of the other beer was touched. And everyone asked if I brought more before they started with the other beers.

    I definitely stand by my beer. I wouldn't say it's the best example of the styles I brew, but I would put it up with most commercial examples. This isn't my opinion, it's the fact that people specifically come to my house to have beer, and all parties I attend, I get a request to bring at least one of my little kegs along.


    I could probably get it down to 4 hours, if I really tried, but a lot of that is still the setting up and cleaning. I include that in all my times. Actual brewing probably takes me 3.5 or 4 hours, but I'm crazy about having everything cleaned and dried before I put it away. Just so the next time I brew I can pull it out and it's ready to go. And on top of that, where I brew, is about as far away as possible as it could be, to where I have to store it. So it just takes time to walk all the equipment up from the basement to the garage and visa-versa when I put it all away.

    But, that's part of it for me, to get the time down much, would put me at a rushing pace. I'd rather not do that. I like it the way it is now and being able to take a little break here or there. I brewed with an all-grain guy who tole me that he could be done brewing in 3 hours and how he didn't understand why it took me so long. I don't think it ever sunk in that I was literally including everything about my brew day in that 5.5 hours. When he started filling up his strike water, I said, "Well, we've been brewing for 20 minutes now based on my clock." But he didn't agree, saying we hadn't started until the mash water is heating.

    And then he basically claimed we were done after transferring the wort to the fermentor. Granted, he just did a quick rinse of his equipment, then back in to the garage, but that is all time I include as well.

    I mean to each there own, but I treat brewing basically like others treat golf. It's my time to relax and enjoy some me time. I'm not really concerned about how quickly I can get it done.
     
  5. isukendall

    isukendall Well-Known Member

    Nov 30, 2006
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    Haters gon' hate, I guess.

    I'd offer you to stop by my garage and try one of the 3 that I have on tap, but I'd rather offer it to someone who will enjoy it.

    Your post is pathetic.
     
  6. mcdrier

    mcdrier Member

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    Yeah the down time is kind of nice...You can get things done while things are cooking, cooling etc. I think I have it down to the most important aspects which need the most supervision like when you first get the wort to boil, or when you first add the hops. That is when boil overs tend to happen the most. I also put in a pill in the last 15 min. of the boil to help clarify the wort during fermentation, that usually never boils over, but the pill bubbles as it dissolves.

    I have a good set up in the garage...I got cable TV, and a radio. Usually the kids are outside as well, and we will do something. I really like having a small fire in the fire ring as well just outside the garage, burn twigs and sticks from the lawn from the week.

    I am usually pretty good at getting things all done and ready for the next time too. So I usually spend the time cleaning and sanitizing before I say, ' I am done.' It is good feeling knowing everything is back where it belongs and is ready to go again the next time.
     
  7. ripvdub

    ripvdub Well-Known Member

    Mar 20, 2006
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    Brewed tonight. All grain APA. I think its gonna be very good, I've made it before, but I followed the grain bill exactly this time and it has an awesome amber color. Took about 5 hrs, cut the grass while I mashed, gave daughter a bath while I boiled.

    Now the hard part... Waiting a few weeks before I can drink it.
     
  8. mcdrier

    mcdrier Member

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    That is the hard part...waiting for fermentation, waiting for secondary fermentation, and then finally carbonation. The worst feeling in the world is when there is an off taste. It has happened to me a few times, but not many. I still drank the off taste brew though. I could not dump it. Too much investment, not the money, but the time and care.

    One time when I did have off taste, I was out of yeast and did not get yeast in the wort until 2 days after the boil.....

    It is great anticipation taking the pouring the first glass, looking at the color, smelling the brew, and finally the first taste! That is rewarding!
     
  9. Clonefan94

    Clonefan94 Well-Known Member

    Oct 18, 2006
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    The key to that, is a good pipeline. I always have 3 beers on tap and usually brew accordingly to time it all out so that when one keg kicks, another one just takes it's place. It really takes the waiting game out of the system all together. I have actually had a couple of times where I looked at my notes and realized I brewed a beer three weeks ago and needed to Keg it ASAP.

    I currently have a cascade APA, an American Amber and a Centennial IPA on tap. The IPA is getting close to the bottom, so I just kegged a Citra IPA this past week that has been carbing up and will be ready to take it's place. Then I figure in a bout a month, the Amber will kick, so that's why I brewed another one of those this past weekend. The Amber really is the house favorite. It's a decent introduction into homebrew/craft brew. It's a little hoppy, a little toasty, but or the most part is a clean, easy drinking beer. I go through a lot of it when friends visit.
     
  10. mcdrier

    mcdrier Member

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    Timing is the key.....between supplies, equipment availability, and timing with activities at home, can really affect when you can brew. Right now with only 2 kegs and 2 fermentors in my equipment list, I can only go once 5 gallon brew per week. I missed a brew on a Sat, and that can change the dynamics of timing. My last brew I moved from primary to secondary fermentor, the batch was still bubbling a full 7 days later...I could not wait so I just moved it from one to the other. It should be OK though. My goal is to have one keg full and carbonating, and one keg being drank out of, primary fermentor full and secondary fermentor full, and I can live with a bottle neck waiting a batch to be kegged. That is my dream scenario!
     
  11. mcdrier

    mcdrier Member

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    Brewed again this Sunday! Pipeline is 100% full! I should be set through the month of June! I brewed while I was cooking lunch on the grill. I was able to slice potatoes and get them in the oven and cook carrots on the stove top all while doing the boil.

    I worked everything in without being too busy. The only thing I messed up on was that the boil was done just when we were going to eat. So I was trying to cool the wort while I was trying to sit down and eat. That was kind of a pain.
    I think I need more LP...it took a while to get things up to temp. today. But overall, if I do not kill a keg this week, I should have a week off from brewing next weekend. Knowing me, I think I will cook another week.
     
  12. jumbopackage

    jumbopackage Well-Known Member

    Sep 18, 2007
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    Get a wye and another ball valve with a barbed end on it from micromatic (I bet beer crazy has them too). Unthread the ball valve on the existing regulator and replace it with the wye, threading the ball valve into the other open spot on the wye. Then you just connect a hose to the new valve and all you have to do is just close the valve to whatever hose you aren't using and adjust the pressure to whatever you need. Crazy simple.
     
  13. mcdrier

    mcdrier Member

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    The reason I do not do this is b/c I use my second tank and gas reg. to help clean out lines, and kegs...I do not have a sink near where the tap is....I have to carry everything upstairs. When I carb....I juts put in the small CO2 tank right in the fridge with the full keg, but great idea...Eventually I want to brew 100% downstairs, put in a bathroom and utility sinks and even put in a gas line as well.
     
  14. mcdrier

    mcdrier Member

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    Brewed AGAIN on the day off yesterday. I am about to kill another keg though, but I have one full keg carbing right now, and behind that I have 8.5 gallons fermenting!

    I switched to a larger cup as one of the kids broke my glass. So now things even go down faster.
     
  15. PFlatts

    PFlatts Member

    Nov 1, 2013
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    I'm looking into brewing what's your advice for a newbie that will start with extract? Such as kinds, equipment, tips, websites and such?
     
  16. mcdrier

    mcdrier Member

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    If you are a newbie and wanting to get into the hobby/craft, I would start with a Mr. Beer Keg Kit. They are easy to use, and the directions will make good beer for you. Do a couple of good brews for a while, and then begin researching what other equipment you need to do more complicated brews. If you do a Mr. Beer Keg Kit, and do not like it, then you will not be out too much money. If you get good at Mr. Beer Kits, then you can expand your horizons and equipment needs. This is how I started. I did 3 or 4 Mr. Beer Kits, and they came out well and decided to move up and beyond the beginner kit. I know am able to brew a 5 gallon batch and put it into a soda keg and dispense it like a bar or micro brew. No need to invest in several $100's of dollars of equipment and try and do complicated recipes before you even know if you like the process, like the taste of the home beer, b/c it is different than store bought beer. I suppose I am $1000 into equipment and supplies by now. But I get 2 cases of beer for what one case of beer costs at a liquor store. I still will drink Coors, Bud Light, and Miller Light, but I drink my brews to save money.
     
  17. ripvdub

    ripvdub Well-Known Member

    Mar 20, 2006
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    I would go to northernbrewer.com and buy a starter kit. I wouldn't waste my time with mr beer.

    I bought and made all my equipment from menards n homedepot. It's even less equipment if you do start in extract, but not much. I think I bought all my equip for just over $100.

    If you want it to be easy, just buy a starter kit with your buckets, siphons etc and go wherever and get a large pot, stainless steel or aluminum to boil in.

    YouTube is very helpful as always, there are many different ways to brew, so just check out their thumbs up to see if they know what they're talking about.
     
  18. Clonefan94

    Clonefan94 Well-Known Member

    Oct 18, 2006
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    #78 Clonefan94, May 29, 2015
    Last edited: May 29, 2015
    Two great sites for beginners:

    homebrewtalk.com

    17brewcrew.com

    Also look up homebrewing videos on Youtube. There are a ton of them.

    honestly though, you really don't learn anything until you just decide to brew and get after it. A lot of it is just practicing and knowing how to manage your time.

    There isn't a lot to it. I'm with ripvdub though, just get the few essentials you need from a starter kit and I think you'll be happier in the end with a nice kit from say Northern Brewer or even if you know they are fresh, Brewers Best can make a decent kit as well. I'm just not a fan of pre-hopped extract kits. It really limits what you can do with them as they aren't designed to be reboiled, if you want to add more hops, etc. I've had both, pre-hopped no boil versions and regular extract beers where you boil and add the hops as you go. I've had good and bad versions of both, but you just get more variety in kits where you do the boil and add hops during that.

    honestly, it's really simple, especially extract. Just plan ahead and make sure you have everything laid out and ready to go, have a nice spray bottle of sanitizer handy for your equipment after the boil. (no need to sanitize anything that will be boiled first) and a bucket full of water to do washes of stuff. Doing a partial boil is no problem on your home stove, so I would do that first. If you like it, then you can invest in better outdoor burners.

    Doing partial boil, only add about half the extract at the beginning. And make sure you take it off the burner before adding the extract. You want to make sure it's mixed well before you put it back on, that stuff will scortch if you arent careful and give a funky flavor to the beer.

    My big recommendation for you though, if brewing a basic ale, would be to have some sort of temperature control while your beer is fermenting. Especially in the summer. If it's 72 in your house and you just ferment at room temp, for most ales, this is going to be too warm and give you some funky flavors. The instructions will probably say that temp is OK, but what they really mean is the temp of the fermenting wort, which can climb up to 10degrees above room temp.

    When I first started, I simply froze a gallong jug of water. Then set it next to my fermentor and wrapped a big towel around the whole thing. This did a nice job of keeping it in the mid 60s, which is perfect for most ales.

    Now, the reason I emphasize the cooling of the fermentor, is because I believe this is really the main reason those who try brewing don't stick with it. It's still makes beer, but if fermented too warm, you'll think, Meh, it isn't worth the hassle, I can buy better beer. Now with a good kit, fermented correctly and with proper sanitization, I personally think you'll be blown away by what you can produce in your kitchen.

    Oh yeah, make sure, if you have chlorine in your water supply you remove that, either by filter, buying bottled water or camden tablets. Chlorine still in the water will leave some funky flavors as well.

    Good luck.

    I'm actually doing a double brew tomorrow. I thought I had a good supply until friends and family came over during the holiday weekend. My supply took a huge hit. So I'm probably going to start with a Citra based IPA, then probably put together a lighter Cascade American Pale Ale. I have an Amber I just kegged because the 2 gallons I had left got killed over the weekend along with a Ginger Wheat I had. I'm scared to see how far down my IPA is that I just finally got up to carb last Thursday. It's kind of crazy how little 5 gallons really is when you get just a few people drinking it.
     
  19. ripvdub

    ripvdub Well-Known Member

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    I'm brewing a made up concoction that hopefully clones Confluence s Farmer John, my wife loves it.
    And just legged my APA that I brewed 2+ weeks ago. Cold crashed and tried gelatin for the first time, it's very clear.
     
  20. Clonefan94

    Clonefan94 Well-Known Member

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    #80 Clonefan94, May 29, 2015
    Last edited: May 29, 2015
    I haven't done the gelatin trick yet. Not to toot my own horn, but in general my beers are pretty much crystal clear after being kegged for about two weeks. I use wirlfloc in the boil and cold crash pretty hard before kegging. Then I am really careful when transferring not to disturb the trub. I suppose it probably helps, that where my pipeline stands now, I'm usually not bothering to keg a beer until about the 3 week mark, so I give it plenty of time to drop most of the crap out before I even cold crash.

    I also brew everything in 6 gallon batches now. The few more pennies it cost in grain and hops is well worth always having a nice clear layer of beer left over top of all the crap, so I'm never sticking my racking cane down too far to try and grab the last bit. I usually plan on leaving at least a quart of clear liquid per transfer and this still allows me to fill my kegs all the way up. I started doing this early when I realized that even on a pure 5 gallons of wort, you are losing about 1/2 a gallon to all the yeast and other trub at the bottom of the fermentor. It's also nice to not worry about loss when I'm doing gravity samples as well.

    I've also always been a little leery of gelatin out of fear of losing some of the flavor and body. I've just assumed that gelatin had to be grabbing more than just yeast when it was grabbing on to stuff. Have you ever noticed any issues with this?
     

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