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The Beer Home Brewers Thread

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by capnsandwich, Jul 2, 2010.

  1. I was just inspired by this thread to start a thread about home brewing your own beer. As much as I love beer, it is expensive and it can drive the wife insane every time she has to buy it for you and sees the prices of the good stuff. My wife can't understand how I can't settle for the $5.99/6 pack stuff when the stuff I buy is $9.99/6 pack. I think it's time for me to venture into brewing my own.

    This thread is about all you guys who brew your own and want to share tricks and secrets about what makes good brew better. I know there are forums and websites about this but there are also TB'ers who have been doing this for years and have plenty of experience.
  2. TJ55


    Jun 5, 2010
    My favorite thing about brewing most of the beer I drink myself is that it is my beer. You can be sure w/ 100% certainty that no other beer on the planet is exactly like it. I find it pretty satisfing.

    You can take a cloned recipe of your favorite beer and try to dublicate it. I prefer to take different qualities from several of my favorite IPAs and try to incorporate them into one brew. Kind of an "All Star" if you will.

    You can take qualities from different styles of beer and make a hybrid style beer thats all your own.

    I could go on but these reasons to just name a few....
  3. hbarcat

    hbarcat Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2006
    Rochelle, Illinois
    I'll be the first to say it - anyone who want to start homebrewing should first buy this book and read it:

  4. jp58


    Dec 9, 2009
  5. hbarcat

    hbarcat Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2006
    Rochelle, Illinois

    FYI - The cost of homebrewing 5 gallons of beer (about fifty 12oz bottles) is in the range of $25-$50. This is high quality beer that will taste as good or better than anything you can buy from a store and it works out to about $3-$6 per six pack.

    The downside is the time and effort that goes into brewing. Throwing beer ingredients together half-assed just because you want cheap beer always results in crappy beer. The lesson is you should homebrew because you want to make good beer and you enjoy doing it yourself.

    Relax. Don't worry. Have a homebrew.
  6. gkbass13

    gkbass13 Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2006
    I was planning on doing a pale ale and a stout of some sort this summer, but I just don't have the room in my apartment, so the room mate shot the idea down. And off went 30 or so Grolsch bottles to the recycling center...
  7. 6jase5

    6jase5 Mammogram is down but I'm working manually Supporting Member

    Dec 17, 2007
    San Diego/LA
    Your wife would really love my buying of Chimay Blue at $11.99 per bottle. I have to have at least one a week. Mine just laughs. I'm starting to home brew in September as the house remodel will be done and then I can have some fun stinking up the garage.
  8. baba

    baba Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2002
    3rd stone from the sun
    Long time brewer here. There is a good thread like this in Off Topic from a few years ago. I'm too lazy to dig it up, but it's worth a read. As suggested, you should really read the Joy of Homebrewing to get you started. That will answer all the big questions and more.
  9. Thanks guys. I'm reading this while drinking a 12 pack of Dundee mixed brews I bought. They can't compare to the good stuff I've had recently. I had some home brew on tap at a Berkley Springs, WV. restaurant that blew my mind. If all beer tasted like that then the world would be a better place.
  10. seansbrew


    Oct 23, 2000
    Mesa AZ.
    +1 A must have for any homebrewer.

    I love homebrew!

    Beer, Mead, Wine and Sake... it's what I do.
  11. I love homebrews. I've been meaning to start, but being a broke college student has it's downsides. I went to the homebrew store a few weeks ago after I took a tour of the Yuengling brewery. It was an awesome day. They give out free samples. Free delicious samples. :hyper:
  12. UncleFluffy


    Mar 8, 2009
    Head Tinkerer, The Flufflab
    Papazian + Palmer are the guys to read.

    A while back I'd promised to throw together a "your first brew" instruction sheet for TBers, but I ended up getting distracted by moving house. Once the man-cave is unpacked (which is going to take a while) I'll get back on it.

    Or, alternatively, I can post the photos and let the other brewers on TB provide suitably snarky text. Might be amusing...
  13. sloasdaylight

    sloasdaylight Banned

    Feb 4, 2009
    Tampa, Florida, US
    Just FYI fluffy, I'm the king of snark; I think you should post the pictures.
  14. UncleFluffy


    Mar 8, 2009
    Head Tinkerer, The Flufflab
    OK, here goes. I'll post all the pictures I put together in a post following this one. This was for an as-simple-as-possible brewing process:

    - extract + pellet hops, no grains
    - single fermenter
    - dry yeast

    The beer is tasty, drinkable but not especially distinctive in any way.

    I'll post the pictures, then invite the TB homebrewers to come up with captions that are (a) informative, and (b) amusing in a snarky way. These will then get edited into the post so that we end up with a "TB guide to your first brew".

    (edit) Note: This is intended as a simple-as-possible starting point with the minimum of equipment. There is some deliberately sloppy technique just to keep things easy.
  15. UncleFluffy


    Mar 8, 2009
    Head Tinkerer, The Flufflab















































  16. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    I use to work in a Microbrewery. It was one of the coolest jobs of my youth. I was trained in the Brewing of Lagers to the Reinheitsgebot standard. I've been thinking about setting up something at home, but have too many other hobbies and too little time to get to them all.

    One of my old guitarists and a really good friend throughout High School has a neat home brew website... check it out

  17. In addition to Papazian's book and what Fluffy has mentioned, as soon as possible, a wort chiller is a good thing to have. This allows you to cool the wort (pre-fermented beer) and get them off the hops ASAP. Hops are good, but when the wort sits on them at higher temps for a while, you tend to have a certain bitterness that makes the beers an "obvious" homebrew. They're still drinkable, but a wort chiller really cleans up the flavor.

    A secondary fermenter is a good thing to have as it allows some of the sediment to settle out. I still use mine most of the time.

    I've been brewing for about 2-3 years. I still haven't gone all grain. I'm hesitant of all grain, but I'd need a lot more free time, which probably isn't going to happen anytime soon.
  18. seansbrew


    Oct 23, 2000
    Mesa AZ.

    ye ole wort chiller.
  19. Ripper


    Aug 16, 2005
    I've been scanning the internets looking at homebrewing for the past couple of years. My dad makes his own wine and now brandy/grain alcohol so i've been around it. Of course, being on a broke college kid budget its always nice to have a cheap alternative to $18 6-packs of Bell's Stout or $15 cases of Stroh's or Black Label.

    What my biggest question about it is, how do you guys bottle it? Do you actually bottle it/keg it/cask it? I was looking at starting up my own for the semi-fraternity house that i'm going to be living in next term, and I was just trying to figure out the easiest way to chill it and drink it.
  20. UncleFluffy


    Mar 8, 2009
    Head Tinkerer, The Flufflab
    For simple brews that only do a 1-2 gallon partial boil you can chill the wort by putting the pot in a sink full of cold water and changing the water every 5 minutes as per Q&R above. Add ice to the sink for an even faster cooldown. Once you get to full volume boils then you definitely need a chiller.

    I use one of the regular copper coil immersion chillers - seansbrew, how do the plate chillers like the one you're using compare? Are they worth the extra $$$?

    Definitely a good idea. Some people don't bother, but I use a secondary even now I have a conical to use as a primary. Much clearer beer and better dry-hopping.

    It adds maybe 3 hours to your brew day, but the improvement in clarity and control is worth it (for me).