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Home Beer Brewing......Anyone Here a Brewer?

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by tpet96, Jan 12, 2005.

  1. tpet96

    tpet96 Banned

    Anyone on OGF brew their own beer(s) at home? Looking to get into this hobby next fall. Doing tons of research now.....and it looks quite fun. Just looking for anyone around here that might do it.
  2. Carpn


    The wife and I have brewed a few batches from the brew kits you see sold here and there. Its pretty easy to do it that way. Just follow the directions. I know others who buy the ingredients seperatly and make their own brews. Some turn out OK and others have ended up with a slight vinigar taste. I've heard to use corn sugar instead of regular white sugar. I'm gonna try that in our next batch.

  3. tpet96

    tpet96 Banned

    That's cool. Yeah, I plan to do it from scratch......with carboys and all. We'll see though. LOL.

    KSUFLASH respect our rivers please

    Been brewing for 5 years now. Whatcha wanna know? Also do wine, of which is a bit more advanced.

    Most brew ever made in a year was 50 gallons!!!!

  5. I've been brewing off and on for 5 years. Last winter I brewed like 5 batches. I buy all my supplies from Leener's. They have a store over in Macedonia plus they also have a GREAT website: . I highly recommend them for supplies. If you have questions on brewing they are also very helpful.

    Another great site for brewing is: . This site has a great set of forums setup for homebrewing with many many seasoned homebrewers.

    I pretty much brew from kits. I've had a lot of luck from Brewer's Best kits that are sold at Leeners and other places. It comes basically with all the ingredients you would need. Aside of that you can buy a basic equipment kit and your ready for your first batch. I like this approach much better than those kits you can find in Walmart, etc that are like instant brew kit stuff.

    It's quite a bit of tedious work but as long as you have an environment where you can do everything, keep everything very very clean and sterile then your batches of beer will be better than beer you'd buy from stores in many cases! The #1 thing people do wrong is not wash and rinse their equipment, bottles, and for that matter anything that is going to touch your beer at any phase of the process. It all needs to be as bacteria free as possible. It doesn't take much bacteria to make your beer taste different.

    Some of my buddies have had my beer and swear it's some of the best beer they've ever had.

    KSUFLASH, I admire your dedication. I can't claim to have made anything close to that. I've made about 25 gallons in one year max.

    It's a lot of fun and definately very satifying once you put out your first good beer!

    KSUFLASH respect our rivers please

    Clean is the key!!!! They sell a one step sanitizer that I wash everything with from my bottles, to my spoons, pots, bottle caps, etc... Learning the hydrometer is important as well. Knowing when to move from the primary to the secondary is important. Knowing when to bottle is important. I started off using kits that included all the materials that you need to brew, all you had to do is have the fermenters, and small this and thats to do it. I have over the years since moved up the food chain and now buy all the materials separatley and make different styles of brew that aren't neccisaraly combined in a kit.

    YEAST!!!!!!!!!! It is so important to use quality yeast that I can't stress it enough. I remember the first time I used live yeast that was in a liquid form. And I will never go back to the packets of dried yeast again. You get a quicker fermentation process of which is what you want, due to the quicker it begins to ferment the less likely bacteria will begin to grow.

    Also note, don't pitch that yeast into the wart when it is still 75 degrees or hotter after boiling and sitting for a while. Gotta cool that wart down, or the yeast will get killed by the heat.

    Active fermentation begins within 12 hours, and you will know it because your fermatation locks will be bubbling like crazy.

    I don't use water in my fermantation locks. There is a problem during active fermantation where there is a chance that the liquid in the airlock can be sucked into the bucket and if this is normal water, the bacteria is quite great. I use vodka, of which bacteria doesnt live in well, and if it gets sucked into the bucket, its no big deal and you wont taste it.

    Carbonation sugar is an interesting topic. Basically during fermentation the yeast uses all the sugar you thorw into your batch during boil and it feeds on it. The bi-product of the yeast eating the suger is the alchohol content of the beer. Once you either run out of sugar in the brew, or the alchohol content is too high for the yeast to survive, your fermentation process stops, and the yeast goes dormant, but not dead.
    When you get to the bottling process and you add your priming sugar, it wakes up the yeast, and since you will now have caps on the bottles, the pressure in the bottle begins to grow and carbonation begins. Usually about 3 weeks for the kit styles of beer will give you carbonation.

    Be careful when adding priming sugar, too much and you will be making beer bombs as the bottles can only hold so much pressure until they explode, and I have tested this theory, and they do blow up.

    So much more to talk about on this subject, but there are a few pointers for you all.

    Note: using champaine yeast in place of brewers yeast allows for WAY higher alchohol content!!! :) Due to this style of yeast can survive longer in higher alcohol content enviroments.

  7. gonefishin'

    gonefishin' Lifestyle Farmer

    I brewed for a couple years with a buddy till he moved back to Texas. Very satisfying hobby. Truly brewing from scratch would be difficult. I used kits and bought bulk supplies and even tried growing hops. When and if I do it again I'll use kegs instead of bottles. Cleaning the bottles was a nightmare. I got around to using bigger bottles though. We were starting a batch (5 gal.) every other week. Out of 30 some batches I only had one bad batch and that was from getting in a hurry and not being clean. If you do it keep good records so you'll know what to do or not do in the future. I found lots of good info on the web and was even buying my supplies on the web. If you want some starts for hops let me know, March is when they should be transplanted. I have "Northern Brewers" and "English Kent Goldings". I now sub out all of my brewing to the Miller Brewing Company and some of the micro breweries.
  8. Great read Flash!! You hit that stuff right on the head.

    Do you normally let your liquid yeast vial set out at room temps for 12hrs or so before the actual pitching happens? I've only used Liquid yeast one time. I've had good results with the dry yeast that comes with the kits but I hear what your saying about the liquid yeast speeding things up a bit on the fermentation process. I know there are other ways to prepare the liquid yeast also...just never used them.

    Cooling the wort down is a chore to do fast (which is important). I have a big tub that I fill with ice/water. I take my stainless steel cooking pot and basically submerge 3/4 of the pot till it reaches acceptable temps. Then I put chilled wort and my chilled 3 gallons of water in my fermentation bucket trying to achieve the average temps that whatever yeast your using will get a good start in...

    I also use that One Step No-Rinse Sanitizer.

    How do you do approach these phases?

    KSUFLASH respect our rivers please

    Here is what I do in a nutshell.

    Boil 2 gallons of water in a stainless steel pot big enough to hold water and all the ingredients. After rolling boil of water, add your ingredients other than the yeast obviously. Boil per instructions on the recipie. Remove pot from stove and let it sit. If you wanna get technical. You are boiling water for 2 reasons. One is to disolve the ingredients into the water such as sugar, malt, hops, and any extra ingredients per recipie. The other reason you boil the water is to remove bacteria from the water. If you then pour that pristine fresh wart into an additional 2 gallons of water un boiled, you in a sense add bacteria back into your wart. Likely hood this would cause issues is minimal, but the taste of beer with water that has all been boiled rather than half of it is different. I boil all 5 gallons of water.

    There are a multitude of ways to cool the now boiled recipie, called the "wart". The most popular for those whom do alot of brewing is a wart chiller, but can be made by your local plumber. Basically is is copper tubing twisted up like a spring, you force cold water through one end of the pipe via your faucet, and the water comes out the other end back down into the sink tub. The other more economical way is to plan a bit ahead. Boil water the day before, let it cool, then pour this water into ice trays, free them too cubes, then when you need to cool down that wart, just throw the ice into the mix rather than sit the pot into the sink with ice. You will find cooling the wart down is quick this way. If you don't want to do all this boiling of water, you can use distilled water, as I have had good results when I just want to boil the 2 gallons for the ingredients, then mix 2 gallons of distilled water from the store.

    After you have gotten your wart down to temperature, around 75 degrees or so, and you have your wart in your 5 gallon primary fermenter, of which some use plastic buckets, and others use glass carboys. You can then pitch your yeast, either dry or liquid.

    When it comes to dry yeast. The trick to getting this stuff to work fast when you pitch it is too make what they call a "starter batch" you take either some or all of the yeast in the packet, mix it in a small bowl with warm water, this will re-hydrate the yeast, make it look puffed up per say, and begins the process of the yeast reproducing itself. This only takes about 30min. If you do not do this step with dry yeast, you will notice it takes a long time for the fermentation process to start in the the primary bucket.

    If you are going to use liquid yeast, there are many out there, some are in foil packets that look like juice boxes, and others are in actual vials. They are kept in the fridge at the store. If you are going to use it right away, then keep it out. If you are going to use it in a few days, put it back in the fridge until the night before. When ready to use, the foil pack yeast needs to be smacked to break the 2 packets inside the main one. One packet holds the liquid yeast, and the other packet holds the food for the yeast to grow. This packet must be left at room temp. for 24 hours until use. If you go with the vial of yeast. Once it gets to room temp. it is ready to go. Shake it up and pitch it in.

    I almost forgot, before pitching yeast, you need to check the specific gravity of your wart before adding yeast. This way you know a starting point, and later in the week when you try it again, you can tell how far you have come. After you have those readings and have pitched the yeast. When you pitch the yeast, you want to get a long spoon and whip up the wart like you were making whip cream, you are putting air into the wart so that the yeast can activate faster, if you just pitch the yeast and do nothing, it takes longer. You also are speading the yeast molecules througout the beer which also quickens fermentation. Close the lid of the bucket and put on that air lock. The airlocks come in many sizes and types, but the theory is the same. Preventing air from getting to the wart and stopping bacteria from getting in. Gases are allowed to escape the airlock, but normal air cant get in. See my comment about vodka in the airlock.

    After a few hours you will begin hearing a bubbling noise from your airlock. This is a good thing. When yeast eats sugar, it produces alchohol, and also produces gases of which escape through the airlock, hence the bubbling noise. After a few days, pop the lid and take a sample of the beer and measure it again with the hydrometer. If you don't have a "wine theif" and a test tub big enough to hold beer and hydrometer, you can use "One Step Sanitizer" to clean your hydrometer and then just gently lower the hydrometer in to the bucket. "NOTE: if you drop the hydrometer into the bucket, it will go to the bottom and shatter, hence your beer is hosed, unless you like glass in your mouth when drinking brew. Take it from me, i dropped on in before"

    Take your reading. Compare it to the starting value. On your recipie it will tell you at what number you should move your wart, of which can now be considered beer to the secondary fermenter. A secondary fermenter is basically another bucket or glass carboy that allows you to transfer the beer off the top of the sludge or "turb" from the bottom of the bucket and move it into another clean enviroment. If you leave the beer in the primary too long, you will begin to pickup bad tastes from the turb on the bottom of the bucket. After transfering to the secondary. I can be left in there until you reach the desired specific gravity. I have know some whom have left their beer in the secondary for months due to the didn't have time, and it was fine.

    After you have reached the final secondary stage, it is time for bottling. Wash everything you touch, from caps, to bottles, to tools, pots, siphons, etc... in One Step Sanitizer. I do not recommend bleach as it is very difficult to get all the bleach from something you apply it too.

    You can wash your bottles in the dishwasher if you wish, no soap just water and heat.

    You siphon the beer from secondary into what they call the bottling bucket. It is basically another bucket that has a spicket on the bottom of it that you attach a hose to, you turn on the spicket and out comes beer through the hose and into the bottle you are filling.

    Before filling bottles, you must add priming sugar to your beer. This is used when you are going to carbonate the beer in the bottle rather than putting beer in a keg and using CO2 to accomplish the carbonation stage. Don't add anymore sugar than what is stated in the recipie. After you add suger and have stirred, fill bottles and cap them. 5 gallons of beer makes approx. 48 bottles of beer. After capping, i put the bottles in a box and then into the basement. Note: don't keep the beer cold, and don't put it into the fridge. You are attempting to revive some of the yeast by giving it sugar, except this time fermentation isn't what your looking for, but rather carbonation. This happens where there is no where for the gas bi-product of the yeast to go, due to the cap on the bottle, so it pressurizes the bottle and in turn creates carbonation.

    Depending on the recipie, it can take anywhere from 3 weeks to many months until the brew is ready. I typically after 2 weeks will crack open a brew and test it out.

    Take note if you hear a sound when you pop that cap. If you hear a hiss, then that is a good thing, if you hear nothing, that is a bad thing, but there are advanced ways of trying to get your beer to carbonate in the bottle. That is a subject one day in the "Help my beer doesn't carbonate" thread.

    Taste the beer first with a sip and not a gulp. If you were clean throughout the process, you should have a good brew, if not, you will know fast. Depending on the style of beer you make, you may or may not have alot of head on the top of the beer.

    And that is beer making for the new guys.

  10. Miso_Ohio

    Miso_Ohio Green Eggs And Ham

    Thanks You Thank You Thank You

    That description makes mode sense to me then anything I have heard before. I use to work in a Rest that had a micro brewery in that was run by the guy who does all the Barley's beer. I use to watch the process but never stayed throughout the whole thing so I sort of understood it but not 100%. Bought what was suppose to be a really good beer making book, but it did not make a lot of sense to me, probably will after I make a batch or two, anyways scared me and I just gave up the dream for quite a while.

    From what you described, I could pretty much make up a list and buy the stuff to make it. I always thought about gouing to a beer store, but from what you describe, I could pick most (not all) of it up at Lowes. Also on the airlock, from what you dexribe, is it pretty much similar to a plumbing type lock, a pipe coming out with an S in it that you can fill the Bend up with liquid (vodka) to prevent air (bacteria and smells) from getting in?

    Also if you are to keg the beer would 5 gallon fill a half keg or is that more like a 1/4 keg ? Also where do you buy empty kegs and how hard are they the clean and then seal back up. First batch may be bottled, but once I get a couple recipes down, I am filling the kegerater up with some smooth barley malt wine :D
  11. LOL, Flash I've dropped my hydrometer in my fermentation bucket too, breaking the glass and ruined a batch!! OH that made me upset :mad:

    I pretty much follow those steps too, except normally I don't boil the other 3 gallons of water added to my wort. (It is spelled, "wort" :p ). Sounds like a good idea though.

    Flash, I think we probably scared away all the people that were thinking about homebrewering! No doubt about is a tedious process if done right and consumes a few hours a couple different nights. But that beer sure is good.....

    We have a reverse osmosis water system and I've actually used this water and had good results...

    There is a HomeBrewer's class for beginning brewers at Leener's on Saturday, February 5th at 11am. It costs 15 bucks for those who are interested. You might want to call them. I stopped in today to pick up some yeast. She said that they will actually brew a batch in the class and should last about 3 hours.

    KSUFLASH respect our rivers please

    Grape and Granary

    You can checkout their stuff. If you are ever in the Akron area and stop in, just tell them you are new to brewing, they will hook you up with a great starter batch to work on and all the needed equipment. You could be brewing today for around $60-$100

    They also sell kegs and all the new seals, and CO2 tanks, and everything under the sun for brewing and wine making.

    They have a recepie book in the store that you can look through. If and when you find one that you like, they photocopy the sheet for you, then they go and fill the order with the correct yeast, hops, barley, malt, take it home follow the instructions, and walla!!!!!! 48 bottles of beer.

    And they are always happy to help you on the phone if you have questions.

  13. Miso_Ohio

    Miso_Ohio Green Eggs And Ham

    Thanks for the advice, but Akron is kind of a long haul for me. They guy I use to watch brew at Hide Away Hills has a shop here in columbus called The WineMakers Shop I may stop in and say high, don't know if he will remember me.

    First I will make a list if things I will need, being from the rest. business, I have a couple larger pots that can easily hold 5 gallons, and the rest I am sure I can get and modify from a rest supply store. I will probably use the shop to get specialty items and ingredients. Thanks for all the help, you have resparked some interest, now I just got give it a whirl.

    By the way, I do not know if it is the same stuff, but the no rinse sanitizer is pretty popular in bars. Most rest supply houses will carry it, may be cheaper then the beer shops. Sounds like you use a lot.
  14. Character Zero

    Character Zero Smallie Phan

    i have an old keg that i can part with.. bud light was in it, when, i couldnt tell you....
  15. I made some from one of those Mr Beer kits once, was not the best but it all got drank. The most important thing you need for home brewing is a qualified taste tester and you are in luck, I happen to be very qualified and would be willing to help ya out. Let me know when the first batch is ready!:D

    KSUFLASH respect our rivers please

    Well today I showed a newbie how to brew. Seems like he enjoyed learning a bit about beer and what too do. Can't wait to drink the Hazzlenut Brown Ale we made, as well as the raisin wine we whipped up.


  17. crappielooker

    crappielooker The Corn Chucker

    you guys are making me thirsty.. :D
  18. tpet96

    tpet96 Banned

    Thanks for all the info gang. Picked up a couple of books today....going to start some reading :)

    I'll call Leeners and reserve a spot. I don't think I have anyhting planned that day. Seeing it first hand is likely the best way to "learn" the trade if you will :)
  19. I had a great time and I can tell ya'll from firsthand expierence he knows what he is doin!! Thanks a million!!!
  20. tpet96

    tpet96 Banned