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Brewing Beer....

Discussion in 'The PatsFans.com Pub' started by notex, Jan 20, 2007.

  1. notex

    notex Rookie

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    anyone ever try home brewing beer... i was interested in trying it, if anyone has any tips thatd be great.. thanks
  2. Terry Glenn is a cowgirl

    Terry Glenn is a cowgirl Banned

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    ditto... ditto... ditto... please give some tips.

    That would be very generous.
  3. notex

    notex Rookie

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    theres like a million different guides online but i dont know what kind of beer them make...would love a guide from anyone whose tried it...

    Terry Glenn let me know if you find anything worthwhile :rocker: thanks bro
  4. shirtsleeve

    shirtsleeve Rookie

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    You've come to the right place. Buy a complete basic beer brewing equipment kit. Buy a big tub of C brite sterilizer, and any brushes, caps, etc. that you will need. Most of the better home brew stores will help there. You will also need at least a 3 gallon brew kettle. The initial equipment will set you back about $100. Go to a local restaraunt or bar and get 3 cases of bar bottles. They will make you pay for the deposit. And you will have to wash the hell outta them before sterilization, but it will save $$.
    Then start with a pre-assembled beer "kit". It will have a can of malt extract, perhaps dry malt extract, yeast, hops, perhaps some grains. It depends on the flavor you are looking for. Two things to remember. 1. Everything MUST be sterile. 2. Patience is a virtue. You wont drink your first batch for 2 months.
    A great supplier I use in central Ma. is NFG homebrew. They have a web site. Check them out. If you are looking for a greeatttt first batch to brew, try their Canadian Ale. Its a partial mash, and can be just a little more complicated than some, but boy, you wont believe the flavor.
    I have been at this for a couple of years and still pretty much stick to partial mashing. The whole thought and expense of doing a full mash brew, coolers, tubs, etc is just too much work for very little extra reward. But I do now keg with a dual keg system, and I regularly experiment to find different flavors. I write everything down, so when I nail a recipe, I can duplicate it. I will be glad to help you if you want to get into it. Its fun (but fattening). And you will never want to drink anything commercial except microbrews again.
  5. JoeSixPat

    JoeSixPat Rookie

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    I've done it a few times in my younger days when I had the time for such projects - there are plenty of places to get the equipment - some glass carbouys etc...

    You need a good full day I'd say. Cleanliness is the most important thing. Get a lot of friends to help and scrub all your equipment and bottles and carbouys as if you were going into surgery.

    One little bacteria will skunk an entire batch.

    Everything else is pretty straightforward and the instructions for boiling, what to do and when are easy enough. Its the prep work that gets overlooked that makes the big difference.

    Bottling is good and fun to share your efforts with others. Personally I've found that using the pressurized canisters - those often used for soda syrup often conveniently "left" behind many restaurants - make great kegs.

    They are much smaller than other kegs but work the same way - CO2 tank for pressure in - and a simple spigot attachment coming off the other valve. Saves a lot of time in the labor intensive and messy bottling later as you just transfer from the carboy to the keg when finally brewed.

    The Pale Ales were always my favorite.... even grew my own hops for awhile - which are easy to grow though they will quickly take over an area if given a trellis or other structure to vine over.
  6. shirtsleeve

    shirtsleeve Rookie

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    Hey Joe, I use those 5 gallon cornelius kegs too. I have two of them in a mini fridge, co2 canister, reg, hoses, and taps through the door. Thats typically how we do it, everyone. These kegs are 1 batch sized. Perfect.
  7. notex

    notex Rookie

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    thanks alot...im ganna check that all out ill let ya know if i have some questions...need to set aside a couple of days to try to nail this thing down, im going to check that site out now...thanks again..
  8. shirtsleeve

    shirtsleeve Rookie

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    I've got tomorrow off, and I'll be brewing two more batches. One is their country ale and the other is one of my recipe's. My beers all tend to be "big beers" with alcohol content over 9% and very hoppy, though I typically use low alpha acid hops. Alpha acid is a measure that you can use to figure how bitter your beer will be. The higher the alpha acid, the more bitter the beer. The higher ones are typically boiling hops, the lower ones are used as finishing hops.
  9. Terry Glenn is a cowgirl

    Terry Glenn is a cowgirl Banned

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    What does "bock" mean?

    I love the darker, more choclate type beers. Porter, black ale, dopplebock, etc.

    I know that they are terrible for the tummy, and terrible the next day (if you have too many)... but... the taste cannot be beat, imo.

    How do you brew these types?
  10. shirtsleeve

    shirtsleeve Rookie

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    Historically, boch beers were brewed at the end of a brewing cycle, when the brewers would clean out their kettles. Some imports still are true boch beers. These brews really stick to your ribs. Dark as night, thick as molasses. Heavy duty stuff.

    Today, bock beers are readily available. Similar to Extra Stouts in color and body, their taste can resemble import bochs pretty closely. Most home brew supply stores sell either pre-made "kits" to brew one or they can give you a recipe and you can pull the ingredients off of the shelf.
  11. notex

    notex Rookie

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    do these brewing kits come with decent guides. i honestly am a rookie at this but i want it to be a thing that i can continue doing, try out all different recipes and what not...is there a paticular guide or instruction set that lays it all out good for a rook who doesnt know all the jargon yet...im looking at the complete gold brewing kit on that site you gave me then trying to get the rest of my supplies from them as well...

    i knew a football forum was a good place to ask...ganna find alot of expert beer drinkers here ::rocker:
  12. shirtsleeve

    shirtsleeve Rookie

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    The complete gold kit has a decent book with it. It will get you going. Thats a great kit to get started. Talk to the owner. He has very strange hours, as you can see from his site. Each of his "custom beer kits" for different recipes also come with detailed instructions which are very easy to follow. Have fun!
  13. JoeSixPat

    JoeSixPat Rookie

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    As shirtsleve said, most of the "kit" makers assume you know nothing. The guys at the brewing supply store will guide you right - they have a vested interest in letting you have a good experience. The appropriate kit will be very user friendly and something that will serve your needs if you really get into it.

    Generally I'd say avoid something cheap like this:

    [​IMG]

    and instead get a real but simple kit like this:

    [​IMG]
  14. notex

    notex Rookie

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    thats the kind of kit i was looking at, mayb a little different ...thanks
  15. JoeSixPat

    JoeSixPat Rookie

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    Yeah, that lower one is a bit more than I had... I'm not sure what the copper tubing was all about... I think you can get by with one bucket too, along with the glass carbouy... the bottle capper they show is a bit over the top too

    but again, those 5 gal kegs are the way to go... and as luck would have it many restaurants and fast food places just leave them out back, apparently to throw out ;)
  16. Patti37

    Patti37 Rookie

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    I do not know where you live but there is a great brew store in Woburn. They have a great stock and offer excellent advice. At certain times of the year they sell fresh hops.

    They are located in the industrial park off Route 128 behind the small mall. Their name escapes me at the moment.

    My husband use to brew beer and wine. We would go to that store frequently.

    One piece of advice I would offer is that temperature control is very important. If your house gets too cold the batch will suck...I am speaking from experience.
  17. Mike the Brit

    Mike the Brit Minuteman Target PatsFans.com Supporter

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    "Get you a copper kettle, get you a copper coil
    Fill it with new-made corn mash
    And never more you will toil ..."
  18. Terry Glenn is a cowgirl

    Terry Glenn is a cowgirl Banned

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    corn whiskey makes your brain go soft...
  19. shirtsleeve

    shirtsleeve Rookie

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    Best to start off bottling. And one batch at a time to start. The copper coil is a wort cooler for an all grain mash process. Thats the process I said is a bit too involved for me. Perhaps someday. Partial mashes use a pound or two (or even three) of real grains in muslin bags, steeped in the brewing water at 160-170F for that all grain flavor without the work. Then extracts are added to bring the grain flavor and sugar levels up to where they need to be. These brews are my favorite to do. Much less time consuming, just as much freedom of recipes, and far less financially intensive. The advantage of all grain brews is when brewing large batches, after initial investment, the ingredients are much less expensive, allowing for eventual payback of first costs. But this is for the serious, large scale hobbyist or small micro-brewer. Out of my league.

    One note on water. Artesian well, spring or bottled spring water only. No municipal water. The junk in the pipes and the clorine in the water are all no-nos.

    Notex, the gold kit is like the one pictured here, without the wort chiller. And its a single batch kit, meaning one bucket and one carboy. You can always add buckets and carboys later to make more than one batch at a time. If you like the hobby, and boy the beer is great, you can look into kegging later.
  20. notex

    notex Rookie

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    i ordered that gold kit and im letting my father pickout the ingredients because im sort of doing this for him, hes older and needs a hobby (not to say that i dont) but hes really excited about this im happy i can get him off the couch for this. the kit should be here in the next few days and the ingredients in the next week. so id say mid-week next week we should be making the first batch...so it isnt ok to use spring water even if its boiled??
    im fully prepared for a bad first batch, hopefully this is something i can continue doing...also, how do you bottle the beer?? cuz the bars arent going to have caps for the bottles
  21. shirtsleeve

    shirtsleeve Rookie

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    Yes, spring water is fine, and no boiling up front is necessary or desired for FRESH spring or bottled water. Its city fed tap water that is a no no.
    Buy a pre-assembled beer "kit" for your first batch. Follow its instructions. They will give you predictable results every time. Caps usually come with the gold kit you purchased. If not home brew stores sell them cheap. You will also get a capper. To bottle, you will transfer your beer from the glass carboy that you had it in for secondary fermentation/clarification. This bucket has a valve on the bottom. You will hook up your siphon hose to it and use the bottle filler that comes with your kit. First you add your priming sugar to the beer in the bucket, stir well, let set for a minute or two. Then fill each cleaned sterilized bottle just to the very top. When you pull out the filler, it will leave just the right amount of head space in the bottle. Bottle about 6 at a time then cap them with sterile caps.

    A note about siphoning. The ol lip suck is a no no. Fill your siphon hose with sterilizer solution. Connect one end (while still under water) to your siphoning wand. The wand should be sterile but empty. Pinch the other end of the hose. Put a bowl on the floor next to the container you want to transfer the beer to. Place the other full container of beer on a table (this should be done a day in advance to let the beer settle after the move). Place the wand into the beer, making sure that the hose is lower than the table top. Place the other end above the bowl. Unpinch the hose. The solution will come first then the beer. After you start drawing straight beer, place the end of the hose in the bottom of the empty container and the beer will continue to siphon down. You may want to tip the upper container gently to get as much beer as possible out without pulling up the yeast head, hops or other solids in the bottom.
  22. shirtsleeve

    shirtsleeve Rookie

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    Oh, a couple of more things. If you decide on a partial mash, place the grains in the muslin bag, and place it in the water in your brew kettle as soon as you turn on the heat. Bring it up to between 155 and 170F, though I insist on trying to keep it between 160 and 165. (This reminds me, you will need a candy thermometer and a meat thermometer. The candy one goes in the brew kettle. Its got a long stem on it and a big face so it can stay in the kettle, and you can watch the temp closely.) You should swirl and dunk the grains often(this is called sparging), and keep the baby mash moving to keep the temp even. Watch the temp closely!! Too cool and the sugars dont get released from the grains...too warm and the bitter oils get released along with the sugars. Hold the temp constant for 20 minutes and sparge your grains. Then take them out of the mash liquid, squeeze the bag out, then place it in a small pan of like temp water and rinse the grains several times then squeeze them again. While rinsing turn up the heat on the now baby wort. Use the rinse water to rinse out the liquid extract can and add that to the wort along with any dry malts you may have....

    Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention, whenever transferring or bottling beer, keep all containers closed as much as possible.
  23. notex

    notex Rookie

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    tomarrows the big day :rocker: :rocker:
    i took notes of all the advice you gave and ill let you know how it goes...i picked up a good book at the bookstore i honestly forget what its called by now haha. but id say by sunday i should be all done
  24. shirtsleeve

    shirtsleeve Rookie

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    Have fun! And watch for that boil over when it first comes to a boil! Or the woman in your life will wanna hang you!
  25. shirtsleeve

    shirtsleeve Rookie

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    Hey Notex!!!!

    How did it go yesterday?
  26. notex

    notex Rookie

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    hey sorry!
    i forgot to update you ive been so busy with work and everything. But it went pretty well, i had no trouble with the instructions and all that because i did alot of reading up before i started. a few things i wasnt quite sure on...the recipe called to cool the mix before fermenting it...i put it outside because the pot wouldnt fit anywhere else cold...but it was really cold so it probably cooled off very fast is an ok way to do it...

    right now its fermenting in my basement (its a good temp) and i can tell its working because the airlock that came wit hthe kit has water in it and its bubbling up at a constant rate...

    By the way the recipe is for "sierra pale ale"... one my father picked up. He picked up everything at a store in Natick which apparently has everything and more. i guess they rent out kettles where you can make your own beer right there and come into the store to work on it or whatever, which i thought was a great idea...

    One other problem is the only thermometer we had wasnt very accurate (only read in intervals of 10) so we had to fiddle with the burners alot.

    When we soaked the grain in the bags the kit came with, some little peices cam through so the beer has little peices of grain floating in the water...should i filter them out at the very end or should i have done that before fermenting...

    thats about it for now... im definatly going to have some question when the batch comes out as to why the beer tastes funny (im assuming we probly didnt do it perfect)

    just thought of one more...how do you know if the beer got bacteria in it???
  27. Terry Glenn is a cowgirl

    Terry Glenn is a cowgirl Banned

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    What about distilled water? Why wouldn't this work?
  28. shirtsleeve

    shirtsleeve Rookie

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    Well, glad you had fun. The best two ways to cool a wort are 1.) cover the kettle and cool it in an ice bath. If you covered the pan, outside isn't terrible, but not great either. Remember, the specific heat of water is about 100X that of air, meaning it will cool a whole lot faster in an ice bath. 2.) Dump 5# of ice into your fermenter along with a gallon of water, then add your wort, add the water to 5 gallons, stir vigorously then cover till your temp is right to pitch your yeast (70F for an ale yeast). If your basement is at least 60 but not over 74F, that would be an ideal temp for an ale yeast. Lager yeasts like it a lot colder (45-55F).

    As far as the bits of grain, thats fine. And I'm sure your hops pellets were cast loose into the wort too. Its ok. There are two ways to deal with that too. 1) Be careful when you rack the beer to secondary, and careful again when racking over before bottling. This is the option I usually do, and you must do now on this batch. 2.) You could get a fine cloth filter and strain your wort through it when pouring it into the fermenter. Most people looking for a really clear beer do this. Your batch will be cloudy. Not a big deal. It will have more flavor.

    The two most common reasons for funny tasting beer: phenols and bacteria. Bacteria=skunk. You will know immediately. Phenols will taste and smell kinda like strong alcahol or fingernail polish remover. Some commercial brewers actually want a little phenol in their beer (think: Bud Mud). These are caused by poor temp control in the mashing and fermenting processes. Too hot in the mash and too warm in the fermenter (over 76F).

    What causes bacteria? Lack of proper sterilization. If it isn't boiling, or in a sealed water bottle, it should have been washed super clean then sterilized according to the instructions on the can of C Brite. If you did this, and kept the kettle well covered outside, you probably will be fine. In fact, you will probably end up with some of the best tasting beer you have ever had. Just remember, your wort is a pure culture medium and it will try to promote growth. You need it to be this way to guarantee fermentation. Yeast is a bacteria, after all. Clean and sterile does the job just fine.

    When it comes time to bottle, soak your labels off in a tub or whatever. Then make sure you get the glue off by soaking them in hot hot water. After that, wash them in your dishwasher. If you have a sterilization cycle on it, you dont have to use the C-Brite bath method. IF not, after dishwashing you must rinse in Sterilization solution, get as much out of the bottle as possible and let stand 5 minutes before filling. You are gonna reactivate the yeast with the priming sugar, and that is what is going to provide carbonation. So if there is still fresh sterilizer in the bottle, it will not let the yeast carbonate your beer.
  29. notex

    notex Rookie

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    as far as cooling goes...the problem was we had no ice....honestly that was the only reason why we didnt do it that way. My worry is that when i was checking the temp of the water i removed the cap a whole bunch of times while it was outside to stick the thermometer in. but we will have to see...i wish i got the fermenter that was clear so i could watch it, i heard its cool in clear containers.

    im sorry i didnt really get what you meant about filtering the wort, should i pour it through something as it goes into the secondary fermenter? ive just been drinking all bottled beer and making my friends give me theirs too so im going to use those bottles then clean them out really good.

    How many bottles does 5 gallons make?? they are 12 oz. bottles..its actually a little over 5 gallons
  30. shirtsleeve

    shirtsleeve Rookie

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    Ok, Really cold water this time of year works well too. Just set the drain and the faucet to flow at the same rate. Then just let the wort sit in the water bath and let the new cold water in and the warmer water out at the same rate..


    NO!!!! dont try to filter anything now! Next batch, if you want to, you can pour the wort through a very fine cloth or metal screen on the way to the fermenter. A new sterilized frying pan cover/screen works well. But NOT THIS BATCH!

    You can only use bar or good ale bottles for bottling. Not the screw top normally used for american beer bottles. Sorry. If you dont need a bottle opener to drink the beer you are now, then it wont work for your homebrew.

    After whatever bottles you have are REALLY REALLY clean, and the labels and glue removed, you must sterilize. Sterilize, STERILIZE! What I said was that some dishwashers have a sterilization cycle on them. Some dont. If yours doesn't specifically say sterilize, then you MUST sterilize with the C-Brite.

    Five gallons is almost exactly 2 cases and a six pack. But with the losses in transfer, expect just a little over 2 cases per batch of the best beer you will ever drink if you do it right.

    Now lets talk about aging. Two weeks minimum at room temp in the bottle. Then two weeks more, minimum, at cold cellar temps to clarify and finish the beer. Try three weeks of each. The wait will be worth it. But you may try it earlier. Just dont drink so much that when you open the last one, you say you should have waited the extra week. Longer is better with homebrew when aging.

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