DuckiLama's Decent Brew #1

So, for XMas, DuckiDeva got me a homebrewing kit/minikeg/mixes setup. Totally sweet. For my first brew, I made cider because we both like cider, and even if it was "bad" it would probably not be bad bad.

And it's ... decent.
It's got a nice kick, which is good, but it's not fizzy enough for my tastes, and she says it's not quite sweet enough.

I'm thinking I needed more priming sugar, but I'm not sure. At any rate, it was really easy to do, and really rewarding to get a buzz off of your own brew. The hardest part was waiting 2+weeks from starting to being able to imbibe. Highly recommended.

w00t. Bottle it and I''ll head down in my ""T""-Top Trans Am to load it up and truck it to New England.

We''re gonna do what they say can''t be done ...

Congrats on your first homebrew!

I would seriously be wary of adding more priming sugar - that leads to exploding bottles. Not saying it shouldn''t be done, but you might have more luck adding more sugar or malt during the fermentation. There are few things I can think of more rewarding then kicking back and chugging beer you made yourself, so much with the enjoying!

Incidently, did you use a pre-measured cider kit or did you start from scratch? I''ve been wanting to try a cider for a good long while, but I tend to stick with stouts and porters, since they keep and age so well.

Pre-measured kit.
And the Quickstart guide had one value for Priming sugar, while the full guide had another. I went with the lower, but next time, I''ll add the extra half teaspoon and see if it''s a bit fizzier.

If it wasn''t too fizzy, an extra teaspoon of sugar should give it some more kick (rather then a mess)! Not to mention a higher ABV

Those quickstart guides tends to have very generic information, rather then descriptive steps for the particular brew you''re trying. A full text, such as Charlie Papazian''s The Complete Guide to Homebrewing gives you a much better idea of how to adapt and control recipies, but then you have to fish through far more pages to see what you want...it''s a trade-off.

In any case, malts and hops are cheap, try everything, and enjoy the spoils of experimentation!

Also, homebrew tends to age into a better flavor.... give it a couple more weeks and it may be even better

Yeah, it was ""barely"" fizzy, so I''ll try more priming sugar next time. And I knew the flavor wasn''t going to be the best. It had been exactly a week of bottling/carbonating and about 1 hour of refrigeration, but I just couldn''t wait. I''m sure the last bottle I drink will be the best.

As a side note, anyone know any good sources for cheap/free bottles, preferably plastic and brown/dark?

Bottles I found to be the most difficult part of the brewing process. If you have a local homebrew store, they might have bottles to sell cheaply, for exactly your purpose. If not, or if they are too expensive, do what I did: Have a bunch of friends pitch in for a few cases of the cheapest beer you can get that has the appropriate bottle type, and drink up! Give them a clean the next day (late in the day, if you got enough bottles :)) with C-brite or a weak bleach solution and they''re good to go!

I would recommend getting at least one large grolsh type bottle, maybe a liter or so. You can bring it out to dinner with friends, just like a bottle of wine, except you made it yourself!

I''ve been thinking of trying to get into homebrewing, any suggestions on starter kits or websites?

Also, is it possible to homebrew in a garage? I have my own personal garage bay in my apartment complex and I''m not sure my wife would want me to try this inside.

And congrats on the brew Ducki!

L&L -
The Deva got me a kit from Mr.Beer , plus some extra mixes. It''s really easy, the manual has plenty of ""background"" information on the brewing process for a starter guide, and was easier than expected.
It came with a cleaning/sanitizing solution that you don''t have to rinse, which made life easier for me.
The problem with the garage is going to be temperature. I originally wanted to go with the garage, too, but for fermenting and carbonating, you need the temp to be between (IIRC) 68F and 74F, so winter in Dallas is no good in the garage. Now that I''ve finished the carbonation process, though, I can lager/store them in the garage, since it''s rather chilly out there.

Since the kit came with plastic bottles, I wasn''t worried about a glass bottle exploding all over the place, and you can get a huge Rubbermaid storage box that''ll hold everything pretty cheap, and keep anything from leaking in the event that you do end up with too much pressure in your bottles. Plus, it keeps the light out along with the animals and kid.

@DS -
I don''t party much, I''m too old for that, so getting a bunch of friends to help me work through a case of Schaeffer isn''t gonna work. Do they even put Schaeffer in bottles? That''d be a waste. The bottles from the kit are 1 Litre brown plastic and the Deva and I went through 2 of them last night. Definitely needs more bubbles, but the ABV was pretty good.

L&L again - look into ways to store indoors that keep everything hidden and watertight, like big rubbermaid bins. I definitely recommend the Mr. Beer kit, at least for ease of getting a batch made to a total newbie. Very fun and simple.

I want a hard cider that tastes like freaking CIDER, not boozy apple juice. If you can do that I''ll drive down with Fletch and relieve you of it.

Lock&Load - as Dukilama said, temp is your only concern. I''ve found that fermenting still will be happy at a range of temps, but around 70 is the ideal sweet spot. The only problem with fermenting inside is that there will be a beery/yeasty smell, but it will only be for the first day or so. I leave mine in the coat closet, and it''s not really a problem. The kit I started was a True Brew kit, with a plastic carboy. I eventually bought a glass carboy, but that''s not necessary. http://www.beeradvocate.com/ has a fantastic set of articles and links that has a bunch of information, as well as reviews of homebrew websites, as well as functionality to find stores in your area. I highly recommend it!

"SwampYankee" wrote:

If you can do that I''ll drive down with Fletch and relieve you of it.

You''re driving the truck though. There''s only one Bandit around here, good buddy. You got a beagle?

"Fletcher1138" wrote:
"SwampYankee" wrote:

If you can do that I''ll drive down with Fletch and relieve you of it.

You''re driving the truck though. There''s only one Bandit around here, good buddy. You got a beagle?

Where''s Jeb? This thread requires his presence!

"Fletcher1138" wrote:
"SwampYankee" wrote:

If you can do that I''ll drive down with Fletch and relieve you of it.

You''re driving the truck though. There''s only one Bandit around here, good buddy. You got a beagle?

Will an Orangitange do?

I have no idea how you spell it and I don''t care. The orange monkey beast. You know what the hell I''m talking about!

If possible try to find a local brew shop as they will:
1) Usually have starter kits for sale for reasonable prices (60$ was mine)
2) Offer you advice and or help. My local brew shop has classes every sunday ranging from beginning with a malt kit to full grain batches.

Granted you can get a lot of the stuff online and I do periodically order online but Bill (my local brewstore owner) can usually get the same item for the same price and I don''t pay shipping. The helpful insights I got from him in the beginning though have gone a long way. Also be aware of rec.crafts.brewing as it too has many insights.

As for priming sugar or malt.
Either works, the important thing is to read the recipe as bottles have been known to explode.
Sugar will prime the bottles quicker than malt but purists will have you believe malt is better. The more important thing is to weigh malt rather than use a measuring cup if possible as weight is more exact than volume. Once you''ve handled dry malt extract you''ll know what I''m talking about.

There''s another reason you bottle (or keg) and that''s conditioning. Try to save a 6-pack of your brews for 6 months and keep a log of your ''taste tests''. If you do one bottle in the ''minimum time frame'' of two weeks after bottling and compare your results to one of the same batch 6 months later you will find them very different (unless you''re a hophead, you''re going to taste/smell them if you''ve made a high IBU brew regardless of time but they will mellow too over time).

To go along with this, hopefully you got a hydrometer with your starter kit. You should take gravity readings:
1) When you carboy the brew but before you pitch your yeast - This is your original gravity.
2) When you secondary (if you do) - This will tell you how your fermentation is progressing and it should be about 90% done when you rack to secondary.
3) Before you bottle and before you add priming sugar/malt - This is your final gravity. Using the final and original gravity you can formulate your ABV.
DRINK YOUR GRAVITY SAMPLES! This too will give you an idea of how taste can change over the span of time that a wort becomes a beer.

Most of all keep brewing! Like anything you get better the more you ''practice''.

Feel free to PM me, I''ve got about 20 batches under my belt in the past 2 years (I try to do one a month) and have seen and done some of your more common beginner mistakes.

The first thing I''d recommend is move from a bleach sanitizer to Idiodine based (your brew shop should sell Idiophor (sp?)). The reason for this is two fold - Idiodine doesn''t perma stain any cloth/clothing it touches and the sanitization is instantaneous, no sloshing/soaking for 15 minutes.

Anyway, I''ve got some pics of my setup (I know there are some other brewers on board here at GWJ and Opti is an all grainer I think) it''s nothing fancy but it works.

I want a hard cider that tastes like freaking CIDER , not boozy apple juice. If you can do that I''ll drive down with Fletch and relieve you of it.

The cider the duck made tasted just like the cider I used to get in the UK and Holland. Less fizzy, but not like boozy apple juice at all. I personally would have liked to be a little sweeter, but I''m a Frambozenbier fan. (If only I could actually find it anymore.)

That said, I still think a Fletch and Swamp TransAm American Rally might be in order. I''ll make chicken fried steak and homemade biscuits for y''all when you get here.

"DrunkenSleipnir" wrote:

A full text, such as Charlie Papazian''s The Complete Guide to Homebrewing gives you a much better idea of how to adapt and control recipies, but then you have to fish through far more pages to see what you want...it''s a trade-off.

I also fully recommend this book.. also known as the bible to homebrewers.

"duckilama" wrote:

As a side note, anyone know any good sources for cheap/free bottles, preferably plastic and brown/dark?

Easiest and most enjoyable way is to go out and buy a case of beer in re-useable bottles, and save the bottles! Also your homebrew place will have them but they are expensive that way.

"Mayfield" wrote:
"duckilama" wrote:

As a side note, anyone know any good sources for cheap/free bottles, preferably plastic and brown/dark?

Easiest and most enjoyable way is to go out and buy a case of beer in re-useable bottles, and save the bottles! Also your homebrew place will have them but they are expensive that way.

Hmm that depends though, a 12 pack of 22oz bottles (non-ez cap) at my brew shop is like 8$.

The ez-caps (which I use) are 18$ for 12 16oz bottles. But it''s so nice hearing that ''pop'' when you open them.

I''m happy to see so many interested in homebrewing on GWJ!

Dukilama, since there is already so much good advice, I guess all there is left to say is watch out for the day when you decide that 2.5 gal isn''t enough, and move up to the 5 gal fermenter! Before you know it, every available space in your house will be occupied by cases upon cases of homebrew, which you will dance around as you wring you hands and mumble to yourself about your preciouss....

Incidently, this thread has inspired me! It''s been a few months since I''ve last run a batch, and I''m getting impatient to have some more, as my last batch ran out a while ago.

Eezy - By ez cap, you mean grolsh type flip tops, right? My only real problem with them is you need to replace the rubber lining every few batches, although flipping it over will extend their lifetime. I usually use a couple of those for larger bottles (750ml - 1L) that I can then use for social events. A bottle capper is pretty cheap, and it''s actually kind of fun - it almost looks like a strange medieval torture device. The only trick with that is to make sure the bottles you have can be re-caped, so no twist-offs! It''s really up to preference, but I think you''ll save more money by using a capper.

"DrunkenSleipnir" wrote:

Eezy - By ez cap, you mean grolsh type flip tops, right? My only real problem with them is you need to replace the rubber lining every few batches, although flipping it over will extend their lifetime. I usually use a couple of those for larger bottles (750ml - 1L) that I can then use for social events. A bottle capper is pretty cheap, and it''s actually kind of fun - it almost looks like a strange medieval torture device. The only trick with that is to make sure the bottles you have can be re-caped, so no twist-offs! It''s really up to preference, but I think you''ll save more money by using a capper.

Yes the ''Grolsch type'' bottles are the ones I use.
I use the 1 liter bottles as well, I''ll fill a 6pack of my san miguel bottles (I got 3 cases of empties from a buddy as a wedding present) for give-aways, a 12 pack of the 16oz ez-cap and the rest is put into 1L ez-caps.

I haven''t had to change any seals yet, I do wash them well and inspect them when doing so, in fact the only bottle I''ve lost has been one where the glass chipped where it holds the metal lid fastener/hinge. Replacement seals are cheap though, I think I got like 50 for 2$.

I''m not trying to say that EZ-caps are the way to go, they''re how I went. One thing you''ll learn about brewing quick is that everyone has a different way of doing it.

My next batch is going to be a Mack & Jack African Amber (wife''s request) and then a Arrogant Bastard clone to follow that one up.

Wow, Budweiser is releasing beer with caffiene now. I guess my high school health teacher was wrong when she said mixing drugs was wrong. I kind of knew that already but now the companies don''t even care!

"Washington Post" wrote:

Bartender, Pour Me Another Cup
Perhaps Inevitably: Caffeinated Beer

By Peter Carlson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, January 31, 2005; Page C01

America''s largest brewing company, Anheuser-Busch, released its latest product last week -- a beer that contains caffeine.

Obviously, this is a monumental cultural milestone and it raises important questions that we as a society must answer. For instance: Is adding America''s favorite stimulant to America''s favorite alcoholic beverage the greatest scientific breakthrough of the 21st century? Or the beginning of the end of civilization as we know it? Or what?

The beer is called B{+E} -- with the E raised up, like an exponent in math, which is why the name is pronounced ""B to the E."" (The B stands for Budweiser. The E stands for extra.) Sold in 10-ounce cans, B{+E} contains 54 milligrams of caffeine -- about half the dose found in an average cup of coffee. B{+E} also contains ginseng, the fabled herb, and guarana, an Amazonian berry frequently found in Brazilian soft drinks.

""It''s beer with something extra,"" says Dawn Roepke, Anheuser-Busch''s brand manager for new products. ""It''s new, it''s innovative, it''s different.""

Actually, it''s not all that new, innovative or different. The popularity of a cocktail made by adding vodka to the energy drink Red Bull has inspired several brewers to create caffeinated beers. Most are small local brews such as Moonshot, a Boston-based beer that contains caffeine, and Third Rail, a caffeinated beer brewed in Frederick but available only in California. But one is nationally known: Sparks, a malt-based energy drink that contains many of the same ingredients as B{+E} -- alcohol, caffeine, ginseng and guarana.

Rolling Stone magazine raved about Sparks last year: ""The wave of the future is getting invigorated and wasted in one go with Sparks, the energy drink that has thoughtfully already added booze for you.""

But Rolling Stone did not rave about the flavor of Sparks: ""It tastes like cough syrup.""

B{+E} beer does not taste like cough syrup. It doesn''t taste much like beer, either. It tastes like . . . something else.

""It has an aroma of blackberry and a little bit of cherry, which is unexpected,"" says Nathaniel Davis, the brew master who created B{+E}. ""It has typical beer flavors, like hops and malt, and it finishes with what we''re calling the wow factor.""

What''s the wow factor?

""That bright, slightly sweet tart finish,"" he says. ""People who drink it, their eyes light up and they say ''Wow!,'' among other things.""

Justin Elwin, a bartender at the Brickskeller, a Washington groggery that serves more than 1,000 kinds of beer, has a less lyrical description: ""It tastes a lot like soda,"" he says. ""It doesn''t have a beer taste to it. It''s kinda like a very light . . . I don''t want to say orange but like a tangerine type of thing.""

""It tastes like a citrus-flavored Red Bull,"" says Rhonda Kallman, creator of the caffeinated Moonshot, which has no ginseng or fruit.

But taste is a trivial and subjective issue. The important sociological question is: What effect will caffeinated beer have on the fragile fabric of American society? Can we handle this?

At first, beer with caffeine sounds like a terrific idea. With caffeine in your beer, you can stay awake longer and do many delightful things, such as drink more beer. It''s a beer-drinker''s vision of heaven. Homer Simpson would love it. Kallman certainly does.

""It''s a wonderful feeling,"" she says. ""Sometimes beer makes you sleepy or sluggish, but with Moonshot, you feel alert. You can go out and dance and have fun instead of falling asleep on the couch.""

Alas, there is a potential downside to this great breakthrough. Drinking too much beer sometimes makes people do stupid things, such as fighting with strangers. Or sleeping with strangers. Or calling your ex-girlfriend at 3 in the morning to tearfully beg her to come back -- a supplication frequently accompanied by a dubious promise to stop drinking.

Until now, beer guzzling was a self-regulating activity. Sure, drinking too much made you do stupid things. But drinking too much also tended to make you fall asleep before you got into trouble. Passing out is nature''s way of saying you drank too much, and it has saved many a beer drinker from acute embarrassment. But with caffeine keeping beer drinkers cranked up, there''s no end to the fun. Which could get ugly.

Roepke says she''s not worried about this. ""We at Anheuser-Busch encourage our adult consumers to use all our products in moderation,"" she says. ""We market B{+E} to today''s contemporary adults, and they''ve told us that they want something to help them keep up with their fast-paced and highly social lifestyle. If they stay out late having fun with their friends and do it responsibly, we''ll be very happy.""

Moonshot''s Kallman agrees. ""If you tend to do stupid things, you probably shouldn''t drink it,"" she says. ""It''s not for stupid people.""

One of Moonshot''s satisfied customers put it best in an e-mail to the company, Kallman says. ""I just want to let you know,"" the customer wrote, ""that I''m drunk but I''m not in a stupor.""

Drunk -- but not in a stupor. If these new brews catch on, that could be the beer slogan for our fully caffeinated new millennium.

"DuckiDeva" wrote:

I''ll make chicken fried steak and homemade biscuits for y''all when you get here.

Holy crap! I haven''t had a good chicken fried steak in years. No dispersions on your hubby''s homebrew intended, but if you throw in a cold Shiner Bock I''ll be there tomorrow.

Come on Swampy! We got a long way to go and a short time to get there!

Cool! Let me just Gas up the ''ol rig.... Oh, wait a minute. I don''t know how to drive an 18 wheeler, much less own one. I have to be at work tomorrow... And, hell I don''t even have one of them orange monkey Orangutans.

Stop makin'' excuses Swampy! Now hurry up and tell yer boss to take that job and shove it, buy an orangutan, put some motion lotion in your covered wagon and deadhead it down to Texas with me to pick up that moonshine! Just watch out for smokey bear and his bubblegum machine, and try not to run over any salt shakers.

"Eezy_Bordone" wrote:

I''m not trying to say that EZ-caps are the way to go, they''re how I went. One thing you''ll learn about brewing quick is that everyone has a different way of doing it.

My next batch is going to be a Mack & Jack African Amber (wife''s request) and then a Arrogant Bastard clone to follow that one up.

I didn''t mean to insinuate that there was anything wrong with the EZ-caps - you are quite correct in that every homebrewer has his own methods.

Good luck with your next batches - Arrogant Bastard is one of my favorite American micros.

Fletch, DS, Eezy, you guys lost me, but it''s ok. It''s kinda like watching a foreign film without subtitles... as long as the action is good, nobody cares.

Mostly kidding, except for Fletcher, who went off on a little timetravel vacation.

I think, until I get the hang for things, I''ll stick with plastic bottles. At least if they explode, the little one won''t end up with a bloody foot trying to drink the cider/beer. Now, to figure out how to make framboy.. frambwa... beer with raspberries in.

Maybe I should flip flop and put the hammer down so you can catch up Ducki.

I actually lied about the chicken fried steak earlier. I was in Texas this past Thanksgiving, and spent a couple of days in the Austin area. On my way back to visit the folks, I stopped in at Threadgill''s on North Lamar. I had a chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes and fried okra, with a tall, frosty draft pint of Shiner Bock. That, my friends, was a good day.

"duckilama" wrote:

Fletch, DS, Eezy, you guys lost me, but it''s ok. It''s kinda like watching a foreign film without subtitles... as long as the action is good, nobody cares.

Mostly kidding, except for Fletcher, who went off on a little timetravel vacation.

I think, until I get the hang for things, I''ll stick with plastic bottles. At least if they explode, the little one won''t end up with a bloody foot trying to drink the cider/beer. Now, to figure out how to make framboy.. frambwa... beer with raspberries in.

You should be fine. The only thing about plastic in your brewing method (whether it''s the bottles or fermentor) is that scratches can develop and that can lead to bacterial infection bacause it''s harder to clean those areas. You''re making a great home for any tiny organism to live but want yeast to be the dominant lifeform. Bacteria can lead to off tastes (if it''s a slight infection) to non fermenting brews. But if you''ve got youngins running around that''s another check in the FOR column with plastic. Just inspect your plastic well before each use (a great time would be while cleaning it), I still use my original plastic brew bucket for bottling (I added a spigot to it).

On exploding bottles I''ll say this so you''re not too scared, out of 20 batches only one batch has been overpressurized and that was my second. It was my first batch in my current home and I tried setting the carboy out in the garage (the spare bathroom has served me well since spurring many jokes of ""Bordone''s Bathroom Brew""). Well it was spring/summer time and the 75° temp outside meant 85-90° inside the garage I was killing my yeast and didn''t know it. Basically with the temp ranges the yeast would bounce back at night, die off in the day and so on and so forth. I wan''t experienced enough to realize that my gravity reading (which is why I''ll go over them again) was still too high to bottle and so when I did there was a lot of CO2 in there that couldn''t get anywhere.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

As to ''gravities'' I''m sorry if I lost you that''s why I tried to explain what they were, when you take them and why they''re important.
One tool you should invest in if you didn''t get one in your kit and you decide this is something you want to do is a hydrometer. This is basically a density measuring device.
When you put it in a sample of unfermented wort (your beer before yeast but after the boil) it will float ''high'', the sugars in the water increase the density thus pushing the hyrdometer up in the liquid. The higher this measure the higher POTENTIAL for higher alcohol brews. This reading is your Original Gravity or OG, an average OG is 1.060-1.070 (really this depends on the recipe I''m just putting them here so if you see them on a recipe card you''ll know what what they are and what I''m talking about). When your beer is done fermenting you take another sample/reading and this is your final gravity or FG, an average FG is 1.020 (again depends on the recipe).

1.0 is the gravity of water at 68° or something like that. Using the differences of numbers you can plug them into a formula to get a more exact measurement of your alcohol by volume.

The two readings described above are ones you should ALWAYS take even at the beginning of your brewing journey. It''s also good to keep a journal or log of your brew days.

I mentioned a third measurement when you ''rack'' to secondary. I have a 6Gallon carboy for my primary fermentation (the first 2-3 weeks), I then transfer the wort from this carboy to a 5 gallon carboy for the final 6 weeks of fermentation/conditioning before bottling.
*The process of going from one fermentor to another over one fermentation cycle is called ''racking to secondary'' because the fermentation that happens in the second carboy is after the first carboy which was the primary. Basically you should never let the wort/beer stay in the primary (or only) fermentor after 4 weeks, the dead yeast at the bottom can start to give the beer it''s own off flavors. Racking to secondary lowers this risk as the amount of yeast on the bottom of a secondary fermentor will be only about the third of the amount on a primary in my experience.*
I take a reading when I start my siphon into the second carboy, taking this reading allows me to see how much fermentation has happened (it should be 90% done at this point). I drink my reading samples too so this gives me a chance to see what beer in it''s various life cycle tastes like but also to see if there is any off flavor which is a sign of bad sanitation.

These hydrometer readings are important for a couple of reasons:
First many (not all) recipes will list a target OG and a target FG. This helps beginning brewers have tangible numbers to shoot for when making a particular type of brew. The important thing is not to take the targets as Gospel Of Law, they''re targets nothing more.
Second, there''s no other way to tell when fermentation is complete without readings, it will be all guesswork based on recommended time frames otherwise. Yes two weeks is probably enough to get your fermentation good enough but wouldn''t you rather know than guess?
Third, if you decide to do this long enough sooner or later you''re going to want to make a barleywine or even just a brew that''s higher than a 7% (although I struggle to make a 6%+ now and only have 1 8% brew to my resume) you''re going to need to know how some of this works and the hydrometer gives you some science behind the art (it''s still both!).
Fourth, if you make a beer you really, really, really, really like and you take notes and readings (keeping a log book or computer log) it becomes a bit easier to replicate the mojo you worked (by accident or on purpose) again.

Brewing really is both a great way to learn some science and be artistic at the same time. As I said, don''t take my word as Gospel either, everyone has different budgets, time allotments (an all grain batch is an all day job not to mention a potential money sink) and gear avoidance/embracement. At this point you should keep doing it to have fun while paying attention to your sanitation as that is really the only thing you should be trying to work hard at. Once you have sanitation down the rest is just gear and method.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

I started out in June of 2002 with a starter kit from the local brew shop. I went to his training day where I got to be the guniea pig batch maker for everyone in the class (it''s free anyway). I made my first purchase of bottles (a case of ez-cap cobolt blues) and then bottled two weeks later. I threw away half my wort because I didn''t have bottles and it was a damn fine obsidian stout. So two weeks later I had a case of good brew.
I then bought a 20quart pot for stove top brewing using the method where you make a 2.5 gallon wort and add 2.5 gallons of water to the carboy (making a 5gallon wort that is hopefully 80° to pitch your yeast) and bought more bottles. I did the stovetop method for about 3 months/3 batches and realized my electri-coil stove was not the place to try to heat 3 gallons of water so I bought a turkey fryer kit on sale at home depot after turkey day for like 30-40$ I got a 7.5 gallon pot and enough copper to make one ugly immersion chiller.
*An immersion chiller goes into your boil pot about 15-20min before the end of your boil, it has a fitting on one end (that usually corresponds to the bottom of the chiller) for hose hookup and the other end has a hose for discharge. An immersion chiller allows you to cool your wort (I boil a full 5 gallon batch now with the turkey fryer) to 70-80° much quicker than just letting nature take it''s course. There is another form of chiller called a ''counter-flow'' chiller that is more effecient, it works by taking a copper tube and pulling it through a garden hose. You hook four taps into this one on each end of hose (the internal copper and external garden) the beer/wort goes through the interior coil in one direction and water goes through the garden hose in the opposite direction, f*ck ya science rules!*
So now instead of a 6 hour long day (with cleanup) I have a 4 hour brew day. The boil is still the longest part but the gas fryer goes a lot faster than the electric stove. If I seem hard core you should pick up a copy of Brew magazine, there are guys that weld themselves a 3 high keg rack with switchable plumbing/piping systems, built in counterflow chillers and all sorts of goodies, essentially a real brewery right in their garage or portable enough to haul out into the driveway. hard-f''ing core those guys.

If you read all of this you should know that there is a whole world out there. The only other link I didn''t put up the other day that I would say is essential is this one.

How to brew by John Palmer
He put the 1st edition online free, he now has a 2nd edition out but it sells out almost as fast as he makes them it seems.

Jeebus. If/when I ever work up the courage -- read: blood alcohol level -- to try my own homebrew, this thread will be a primo source of information.