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Old 02-25-2009, 03:55 PM   #41
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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.
Agreed that bottling is a pain in the ****.

Just before I left CA, I bought a Tap-a-Draft system, though I haven't yet brewed a batch to put into it.

The system consists of a number of six liter plastic bottles (like big soda bottles) and a dispensing tap that uses disposable CO2 cartridges similar to those used in BB guns and such. It's designed to give you most of the convenience benefits of kegging, but without the need for a dedicated fridge, a proper gas system, etc.

Three six-liter bottles will just about hold a 5 gallon batch. Before transfer, you prime the batch just like you would when bottling, but using slightly less DME / sugar. You then cap the bottles (with plastic screw caps) and let the beer carbonate. When it comes time to serve, the whole dispensing setup (the head, with one attached horizontal bottle) is designed to sit on a shelf in the fridge.

The whole thing looks pretty nifty, and the reviews are mostly positive. It's also pretty inexpensive. No first-hand experience with it yet, I really need to get off my *** and make a batch here sometime soon...
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Old 02-25-2009, 04:00 PM   #42
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Agreed that bottling is a pain in the ****.

Just before I left CA, I bought a Tap-a-Draft system, though I haven't yet brewed a batch to put into it.

The system consists of a number of six liter plastic bottles (like big soda bottles) and a dispensing tap that uses disposable CO2 cartridges similar to those used in BB guns and such. It's designed to give you most of the convenience benefits of kegging, but without the need for a dedicated fridge, a proper gas system, etc.

Three six-liter bottles will just about hold a 5 gallon batch. Before transfer, you prime the batch just like you would when bottling, but using slightly less DME / sugar. You then cap the bottles (with plastic screw caps) and let the beer carbonate. When it comes time to serve, the whole dispensing setup (the head, with one attached horizontal bottle) is designed to sit on a shelf in the fridge.

The whole thing looks pretty nifty, and the reviews are mostly positive. It's also pretty inexpensive. No first-hand experience with it yet, I really need to get off my *** and make a batch here sometime soon...
I'm into this idea. I've always wanted to get into kegging but it is so expensive and such a large space is needed (a fridge as you said).

I also played with the idea of mini-kegging until I actually purchased some different beers in mini-kegs...they are such a crap shoot.

I want to enter the sam adams brew contest this year
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Old 02-25-2009, 05:24 PM   #43
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now you guys got me interested in trying it out. at least to hold me off till i redo my kitchen, i have unused space i can use
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Old 02-26-2009, 09:04 PM   #44
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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.
Mead is simple. You boil water, add honey, turn off heat. (you don't want to boil the honey too much, it drives off the subtler flavors, but you have to kill the nasty germs). Add to more water (boiled and then cooled) in a 5 gallon carboy (large glass bottle). Add some minor stuff like citric acid, yeast, and a clarifier (makes it clearer). Add airlock, and let it sit for about a week. Pour off into another carboy (called racking) to get it off the dead yeast, which can impart unpleasant flavors. Bottle after a few months. Mead is best when it's fairly fresh (it goes skunky easily), but I've had bottle that sat for over a year.

You can also add all sorts of fruit or other flavoring - I use ginger, because it offsets the sweetness. Fresh blueberries or blackberries makes for a good mead, but it a bit too much like drinking soda for my tastes. I like it room temp, but it's good chilled as well. Makes a great summer drink with the ginger.

7-8 pounds of honey makes a light, refreshing mead. Good for anytime you'd drink beer or wine. 15-18 pounds of honey makes a strong, brandy like drink that will melt your brain. Good for anytime you'd drink whiskey or scotch.

One great thing about homebrew: yeast is high in B vitamins. Makes for a much less severe hangover. Commercial beer is filtered, so you get none of the yeast. It does, however, give some people tremendously horrible farts (think black clouds of death) if consumed to excess.
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Old 02-26-2009, 09:10 PM   #45
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Mead is simple. You boil water, add honey, turn off heat. (you don't want to boil the honey too much, it drives off the subtler flavors, but you have to kill the nasty germs). Add to more water (boiled and then cooled) in a 5 gallon carboy (large glass bottle). Add some minor stuff like citric acid, yeast, and a clarifier (makes it clearer). Add airlock, and let it sit for about a week. Pour off into another carboy (called racking) to get it off the dead yeast, which can impart unpleasant flavors. Bottle after a few months. Mead is best when it's fairly fresh (it goes skunky easily), but I've had bottle that sat for over a year.

You can also add all sorts of fruit or other flavoring - I use ginger, because it offsets the sweetness. Fresh blueberries or blackberries makes for a good mead, but it a bit too much like drinking soda for my tastes. I like it room temp, but it's good chilled as well. Makes a great summer drink with the ginger.

7-8 pounds of honey makes a light, refreshing mead. Good for anytime you'd drink beer or wine. 15-18 pounds of honey makes a strong, brandy like drink that will melt your brain. Good for anytime you'd drink whiskey or scotch.

One great thing about homebrew: yeast is high in B vitamins. Makes for a much less severe hangover. Commercial beer is filtered, so you get none of the yeast. It does, however, give some people tremendously horrible farts (think black clouds of death) if consumed to excess.

Dude, how much does 7lbs of honey cost? Seems expensive...

My opinion on the yeast is, while its good for you, it smells and tastes like...yeast. This yeasty flavor/odor is very off putting for people that have not tried or do not like home brew.

Ideally I want to filter then force carbonate eventually. Need a kegging setup for this though :(
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Old 02-26-2009, 09:26 PM   #46
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Around here, honey is expensive, but not as bad as you might think. First off, you don't get it in those little bear shaped bottles at the store. You have to buy in bulk.

Since I live fairly near the Finger Lakes region (wine growers), there are lots of roadside stands. Stop and explain you want to buy in bulk (best to have your own bucket or large jars) and most will give you a decent price. I think last year was around $2-3 a pound. Yeah, 25 bucks for honey is a lot, but it makes a full batch. That's between 3 and 5 gallons of mead. Or, about 25 large (22oz.) bottles. A buck a bottle for anything is pretty good.

Yes, yeast can impart bad flavors. Hence the racking. Also, using clarifier makes most of it settle out. Careful pouring when drinking leaves most of the rest in the bottle. I rarely have problems with it, unless some dipshit shook up the bottle.

Kegging setup will run you about $150 last I looked. Plus kegs, which are cheap ~10 buck a piece. I have one, but don't use it for the mead (too easy to ruin a whole batch).
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Old 02-26-2009, 09:29 PM   #47
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Dude, how much does 7lbs of honey cost? Seems expensive...
The question is not "How much does 7lb of honey cost?"

The question is "How much does 5 gallons of Mead cost?"


However, 5 lbs of honey costs $20, and 12 lbs of honey costs $33.80.

Other sources:
Raw Honey and Unheated Raw Honey
Bulk Honey - Miller's Honey
Bee Pure Honey - Made in Wisconsin
Let me Google that for you.
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Old 02-26-2009, 09:31 PM   #48
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I see, so it looks like mead takes about the same investment per batch as beer.

What kind of yeast do you use for mead? Yeast makes a huge difference in flavor in beer. Specifically I prefer wet yeast over dry.


Edit: nice throwing the let me google that for you at the end there...almost didn't notice it. I think I asked more rhetorically though lol.
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Old 02-26-2009, 09:39 PM   #49
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I use the cheapest yeast there is: champagne yeast in those little foil packets (NOT bread yeast) and get about 10 at a time. I think they were something like 60 cents a piece.

Bear yeasts tend to make a much sweeter mead, which I don't like.
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Old 02-26-2009, 09:40 PM   #50
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What kind of yeast do you use for mead? Yeast makes a huge difference in flavor in beer. Specifically I prefer wet yeast over dry.
Let me Google that for you as well.
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Old 02-26-2009, 09:46 PM   #51
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Anyone ever brew with mayple syrup? I had a coworker that made syrup, and he gave me 3 liters of it to brew a maple mead. It's still sitting on the bar, almost 5 years later.

BTW, I used to mail bottles (usually wine bottles) of mead all over the country for people to try. That was before 9/11, when they made all the stupid-*** laws about what you could ship. Nowdays, I'm afraid to try. Might get nailed with a hefty fine or jail or something.
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Old 02-26-2009, 10:15 PM   #52
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Fine, let it be known that no one is aloud to ask any questions of any kind for the sake of discussion.

As for shipping beer/whatever; it is legal to ship beer for use in competitions. As long as it can be proven that you aren't mailing beer to a minor (I think that is the only concern). I've mailed lots of bottles of beer.
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Old 02-27-2009, 09:54 AM   #53
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Yay Mr Beer! Our first kit (my buddy and I) was a five gallon bucket kit. Worked fine, but we never brewed another batch. It sure does stink when brewing it on the stove.
Meg and I bought a turkey frier to cook the malt extract outside. Smells great to us.
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Old 02-27-2009, 10:10 AM   #54
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As for shipping beer/whatever; it is legal to ship beer for use in competitions. As long as it can be proven that you aren't mailing beer to a minor (I think that is the only concern). I've mailed lots of bottles of beer.
Let me google this for you
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Old 02-27-2009, 10:13 AM   #55
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Hahaha! Ok, the LMGTFY thing is really getting out of hand!
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Old 02-27-2009, 02:59 PM   #56
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Hahaha! Ok, the LMGTFY thing is really getting out of hand!
I know, look what you started. People are even using it out of context now.
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Old 02-28-2009, 02:36 AM   #57
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Trying a few beers out tonight. Would have bought a better selection, but unfortunately i got to bevmo a little too late and had to settle for one of the few liquor stores here that carry a good selection of specialty beer. I am getting into the barleywine first, since ive never had it and i dunno if I am going to make it past the first bottle

From left to right: Stone "Old Guardian" Barleywine 11.3%, Moylan's "Kilt Lifter" Scottish Ale 8%, Stone IPA 6.9%, and finally some ouzo which I bought on a whim.

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My idiot cat:

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Edit: Almost forgot ... this was in my fridge from last night and it inspired me. Me an my girl agreed that it was one of the best beers we have ever had:

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Old 02-28-2009, 03:30 AM   #58
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Holy crap, i just finished the Old guardian 11.3% **** and i would say i am drunk from just 22 ounces. Damn good beer, amazingly ... The flavor is strong and slightly bitter, but not overly bitter. It also has a slight sweetness when you first drink it. It is no Pabst blue ribbon for sure, but definitely drinkable. Far stronger in alcohol content than what I would want to brew though ... but then again it is tempting to go that route.

Overall impression: This barleywine is strong as hell, has a lot of flavor, and tastes really good.
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Old 02-28-2009, 02:13 PM   #59
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I really need to get into this when I get back to alaska, we already have the large cookware.
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Old 02-28-2009, 03:13 PM   #60
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just a followup on my beer tasting night:

The barleywine was the best of the three in the first picture. It was pretty well balanced in its flavor and didn't have any strange off flavors.

The Kilt lifter was next, and me and my girlfriend shared it. We both agreed that it had a strange chocolate taste and was too sweet. No bueno ... not our style at all.

The IPA was pretty good, but IPA by nature has a lot of hops and therefore a lot of bitterness. It tastes good in small doses but i really dont think i could drink much more than a 12 oz portion due to the intense bitterness. Again, not really our style.

Ultimately, both my girlfriend and I preferred the Sierra Nevada ESB over the three we tried last night. Slightly bitter and not too strong or weak. Dont really know how to evaluate the flavor or anything, its just good beer and I look forward to sharing the last two with my girlfriend tonight.
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