Any home brewers out there?

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Any home brewers out there?

Postby count2infinity on Thu Dec 02, 2010 8:12 pm

Just started a Christmas Ale, my first brew ever.

Ingredients:
-Cooper's real ale kit
-Brown sugar (substituted some of the regular sugar with some brown sugar)
-3 orange peels
-1 peeled large piece of ginger
-2 tbsp cinnamon
-1 tbsp allspice
-1 tbsp nutmeg
-2 tbsp vanilla extract


I'm hoping it turns out. Any one have any suggestions (provided this one actually tastes good and i can brew beer) for my next batch when this one is done? I'm thinking like a coffee stout.
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Re: Any home brewers out there?

Postby Guinness on Thu Dec 02, 2010 8:16 pm

Looks good. I don't brew as much as I used to. Need to get started back up. I made a batch of mead a few weeks ago.
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Re: Any home brewers out there?

Postby columbia on Thu Dec 02, 2010 8:17 pm

Guinness wrote:Looks good. I don't brew as much as I used to. Need to get started back up. I made a batch of mead a few weeks ago.


Hmmm. that's the only thing I've ever brewed and it took a good 7 years for it to come of age.
(any earlier and it had a cough syrup quality to it.)
It eventually settled in to something akin to a cognac.
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Re: Any home brewers out there?

Postby Guinness on Thu Dec 02, 2010 8:20 pm

columbia wrote:Hmmm. that's the only thing I've ever brewed and it took a good 7 years for it to come of age.
(any earlier and it had a cough syrup quality to it.)
It eventually settled in to something akin to a cognac.


Nice! I've never let one go 7 years. I have a bottle from a batch I did about 5 years ago. It's been at my folks' house and it's standing up, so I'm sure the cork has dried out.
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Re: Any home brewers out there?

Postby Letang Is The Truth on Thu Dec 02, 2010 8:51 pm

Ive wanted to get into brewing but I dont think my roommate would like it
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Re: Any home brewers out there?

Postby count2infinity on Thu Dec 02, 2010 8:55 pm

Letang Is The Truth wrote:Ive wanted to get into brewing but I dont think my roommate would like it


is your bed a car?

Image
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Re: Any home brewers out there?

Postby PensBeerGeek on Thu Dec 02, 2010 10:55 pm

With spicing, less is more; it should be all right but make sure you're pretty precise in putting in exactly those measurements!

Remember, you want to add the spices in the last 15 minutes of the boil, as any more time will remove their aromatic/flavor quantities from the brew.

If you have any technical questions, let me know; as far as your next choice for a beer...that I leave to your imagination!
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Re: Any home brewers out there?

Postby count2infinity on Thu Dec 02, 2010 11:06 pm

PensBeerGeek wrote:With spicing, less is more; it should be all right but make sure you're pretty precise in putting in exactly those measurements!

Remember, you want to add the spices in the last 15 minutes of the boil, as any more time will remove their aromatic/flavor quantities from the brew.

If you have any technical questions, let me know; as far as your next choice for a beer...that I leave to your imagination!


well...i'm not starting from scratch. i'm starting with a cooper's starter, which you don't actually do a boil. it's already done for you.

i thought i didn't put nearly enough spices in, i was thinking, "start with a small amount of spices, you can add more next time if it's not enough." but then i started looking through online recipes (which i probably should have done first) and they all have much smaller amounts in spices and higher amounts of fruit. we'll see how it turns out. i'll be sure to let everyone know.
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Re: Any home brewers out there?

Postby PensBeerGeek on Thu Dec 02, 2010 11:46 pm

count2infinity wrote:well...i'm not starting from scratch. i'm starting with a cooper's starter, which you don't actually do a boil. it's already done for you.


Even if you are using pre-hopped malt extract, you should always boil your wort, even if just for 15 minutes...it produces better results. (Now that you've made your first beer, I also recommend moving away from kits...using fresh malt extract, specialty grains and hops opens up a lot more opportunities.)

And as for the spicing, I learned when I did my first all-grain beer, also a Christmas ale...I called it a "pureed Christmas tree" because it was just overwhelming!
Last edited by PensBeerGeek on Thu Dec 02, 2010 11:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Any home brewers out there?

Postby Letang Is The Truth on Thu Dec 02, 2010 11:47 pm

count2infinity wrote:
Letang Is The Truth wrote:Ive wanted to get into brewing but I dont think my roommate would like it


is your bed a car?

Image


yea my roommate was was talking about getting me a CB radio so i could talk with other car beds
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Re: Any home brewers out there?

Postby legame on Thu Dec 02, 2010 11:54 pm

1...

2... I've been doing kit beers to get the hang of it before I get into doing everything on my own. A friend and I just made a delicious dunkelweizen.
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Re: Any home brewers out there?

Postby the wicked child on Thu Dec 02, 2010 11:55 pm

My friend made a christmas ale once using a kit. He also decided it would be a good idea to add some "spruce essence" or something like that. It was pretty much undrinkable. :face:
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Re: Any home brewers out there?

Postby guiner on Fri Dec 03, 2010 12:53 am

I use to brew a lot of beer, for a good number of years. I'd often take soda kegs to parties and people loved my beer.

If you want great results, I'd recommend...
clean and sanitize
As mentioned above, don't do kits.
clean and sanitize.
Utilize simple recipes and work with them until you get the results you like, and get a repetoire of beers that you can produce quality results with consistently.

Complex recipes, I found, just are not worth it. The recipe above, IMO, too complex. Its been a decade, but my stout I think was
largest pot of water you can do (I used big kettle with propane king cooker)
5 lbs of light extract (always just use light extract, not dark, use adjuncts to darken or flavor, that is what the makers do, and you lose control. Use light, add specialty grains and malts)
1 lb of dark roasted barley (darken and bitter)
1lb of rolled barley (made like dry oatmeal, which is for head retention and mouthfeel, i.e thickens)
steep those 2 in a bag as you slowly raise to boil (take out just before boil and dispose)
then a couple ounces (?, depends on IBU) of fuggles (find any favorite bitter hop) in 1 hour boil, no aroma hops, not for stout.

when you finish your boil put lid on it and DONT OPEN IT, cool as quickly as possible in ice bath, get it into glass (GLASS) 5 gallon carboy and top to 5 gallons. Avoid opening and sticking anything in finished wort. This is where the beer gets ruined, if you infect it before the yeast can take over the wort.

If you really want to get good results, use liquid yeasts and do a start batch the day before with like 1 gallon of water and a pound of extract (subtract whatever your starter utilzes from main recipe) This will give you a very quick, clean, vigorous primary ferment.

clean and sanitize

the comment above about 7 years and cough syrup. Certainly the result of not being clean and sanitized. Beer is best fresh and does not age very well. A well made beer is probably at its peak, bottle conditioned, in a month or 2. I use to make meads, which are fun. Those things need to age. It takes months for primary fermentation and secondary up to a year, with bottle time in the 4-5 years to get good. real good. If you are not perfectly sterile with a mead, it WILL have off flavors.

clean and sanitize. did I say that enough?
Last edited by guiner on Fri Dec 03, 2010 1:13 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Any home brewers out there?

Postby mac5155 on Fri Dec 03, 2010 12:53 am

CN anyone recommend a good kit to start with??
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Re: Any home brewers out there?

Postby guiner on Fri Dec 03, 2010 1:04 am

don''t do kits. Its so much easier to use extract and add hops yourself (bitter, usually 1 hour, aroma, last couple minutes) Kits are overhopped usually.
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Re: Any home brewers out there?

Postby mac5155 on Fri Dec 03, 2010 1:10 am

CN anyone recommend a good kit to start with??
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Re: Any home brewers out there?

Postby PensBeerGeek on Fri Dec 03, 2010 2:14 am

mac5155 wrote:CN anyone recommend a good kit to start with??


I'm not trying to be an elitist knocking kits at all...the reason I don't care for them is just that there's no real way to guarantee the freshness of the ingredients (hops and yeast do degrade over time, after all).

If you do go with a kit, try to find out how long it's been sitting on the shelf. I can't second the recommendation for unhopped malt extract, specialty grains, pelletized hops and liquid yeast enough though...good ingredients don't guarantee good beer, but you can't make good beer with bad ones!
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Re: Any home brewers out there?

Postby count2infinity on Fri Dec 03, 2010 7:19 am

i think if you're just getting started, using a kit the first couple times would be fine wouldn't it? i mean we can't all just jump right in and start making great beer. you have to start from somewhere.
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Re: Any home brewers out there?

Postby viva la ben on Fri Dec 03, 2010 7:32 am

Those recipes seem like they take a lot of effort and time. I just go to the distributer and buy a case premade.
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Re: Any home brewers out there?

Postby count2infinity on Fri Dec 03, 2010 9:07 am

viva la ben wrote:Those recipes seem like they take a lot of effort and time. I just go to the distributer and buy a case premade.


well, i could just go to the store and buy frozen dinners instead of cooking at home, but i enjoy cooking, i could just go and buy a loaf of bread instead of baking my own, but i enjoy baking bread. same goes for this, i want to see if i can get into brewing (i'm sure i can as it's similar to cooking and baking).
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Re: Any home brewers out there?

Postby PensBeerGeek on Fri Dec 03, 2010 2:42 pm

count2infinity wrote:i think if you're just getting started, using a kit the first couple times would be fine wouldn't it? i mean we can't all just jump right in and start making great beer. you have to start from somewhere.


The 3-4 week wait for your first homebrew isn't fun; you want to taste your beer, right? You want to give it to your friends and say "I made beer...pretty cool, is it not"! Well, if it turns out that your beer is awful, how enthusiastic are you going to be to do it the next time?

As long as you accept that possibility, using a shelf kit the first time or two isn't a bad thing, I suppose. Once again, though, do your best to make sure it's fresh and stored properly...that's my recommendation because I don't necessarily know how the individual brands work.

In all honesty, though, I don't think that the specialty-grains and extract with pellet hops is that much more difficult a process:
1). Heat about 2 gallons of spring/filtered/pre-boiled water to about 160 degrees
2). Put your specialty grains in a muslin bag and steep them for about half an hour
3). Add a 3rd gallon, bring it to a boil and add your malt extract (I prefer dry because it's easier to work with, but liquid works too)
4). During a 60 minute boil, there are 3 main hop additions: bittering right at the beginning, flavor at 45 minutes in, and aroma with about 2 minutes to go
5). At the end of the boil, cool it down for the fermenter using an ice bath and 2 gallons of chilled water
6). Transfer to your fermenter, oxygenate, add yeast, put your airlock on and store (preferrably a darker place with relatively even temperature)

There's a few little extra things you'll add into there as you develop your own style, but that's pretty much it.
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Re: Any home brewers out there?

Postby Mr. Colby on Fri Dec 03, 2010 2:57 pm

count2infinity wrote:
Letang Is The Truth wrote:Ive wanted to get into brewing but I dont think my roommate would like it


is your bed a car?

Image


Grandma's Boy Reference :thumb:
:fist:
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Re: Any home brewers out there?

Postby Mr. Colby on Fri Dec 03, 2010 3:01 pm

count2infinity wrote:Just started a Christmas Ale, my first brew ever.

Ingredients:
-Cooper's real ale kit
-Brown sugar (substituted some of the regular sugar with some brown sugar)
-3 orange peels
-1 peeled large piece of ginger
-2 tbsp cinnamon
-1 tbsp allspice
-1 tbsp nutmeg
-2 tbsp vanilla extract


I'm hoping it turns out. Any one have any suggestions (provided this one actually tastes good and i can brew beer) for my next batch when this one is done? I'm thinking like a coffee stout.


My senior year I had chem professor that was really tight with me and a few friends of mine and he was a big time home brewer. So he created a class for us called "Advanced Brewing" and we met every wednesday night and brewed.

I made a pretty damn good IPA actually.

Then I meant to get a brewer's starter kit and start working on my own a little bit, but it never happened.

As far as suggestions go, I always liked when we mocked certain micros and added our own twist. Do that with a Christmas ale?

Or you could try to make Chicha (if you watch the new show Brew Masters on Discovery)
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Re: Any home brewers out there?

Postby count2infinity on Fri Dec 03, 2010 4:11 pm

PensBeerGeek wrote:
The 3-4 week wait for your first homebrew isn't fun; you want to taste your beer, right? You want to give it to your friends and say "I made beer...pretty cool, is it not"! Well, if it turns out that your beer is awful, how enthusiastic are you going to be to do it the next time?

As long as you accept that possibility, using a shelf kit the first time or two isn't a bad thing, I suppose. Once again, though, do your best to make sure it's fresh and stored properly...that's my recommendation because I don't necessarily know how the individual brands work.



i completely understand what you're saying and appreciate the advice. I just wasn't sure how much of a hassel it would be to do my own boil, make my on wort, what kind of hops, grains, etc to use? so i just went with the canned stuff. i'm an avid cook... canned vegetables, canned soups, canned anything. i hate them. can't stand them. so i can absolutely understand where you're coming from. next batch, everything fresh. :thumb: coincidentally, i came into this sort of half hearted so i sort of expect a half hearted beer (no two hearted ale this time :lol: ) but i did find a specialty shop about 20 min. from my house and from talking to some other homebrewers in the area, they said the place is amazing. the guy gives free lessons. he'll sit down, discuss what kind of beer you want to make, what flavor components you're looking for and the best way to get those. i'm looking forward to going and meeting him come 2011.

also, there have been a good deal of people saying about sanitation. absolutely! i bought special cleaners from the store (as i'm borrowing my father's equipment), i did boil all of my ingredients listed above for about 5-10 minutes. everything is/was spotless and cleaned.
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Re: Any home brewers out there?

Postby guiner on Fri Dec 03, 2010 4:25 pm

There is really no more difficulty in doing extract, plus your own hops and grains vs kit. for a couple buck you have a grain bag, empty one pound of crystal barley or whatever in it, put it in water, raise to near boil, grab hot dog tongs and pull it out. wow, that was tough. How hard is it to empty a little plastic bag of pellets (compressed hops) into a 2 gallon pot of boiling extract/water?

The insanity comes when you go to doing your own mashing of malted grains. that is the difficult part. lots more equipment and science involved in the stepped raising of temperature and holding of temperature in order to allow for enzymatic reaction to convert starches to appropriate sugars. Its chemistry, and its something I never got into despite probably 100 batches of beer.
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