The Homebrew Thread

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Dr Durden
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The Homebrew Thread

I know there's some Turdites who make some whicked homebrew...be it beer, moonshine, kombucha tea, hard cider, kvass, wine, whatever.

This thread is all about crafting your own tasty beverages. Please share your secrets and experiences so we can all learn from each other.

I've finally made some kick ass kombucha! I've been at it off and on for years, but for whatever reason over this summer each batch has been very good. I've gotten a lot of people addicted who've tried it in the past and were revolted forwhatever reason. Must be my special Pomegranate Pizzazz that turns them over to the dark side. 

I've tried beer in the past but have failed miserably. But I did recently pick up a brew kit and will try my luck again this winter.

In the mean time, now that the fall apples are ripe for the picking, I'm excited to try my hand at hard cider. For my first batch I was thinking doing a Sandor Katz inspired pure wild (no added yeast with raw juiced apples) batch using whatever variety is growing on my neighbor's trees. They're a solid mix of sweet and tart so I'm hoping they'll make for a quality first product. Fingers crossed. Any advice here would be appreciated.

Edited by admin on 11/08/2014 - 06:06

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Adventures
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I've had good luck with Homebrewed beer.

I used a starter kit from rebelbrewers.com. I then found a gal that does cheese, wine, soda and beer about a mile from my home. I'm using LME to start and all of the beers have been well recieved even though they are simple recipes. I'm doing mostly Ales and hope to move on to lagers in the next couple of months.

Sanitation is critical, my beer gal gave me a product called 5 star sanitizer which is acid based. I love it, I just clean my bottles and then give each bottle a squirt before bottling.

All I can say is watch your temps and your sanitation. I do use a brita filter for my tap water to eliminate the chlorine and other chemicals. I've used bottled water as well and had good results. Make sure the temp of the wort is about 80 degrees F. before "pitching" the yeast. I use white sugar for the carbonation stage instead of the recommended corn sugar and I have great carbonation.

This a great website http://www.howtobrew.com/intro.html

that should give you a good place to start.

question
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Always wanted to try brewing beer

maybe this winter

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Adventures
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If you can boil water you can make beer

It's simple if not easy. Sanitation is first. I've used plastic bottles to check carbonation and that is fairly common. I use a 2 gallon pot filled with filtered water. I'd start practicing with simple recipes. There are all kinds of forums for beer.  A home brewed ale even from a simple recipe will be better tasting than 90% of what you can get in any store.

  You won't save money brewing your own beer. You may break even on costs at best. But you will drink good beer and learn another skill.

Jack Straw
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I'm a novice home brewer. 

I'm a novice home brewer.  I've made extract batches and even 6-7 all grain batches.  It's a lot of work but you do get to enjoy the fruits of your labor :)

Here's a good website to learn more: www.homebrewtalk.com

Rebel INS
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Start here: 

Start here:  http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Homebrewing-Third-Harperresource-Book/dp/0060531053

This book covers everything.  Brewing equipment will cost $150-$200.  Shop around on Amazon and eBay for a decent home brew starter kit.  Adventures was right about a couple of things:

- Brewing beer does not save you money.  But for what you spend you'll be getting much better beer and the satisfaction of making your own brew.

- Sanitization is the key to success.  If your beer isn't coming out right then the process wasn't kept clean.  Refer to the book for sanitization tips.

That being said brewing beer is incredibly easy and not as intimidating as many make it seem.  You basically boil some ingredients for about an hour, bottle and ferment for several weeks, and then spend another hour bottling and/or kegging.  I like http://www.austinhomebrew.com/ for finding recipes.

Adventures
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Branching out on brewing

I know a lot of folks poo poo the little MR. Beer kits but it was my start at brewing.  Simple recipes,  some basic gear to start with plus it does make an okay beer to start and if you screw up you aren't out much money! I  started with ales as they are forgiving about temps compared to lagers. Malt Extracts are super easy to use as you build confidence in your beer making and then you can start making your own wort from grains if you want.

My "Beer Lady" has built some small all grain kits for making a gallon or two or all grain beer from start to finish.  There are a bunch of beer making clubs and sites that will help you out while you are learning. Making beer is like learning poker the basic rules are easy and anyone can play but it can take a lifetime to master and it's a little science and art  mixed together.

keh10
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Hey, I've been a lurker for a

Hey, I've been a lurker for a while and I just had a sneaking suspicion that there would be a homebrew thread on here somewhere. I love homebrewing and have been doing it for over 3 years now. My friend and I started out the same way as everyone else, with the simple 5 gallon extract batches, but now we've upgraded substantially. We do 15 gallon all-grain batches on a three tier system using modified commercial kegs as kettles.

To anyone who is on the fence about jumping into all-grain, I highly suggest you go for it. It seems really complicated at first, but after a batch or two it becomes really simple. Not to mention that all-grain will save you a lot of money in the long run. Extract is so expensive compared to the malted grain.

We have also acquired some other goodies throughout the year that aren't necessary, but they sure are nice. We have a high temperature food grade water pump which you can see mounted underneath our brew table that we use for all of our 'heavy lifting'. We also have 2 chest freezers that each have an independent temperature regulator so we can maintain an exact fermenting temperature for up to 60 gallons at a time.

Not counting labor, we can brew most beers at about 50 cents or less a beer, which beats most commercial beers on price and destroys them on quality. The two biggest tips on can give to reduce the price of ingredients for brewing is to switch to all grain and buy your hops in bulk.

hopsdirect.com is the website that we have used for a few years and they are great. The smallest quantity that you can order is 1 pound, so we will buy a years worth of hops and store them in the freezer. One thing about hopsdirect.com is that they will run out of the more popular varieties quickly after the harvest in early fall so you have to be on the ball about ordering.

Oh, and someone mentioned it earlier, but austinhomebrew.com is where we get all of our supplies besides hops and they are a great company. I highly recommend them if you are anywhere near Texas.

I have a bunch more pictures of our setup is anyone is interested or if you have any questions feel free to ask and maybe you can avoid many of the mistakes that we learned the hard way. Best of luck and happy brewing!

Turd Ferguson
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Very cool

and making me very thirsty, too.

punchbowl
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Wild yeast

Dr. Durden -- wild yeasts tend to produce bitter off flavours.  Why not use an ale or white wine yeast and forego that risk not to mention the window you would be providing for bacterial infections?

keh10 -- have the same set up.  Great to bang off 4 batches of 50 liters each for a total of 600 beers.  In one day.  Costs about  $0.35/ beer.  Way cheaper especially for us Canucks with some of the worlds most expensive quaff ala sin tax.

The kits really make mediocre beer and though it isn't as cheap as all grain I would recommend  the extract method for those starting.  You dont need a fancy set up and you can make quality beer. 

Adventures
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Dang I'm still on extracts.

I will start growing my own hops this year and about April I think I'll be ready to try my first all grain beer.  I did finish my first Lager and testing a new wheat beer recipe of my own design.

Brewing beer is easy if not simple and if you can boil water you can make beer from extract. It cost me about $26.00 for all my ingredients to make 2 cases + of handcrafted beer at home. That's a great buy on good beer per case and that's the expensive way to brew. 

Punchbowl I have a great local store and my Beer lady,  for ingredients and she sells everything from whole grains to extracts. My Block is looking to start a beer club and we have 4 brewers on the block!

Plus it's a ton of fun!

stalking wolf
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Hops Sucks your energy (Libido)

Get the book, "Sacred and herbal healing beers", by Stephen Buhner.

I made this and became immune to winter for a few hours, quite exhilarating.

6 pounds of honey using champagne yeast.

1 Handful of  wild yarrow not the cultivar(white flowers), and  wormwood.

2 handfuls of bayberry(myrica pensilvanicum), Ground Ivy, Mugwort.

2 arm loads of culinary sage

Very tasty, kinda like flowers, and pleasantly bitter, from the yarrow wormwood, and mugwort.

Yarrow is a blood stimulant,(makes you warm and energized), wormwood, bayberry, and sage are gentle psycho-actives, mugwort more so when asleep(very colorful dreams). Ground ivy adds an evergreen flavor and helps the proteins drop for a clearer brew.

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keh10
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I've seen and read some of

I've seen and read some of that book you are talking about, SW. I once made a beer with Yarrow leaves as a substitute for hops and it came out pretty well after it had aged a while. But yeah, that book is really cool.

stalking wolf
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Shit I could of stacked a lot more!

I just realized if I made 100% of my alcohol last year I would be up another 66.6 Ag's ozs.!

Just made a root beer mead!

Sarsaparilla, sassafras, licorice, pine, ground ivy, cherry bark, birch bark, and yarrow!

I have nothing against any of the catholics out there, unless of course you require me to hop my beer, then we have a problem:)

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