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#272887 - 09/20/09 09:00 PM Re: beer thread **** [Re: SirQuack]
grunt Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/04/06
Posts: 3569
Loc: Nirvana
This online manual is a pretty good start.

http://www.howtobrew.com/

This forum is another good source for info. I linked the FAQ only because it doesn’t just jump out at you.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/faq-please-read-before-asking-question-7909/

Another great resource:

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/wiki/index.php/Main_Page

I’ve not done a lot of online ordering because there was an awesome shop in Madison but I have ordered from here and had excellent results:

http://www.williamsbrewing.com/Home_Brewing_C198.cfm?UserID=2920840&jsessionid=d83017f7200c44317373

IMO your best resource will be a local shop and or brew club. Locals will have the best info on were to get things w/o paying an arm and a leg for brand name stuff.

Start out with any simple pale ale recipe that includes the use of steeping grains and hop additions. This will add character to your first beer that I just don’t think any pure pre-hopped extract can give and will make you ready for the all-grain brewing you really want to be doing.

If you know you’re going to be homebrewing as a hobby skip buying any plastic fermenters and get glass fermenters from the start. You’ll want 7 1/2 gallon size for 5 gallon batches but starting out with a 5 gallon fermenter and doing 3 1/2 gallon batches can make things easier at first (5 gallon carboys is easier to find and cheaper, and 3 gallons of beer is easier to bottle and drink through to get to your next batch). Later when you start making lagers and heavier ales you can use your 5 gallon carboys as secondary fermetners.

Something to keep in mind that many people even some experienced brewers fail to respect is water. There’s a huge reason why certain beers are brewed where they are.

http://www.allaboutbeer.com/homebrew/water3.html

IMO the 5 biggest mistakes made by beginning homebrewers are the following:

1. Sanitation.
2. Sanitation.
3. Sanitation.
4. Not using steeping grains.
5. Wrong water for the style.

Most tap water is fine for brewing English ales. If your water is to high in temporary hardness boiling it and letting it sit overnight will precipitate out calcium carbonate which you can siphon out. Once I got serious about home brewing I started buying treated water from those reverse osmosis machines (lived in an apartment so didn’t want to buy one) and added minerals to make the water I needed. No locality will have the correct water for all styles and good luck making a pilsner w/o soft water.

Also if your water is chlorinated then don’t use it untreated for your yeast starter. Either let it sit uncovered over night or pre-boil and cool it as both will drive off the chlorine so your yeast gets a health start.

Also once you really start going think about use the correct yeast for your style. A German ale yeast is very different from English ones. This is a bigger difference than you think especially if you’re trying to copy a specific beer. It’s also one of the biggest reasons I prefer homebrew to microbrew. Most microbreweries have to use a neutral yeast (like a German ale yeast) and vary the beer’s flavor by grains and hops. This is because once a yeast gets into their system getting it completely cleaned out is next to impossible. As a home brewer you can often use the exact yeast the brew master uses.

Hope I haven’t been to confusing but I would love to help prevent you from making the mistakes I did.

Cheers,
Dean

_________________________
3M80 2M22 6QS8 2M2 1EP500 Sony BDP-S590 Panny-7000 Onkyo-3007 Carada-134 Xbox Buttkicker AS-EQ1

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#272897 - 09/20/09 10:29 PM Re: beer thread [Re: grunt]
pmbuko Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 16274
Loc: Leesburg, Virginia
Thanks for the great info, Dean. I've heard about sanitation and I mean to take that quite seriously. I should start collecting bottles, I guess. \:\)
_________________________
"I wish I had documented more…" said nobody on their death bed, ever.

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#272899 - 09/20/09 10:53 PM Re: beer thread [Re: pmbuko]
grunt Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/04/06
Posts: 3569
Loc: Nirvana
If you like Grolsch using their style of bottles makes bottling easy. My roommate bought and used those exclusively but I was making much more beer than him so to keep the cost down I stuck with 12 and 22 oz returnable. I never had a problem going to a local liquor store and just “buying” returned bottles by the case simply paying them the deposit.

Also stick with brown bottles and keep the fermenters and even brown bottled beer away from UV light or you will have skunky beer. Light especially UV is what skunks a beer not age as some beer commercials would lead you to believe.

Collecting bottles the old fashioned way is fun. Plus if you save one of each beer you drink and start putting them on shelves all the way around the room you can usually really piss of a wife or girlfriend. Can then be used as a bargaining chip for a future HT upgrade. ;\)

 Quote:

Thanks for the great info, Dean. I've heard about sanitation and I mean to take that quite seriously. I should start collecting bottles, I guess


I keep a spray bottle w/chlorine water inside to clean and wipe down things before brewing. And no I’m not a clean freak at work a couple of my nicknames are “pigpen” and “scruffy.”
_________________________
3M80 2M22 6QS8 2M2 1EP500 Sony BDP-S590 Panny-7000 Onkyo-3007 Carada-134 Xbox Buttkicker AS-EQ1

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#272902 - 09/20/09 11:48 PM Re: beer thread [Re: grunt]
grunt Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/04/06
Posts: 3569
Loc: Nirvana
One of the best tricks I learned after switching to all-grain brewing was to make 2 or more batches at the same time (hey the stove had 4 burners). Reason is most of your time is spent waiting. Depending on the methods used I could do one all grain batch in 4 to 6 hours. So doing multiple batches by the simplest methods offset by 1/2 hour I could get 4 batches brewed in 5 1/2 hours w/o a lot of down time because something was always wanting attention. However I usually did only 2 at a time as 4 can get overwhelming if drinking to much of the product during the process.

Also gas is your friend. If you don’t have a gas stove (and even if you do) you will at some point want to get a stand alone burner. Once my roommate and I got burners the stovetop was just way to slow to bring 5 gal. to a rolling boil.
_________________________
3M80 2M22 6QS8 2M2 1EP500 Sony BDP-S590 Panny-7000 Onkyo-3007 Carada-134 Xbox Buttkicker AS-EQ1

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#272905 - 09/21/09 03:47 AM Re: beer thread [Re: grunt]
Murph Offline
axiomite

Registered: 10/05/06
Posts: 6820
Loc: PEI, Canada
IN local beer news.... Our "can't creep out of the seventies" provincial liquor commission finally admitted that they suck at getting in wine and beer varieties outside of the large, mass producer brand names. They are hiring person specifically to diversify wine and beer selections.

Sounds like the focus will be on wine at first but at least it's a start.
_________________________
With great power comes Awesome irresponsibility.

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#272921 - 09/21/09 11:56 AM Re: beer thread [Re: Murph]
tomtuttle Offline
axiomite

Registered: 06/20/03
Posts: 8288
Loc: Tacoma
Nice work, Dean! Excellent advice. I wish someone had told me all that stuff 25 years ago. Maybe they did, and I just didn't listen.

Some brewers are cooks. Some brewers are chemists. Some brewers are engineers. ALL brewers are janitors.

The only meaningful things I'd add at this point are:

1. A utility sink makes your life much easier.
2. Even for extract beers, I think you should be boiling in stainless, not aluminum.
3. Personally, I think a bottle-capper is a reasonably good investment compared to trying to find many Grolsch (flip-top) bottles, especially given your propensity toward 22oz and 750ml bottle consumption.
4. Dark and big beers hide more homebrewing sins than small, pale beers. Ironically, one of the most difficult styles for a homebrewer to replicate is American macro lager.
5. Re-read ALL that stuff Dean took the time to write.
6. Rather than starting all by yourself, find a club and go brew with someone. It's more fun and you'll learn a lot.

A very good homebrew shop is FH Steinbart in Portland, OR. Their website isn't very pretty, but they do have a nice selection.

I haven't brewed in about ten years, but I still have too much stuff in the garage. I guess I'm rationalizing that I'll want to do it again some day. Peter, I'll set you up if you take a road trip to Washington.
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#272933 - 09/21/09 02:50 PM Re: beer thread [Re: tomtuttle]
grunt Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/04/06
Posts: 3569
Loc: Nirvana
Great advice Tom! There’s a lot I only learned from experience…even when someone did tell me. I can’t give enough credit to the guys at the “Wine and Hop Shop” in Madison where I bought most of my equipment. Having them to help get started probably kept me from giving up.

Isn’t that the truth that all brewers are janitors. But if you brew indoors it makes your house smell soooooo good (wives’ and girlfriends’ opinions may vary).

Also no matter what advice is given there will always be things that surprise you. I found out that on the other side of the wall in the divided basement I stored my bottled beer in was a water heater. Exploding bottles and beer that came out tasting like tire rubber was the result.

In addition to the utility sink a bottle carboy washer that screws onto the faucet speeds up cleaning a lot.
_________________________
3M80 2M22 6QS8 2M2 1EP500 Sony BDP-S590 Panny-7000 Onkyo-3007 Carada-134 Xbox Buttkicker AS-EQ1

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#272941 - 09/21/09 04:49 PM Re: beer thread [Re: grunt]
pmbuko Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 16274
Loc: Leesburg, Virginia
I have no utility sink and there's only one bathtub in the house. \:\( The club idea is sounding pretty good. \:\)
_________________________
"I wish I had documented more…" said nobody on their death bed, ever.

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#275515 - 10/18/09 10:44 PM Re: beer thread [Re: pmbuko]
pmbuko Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 16274
Loc: Leesburg, Virginia
I am on a hop kick lately, due to my wife's love of the lovely little flower. We went out to a local pizza joint with a fantastic beer list. I had a Founder's Harvest Ale that was absolutely delicious. It's the second wet-hopped beer I've had and I think I'm in love with the style.

The second beer was Lagunitas Lucky 13. It, too, was delicious.
_________________________
"I wish I had documented more…" said nobody on their death bed, ever.

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#275517 - 10/18/09 10:47 PM Re: beer thread [Re: pmbuko]
Adrian Offline
axiomite

Registered: 12/27/08
Posts: 6609
Loc: It's all about the location.
The lion's catching a buzz again....
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Half of communication is listening. You can't listen with your mouth.

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