Home brew

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by dmclone, Dec 25, 2012.

  1. dmclone

    dmclone Well-Known Member

    Oct 20, 2006
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    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?
     
  2. TOFB4ISU

    TOFB4ISU Member

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    Take your time, keep things clean, you'll be fine and the beer will taste even better knowing you made it yourself.
     
  3. Clonefan94

    Clonefan94 Well-Known Member

    Oct 18, 2006
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    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.
     
  4. cycloneworld

    cycloneworld Facebook Knows All

    Mar 20, 2006
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  5. isukendall

    isukendall Well-Known Member

    Nov 30, 2006
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    +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.
     
  6. 00clone

    00clone Well-Known Member

    Apr 12, 2011
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    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
     
  7. Hawkfan44

    Hawkfan44 Member

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

    CykoAGR Well-Known Member

    Dec 16, 2008
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    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!!
     
  9. CykoAGR

    CykoAGR Well-Known Member

    Dec 16, 2008
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    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.
     
  10. azepp

    azepp Well-Known Member

    Dec 9, 2009
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    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.
     
  11. ianoconnor

    ianoconnor Well-Known Member

    Nov 11, 2007
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    Clonefan94 nailed it. Welcome to the hobby!
     
  12. Hawkfan44

    Hawkfan44 Member

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    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!
     
  13. ianoconnor

    ianoconnor Well-Known Member

    Nov 11, 2007
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    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.
     
  14. Hawkfan44

    Hawkfan44 Member

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    Thanks for the info!
     
  15. oldman

    oldman Well-Known Member

    Nov 5, 2009
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    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."
     
  16. oldman

    oldman Well-Known Member

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    Don't know where you live Hawkfan, but in the Des moines area, there is a place called Beer Crazy that sells ingredients.
     
  17. CykoAGR

    CykoAGR Well-Known Member

    Dec 16, 2008
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    Making beer isnt hard, making good beer is more challenging. But if you make something good its pretty rewarding (for me anyway).
     
  18. CycloneGamecock

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    Very addicting hobby, homebrewtalk.com is a great forum and has knowledgeable helpful posters like someone mentioned above, good luck!
     
  19. troutslayer

    troutslayer Member

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    #19 troutslayer, Dec 27, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2012
    I've homebrewing for a couple years with extract kits and love it! I use only carboys to ferment. The only bucket I use is my bottling bucket. My belief is that you have less of a chance of C02 leaking out with a carboy, but it's all personal preference. I also like being able to see the ferementation process with a carboy. I don't know if I can tell you anything that hasn't already been said on here, but the 3 most important things you need to remember are 1) Sanitize, 2) Santize, and 3) SANITIZE! anything and everything that will be touching your beer following the boil. A lot of people use Starsan. I use One Step. You don't have to rinse either one, but again, it's a matter of preference. They both work well. I've purchased kits from Northern Brewer online, and also Beer Crazy in Urbandale. Not that I've had problems with them, but Northern Brewers customer service is unmatched in my opinion. But if you live in the Des Moines area and you need something in a hurry, Beer Crazy has everything you need. My advice would be to follow the brew instructions closely that come with your kits, DO NOT cut corners, and use forums such as homebrewtalk or there is a nice forum on Northern Brewers website. There is a plethora of information out there! After your first couple of brews you'll feel a lot more comfortable and maybe even start to tweak and experiment. Welcome to the world of homebrewing!
     
  20. dmclone

    dmclone Well-Known Member

    Oct 20, 2006
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    Thought I would give an update.

    At the start of the year I did an Autumn Amber Ale. Thought this would be a good basic kit and everything turned out great. The longer I let the bottles sit the better the beer. I just used a primary carboy and dry yeast.

    Last week I thought I would try another one. I love me some Surly so I bought a Surly Ferocious clone kit from Midwest. Using a plastic bucket for a week long primary, then going to move it to a carboy for 10 days and dry hop. Used a liquid yeast this time (smack pack).

    The only problem I've had is that I'm just doing partial boils of 2 gallons and then just adding the water(boiled). Even with using 2 gallons I still have boil overs because the kettle is not big enough. This is not cool on my wifes high dollar gas stove. I'm thinking of going all in and getting a 10 gallon Blichman kettle with a temp gauge and ball valve along with a floor standing burner. I have a feeling my next step will be kegging and a wort chiller.
     

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