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Homebrew?

So my wife, knowing me as well as she does, has ensured my brain will be preoccupied for months and months on end... for Christmas, she got a a homebrew set up.

And I love it.

I've not tasted a sip of homebrewed beer yet, but I love it. The smell of the grains, adding the hops, cooling the wort... It's a blast. I'm all ready planning more exotic brews and can't wait to taste my first batch (an Amber Ale).

Anybody else do the homebrew thang? Tips? Suggestions?

BEER!

I do not homebrew, but I homedrink.  So if you need any assistance tasting the bounty (I have a very refined palate, LOL) just let me know.

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I've been brewing on and off for several years. I think the trickiest part of the process when you first start out is the bottling and sanitation. If you have a dishwasher, that is the bestest way to ensure your bottle are ready for the nectar of gods. I really don't like the bottling process and the wait (bottle conditioning) that goes along with it so I keg all my brew these days. It's so much easier, and I get to drink it in half the time. :) Check out homebrewtalk.com It's a forum you can learn loads from.

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I've brewed a bit myself, and have to agree with Puppyluva, kegging is the way to go, but there is added expense.

Generally, the easiest beer to have come out correctly (if you are making up your own recipe) are IPA's.  The higher the alpha acid content, the less you have to worry about bacteria affecting the flavor.

I also found out the hard way that using fruit (or pumpkin) and having it affect the flavor of beer positively is not easy.  I made a mango-ginger hefeweizen, and after primary, and secondary fermentation it tasted and smelled amazing.  However, after sitting in the bottles, it developed a sour flavor, and was more akin to a cider.  I still drank it (naturally) but I researched later and found out I should have soaked the fresh mango and even the grated ginger in vodka before I put it in fermenter.  Don't add fruit to the boil, the pectin will develop like snot.  Later I made a vanilla stout, and the vanilla beans were properly added to vodka, and it turned out great.  My current batch is a cinnamon stout.

I'm glad you're enjoying the process!  It will be even more amazing when you get to try your beer for the first time.

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Awesome, thank you both. Well, you too catpanclub. Taste buds are an invaluable resource - to offer yours for such a noble cause is inspiring.

I've been a sanitation freak so far. I'm getting a glass secondary fermenter this weekend. Any recommendations on siphoning? Is an auto-siphoner worth it?

Also, please to be teling me of kegging. I'm still sorting out my first batch, but I'm all ready thinking ahead. I can all ready see some benefits to kegging, but I'd like a bit more first hand detail of the process, if you don't mind.

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You definitely don't need an auto-siphoner in my opinion.  I've never had a problem with just a regular tube and my mouth... just make sure to put something over the tube so you aren't putting your saliva into your beer. :)

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Haven't done any brewing for beer, but I make my own wine. Takes a bit longer (patience!), but it's a lot of fun. Definitely get your hands on a apfelwein recipe and have at it. It's super easy and drinkable after only a couple months. AND DELICIOUS!

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Ugh, I have so been trying to find the time to complete some home brewed deliciousness. I recently got a book called " Making Stuff and Doing Things" by Kyle Bravo (highly reccomend, it rules!!!) In the book it goes over the basic how-to for homemade beer as well as some stuff on flavoring. I can`t wait to make myself some sort of yummy hearty lager or save a ton of money from not having to buy it! Let me know how it goes for you though, I`m sure there will be some sort of trouble shooting for me later. Happy Brewing!

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Ugh, I have so been trying to find the time to complete some home brewed deliciousness. I recently got a book called " Making Stuff and Doing Things" by Kyle Bravo (highly reccomend, it rules!!!) In the book it goes over the basic how-to for homemade beer as well as some stuff on flavoring. I can`t wait to make myself some sort of yummy hearty lager or save a ton of money from not having to buy it! Let me know how it goes for you though, I`m sure there will be some sort of trouble shooting for me later. Happy Brewing!

Well, unless you are using some really cheap ingredients, homebrewing won't exactly save you money.  Aside from the time it takes, it costs about a dollar per bottle of beer (if you are brewing with malt extract) or more, which is about 20 cents less per beer than buying quality beer at a store.  That is not counting the initial investment of equipment you need.  I don't mind though, it is well worth it for me.

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Ugh, I have so been trying to find the time to complete some home brewed deliciousness. I recently got a book called " Making Stuff and Doing Things" by Kyle Bravo (highly reccomend, it rules!!!) In the book it goes over the basic how-to for homemade beer as well as some stuff on flavoring. I can`t wait to make myself some sort of yummy hearty lager or save a ton of money from not having to buy it! Let me know how it goes for you though, I`m sure there will be some sort of trouble shooting for me later. Happy Brewing!

Well, unless you are using some really cheap ingredients, homebrewing won't exactly save you money.  Aside from the time it takes, it costs about a dollar per bottle of beer (if you are brewing with malt extract) or more, which is about 20 cents less per beer than buying quality beer at a store.  That is not counting the initial investment of equipment you need.  I don't mind though, it is well worth it for me.

I dunno, it costs me anywhere between 28 and 32 dollars to make 5 gallons which comes out to about 53 12 oz. beers (if I'm doing the math right). $30 for 2 cases and a sixes of some real good beer sounds like a deal to me. A decent sixes in these parts will set you back $10.

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Awesome, thank you both. Well, you too catpanclub. Taste buds are an invaluable resource - to offer yours for such a noble cause is inspiring.

I've been a sanitation freak so far. I'm getting a glass secondary fermenter this weekend. Any recommendations on siphoning? Is an auto-siphoner worth it?

Also, please to be teling me of kegging. I'm still sorting out my first batch, but I'm all ready thinking ahead. I can all ready see some benefits to kegging, but I'd like a bit more first hand detail of the process, if you don't mind.

It sounds strange after how careful you are with the process of sanitizing everything to perfection, but I as well just use a bit of beer line and my mouth and have yet to brew a foul batch.
Kegging is the shit. The process is pretty straight forward. You use a container known as a corny (cornelius) keg. It's a 5 gallon stainless steel keg that has a removable top that they used to distribute soda with back in the 80's.  Basically, when you get to the point to where you would normally add your bottling sugar and bottle, you just skip the sugar and cane the beer straight in to the keg. Refrigerate over night, and then you can either force carbonate (which is what I do, I'm impatient) by cranking the co2 up to 40-50psi and shaking the keg in your lap, or you can set the co2 erg to whatever carbonation psi you want your beer to be at( somewhere between 8-14psi usually) and wait a week or so. Hope this helps with your decision!

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Ugh, I have so been trying to find the time to complete some home brewed deliciousness. I recently got a book called " Making Stuff and Doing Things" by Kyle Bravo (highly reccomend, it rules!!!) In the book it goes over the basic how-to for homemade beer as well as some stuff on flavoring. I can`t wait to make myself some sort of yummy hearty lager or save a ton of money from not having to buy it! Let me know how it goes for you though, I`m sure there will be some sort of trouble shooting for me later. Happy Brewing!

Well, unless you are using some really cheap ingredients, homebrewing won't exactly save you money.  Aside from the time it takes, it costs about a dollar per bottle of beer (if you are brewing with malt extract) or more, which is about 20 cents less per beer than buying quality beer at a store.  That is not counting the initial investment of equipment you need.  I don't mind though, it is well worth it for me.

I dunno, it costs me anywhere between 28 and 32 dollars to make 5 gallons which comes out to about 53 12 oz. beers (if I'm doing the math right). $30 for 2 cases and a sixes of some real good beer sounds like a deal to me. A decent sixes in these parts will set you back $10.

Do you use malt extract?  It generally costs me about $40 worth of malt extract alone to brew the ales I'm fond of, plus an extra $10-12 for the hops, and around $8 for the malted barley.  I haven't done any all grain brewing yet, but I imagine it would cost less...

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And again, thanks to you both. octoberbunny, the truth is somewhere between Puppyluva and Camillus as far as the cost of homebrewing goes. It can be pricey, especially if you don't have access to some common free sources of equipment... But after initial  costs, it can be a bit of a money saver. You'd have to brew for a while to come out on the upside, but yes, it could save you money.

Camillus, try midwestsupplies.com they seem to have some good prices on malt extract, grains et al... plus they have pre measured kits that seem reasonably priced.

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Cool, thanks!

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Ugh, I have so been trying to find the time to complete some home brewed deliciousness. I recently got a book called " Making Stuff and Doing Things" by Kyle Bravo (highly reccomend, it rules!!!) In the book it goes over the basic how-to for homemade beer as well as some stuff on flavoring. I can`t wait to make myself some sort of yummy hearty lager or save a ton of money from not having to buy it! Let me know how it goes for you though, I`m sure there will be some sort of trouble shooting for me later. Happy Brewing!

Well, unless you are using some really cheap ingredients, homebrewing won't exactly save you money.  Aside from the time it takes, it costs about a dollar per bottle of beer (if you are brewing with malt extract) or more, which is about 20 cents less per beer than buying quality beer at a store.  That is not counting the initial investment of equipment you need.  I don't mind though, it is well worth it for me.

I dunno, it costs me anywhere between 28 and 32 dollars to make 5 gallons which comes out to about 53 12 oz. beers (if I'm doing the math right). $30 for 2 cases and a sixes of some real good beer sounds like a deal to me. A decent sixes in these parts will set you back $10.

Do you use malt extract?  It generally costs me about $40 worth of malt extract alone to brew the ales I'm fond of, plus an extra $10-12 for the hops, and around $8 for the malted barley.  I haven't done any all grain brewing yet, but I imagine it would cost less...

I use extract as well. I get my supplies from here really cheap>http://www.listermann.com/
They are only about 20 minutes away, so no shipping costs. Maybe that's how I'm getting away so cheaply?

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My husband  brews beer a few times a year and I help a little, mostly with sanitizing and drinking.  His latest batch is a plain old continental pilsner but he wants to give it some strawberry flavor.  The guy at the brew store suggested putting strawberry extract in before bottling.  Have any of you all ever done that?  My husband is afraid he'll ruin the beer.

Also, just a comment...he is all about the pump siphoner we used when trying to make my wine.  He often gets funk-nasty tasting wort in his mouth with just the tube and mouth suction.  Maybe he just sucks too hard, but he appreciates that contraption.

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Thanks for the advice guys! I had assumed I would be putting out atleast $50 for initial start up. I already have some of the materials like bottles, a big pot, carboy, a cheese cloth, a thermometer, a siphoning tube and rubber stoppers from various art classes and what I have available through friends. I also have a pretty awesome farmers market where I can get hops, barley and yeast pretty cheap, although I`m not quite sure if they are open in the winter  :-\. So, hopefully I can save a few bucks there but the fermentation lock is where I`m screwed. I live in the sticks so I don`t know how easy it will be to obtain one ( might have to ebay it). Also, sanitizing the materials might be a pain (don`t want to drink paint) but I was hoping to just use some iodine. All in all, I will let you guys know how it goes when I finally have the time to try it. I`m pretty excited though because I have been wanting to do it for a while now and really like the idea of not having to depend on a corporation for my beer drinking pleasure. :)

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Thanks for the advice guys! I had assumed I would be putting out atleast $50 for initial start up. I already have some of the materials like bottles, a big pot, carboy, a cheese cloth, a thermometer, a siphoning tube and rubber stoppers from various art classes and what I have available through friends. I also have a pretty awesome farmers market where I can get hops, barley and yeast pretty cheap, although I`m not quite sure if they are open in the winter  :-\. So, hopefully I can save a few bucks there but the fermentation lock is where I`m screwed. I live in the sticks so I don`t know how easy it will be to obtain one ( might have to ebay it). Also, sanitizing the materials might be a pain (don`t want to drink paint) but I was hoping to just use some iodine. All in all, I will let you guys know how it goes when I finally have the time to try it. I`m pretty excited though because I have been wanting to do it for a while now and really like the idea of not having to depend on a corporation for my beer drinking pleasure. :)

You won't be able to use the barley from the farmers market to brew with. You'll need to use extract until you really get the hang of the process. To go whole grain, you'll need much more equipment ($$), planning and experience. Hth.

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Thanks for the advice guys! I had assumed I would be putting out atleast $50 for initial start up. I already have some of the materials like bottles, a big pot, carboy, a cheese cloth, a thermometer, a siphoning tube and rubber stoppers from various art classes and what I have available through friends. I also have a pretty awesome farmers market where I can get hops, barley and yeast pretty cheap, although I`m not quite sure if they are open in the winter  :-\. So, hopefully I can save a few bucks there but the fermentation lock is where I`m screwed. I live in the sticks so I don`t know how easy it will be to obtain one ( might have to ebay it). Also, sanitizing the materials might be a pain (don`t want to drink paint) but I was hoping to just use some iodine. All in all, I will let you guys know how it goes when I finally have the time to try it. I`m pretty excited though because I have been wanting to do it for a while now and really like the idea of not having to depend on a corporation for my beer drinking pleasure. :)

I'll plug www.midwestsupplies.com again for an airlock. Their prices on most of the gear is really reasonable... and they deliver!

And as for sanitizing - bleach is your cheap-o answer:

http://www.howtobrew.com/section1/chapter2-2-3.html

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Just wanted to say that I tasted my first batch this past weekend - VICTORY! The Mrs. even liked it. We
re going to let it age a bit more... while I brew even more.

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Awesome AIS!  Congratulations :)

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