A frivolous thread: Home Brewing

Started by PTMcCain, July 19, 2011, 09:25:19 PM

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Donald_Kirchner

#15
I agree that a basic kit (not a beer-in-a-bag kit) is the way to get started and add equipment and more complicated recipes from there. We started that way and have moved to a wort chiller and a conical fermenter. Northern Brewer is a great place to get everything.

http://www.northernbrewer.com/brewing

Rather than mess around with bottling, we've used the 5 liter mini-kegs. They fit nicely into a mini or regular refrigerator. 5 gallon soda kegs work well for a get-together or if one drinks a lot of beer.  :)

The ales are good starter recipes. Less complicated and harder to mess up while one learns the basics, an important one being, as Paul said, cleanliness. We started out with a maple ale, and it turned out great. Gives one the encouragement to keep going.

Have fun!
Don Kirchner

"Heaven's OK, but it's not the end of the world." Jeff Gibbs

David Garner

Y'all are going to cost me so much money.  At some point I'll have a kegerator.

Thanks for the links -- Northern Brewing looks like a good place to start.
Orthodox Reader and former Lutheran (LCMS and WELS).

TravisW

If you're going to deal with bottling, get a bench-mount capper.  It saves a ton of time and potential mess.  The only thing is that you'll want to save up a bunch of the same size of bottles (height, not volume). 

David Garner

I'd prefer to go straight to kegging, but I'm not sure if that's like learning guitar and going straight to modal scales or not.
Orthodox Reader and former Lutheran (LCMS and WELS).

SCPO

Quote from: David Garner on July 20, 2011, 10:58:58 AM
Y'all are going to cost me so much money.  At some point I'll have a kegerator.

Thanks for the links -- Northern Brewing looks like a good place to start.

     All hobbies cost money; some more than others.

     Northern Brewer is an excellent resource with a great selection and great prices.  As Evangel posted up stream, don't bother with the "Mr Beer" kits, go with a decent starter kit from Northern Brewer or a local home brew establishment.  I recommend secondary fermentation as this extra step yields a clearer and better tasting brew. I would also recommend a glass carboy over the plastic variety for secondary fermentation as plastic is easily scratched making it harder to clean and sanitize.  If you find you enjoy the hobby, you will probably graduate to a larger brew kettle (10 gallon) which will also require a wort chiller. 

     I have been brewing ales for years.  As a previous poster commented, ales are more forgiving than lagers.  I just bottled my first lager, although I brewed it "steam" style at ale temperatures.  I will let you know how it turned out.  I would like to try "all grain" sometime, but I don't have that much free time.  The "Partial Mash" kits that Northern Brewer offers look interesting; I might try one in the fall.

Enjoy,
     

TravisW

I haven't done it (kegging home brew), but I don't really think it's much more complicated (if at all, really).  It's more expensive, but I don't think it's anywhere near as time consuming as bottling. 

George Erdner

I never kegged my beer, but I had several friends who did. Most of the people I knew who kegged also carbonated their beer by injecting CO2. I always made "live" draft, with a secondary ferment in the bottle. Sometimes that made the finished product a little cloudy, but I preferred the taste.

If you're bottling, you can often get cases of empty 16 oz returnables from the local beer distributor for the cost of the normal bottle deposit. Those bottles will stand up to the pressures of in-the-bottle live secondary fermentation. Disposable bottles, even the ones that come with a regular, non-screw on bottle top, aren't nearly as sturdy. Sadly, there aren't many breweries who still use returnable bottles, so in many parts of the country, they are unavailable.

PTMcCain

I'm going to pass this note along to my son, George. Right now he is looking at bottling and also kegging. He picked up an authentic Warsteiner beer tower and made his own special fridge out of a small freezer, including even a fan and running a line from the fan up to the beer tower to keep it cool even in the beer tower. Pretty ingenious. Where he gets his mechanical abilities from is a mystery to me. I can hardly change a light bulb.

peterm

My first batch, oatmeal stout with coffee infusion, should be ready to keg in about a week or so.

As far as I am concerned beer and cookies are the only two acceptable uses for oatmeal  ;D
Rev. Peter Morlock- ELCA pastor serving two congregations in WIS

ptom

I have been using the Mr. Beer system (MrBeer.com) for 5 years.  It makes in my opinion some very good beers.  Their "Witty Monk" is among my favorites.  "First Pitch Pilsner" was a great way to start the baseball season.  You can't make as much as with others, but 20 twelve oz bottles every 3 weeks is just enough.  Use 12 or 16oz coke and pepsi bottles for bottling.

Tom Myhre
Life is much more manageable when thought of as a scavenger hunt as opposed to a surprise party.

Dan Fienen

One concern in bottling beer needs to be the color of the bottles.  Brown is best, green second best, clear not so good.  The reason is that beer is light sensitive and light will quickly break down beer and contribute to "skunking."

Dan
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

JoeEckman

I have re-used 5 liter kegs.  There are some replacement seals you can buy.  The challenge with homebrew in these kegs is the same as with the beer that came with them in the first place.  You have to finish it the day you open it.  But this is not usually a problem because the greatest part of homebrewing is sharing with friends (and would be friends).

Donald_Kirchner

#27
Quote from: JoeEckman on July 20, 2011, 12:10:52 PM
I have re-used 5 liter kegs.  There are some replacement seals you can buy.  The challenge with homebrew in these kegs is the same as with the beer that came with them in the first place.  You have to finish it the day you open it. 

Hmm, I didn't notice that. My wife and I have drunk the mini-keg over a period of nearly a week and didn't notice much of a flatness. But, that was ale with lower carbonation versus a Heineken or Beck's that would originally come in the keg. 

http://malchetskes.com/mod/cms/images/Mini%20Kegs.jpg
Don Kirchner

"Heaven's OK, but it's not the end of the world." Jeff Gibbs

George Erdner

Quote from: Dan Fienen on July 20, 2011, 12:07:44 PM
One concern in bottling beer needs to be the color of the bottles.  Brown is best, green second best, clear not so good.  The reason is that beer is light sensitive and light will quickly break down beer and contribute to "skunking."

Dan

Actually, that's not as much of a problem with home brewing as with commercial beer vending. While it is true that the darker the bottle the less chance of being damaged by UV rays, most bottled homebrew is aged in a dark closet or cupboard, and then moved to a dark refrigerator. If you're getting returnable bottles from a beer distributor, odds are they'll be brown glass anyway. But even if they're crystal clear, chances are the full homebrew bottles won't see more than a fletting glimpse of the light of day before they're opened to be drunk.

David Garner

Quote from: JoeEckman on July 20, 2011, 12:10:52 PM
I have re-used 5 liter kegs.  There are some replacement seals you can buy.  The challenge with homebrew in these kegs is the same as with the beer that came with them in the first place.  You have to finish it the day you open it.  But this is not usually a problem because the greatest part of homebrewing is sharing with friends (and would be friends).

Is this a problem also with torpedo kegs or the soft drink kegs previously mentioned?

Reason I ask is a chief benefit of kegging to me is convenience, and drinking a ton of beer every time I brew is inconvenient.
Orthodox Reader and former Lutheran (LCMS and WELS).

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