Online Now 338

The Water Cooler

BOL message board for off-topic posts

Online now 343
Record: 9097 (3/2/2012)

Boards ▾

BOL Round Table

The No. 1 'Bama fan community on the Internet

The Water Cooler

BOL message board for off-topic posts

The Tailgate

Tailgating, recipes, cooking, food & drink

Ticket Exchange

Buy, sell or swap tickets

Reply

Any Beer Makers around here? Advice?

  • JefMorris

    I was looking at a beer making kit as my next "new thing" (as my wife calls it). Any starter advice/lessons learned that I should know prior to the first sip? Any brewers on here who swear by certain sites or such? Copy/pasted below is the kit I was looking at. I'm guessing it won't be happening till christmas time for me but I'm the kind of guy that likes to line things up. Thanks for any insights!

    Contents of Kit:

    6.5 Gallon "Ale Pail" Primary Fermenter
    Lid w/ Grommet
    6.5 Gallon "Ale Pail" Bottling Bucket w/Bottling Spigot
    5 Gallon Glass Carboy
    "Home Beermaking" Book
    Easy Clean No-Rinse Cleaner
    Twin Lever Capper
    Hydrometer
    Siphon Hose and Shut-Off Clamp
    Drilled Universal Carboy Bung
    Liquid Crystal Thermometer
    Lab Thermometer
    Brew Paddle
    Airlock
    Fermtech Auto Siphon
    Bottle Filler
    Bottle Brush
    Equipment Instructions

    This post was edited by JefMorris 3 years ago

    signature image signature image signature image

    Combat Search and Rescue.... "that others may live".

  • 1. Its a lot of fun.

    2. You get some GREAT tasting beer and ale.

    3. I like the ales better than the beers. Much more robust flavor.

    4. You will not save money.

    5. Do not sweat the sediment in the bottles. You can't get rid of it. Don't shake it. Just carefully cant the clear into a glass, and leave a little liquid and the sediment in the bottle.

    Enjoy

  • JefMorris

    glass carboy or the plastic like one? preference?

    signature image signature image signature image

    Combat Search and Rescue.... "that others may live".

  • JefMorris said... (original post)

    glass carboy or the plastic like one? preference?

    Glass, for God's sake.

    Plastic? You blaspheme.

    Sam

  • JefMorris

    lol, I almost didn't ask

    signature image signature image signature image

    Combat Search and Rescue.... "that others may live".

  • crimsonbleeder

    good looking kit...

    Midwest supply and northern brewer and Annapolis brew and Austin Brew are the big "four"...

    I would STRONGLY recommend plastic, even though the glass carboys are less susceptible to getting scratched, they are also HIGHLY susceptible to breaking off at the neck and causing nasty cuts and even arterial bleeds. In fact, a friend homebrewer a few years ago was turning out his sterilizer from his carboy, and the whole top just came off, and somehow his wrist got in the way of a jagged, heavy 6.5 gal carboy with no top. He bled about 3 pints before he could get to the hospital and had to have microsurgery to reattach his hand ligaments and arteries.

    I used to laugh at people who used plastic, but I don't any more, and now it's all I use.

    I will note that you'll need a BIG fermenter if you decide to do things like stouts, barley wines, etc...they produce a LOT more effluent than do the "regular" lagers, ales, etc...just an fyi so you don't blow the top off the smaller fermenter like I did several times, lol...

    Also, go all grain....learn how to do it from the start. Extracts are not worth it and don't taste like "the real thing" and you'll be disappointed otherwise....if you haven't already planned that...

    signature image

    1960 Les Paul

  • I’d also get a yeast starter kit –

    http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/1000-ml-yeast-starter-kit.html

    Tons of youtube videos out there to show you how to use it. Yeast cell count is probably the most important thing as far as getting the fermentation process started. The faster you get fermentation started the less likely you are to have contaminated beer.

    I personally like to use glass carboys to ferment in because you can easily see what’s going on. I never thought about the neck breaking off, but I can see how it could happen because I pick the carboy up full by the neck. Seems like I’ve seen handles for sale that go over the neck, I might invest in one of those.

    1000 ml Yeast Starter Kit : Northern Brewer

    Shop for 1000 ml Yeast Starter Kit and other home brewing and wine supplies, kits or ingredients at Northern Brewer.

    http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/1000-ml-yeast-starter-kit.html
  • My buddy and I just started brewing. It's a good hang, drink beer while you make beer. Some advice...read, read, then read some more. Read message boards, read websites, watch YouTube, buy books. There are a million ways to do it, but in our case we had an idea of what we wanted and it made it easier to start simple and work our way towards it. We started with kits, then started doing recipes from books. About to start our own recipes. I'd also look to see if there is a home brew club in your area. We found one here in our town(Augusta, GA so it's a little bigger town) and usually everyone involved is very helpful. There also tends to be some experienced brewers who can answer questions. Plus you can watch different guys do it their way first hand. Hope this helps.

  • beer and ale= same thing... ale is the result of fermenting wort at a higher temp. Lager is wort fermented at lower temps.. sorry to nitpick. Northerbrewer.com is a great website and will probably have great specials on starter kits very soon for the holidays.

  • they also do occasional groupons for midwest brewing. good way to get started

  • JefMorris

    JefMorris said... (original post)

    so, go all grain....learn how to do it from the start. Extracts are not worth it and don't taste like "the real thing" and you'll be disappointed otherwise....if you haven't already planned that...

    Haven't really considered this. I was going to buy the little packs that have the pre packaged grains in it. I will have to look into this a little more.

    signature image signature image signature image

    Combat Search and Rescue.... "that others may live".

  • JefMorris

    thinriver said... (original post)

    I’d also get a yeast starter kit –

    http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/1000-ml-yeast-starter-kit.html

    Tons of youtube videos out there to show you how to use it. Yeast cell count is probably the most important thing as far as getting the fermentation process started. The faster you get fermentation started the less likely you are to have contaminated beer.

    I personally like to use glass carboys to ferment in because you can easily see what’s going on. I never thought about the neck breaking off, but I can see how it could happen because I pick the carboy up full by the neck. Seems like I’ve seen handles for sale that go over the neck, I might invest in one of those.

    my "starter" kit wouldn't come with this. I'll have to look into this. thanks

    signature image signature image signature image

    Combat Search and Rescue.... "that others may live".

  • JefMorris

    CDBama said... (original post)

    My buddy and I just started brewing. It's a good hang, drink beer while you make beer. Some advice...read, read, then read some more. Read message boards, read websites, watch YouTube, buy books. There are a million ways to do it, but in our case we had an idea of what we wanted and it made it easier to start simple and work our way towards it. We started with kits, then started doing recipes from books. About to start our own recipes. I'd also look to see if there is a home brew club in your area. We found one here in our town(Augusta, GA so it's a little bigger town) and usually everyone involved is very helpful. There also tends to be some experienced brewers who can answer questions. Plus you can watch different guys do it their way first hand. Hope this helps.

    I've actually spent hours last night reading. There is a TON of info out there. I guess things will be a little clearer after the first time I brew. I like dark beer which seems to be a little more tricky.

    signature image signature image signature image

    Combat Search and Rescue.... "that others may live".

  • First, congrats!

    Second, your kit looks good, but I would probably add a wort chiller. You can also check out you tube and see how to make your own. Cooling the wort after the boil is one of the most important steps and a wort chiller really helps out and very easy to use. If you get one, you can place it in the wort during the last 5 minutes of boil. The boil will sanitize the chiller. Also, I didn't see it in your kit list, but I'm assuming that you have a good pot to brew in. Nothing smaller than 20 qts (5 gallons) and stainless steel. Also, you may want to add a secondary fermenter. I always use a secondary fermenting stage, which really doesn't add much in fermentation, but really helps give you a beer that will me more clear. Also, with the extra carboy, it's easier to start a second brew after your first. I love IPAs, but my wife doesn't, so when I brew an IPA, I also brew a wheat for the wife.

    Third, as some have said, as long as you hit certain temps (during the steep, boil, wort chill, and fermentation) and sanitize (especially any thing that comes in contact after the boil) you should produce a good drinking beer.

    Fourth, you don't have to go all grain. I've made many extract recipes that were great and I've been to competitions where extract beers won awards. As a starter, definitely start out with extracts which will get you familiar with the brew process. Then move on to all grain if you like. All grain is cheaper, gives you more control over flavor, bitterness, color, etc... but also adds hours to your brew day.

    Finally, find a local homebrewing supply store. Stop by and talk with them, get advice, etc... they are great resources. Luckily, I live in Denver and I've got some great homebrew stores near me. I've even picked the brain of some of the brewmasters at some of our local breweries.

    Oh, and as for glass or plastic carboy, either is fine and they each have positives and negatives. However, I've used both and know many that use both and can tell no taste difference. I actually use my plastic carboys more than I use my glass ones.

    Hope the info helps. You are more than welcome to PM me to get my email address and ask any questions. I've found the more questions you ask, the better you will be and most home brewers are happy to share their craft!

  • All grain is about control of the grain bill, which allows you to tweak recipes more closely to a specific beer style, among other things like head retention, color, etc. Meanwhile, extract is about shaving three hours from your brew day. I have made and tasted great beer made with either method. Likewise, I have made and tasted some of the nastiest shit I've ever had from both methods.

    Like someone stated earlier, it's all about sanitation and fermentation temps. For your first few batches, buy a good recipe kit from your local shop or online merchant, and just worry about sanitation -- be a real stickler about it. If you're not sure, clean it again. The starter kit comes with an "Easy Clean No-Rinse Cleaner," which is probably B-Brite or One-Step. Mix one tbs. per one gallon of warm water and soak anything that touches your beer post boil, including but not limited to bucket, carboy, hands, auto siphon, thermometer, vinyl tubing, etc, etc...

    Bang around John Palmer's web site howtobrew.com. His book is available there for free. Also, grab a copy of Homebrewing for Dummies (by far the best gateway book). Also google The Brewing Network and download a few podcasts of The Jamil Show with Jamil Zainasheff. Once you get a couple of batches under your belt, check out Jamil & John Palmer's book Brewing Classic Styles...great book for recipes.

    Finally just know that bottling SUCKS, and that if you stay with it, the sooner you move to kegging the happier with the hobby you'll be.

    Good Luck and Roll Tide.

    p.s. upvotes for all my homebrewing friends!

    This post has been edited 2 times, most recently by YellowHammered 3 years ago

  • RTR 65

    crimsonbleeder said... (original post)


    Also, go all grain....learn how to do it from the start. Extracts are not worth it and don't taste like "the real thing" and you'll be disappointed otherwise....if you haven't already planned that...

    This is not true. There are methods to make beer as good or better than the average AG brew with extract. I brew all-grain and I don't do it that often because it takes a lot of time. If you use good methods and dry malt extract, you can make outstanding beer with a partial volume boil. (ie. stove top, not a full volume 5-6 gallon boil) I do think most homebrewers who enjoy making and definitely drinking beer will eventually go all-grain but if they all started there, then we would not have very many homebrewers.

    Most importants things:

    - cleanliness and sanitation

    - yeast pitching temp. I do use starters but for a beginner i would recommend a good dry yeast or just pitch the WL or Wyeast pack.

    - Most important of all!!!!! Fermentation temp must be controlled as close as possible to the correct range for the selected yeast. The warmer it gets the more off flavors you will perceive. Unless its a belgian, you let it get too warm and its just nasty. After the boil, cool the wort in an ice bath until you get it below 70 F. Most ale yeasts prefer 60-70 F but I do mid to low 60's if I can. Just buy a big plastic tub from Walmart and fill it half way with water. Put your fermenter into this water (glass carboys work much better) and lower the temp with frozen water bottles. In a cool spot in your home its pretty easy to keep it in the 60's without expensive equipment. Once the first 4-5 days of fermentation are done and its slowing down, temp control is not as important but I'd still try to keep it in that range.

    - The last point is that when bottling, clean and sanitize your bottles well, do not overprime and be patient. It will carbonate in a week or two but the beer will taste a lot better after a month or so in the bottle. Homebrew is best with a bit of aging generally. If you stick with this, a draft system makes for better beer and its way easier to keg it than bottle it.

    Been doing HB since college (long time ago) when we couold not get all the stuff you can get now. Back then it was hard to make good beer. Now its easy if you follow some simple rules.

  • RTR 65

    Fatkahuna29 said... (original post)

    beer and ale= same thing... ale is the result of fermenting wort at a higher temp. Lager is wort fermented at lower temps.. sorry to nitpick. Northerbrewer.com is a great website and will probably have great specials on starter kits very soon for the holidays.

    Sort of

    Beer is: an alcoholic beverage made by brewing and fermentation from cereals, usually malted barley, and flavored with hops and the like for a slightly bitter taste.

    This includes lagers and ales.

    Ale is top fermented at generally higher temps than lagers. Usually 60-72 F (this includes ales, porters, stouts, IPA's pale ales ie most of the commercially available micro-brews)

    Lager means basically: to age (beer) usually by storing in tanks at cold temperatures for several weeks or months. Lagers are fermented with bottom fermenting yeasts that usually are active from 48-60 F. After fermentation, the beer is "lagered" for several months. Most German style beers are lagers as are pretty much all the mass produced American beers. Lagers are harder to produce for homebrewers because you need more time and an old fridge dedicated for fermentation and lagering.

    Steam style beers or California Common style (Anchor Steam) are lager beers fermented warmer at low ale yeast temps. Only unique American style beer.

    fyi

    This post was edited by RTR 65 3 years ago

  • JefMorris

    All great stuff guys. I appreciate the responses. I can't wait to get it all lined up and make some brew. I can definitely tell that this isn't the cheaper alternative (thats the line I've been giving my wife :) Looking forward to it, thanks for all the inputs.

    signature image signature image signature image

    Combat Search and Rescue.... "that others may live".

  • crimsonbleeder

    JefMorris said... (original post)

    Haven't really considered this. I was going to buy the little packs that have the pre packaged grains in it. I will have to look into this a little more.

    nothing wrong with starting that way...you'll learn the system, but the taste of all grain is better than the real thing, while the packaged stuff is gonna taste a bit subpar compared to the higher quality beers---just so you won't be disappointed...

    signature image

    1960 Les Paul

  • crimsonbleeder

    JefMorris said... (original post)

    All great stuff guys. I appreciate the responses. I can't wait to get it all lined up and make some brew. I can definitely tell that this isn't the cheaper alternative (thats the line I've been giving my wife :) Looking forward to it, thanks for all the inputs.

    there's a book called "How to brew"...the best book on the subject for just starting out, and fairly new...it's a MUST READ before you buy one thing...

    Amazon.com: How to Brew: Everything You Need

    Amazon.com: How to Brew: Everything You Need To Know To Brew Beer Right The First Time (9780937381885): John J. Palmer: Books

    http://www.amazon.com/How-Brew-Everything-Right-First/dp/0937381888/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1318862764&sr=8-1
    signature image

    1960 Les Paul

  • JefMorris

    crimsonbleeder said... (original post)

    nothing wrong with starting that way...you'll learn the system, but the taste of all grain is better than the real thing, while the packaged stuff is gonna taste a bit subpar compared to the higher quality beers---just so you won't be disappointed...

    thanks!

    signature image signature image signature image

    Combat Search and Rescue.... "that others may live".

  • JefMorris

    got my kit today, 6gallon glass carboy with it. Ready to brew!

    Merry Christmas

    signature image signature image signature image

    Combat Search and Rescue.... "that others may live".

  • JefMorris

    first batch in the fermenter, oatmeal stout

    signature image signature image signature image

    Combat Search and Rescue.... "that others may live".

  • JefMorris

    Resurrecting a very old thread but wanted to say thanks again for the initial push. Brewed three batches as of now. Next up....Kegging! lol. More money

    signature image signature image signature image

    Combat Search and Rescue.... "that others may live".