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Anyone Else Into Homebrewing?

Discussion in 'Max's Kitchen' started by BehindEnemyLines, Mar 14, 2017.

  1. BehindEnemyLines

    BehindEnemyLines Scout Team 10 Year Member

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    My second batch isn't even out of the fermenter yet, and I am hooked.

    My first batch tasted like a Budweiser and a Chardonnay had a baby, but that's largely because I got a free lager extract kit and had to ferment it at 68 degrees. I wouldn't have bought it, but it was drinkable.

    On Sunday, I did a 3 gallon partial mash amber ale. What I thought was a 3 gallon pot ended up being a 2 gallon pot, so I had to improvise. I knew I'd need to do a partial boil, but not to that extreme. Luckily, I bought an extra gallon of top-off water. I was pretty pleased, though. My target O.G. was 1.055, and my measured O.G. was 1.053.

    I'm planning to go all-grain next, but I'm in the process of waiting for some of the equipment (I recalled two 8 gallon turkey fryers from my warehouse) and converting a 10 gallon igloo cooler into a mash tun.
     
  2. Big Burruss

    Big Burruss Junior Varsity 2 Year Member

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    I have a 1 gallon kit and I like doing it, just don't have time to do more than a batch or two per year.
     
  3. KingTM

    KingTM All Big 10 2 Year Member

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    Hey, if you ever need anybody to QC your product, I'm your guy. :thumbsup:
     
  4. Rainbow Dash

    Rainbow Dash Red Shirt

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    I home brew. It's a very enjoyable hobby. I usually do around 4 batches a year (4 seasonals). Usually 2 are really good, 1 is decent, and 1 sucks.
     
  5. RedRum

    RedRum Travel Squad 5 Year Member

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    I have a pretty good set-up and do all grain. Also, built a 5-tap kegerator.
    Here are some tips that make the most difference. If you do all grain and stick to 5 gallon or less, I just use a large pot as a mash tun and then stick it in the oven and close it. It holds heat just fine.

    1) Invest in a fermenter you can control. A bought a 7 cf chest freezer and a controller like this http://www.auberins.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=8&products_id=471 except with both a heating and cooling plug in. I put a light bulb in a can for the heat source (if it can get cold out) and plug the chest freezer in. You put your fermenter into the freezer and can dial in the temperature though the entire ferment within a fraction of a degree. This will get rid of a log of off flavor as well as try different fermenting temperatures which can bring out different flavors.

    2) Get a stir plate and flask and grow your yeast to the right pitch count. The liquid yeast pack is never enough for a proper pitch.

    3) Use a heat exchanger to quickly cool things down. This will drop out a lot of proteins and get a cleared beer.

    4) Use geletin for and a cold crash to get really clear beer. Once the ferment is done, put in a little Knox geletin and drop the temp to 32 for a day or two. You will get zero chill haze.

    5) Don't use a secondary fermenter. You can do everything just fine in a primary without the risk of of contamination or hassle for racking another time.
     
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  6. Squatchsker

    Squatchsker Benefits are not earned, they are granted. 10 Year Member

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    I brew cold coffee. Is that good?
     
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  7. BehindEnemyLines

    BehindEnemyLines Scout Team 10 Year Member

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    I appreciate the tips! Some of them I'm doing already, some I am planning to do in the future as funds become available, and some are brand new (like #4).
     
  8. BehindEnemyLines

    BehindEnemyLines Scout Team 10 Year Member

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    Good enough for me. Cold brewed coffee is the best kind of coffee.
     
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  9. RedRum

    RedRum Travel Squad 5 Year Member

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    Anytime. One thing is to keep an eye out on Craiglist for someone getting rid of a chest freezer or selling one cheap. You can always use those things, take the lid off and add a wooden collar and pop a tap through. So instead of a fermenter, it can also house and serve a keg.

    I gave up bottling and started kegging everything years ago. Couldn't stand washing all of the bottles. My Husker 5-tap system on wheels is the picture in my profile to the left.
     
  10. BehindEnemyLines

    BehindEnemyLines Scout Team 10 Year Member

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    Bottling isn't fun, but I have two teenagers who have plenty of time to wash and sanitize them. Using the 22 ounce bottles helps, too.

    As far as the freezer/fridge thing, between Oregon and OSU, I'm sure I'll have something shortly after the spring term ends, at the latest. I have long been an admirer of your setup.
     
  11. BehindEnemyLines

    BehindEnemyLines Scout Team 10 Year Member

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    Brewed my first all-grain today. I was pretty pleased with how well it went.
     
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  12. Squatchsker

    Squatchsker Benefits are not earned, they are granted. 10 Year Member

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    I just did my first run with a bag I got specifically for coffee. Used an espresso roast, 18 hours. WOW! No acid whatsoever, but all flavor. I have drank 12 oz. and I think I can feel my teeth growing. WHOOOOO!
     
  13. jikastew

    jikastew Blackshirt 10 Year Member

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    Been brewing for 20+ years here.

    1. Yep. I would say beside quality ingredients, controlling temps is rule #1 for good beer. I did the same. When you get into Kolsch and then true lagers, having that chest freezer with temp controller to ferment and then during the lagering process........that's really fantastic.
    2. You are talking "starters" here. I make them, but honestly, they aren't super necessary. You get alot of BroScience when it comes to yeast sugar utilization when talking with homebrewers. I'll make a small starter. I'll pump a little oxygen in there as well before pitching. But only because I've bought those things over the years. But I really can't say making a big starter or introducing O2 has made better beer for me. I agree with the stir plate. They are cheap and work great.
    3. Yes on exchangers. Several on the market. I've always used the CFC devices. Takes too long to brew without one. No one wants to wait hours to get temps to pitching level.
    4. Yes on cold crashing. Best thing one can do for clear beer. Yes on gelatin (or similar) if kegging.
    5. Agree. I stopped using a secondary YEARS ago. I primary for 3 weeks. Seriously, I don't even check it anymore. Everything goes 3 weeks. If SG is high, I'll pitch some dry and wait a little longer. Alot of crap BroScience here as well. Nothing wrong with leaving the beer on the cake that long. Autolysis won't occur in small batches. I can be assured the yeast has cleared all the undesirables.

    Here's mine:

    1. Skip bottling. Buy a couple cheap 5 gallon soda kegs, put new o-rings on them. Buy a REALLY cheap empty CO2 canister and go exchange it for a full one. Buy a cheap regulator. Resist any desire to get anything expensive. You need to control low pressures of CO2, not regulate a mission to Mars. The total cost is probably less than you'd spend on bottles. Well, probably not, but bottling sucks ass. You need manifolds? Then visit Home Depot and make one for $8 rather than buy one for $100.
    2. Don't get too caught up in "sterile". I have NEVER had an "infected" or contaminated product. Really, the only good reason I'd give for these big starters is too decrease the lag time when contamination could take place. But with products like StarSan out there, truthfully, it's damn hard to introduce enough bacteria or wild yeast to offset the final product. Hell, yeast straight from the manufacture now come with 100 billion cells. When I started, that was what a big starter was!
    3. When you go all-grain, get 5.2 stabilizer if you don't want to mess with anything for easy brewhouse repeatability. No realistic homebrewer really cares if their efficiency is high........we just care that we get something very similar with each batch. If I can repeat my efficiency, I can make the recipe I want and then make it again if I do it just right.
    4. If you want to make a certain style of beer, you have to start with the right water. For instance, Omaha has water pretty close to Munich. So Omaha tap makes pretty solid Bavarian beers. If you lived in Florida, you would have the soft water used to create the world's best Pilzen's in Czech. Etc. Etc. That's kind of like your brewing 404 class. You can order a water profile from your local municipality and manipulate. Or start with RO water and create exactly what you want.
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2017
  14. BehindEnemyLines

    BehindEnemyLines Scout Team 10 Year Member

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    My wife's boss homebrews. I brewed with him last weekend to get a feel for all-grain before brewing my own on Tuesday. He sent a couple of small paintball CO2 canisters, an old regulator, a 2.5 gallon keg, and all of the hook ups home with her on Tuesday. It will fit in our fridge, so I'll only have to bottle half of what's in the fermenter. I also bought 4 corny kegs this week (adventures in homebrewing had a 4/$100 deal on pin-locks), but still need to get something to put them in and get a better CO2 setup. Long story short, though, the other half of this batch will probably be the last I'll need to bottle. I've already pulled a water report for Eugene, but I didn't worry about it on the last brew. I figured I had enough to think about on my first all-grain.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2017
  15. jikastew

    jikastew Blackshirt 10 Year Member

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    Are you batch sparging?
     

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