Thinking of home brewing

I recommend finding a friend that is pretty good at it and sponge of him for the use of his equipment for a year or so until you know you like doing it. Then sponge off him some more so you never have to buy equipment of your own. Then, if you feel guilty, gift him your old refrigerator so he can make a kegerator so you can make lagers together.

Paleocon wrote:

I recommend finding a friend that is pretty good at it and sponge of him for the use of his equipment for a year or so until you know you like doing it. Then sponge off him some more so you never have to buy equipment of your own. Then, if you feel guilty, gift him your old refrigerator so he can make a kegerator so you can make lagers together.

That sounds like a great ide...wait a second!

Caveat: I don't brew beer.
The Wort Chiller should work perfectly well with a manually operated water cycle. Container on counter, hose running into sink (which is lower than bottom of container) and some method of lifting the water above the beer container. gravity pushes water through the chiller and out into the sink, which is either drained away or lifted and used to start chiller.

Nosferatu wrote:

Caveat: I don't brew beer.
The Wort Chiller should work perfectly well with a manually operated water cycle. Container on counter, hose running into sink (which is lower than bottom of container) and some method of lifting the water above the beer container. gravity pushes water through the chiller and out into the sink, which is either drained away or lifted and used to start chiller.

Ah, I see what your saying -- you just use some other bucket as the "feed" fo the chiller. Come to think of it, you could load the bucket with ice and make that an even faster process.

hRMM...

Thoughts for another day.

For any lurkers: Crazy groupon deal on a Midwest starter kit. This is the same thing I started with in December to great results:

http://www.groupon.com/amarillo/deal...

rabbit wrote:

For any lurkers: Crazy groupon deal on a Midwest starter kit. This is the same thing I started with in December to great results:

http://www.groupon.com/amarillo/deal...

5 gallon carboy, right? Unfortunately that's too big for my apartment now. I'm using a 1 gallon to make small batches since that's all we can fit.

Tanglebones wrote:
rabbit wrote:

For any lurkers: Crazy groupon deal on a Midwest starter kit. This is the same thing I started with in December to great results:

http://www.groupon.com/amarillo/deal...

5 gallon carboy, right? Unfortunately that's too big for my apartment now. I'm using a 1 gallon to make small batches since that's all we can fit.

I have 3 5-gallon carboys in my bedroom you gaping axewound. Man up, brew 5 gallons!

boogle wrote:
Tanglebones wrote:
rabbit wrote:

For any lurkers: Crazy groupon deal on a Midwest starter kit. This is the same thing I started with in December to great results:

http://www.groupon.com/amarillo/deal...

5 gallon carboy, right? Unfortunately that's too big for my apartment now. I'm using a 1 gallon to make small batches since that's all we can fit.

I have 3 5-gallon carboys in my bedroom you gaping axewound. Man up, brew 5 gallons!

I can man up all I want.. I'll just have to give up my wife in the process

Here's my Frapulism IPA recipe by the way:

http://beersmithrecipes.com/viewreci...

Just got my dad's old brewing equipment today. I cannot wait to get started brewing.

So, since I'm pretty new (i guess about 5 months, 11-12 batches in), I cannot recommend the kids from Midwest, with Wyeast activators enough (unless you have a great LHB store, I don't). Been really painless. My progression has been:

1: Midwest starter kit and an Amber kit.
2: Bottling stuff (tree, sanitizer)
3: Bunches more kits.
4: Immersion Cooler (sooooo much easier than the freaking sink)
5: $60 outdoor propane burner (sounds like a 747, boils 5 gallons in under 10 minutes)
6: Second fermenter so I can get more going

Round about stage 4 I stopped buying kits, and started ordering LME/DME/Specialty Grains/Bottling Sugar/Hops in bulk and just building recipes in Beersmith, and I don't think I'll ever look back. It's a bit cheaper too. I buy 2-3 pounds of grains at a time, and cases of DME/LME.

Next jump would be to partial mashes or BIAB, or kegging.

rabbit wrote:

Round about stage 4 I stopped buying kits, and started ordering LME/DME/Specialty Grains/Bottling Sugar/Hops in bulk and just building recipes in Beersmith, and I don't think I'll ever look back. It's a bit cheaper too. I buy 2-3 pounds of grains at a time, and cases of DME/LME.

I'm about to make this switch too. Or plan to, as soon as I have time to get my next batch in the rotation.

I actually cracked a bottle of my last batch the weekend before last. It was an American Amber Ale which had been in bottles for 2 weeks after 3 in fermentation. I really, really hope it's just a matter of needing more conditioning, but boy was it not good. Very green/young tasting. I'm giving it another two weeks before I crack the next one.

Teneman wrote:
rabbit wrote:

Round about stage 4 I stopped buying kits, and started ordering LME/DME/Specialty Grains/Bottling Sugar/Hops in bulk and just building recipes in Beersmith, and I don't think I'll ever look back. It's a bit cheaper too. I buy 2-3 pounds of grains at a time, and cases of DME/LME.

I'm about to make this switch too. Or plan to, as soon as I have time to get my next batch in the rotation.

I actually cracked a bottle of my last batch the weekend before last. It was an American Amber Ale which had been in bottles for 2 weeks after 3 in fermentation. I really, really hope it's just a matter of needing more conditioning, but boy was it not good. Very green/young tasting. I'm giving it another two weeks before I crack the next one.

I had a belgian that took like 3 months to finally settle down.

Just opened my first bottle of my first batch. IT'S A SUCCESS! The end result is a little lower gravity than I would prefer in an IPA, but all in all it tastes great.

On top of that, I've collected enough 750mL bottles to hold two batches. I expect I'll be ordering supplies for my next recipe later this week.

Arise, thread and walk again!

I finally broke down and bought a beermaking kit. I ended up getting the Brewers Best basic kit, a work chiller, and a ingredient kit.

The last few times I brewed with KrazyTaco, we didn't use carboys or betterbottles for secondary fermentation (just using fermentation buckets), so I figured I didn't really need one. The dude at Maryland Homebrew, though seemed adamant that they were vital because bucket fermenting was exposing the wort to way too much oxidation. I may still get one later, but for now, I think I will be fine without it.

While I was there, though, I became very intrigued with the idea of all grain brewing. I am pretty sure I can build a mash tun a lot more cheaply than the kits they have at the home brew store, but even if it does end up costing me the $150 or so, the fact that all grain brewing supplies cost less than half that of extract brewing makes going all grain a lot more cost effective in the long run. That and the beer, I am told, tastes a whole lot better.

Don't rush into all-grain brewing. It gives you a lot of creative freedom but it does add time, equipment, and more cleaning. I never did pure extract brewing but went to the "intermediate" step of steeping specialty grains. I honestly can say that moving to all-grain gave me much better flavor, just the opportunity to really try my own hand. If your supply company has good, fresh extract I think you'll be plenty happy.

LiquidMantis wrote:

Don't rush into all-grain brewing. It gives you a lot of creative freedom but it does add time, equipment, and more cleaning. I never did pure extract brewing but went to the "intermediate" step of steeping specialty grains. I honestly can say that moving to all-grain gave me much better flavor, just the opportunity to really try my own hand. If your supply company has good, fresh extract I think you'll be plenty happy.

Should I get the carboy though?

Buckets will be fine.

Do a few batches of partial mash before diving into all-grain.

LilCodger wrote:

Buckets will be fine.

Do a few batches of partial mash before diving into all-grain.

Cool. I figure I can just build the mash tun in February (my birthday).

Get a carboy man.

Paleocon wrote:

Cool. I figure I can just build the mash tun in February (my birthday).

Sounds good. If you're anything like me, after a few batches you'll want a mash tun and carboys.

And probably a kegging kit.

Take a lot of notes. Consider some brewing software if you're into such things.

Yeah, I went straight to carboys for both primary and secondary. But I also scored several deals of a local Craigslist-esque newsgroup before Craigslist started and got a lot of stuff cheap. I wanted to so some long secondaries so I really wanted the impermeable glass carboy. Don't overcomplicate things at the start, just give it a go and see how interested you are. Although it sounds like you've been brewing before so maybe you already have a feel for how invested you want to get.

This is a repost, but carboys are a beautiful thing:
IMAGE(http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a254/Liquidmantis/brewing/ferment.jpg)

This may be slightly off topic, but all day when I have seen this thread I keep thinking about this article I saw in September Walk up moonshine sales from basement window.

boogle wrote:

Get a carboy man.

The care and feeding of a carboy (the pain in the ass cleaning and sanitizing) has to be worth something. Not to mention the expense and comparative difficulty in maneuvering.

Make your case.

Cleaning carboys is actually not a problem. They make a spray wand that works great. For moving them, if you look in my pic there's a nylon harness you can get. The handle on the neck is not for lifting a full 'boy.

Paleocon wrote:
boogle wrote:

Get a carboy man.

The care and feeding of a carboy (the pain in the ass cleaning and sanitizing) has to be worth something. Not to mention the expense and comparative difficulty in maneuvering.

Make your case.

You directly control what goes into the beer.
This will lead to a more consistent product, with less 'crap' able to be introduced during fermentation.
If you splurge and buy a second for secondary fermentation, this will also help with floaties and clarity of the product.
Cleaning a carboy is trivial if you can find the 5 dollars to buy the brush.
TL;DR Better f*cking beer.

Personally, I used glass for primary and secondary in my first couple of batches, then switched to plastic for primary. The ring of froth-turned-gunk from a vigorous ferment is much easier to clean out of a bucket, and I always figured that primary fermentation produced enough CO2 to keep air away from my wort/beer.

Oxyclean always made short work of cleaning carboys. It's been a long time, my tricks are starting to come back.

Someone at the homebrew shop I go to told me that he uses one of those recyclable shopping bags from Ikea instead of a carboy carrier. I thought it was genius.

I just carefully tilt and carry it like it was my big five-gallon slippery child. You don't drop your child.