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Beer Brewing





Craeft
Well, I have only been brewing for a little under a year now and I am in love with it. I can make the kind of beer that I want to drink at minimal cost. And frankly, it tastes better than most I can buy. My only issue is the "waiting." When you have that stagnant time where you weren't able to start a brew or you were too low on funds to get supplies, and you have to kick off that "first batch". I noticed that without a rotation process, there's more waiting than brewing or drinking. These are the sad moments.

Anyway, any other brewers out there? If so, what's your favorite to brew, cost aside? I say "cost aside" because my favorite is probably IPAs, but due to the high cost of hops, they can get a little pricey to make. I have yet to successfully do a lager due to the lack of environment/temperature control (they're a little picky).

Also, has anyone made sake, mead, wine, etc.? It is now legal to distill in Michigan, so I am considering giving absinthe a shot (no pun intended). I have made mead and sake before (good stuff).
Triple_7
Haven't tried beer brewing since we were back in high school, if I remember correctly the one batch wasn't too bad but the second one failed horribly Embarassed

Tend to make a lot of wine with a friends dad, they have a couple huge grape arbors that are fully loaded every year. Experiment with different blends and some has turned out great. He has bottles in his basement that date back to the 60's that he made. We tap into one occasionally and its always good. Experimented with strawberry wine a couple years ago...didn't turn out half bad. The peach wine was a disaster...apple even bigger disaster Embarassed

One thing we did try a couple years ago was to make our own whiskey. Never again, we all kicked back a shot and about had no throats left. Made it in a homemade 50 gallon oak barrel. Dumped it into 5 gallon buckets and threw it on the fire that night...2 of us ended up with no facial or arm hair left Shocked We get our whiskey from the liquor store now Laughing
driftingfe3s
I thought of trying to brew up something for myself, but the cost of the equipment and materials turned me off. It probably will pay off in the long run, but knowing me I'll have to do a couple of dozen batches untill I get something I really like.
Craeft
driftingfe3s wrote:
I thought of trying to brew up something for myself, but the cost of the equipment and materials turned me off. It probably will pay off in the long run, but knowing me I'll have to do a couple of dozen batches untill I get something I really like.


Equipment can be pricey. Especially since the price of glass carboys recently doubled. I don't know about the rest of the U.S., but here in Michigan, we can no longer get carboys made in Mexico or the U.S. They have to be imported from Italy, so the price sky-rocketed. The rest of the materials aren't so expensive except maybe the big-ass pot you need. Those are pretty pricey.

I was lucky. My very first batch was really good. I did about 6 or so "by the book" to find what I really liked, then I just started to tweak and experiment. Part of the fun is tweaking it and making new concoctions, logging them and then trying something else new. Smile
deanhills
Craeft wrote:
Equipment can be pricey. Especially since the price of glass carboys recently doubled. I don't know about the rest of the U.S., but here in Michigan, we can no longer get carboys made in Mexico or the U.S. They have to be imported from Italy, so the price sky-rocketed. The rest of the materials aren't so expensive except maybe the big-ass pot you need. Those are pretty pricey.

I was lucky. My very first batch was really good. I did about 6 or so "by the book" to find what I really liked, then I just started to tweak and experiment. Part of the fun is tweaking it and making new concoctions, logging them and then trying something else new. Smile


My parents have periodically tried their hand at wine making, and I think once beer brewing and all cases the containers burst and it was the biggest of messes I have ever seen. In Vancouver Canada they have winemaking places where you can tell them what you want, and they will make it for you. My friends used to take their own bottles that they re-used every time. I am almost sure there must be something for beer brewing. So you can keep the mess away from home. So since you have already perfected a techique, maybe you can start a business with it and buy all the containers in bulk? Laughing
jwellsy
I'm not a beer drinker. But, I have tried wine making. It took a very long time to ferment. Then it sucked.
Craeft
deanhills wrote:
Craeft wrote:
Equipment can be pricey. Especially since the price of glass carboys recently doubled. I don't know about the rest of the U.S., but here in Michigan, we can no longer get carboys made in Mexico or the U.S. They have to be imported from Italy, so the price sky-rocketed. The rest of the materials aren't so expensive except maybe the big-ass pot you need. Those are pretty pricey.

I was lucky. My very first batch was really good. I did about 6 or so "by the book" to find what I really liked, then I just started to tweak and experiment. Part of the fun is tweaking it and making new concoctions, logging them and then trying something else new. Smile


My parents have periodically tried their hand at wine making, and I think once beer brewing and all cases the containers burst and it was the biggest of messes I have ever seen.


That can be due to the temperature being too warm and the yeast being waaaay too happy for their own good (or yours). And the bubbler (the vapor barrier on the top of the car-boy) should have adequate room between itself and the liquid. Another thing that can cause it is the bubbler itself being clogged by the discharge (it's very sticky stuff) and thereby not allowing the gases to escape. Pretty much equates to BOOM.

Quote:
In Vancouver Canada they have winemaking places where you can tell them what you want, and they will make it for you. My friends used to take their own bottles that they re-used every time. I am almost sure there must be something for beer brewing. So you can keep the mess away from home. So since you have already perfected a techique, maybe you can start a business with it and buy all the containers in bulk? Laughing


Making it is all the fun for me. When I started, it was at our old family farm house where we have a 150 gallon stainless steel milk tank. I was considering convering that into a little microbrew tank, but never got the capital to make the transition.
I reuse bottles as well. I bought 1 case of bottles from my supplier, but the rest have been Sam Adams bottles that I washed and sterilized. Then I have some "flip-top" bottles as well. They're definitely much easier to deal with overall.
As for starting a business, I don't think I want to go through the red tape of getting the licenses for it. Typically, I'll make a brew for me and some close friends. Occasionally, I'll ask for donations just so I can get the ingredients for the next brew. I'd like to start growing my own hops and such, but since I moved away from the farm, that has become mildly difficult.





jwellsy wrote:

I'm not a beer drinker. But, I have tried wine making. It took a very long time to ferment. Then it sucked.


Wine typically takes a little less time to ferment than beer. Beer (ales) takes about a month from start to finish. Wine should only take a couple weeks or so. I've not yet made wine, myself. Then again, I am not much of a wine fan. From what I hear, wine is very dependent on what type of fruit you use as to whether it's horrible or not. Specific grapes, specific apples, etc.
manlear
driftingfe3s wrote:
I thought of trying to brew up something for myself, but the cost of the equipment and materials turned me off. It probably will pay off in the long run, but knowing me I'll have to do a couple of dozen batches untill I get something I really like.


I agree with you. But if you buy beer ALL the time like me it would be a wise investment. Which is why i am about to buy one.
gandalfthegrey
I make my own wine, but it takes so long.

My friend recommended brewing my own beer.

Can anyone please post some information or website links on what I'll need, how to brew the beer and how long it will take.

Thanks!
joe_b
Anyone have a recipe to make a beer something like a Goose Island 312?
Craeft
Sorry it's taken me so long to get back to this thread. Life's been... strange.

Anyway:

Gandalf:
The first batch takes a while, but if you can manage to keep a rotation, it's not that bad. it's that waiting for that first batch that sucks. Typically, I was doing 1-2 batches a week so I had a fairly frequent turn around. It typically takes about a month (depending on the type... lagers can take a little longer but I don't recommend making lagers until you're damned sure you know what you're doing and have a regulated climate).
The way I usually run it is:
1: Brew.
2: After one week, second ferment and check SG.
3: After one more week, bottle and check SG.
4: After one more week, check SG
5: After one more week, drinkable.

That's for ales, stouts, and porters.

Ales would be your best bet to start off with. They are very forgiving. My first batch ever was a scotch ale and it turned out phenomenal. That was before I realized I should keep track of exactly what I do, so I have never been able to duplicate it.

A really good program to get is "BeerSmith". It's a free trial, but you have to pay for a registered and full copy. It's worth the very small amount of money, however. It is a GODSEND! It gives you hydrometer adjust, various hops and their purposes, alcohol content, calories per pint, recipes, etc etc etc. The list is damned near never-ending.


JOE:
I have never had Goose Island 312 (nor heard of it), so I can't help you there. What type of beer is it?

To both of you, there are various websites for home brew clubs. They would be an EXCELLENT resource for some of your questions. There are probably clubs near where you live. I'd look em up and see what they have to offer.
Solon_Poledourus
I love home brewing. I've been doing it for a few years now and it's only gotten better. My first batch tasted awful, because I was impatient and thought I knew more than I did. But, being a beer lover, I buckled down and got serious. Now I brew right around the legal 200 gallons per year that "the man" allows me.

In 1985, I made some wine. My mom worked at a winery since I was a kid, so I had access to good grapes, recipes, etc. The recipe was my own, which loosely followed a number of others. And I got it bottled and corked at the winery. My dad, being a really good artist and all around brilliant guy, made the label. It is a rendering of my childhood home and everything is written in French. That was the first I knew of him speaking French(among other languages).

Anyway, the wine is still bottled from 1985, so it's got some age to it. I don't know if I will ever drink it, but if I do, I don't know what the occasion will be.
Melacos
I did a Lager some 3 years ago (I live in Denmark, so the temperature and general conditions are pretty favorable). It was my first ever, and it fortunately turned out pretty good.
However, when first tasting the finished brew, it seemed way too bitter and edgy (i.e. it hadn't got the full and round flavor I had expected - even though I was fully aware that it was a crisp lager that would be the product). But as it turned out, what I had actually come across, was a taste not that far from an IPA (which I hadn't really tasted at that time) - so since finishing the batch, I've from time to time run into various beers with quite similar tastes... That makes me proud, and not least wanting to try it again.

Currently planning for some wine this summer actually...
Solon_Poledourus
Melacos wrote:
I did a Lager some 3 years ago (I live in Denmark, so the temperature and general conditions are pretty favorable).
I live in Florida, USA. I find the atmosphere horrible, especially for brewing. Luckily, I have a nice climate controlled shed in my back yard.
Quote:
However, when first tasting the finished brew, it seemed way too bitter and edgy (i.e. it hadn't got the full and round flavor I had expected - even though I was fully aware that it was a crisp lager that would be the product). But as it turned out, what I had actually come across, was a taste not that far from an IPA (which I hadn't really tasted at that time)
IPA is one of my favorites. I usually end up brewing a version of IPA, or at least a really dark amber. I've noticed that alot of people I know like lighter beers, but I love the dark ones, all full of that hop taste and aroma... I need a beer now.
Quote:
Currently planning for some wine this summer actually...
Cheers! I hope it works out for you.
Craeft
Solon_Poledourus wrote:
I love home brewing. I've been doing it for a few years now and it's only gotten better. My first batch tasted awful, because I was impatient and thought I knew more than I did. But, being a beer lover, I buckled down and got serious. Now I brew right around the legal 200 gallons per year that "the man" allows me.

In 1985, I made some wine. My mom worked at a winery since I was a kid, so I had access to good grapes, recipes, etc. The recipe was my own, which loosely followed a number of others. And I got it bottled and corked at the winery. My dad, being a really good artist and all around brilliant guy, made the label. It is a rendering of my childhood home and everything is written in French. That was the first I knew of him speaking French(among other languages).

Anyway, the wine is still bottled from 1985, so it's got some age to it. I don't know if I will ever drink it, but if I do, I don't know what the occasion will be.


I think the occasion should be me coming to visit. Wink
Craeft
Solon_Poledourus wrote:
Melacos wrote:
I did a Lager some 3 years ago (I live in Denmark, so the temperature and general conditions are pretty favorable).
I live in Florida, USA. I find the atmosphere horrible, especially for brewing. Luckily, I have a nice climate controlled shed in my back yard.
Quote:
However, when first tasting the finished brew, it seemed way too bitter and edgy (i.e. it hadn't got the full and round flavor I had expected - even though I was fully aware that it was a crisp lager that would be the product). But as it turned out, what I had actually come across, was a taste not that far from an IPA (which I hadn't really tasted at that time)
IPA is one of my favorites. I usually end up brewing a version of IPA, or at least a really dark amber. I've noticed that alot of people I know like lighter beers, but I love the dark ones, all full of that hop taste and aroma... I need a beer now.
Quote:
Currently planning for some wine this summer actually...
Cheers! I hope it works out for you.


I am definitely a dark beer fan, myself. My favs are Porters and Stouts. However, I am also a huge fan of the IPA. Sometimes, I just want the full-body, bitter hoppiness of the IPA. I recently brewed an IPA that turned out quite well and then a Lemon Oatmeal Stout that was a lot better than I expected it to be.

This week, I will be starting a Java/Mugwort Porter. Should be interesting if nothing else.
Solon_Poledourus
Craeft wrote:
I think the occasion should be me coming to visit.
Last night, a friend of mine somewhat jokingly suggested uncorking it on Dec. 21, 2012. After thinking about it, it's not a bad idea really. So you have plenty of time to make plans to come over.
Quote:
This week, I will be starting a Java/Mugwort Porter. Should be interesting if nothing else.
And bring some of that.
deanhills
Solon_Poledourus wrote:
Craeft wrote:
I think the occasion should be me coming to visit.
Last night, a friend of mine somewhat jokingly suggested uncorking it on Dec. 21, 2012. After thinking about it, it's not a bad idea really. So you have plenty of time to make plans to come over.
Sounds like a great idea. Maybe he should think about marketing this? Can just see it selling well. Not far-fetched at all. Actually a really neat idea. Maybe he can do it through the Internet? Smile
Solon_Poledourus
deanhills wrote:
Sounds like a great idea. Maybe he should think about marketing this? Can just see it selling well. Not far-fetched at all. Actually a really neat idea. Maybe he can do it through the Internet?
Except that there is only one bottle of this wine in existence. But maybe we can make it a "bring your own creations" kind of party. People could bring their home brews from around the world, and it could be a huge gathering of exotic beer, wine, mead, etc. Not to mention, a huge gathering of exotic people.
Voodoocat
I just bottled a batch of chocolate stout!
gandalfthegrey
Does anyone know how to brew homemade Vodka?
Craeft
Voodoocat wrote:
I just bottled a batch of chocolate stout!


Nice. I made a nice chocolate stout a few months ago that turned out VERY well.

Last night, I bottled the mugwort/java porter. Wish me luck. I think I tossed a bit too much coffee in it but last time I made a java porter, I think I remember thinking the same thing at bottling and then it turned out fabulous.

This time, however, I used one of the canned kits for a porter. I never really did like the canned kits, but my room mate bought it so I figured what the hell. The ABV is very low which bums me out as well. But that always seems to be the way with the canned kits.
Craeft
gandalfthegrey wrote:
Does anyone know how to brew homemade Vodka?


You don't brew vodka, you distill it. Depending on your state, this may or may not be legal. I am not sure of the process for distilling vodka. I do know that here in Michigan, distilling is legal. I am gonna try my hand at absinthe before too long.
Afaceinthematrix
Brewing beer would be interesting. It would be nice to be able to make some cheap beer (and while I'm at it, I can learn to distill vodka). But I do not think that this would be a good idea for me. I'm a pretty heavy drinker when I have it so the only thing that really keeps me from becoming an alcoholic is that I can't afford alcohol most of the time. So if it was cheaper, I would probably live my life drunk...
coolclay
Yea fellow brewers!!! Brewing beer is so much fun, not only can you make anything you want, and design an entirely custom beer just the way you like it, but it's also super cheap!! It's especially cheap when you harvest most of your own ingredients, and raise your own yeast strains. I am fairly new to brewing within the past year but have made 3 entirely custom brews that have so far been phenomenal. My first brew was Prickly Pear Ale, it was made from prickly pear cactus fruit and had a gorgeous pink color to it. My second brew was called Smoky Rubber Nipples, it was a nice dark smoky porter, with a slight fruity after notes. I just drank the last one of them last night. Luckily I spaced my brews out nicely and my next one, Bock-a-doodle-doo, will be ready to drink in 2 days! I can't wait.
roadmouse
I've thought about brewing my own beer a couple of times, but it seems complicated to get everything right. Or is it not as hard as it sounds?
atul2242
I'd like to know if anyone has experience of distilling vodka.
Kopernikus
I moved from Vienna to a part of our country which is called "Weinviertel" (roughly winecountry)...
my father-in-law has a little wineyard on the side, just as a hobby. the whole family is helping in autumn with the "lese", the wine harvest. Great fun.

But because I visit the vintners of our region quite often, I have the highest respect for their work. Austria ist white-wine-country. Its amazing what a good vintner can do with his grapes, so Im not even tempted to try and do it myself. Theres a whole museum/exhibition not far away from here, the "Loisium"
Dean_The_Great
Is it really easy to brew beer? I always assumed it would be a long and complicated process never to attempt... Perhaps this deserves a google or two.
bigt
Craeft wrote:
driftingfe3s wrote:
I thought of trying to brew up something for myself, but the cost of the equipment and materials turned me off. It probably will pay off in the long run, but knowing me I'll have to do a couple of dozen batches untill I get something I really like.


Equipment can be pricey. Especially since the price of glass carboys recently doubled. I don't know about the rest of the U.S., but here in Michigan, we can no longer get carboys made in Mexico or the U.S. They have to be imported from Italy, so the price sky-rocketed. The rest of the materials aren't so expensive except maybe the big-ass pot you need. Those are pretty pricey.

I was lucky. My very first batch was really good. I did about 6 or so "by the book" to find what I really liked, then I just started to tweak and experiment. Part of the fun is tweaking it and making new concoctions, logging them and then trying something else new. Smile


I might start brewing if I can lose some of these side projects I have going. A friend of mine around here does some brewing, so he's another useful resource. Thank all of you for your thread posts as they have been interesting and helpful to read.
Cliffer
i like drinking beer. it's very cool after playing football.

i will post a new topic on this board for a beer question,hope you discuss it.
furtasacra
I would like to home-brew some beer, myself, but right now my finances prohibit ... well, anything enjoyable, really.

However, I already own a HUGE aluminum stock-pot that I got for under $20 at a clearance sale, and
I have also been saving Carlsberg pint bottles with the ceramic flip-tops, figuring I can sterilize them.

One of these days...
spobor
I definetly think that a good old homebrew tastes far superior to anything you can buy in a store....even a bad old homebrew is usually pretty good. For anyone put off by price of a kit, it is well worth it in the long run, I actually picked up my first kit for about $20 at a garage sale (NEVER USED! some people are just too lazy) but soon after had to get another one on the go as everyone seemed to enjoy it just too much. I get pretty much all my stuff from here http://www.brewcraft.com.au/ it has some great recipes and quality supplies. For anyone looking to start I would also recommend a book called 'Brewing Craft' which should be available at any good brewing store. It has easy to follow instructions and some great recipes, my first beer was a Corona rip-off and it was fantastic.

So to everyone out there with a hankering for some good brew that is much less likely to make you feel crook the next day give homebrew a crack
Voodoocat
You can make your primary and secondary fermenters out of 7 gal plastic food grade pails with lids. Check local bakeries, restaurants and grocery stores. They are probably throwing them away. Then all you need is a hydrometer, and a fermentation lock. You can actually do without the hydrometer, you just will not know how much alcohol is in your brew. Finally you need a kit. You should be able to get a good all liquid malt kit for around $30.00. This might sould high, but it makes 5 gallons of beer!

If you live in America, www.AustinHomeBrew.com has some very inexpensive kits and only charge $7.99 shipping.
cowdudy
I agree, homebrew is the way to go. I have been brewing for a few years and some of the people I share with go nuts over it. My favorite and one of my friends favs is my rendition of hefewiezen. I can't seem to keep it around for long. my suggestion to anyone wanting to brew is to read and find a friend or a local club that will teach you.
Starrfoxx
I love Hefeweizen and have enjoyed many different brews. I would be interested in a home brew of that.
Flakky
I am currently brewing beer with school. I don't know much about the whole process or different terms. We are using the beginner kit from brewferm.be. it's quite fun to brew it ourselves Smile
deanhills
Flakky wrote:
I am currently brewing beer with school. I don't know much about the whole process or different terms. We are using the beginner kit from brewferm.be. it's quite fun to brew it ourselves Smile
So are you using yeast with the process? Where are you brewing the beer? Is it part of a science experiment? Smile Quite amazing to hear they are actually teaching people to beer brew at school. Usually teachers are worried about alcohol and cigarettes and to keep those as far away from school as possible.
Flakky
deanhills wrote:
Flakky wrote:
I am currently brewing beer with school. I don't know much about the whole process or different terms. We are using the beginner kit from brewferm.be. it's quite fun to brew it ourselves Smile
So are you using yeast with the process? Where are you brewing the beer? Is it part of a science experiment? Smile Quite amazing to hear they are actually teaching people to beer brew at school. Usually teachers are worried about alcohol and cigarettes and to keep those as far away from school as possible.

They do keep the alcohol away. We will get 4 regular beers at the end and our parents are contacted so there is no way we can drink the beer without anyone knowing Wink
Plus we have to talk about the risks of alcohol in our essay.

We use yeast in the process. We are brewing it in the biology classroom as it has taps and a computer with a beamer to project the instructions and pictures. You can see the process on the website Wink
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