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Old 02-20-2009, 11:32 AM   #21
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Phil, I got that same kit for Christmas. I think the gf already returned it. We are not that patient.
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Old 02-20-2009, 12:23 PM   #22
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My first batch was with a typical 5-gal bucket kit, all extract, that I got as a X-mas present. The pots I had were not very large, so the boil was more concentrated, and I probably didn't stir the extract well enough, leading to a pronounced carmelized flavor in the final product. But it was drinkable and I had fun making it.

A couple of my grad school buddies convinced me to go to a meeting of the local homebrew club, and I was hooked. From my second batch on I've been doing all grain. A good deal if you're starting out is a turkey fryer kit from Sam's Club, Costco, etc. For $70 it has a big propane burner, a stand, and a stainless pot that's large enough for a 5-gal batch. Make sure you get stainless- most cheap turkey fryer kits come with aluminum pots and that's a no-no. For a mash tun, one of those circular Igloo coolers with a false bottom works great. You can make your own wort chiller with Home Depot parts. Instead of building a shelf/rack system I just use my truck- sparge water tank on the roof, mash tun on the tailgate, collect in the brew kettle on the ground. Point being, with a little DIY and improvisation you can step up to all grain for not much money. I've got less $$$ in my brew setup than I spent on my Megasquirt.
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Old 02-20-2009, 02:23 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mazda/nissan View Post
oooohhh now this sounds interesting, I could pretend I was Beowulf in the Mead Hall and fight off the terrible Grendel while somewhat inebriated!!
All I remember from the movie version of Beowulf is this line, spoken by one of the king's women:

"Many have travelled far to taste my lord's meat."

Also, beer is nasty. I will turn in my man card if you all insist. This mead stuff on the other hand, sounds quite interesting.
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Old 02-20-2009, 03:47 PM   #24
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I brew my own Ginger beer .

It rocks.
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Old 02-21-2009, 08:34 PM   #25
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I've been entertaining the idea of brewing my own. I LOVE beer!

Mead is glorious! There was an Irish inn where I used to live that made it. 3 pint glasses would turn me into a raving lunatic, but it was good. When you're drinking it, you feel like a badass. Maybe that's why I would become belligerent.
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Old 02-21-2009, 09:32 PM   #26
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Someone do a nice writeup on making homemade mead. That sounds very tantalizing. Only place I've ever had mead was in Poland from someone selling it off the side of the street.
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Old 02-21-2009, 10:12 PM   #27
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also, grow your own hops. apparently they grow like crazy. set up a trellis in the back yard in full sun and bam!

actually brewing is something i'd seriously consider if I wasn't a car and speaker guy first. and if I didn't have an awesome beer selection half a block away.
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Old 02-24-2009, 05:48 PM   #28
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Quote:
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also, grow your own hops. apparently they grow like crazy. set up a trellis in the back yard in full sun and bam!
That'd be disgusting around here- my neighbors all get their lawn sprayed with chemicals every few weeks.

Wouldn't want to consume anything that's been repeatedly coated with overspray of whatever comes out of a truck with "FUNK" written on the side of it.
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Old 02-24-2009, 06:12 PM   #29
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Also, beer is nasty. I will turn in my man card if you all insist.
Please send it.



Do you also watch the note book?
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Old 02-24-2009, 06:53 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by BarrigaNA View Post
Please send it.


Do you also watch the note book?
says the "man" with 23 posts

you could make a small greenhouse for your hops, that should keep most of the icky stuff out
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Old 02-24-2009, 06:59 PM   #31
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I'd like to make wine, but a barrell with french oak starts at 1-G-bar.
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Old 02-24-2009, 07:06 PM   #32
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I'd like to make wine, but a barrell with french oak starts at 1-G-bar.
C'mon, it's easier and cheaper than that.

All we need to do is get you talking about your potential cooling issues and you whine like a little bitch with a skinned knee.
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Old 02-24-2009, 07:18 PM   #33
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[QUOTE]
Quote:
Originally Posted by mazda/nissan View Post
says the "man" with 23 posts
Ah common, if posts were my age, I'd be 100 at other places.

Quote:
you could make a small greenhouse for your hops, that should keep most of the icky stuff out
We still talking about hops right? My mind started to float else where.
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Old 02-24-2009, 08:51 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by y8s View Post
also, grow your own hops. apparently they grow like crazy. set up a trellis in the back yard in full sun and bam!

actually brewing is something i'd seriously consider if I wasn't a car and speaker guy first. and if I didn't have an awesome beer selection half a block away.
What does "being a car guy" have to do with the joy of home brewing? You do one inside your house, and one in your garage/driveway. They are 2 hobbies that do not at all interfere with each other except that you shouldn't go work on your car after you've had too many home brews.

Home brewing is a relatively cheap hobby compared to all of our car hobbies. ~100 dollars to start will get you brewing 5 gallons of pretty good beer.
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Old 02-24-2009, 09:56 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wayne_curr View Post
What does "being a car guy" have to do with the joy of home brewing? You do one inside your house, and one in your garage/driveway. They are 2 hobbies that do not at all interfere with each other except that you shouldn't go work on your car after you've had too many home brews.

Home brewing is a relatively cheap hobby compared to all of our car hobbies. ~100 dollars to start will get you brewing 5 gallons of pretty good beer.
lets say I work on my car from 9am until 8pm and then leave the house for party time.

who gonna brew the beer?
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Old 02-24-2009, 10:34 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by y8s View Post
lets say I work on my car from 9am until 8pm and then leave the house for party time.

who gonna brew the beer?
Lol, sounds like all your free time is car time. Fair enough =P
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Old 02-25-2009, 02:37 AM   #37
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So ya, i am a bit interested in this now, so please look at this and tell me if I am misguided in any way.

So the most basic setup would need:

1. The ingredients ... grains, water, maybe yeast ...
2. a large steel pot to boil the mash in
3. a fermentation tank with a check valve of some sort on top
4. a siphon or pump of some sort to draw the beer out
5. storage containers for the finished product (bottles)
6. Then to make sure it comes out well, sterilize the containers with a diluted bleach solution or something.

Extra stuff that would be nice to have but not necessary:
1. Second fermentation container for settling
2. hydrometer to measure alcohol content
3. a nice dedicated boiler setup

So if i want to get into this, here is what I am thinking:
1. 5 gallon stainless stock pot for boiling
2. 6 gallon glass carboy for fermenting
3. 5 gallon empty water jug for settling
4. Simple tube bubbling into a glass of water for the check valve
5. Not sure what to use for racking/transfering fluid and bottling though though.
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Old 02-25-2009, 09:35 AM   #38
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akaryrye, I'd add a food-grade thermometer to the "must have" list, but it sounds like you're on the right track. Also, you won't be dealing with much in the way of grains- principally, you will be using malt extract, which comes in both dried and liquid forms. Some recipes will call for the use of small quantities of grains for steeping during the boil, but this is purely a flavoring adjunct- the fermentables will be coming from the malt extract.

Everyone who is just starting out must read The Complete Joy of Home Brewing. Consider this the "Maximum Boost" of beer-making. It starts out covering the nuts-and-bolts basics, talks a bit about history, and then the second half is all recipes. You can buy the book from damn near any homebrew supply store.
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Old 02-25-2009, 12:27 PM   #39
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Sounds like a good basic setup. Agree that a thermometer is pretty important. In an extract brew it's mostly so you know the boil is cooled enough (<80F) before you pitch the yeast. Later when you get into all-grain you'll need it for fairly accurate heating of strike water, monitoring mash temps, etc.

Don't use bleach for anything related to beer brewing. Actually, you're not really "sterilizing," more like "sanitizing." But bleach will screw up the flavor and be detrimental to robust yeast action if you don't thoroughly rinse it out, which in large part defeats your sanitizing efforts. You want to use Iodophor. Any homebrew shop will sell it. It's diluted in water (capful to a gallon of water, something like that) and then you sanitize your equipment by soaking in the diluted solution for 15-20 min. Then you just dump the solution, and do not rinse. The trace amount of iodophor left behind will not significantly affect the flavor of the final product and will not harm the yeast. For sanitizing a fermenter, you just fill it up with the solution towards the end of your boil, and by the time the wort has cooled enough it will be good to go.

Along the lines of sanitization, I fill the airlocks on my fermenters with cheap vodka. Funk can grow in water, but I haven't ever seen anything grow in vodka.

I'd recommend a secondary fermenter, since it will allow you to get the brew off the trub that settles out after the first week, leading to a cleaner flavor in the final product. Use another glass carboy for your secondary. You've got the sizes right: 6-gal for your primary so there's headspace for all the activity, and 5-gal is fine for secondary. Resist the urge to use the 5-gal jugs you stole from your office water cooler because plastic is bad. Again, this has more to do with sanitizing in the future. After you finish using a fermenter, you'll want to thoroughly clean it out, and carboy brushes can scratch plastic pretty easily. These scratches give a foothold for contaminating bacteria & fungi to stick in. Smooth glass is a much easier surface to keep clean & sanitary than scratched plastic.

As for racking to a secondary, homebrew shops sell little siphon starters, but they are hot-or-miss IMO. Frankly, I've found these sub-optimal because they tend to let air bubbles in during the siphoning. It's not a big deal for your first batch, but later on as you become more picky, it will bother you. When transferring beer that's already fermented, you want to minimize the addition of oxygen, and those little siphon pumps can aerate it like a damn aquarium stone. O2 facilitates respiration of contaminating organisms, and over time it will degrade many of the beer's flavor component chemical compounds, primarily those derived from the hops. I just use a piece of plain tubing. Suck start the siphon. Anybody reading a Miata forum knows how to do that. Just use a second short piece of tubing attached to the main siphon hose for the suck-start, so you don't put your mouth on the end of the tube that will touch the beer. Once the liquid starts to head down the tube, quickly remove the mouth adapter piece, and it will stay sanitary. Keep the end of the siphon hose submerged during liquid transfer to minimize aeration.

Holy hell that was verbose. Read the book Joe mentioned. As you can see, there's a lot to discuss, but none of it is really complicated. Look up your local homebrew club and go to a brew-in if you want to watch the process in action. Beer guys are eager to demonstrate the process and recruit noobs, who will brew more beer for them to drink.
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Old 02-25-2009, 03:24 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by akaryrye View Post
So ya, i am a bit interested in this now, so please look at this and tell me if I am misguided in any way.

So the most basic setup would need:

1. The ingredients ... grains, water, maybe yeast ...
-If you have a fresh beer supply store nearby you will be using more fresh grain. I love using fresh grain.
2. a large steel pot to boil the mash in
3. a fermentation tank with a check valve of some sort on top
-I use 6 (i think) gallon plastic buckets with sealing lids. The valve is a percolating valve which you will want to use vodka in.
4. a siphon or pump of some sort to draw the beer out
-The buckets I use have a tap in the bottom, makes it super easy. This way you dont have to suck up some of your yeast sediment with your siphon. You need 2 buckets, one for fermenting and then transfer your fermented beer with some sugar to your bottling bucket. Dispense in bottles from here.
5. storage containers for the finished product (bottles)
-Get several big containers like nice sealing growlers that are reusable. I've learned that you get a max of 42 12oz bottles of beer out of a 5 gal batch. Thats a pain in the *** to sterilize and fill and cap and store. (yes 42, the answer to everything)
6. Then to make sure it comes out well, sterilize the containers with a diluted bleach solution or something.
-Iodine, not bleach.

Extra stuff that would be nice to have but not necessary:
1. Second fermentation container for settling
-This idealy is only if you're brewing a Lager. Lager's have a top fermenting yeast which need a second fermentation cycle.
2. hydrometer to measure alcohol content
-This tool is my favorite. These have a thermometer in them if you get a nice one.
3. a nice dedicated boiler setup
-I'd be jealous if you got one.
So if i want to get into this, here is what I am thinking:
1. 5 gallon stainless stock pot for boiling
-You will not be boiling 5 gallons of wort. Maybe 3. However, this makes it easier because you will be duming 2 gallons of ice in to cool it down or else you'll be waiting all night to put your yeast in.
2. 6 gallon glass carboy for fermenting
-Again, use the buckets. You really only need a carboy for lagers.
3. 5 gallon empty water jug for settling
-Again, same as above.
4. Simple tube bubbling into a glass of water for the check valve
-Brew stores have an awesome little valve that will attach to the top of your buckets (if you go that way). Never use water. It will have some bacteria in it and if it gets into your beer you'll regret it. Use vodka.
5. Not sure what to use for racking/transfering fluid and bottling though
though.
-This is best done with a bottling bucket. You have to add sugar for the yeast to ferment a little more with in the bottles.
This thread has made me want to brew another batch of beer. Its been a couple years for me (got sick of bottling) but I think i'm ready to pick it up again.

If there is interest i'll make a how-to thread. I made one on honda-tech years ago but cannot find it anymore.

Edit: just found it http://www.honda-tech.com/showthread.php?t=1858144
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