Homebrewers...talk to me!

Discussion in 'Countryside Families' started by Sassafrassa, Nov 29, 2006.

  1. Sassafrassa

    Sassafrassa WorkerBee

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    If this thread is in the wrong place...I apologize. Please move it where necessary! :)

    The other thread about your "preferred poison" intrigued me. I am a fairly new beer drinker, and I like the craft beers that I am tasting, which makes me want to try homebrew. But I have no idea where to begin. I love the idea of making my own beer.

    What is involved? What do you wish you knew when you first started out? What do you best like about brewing your own? What are your favorite varieties?

    Just tryin' to pump you for information, and get some ideas!! I'd love to hear what ya'll have to say!

    Sassa
     
  2. Old John

    Old John Well-Known Member Supporter

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    There are as many Ways of Brewing as there are Brewers.
    Lots of Variables...............
    But if you Kinda follow the Basic Rules, you can't do much wrong.

    The first thing I would recommend, is, "Go online and Read all you can read about Brewing". There are Thousands of Webpages, and that's just in English.
    Seriously, that's where to start.

    Then check around your neighborhood, locale, region, and look up a Brewing Store. They are all over the Country.Get advice. But "Have in Mind, What you want to do."

    The Easiest kind of Beer to Brew is From a Beer Kit.
    You get a can of Malt Extract, with the Hops already in it.
    And you get a pack of Yeast. You also get a little instructional circular(a page or 2). Throw away the Instructions, and use the Knowledge you have gained through Reading, either online or in books.
    Actually you can use the Instructions but there are better ways of doing it.
    Get STARTED!!!

    It takes about 6 or 7 days, after you cook it & yeast it, before you can bottle it. Then about 2 weeks more, you can drink it.

    Yes, you will make mistakes. Yes, you will screw up a couple batches, if you continue to Brew.
    There is a Steep Learning Curve.
    You'll either Learn, or you will Quit trying.

    If you continue to Study, and Continue to Brew, and Learn................
    Voila, you too can make Excellent Beer, naybe not the 1st time....
    But it WILL Happen
    Take Heart!
    You can't Learn until you TRY!
    Have Fun!
     

  3. perennial

    perennial Well-Known Member

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    I was thinking of buying a beer kit for hubby for christmas. He likes ales, hefferveizen (sp), etc., Are there any particulars to look for in a kit that
    would make one better to buy than another - like does tank size matter, etc.

    Thanks for any input.
     
  4. Sassafrassa

    Sassafrassa WorkerBee

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    Thanks Old John! There's some good advice there...sounds like the voice of experience! And I will check the web. And thanks to Moopups, I have a place to start.

    I appreciate the feedback and would love some more!! I love pickin' ya'll's brains!! ;)

    Sassa
     
  5. shadowwalker

    shadowwalker Well-Known Member

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    Check out winemaking and brewing in your town/area. I find that a local shop to get this stuff is better. I then have a place to go talk about my hobby. And maybe can find places to get the local fruits for my wines and ciders.
     
  6. Daddymem

    Daddymem Well-Known Member

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  7. Tiffin

    Tiffin Well-Known Member

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  8. BasicLiving

    BasicLiving Well-Known Member

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    You've gotten some good info to get started. Some things you may be interested in knowing:

    Personally, I think boiling hops stinks - bad! I try to do it in the summer when I can open windows and place window fans blowing OUT.

    Kit beers are a good place to start - but it's WAY more fun and rewarding to brew a recipe from scratch. Lots of internet sites have recipes. Experiment and see what you think. We've made raspberry beer, chocolate beer, lemon beer, coffee beer and more than I can remember. My husband really only likes pilzners - but that doesn't stop me from experimenting! Start with a kit - but be prepared to move on!

    When you first get started you need bottles - not the "twist" off type, the type you use a bottle opener with. If there is a local bar or restaurant that sells beer in the bottles, ask them if they mind if you come by on a Sat. or Sun. morning and get the bottles from the night before. We found a local bar that saved bottles for us. Cleaning them was a chore - many were stuffed with cigarette butts - but it was worth it to get a few cases of them to get us started. And they were free!

    Check the prices of supplies (even kits) at any local brewing stores you have and then check the internet to see which has better prices.

    Home brew makes an excellent gift - but be careful! Once people figure out you are brewing, you are prone to uninvited guests dropping by :rolleyes:

    Enjoy!!! And let us know how it goes!

    Penny
     
  9. Kris in MI

    Kris in MI Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Dh has been brewing for about six years now. Started with the malt syrup kits, then went to the powdered malt recipes offered at the local homebrew store, then went to using some of the recipes in Papazian's book, now is experimenting with formulating his own recipes and using whole grains.

    Dh prefers to brew in the colder months since he doesn't like being hot! He tries to brew enough in spring to last through summer; he uses corny kegs instead of bottles for storage. If he has to brew in the summer, he will do it outside using the turkey fryer instead of heating up the kitchen. The turkey fryer is also great for boiling down the wort when he is going the whole-grain route.

    Getting started can be expensive, or not, depending on how resourceful you are. Dh's original equipment (carboy, fermentation bucket, Papazian's book, bottles & capper, hydrometer, airlock and blow-off tube) I picked up at a garage sale for less than $10!! He has expanded since then, but we have purchased little at the prices you pay new at the brewing stores; instead his wort chiller is copper tubing from Home Depot that dh bent into the correct shape, newer blow-off tubes are tubing also from Home Depot, his mashtun/lauter-tun is an old cooler that has been retrofitted with a spigot and some perforated (cut with sawzall I think) pvc pipework similar to a drainfield. A friend of his got ahold of some old glass carboys from a drinking water supplier for about $5 each.
     
  10. Sassafrassa

    Sassafrassa WorkerBee

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    Thanks everyone! I knew I would get some good advice here. The recipe website is HUGE. Lots of varieties to try. And I'll look for the book at my local used bookstore first. If it's not there, I will order it. I want to do some more research, and now I know where to begin.

    You guys rock! I'll let you know if I make anything palatable. :)

    Sassa
     
  11. BarbG

    BarbG Well-Known Member

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    I've been brewing brewing beer for around a year now and would never go back to the bought stuff. Up here the beer is not only expensive ($2 per bottle) but there is no selection and virtually no access to any micro-breweries. It costs me around $30 to brew a 23 liter batch and that is with plenty of my own additions to the can of malt. Equivelent store price for that volume is in the $130-$150 range. I saved enough money on my first batch to pay for all my equipment!

    Smell? Personally the smell that explodes out of my brewing kettle when I add the hops is enough to get my saliva glands working overtime. But then again, I am a bit of a "hop head". DW, however, hates the smell.

    Up here we have access to plastic PEP beer bottles, similar to plastic pop bottles but colored appropriately. They are much lighter than their glass conterparts and are easy to clean as well. Caps are the screw on type so no need for a bottle capper.

    Handy additions to a basic homebrew kit? A bottle washer is a huge time saver and it does a more consistant and thorough cleaning job. And a siphon "cheater". Did the "thumbs over the ends of a siphon hose" for a while but since I got the cheater I won't go back. A lot cleaner and a lot easier.

    Charlie Papazian's books are a good place to start and this is the best web site for how to from beginer and up that I have found to date. www.howtobrew.com/

    Perennial, pretty much any kit in your local homebrew supply store should make good beer. Size doesn't matter too much. A starter kit with a GLASS carboy is far perferable to a plastic one as they are easier to clean, and with proper care, last longer. Better yet, a kit with a glass carboy and a food grade plastic tub. The only brewing nuance that comes into play with different styles of beer is that LAGERS need to be fermented @ fridge temp. ALES (which should include your hefferveizen) need to be fermented @ room temp.

    BarbG's DH
     
  12. Sassafrassa

    Sassafrassa WorkerBee

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    I found Papazian's book yesterday at my used book store for $4! Yeah! And thanks for the "how to brew" website, too. I've got some homework!

    Sassa