Thinking of home brewing

ringsnort wrote:

It's late and reading six pages of this undoubtedly excellent thread is just not happening tonight. However, I am passionate about this subject so I'll take a risk and simply say...

The all powerful, all important, and singularly most critical component of all home brewing is not...

The grains you use...

The addition of specialty malts or extracts...

The kind of water used...

The hops selected...

The final temperature of your wort...

The variety of yeast...

Your preferred bottling and capping method...

No, the absolute most important, all critical, component of good home brewing is an obsessive attention to cleanliness. If the concept of "cross contamination" isn't in your vocabulary, you are unlikely to ever brew quality beer. Period.

Best advice so far in this thread.

As an experiment, I set aside a few bottles of each of the batches I brewed last year. I pulled them out and cracked them open last night.

My Gutter Drip Stout (from February of last year) actually aged rather nicely, the off taste that had plagued it is completely gone now. I'm looking forward to drinking the rest of that six pack.

My Finger In Your IPA (from March of last year) and Spoonbender Amber Ale (May of last year), unfortunately, did not age so well. They were virtually undrinkable, and I'll likely have to dump those six packs.

I bought a medium sized chest freezer yesterday. Once we get settled in our new place, it's time to pick up a temperature controller and tackle lagering. I'm hoping to get a marzen ready in time for Oktoberfest.

Teneman wrote:

As an experiment, I set aside a few bottles of each of the batches I brewed last year. I pulled them out and cracked them open last night.

My Gutter Drip Stout (from February of last year) actually aged rather nicely, the off taste that had plagued it is completely gone now. I'm looking forward to drinking the rest of that six pack.

My Finger In Your IPA (from March of last year) and Spoonbender Amber Ale (May of last year), unfortunately, did not age so well. They were virtually undrinkable, and I'll likely have to dump those six packs.

Did you brew either of these beers specifically with long ageing / shelf life in mind? The beers I've typically brewed are usually best enjoyed within a few months and completely unsuitable for months on the shelf. Anyway, I would have thought your IPA would have produced the best long term results. This beer thing; it can be quite funny stuff.

ringsnort wrote:
Teneman wrote:

As an experiment, I set aside a few bottles of each of the batches I brewed last year. I pulled them out and cracked them open last night.

My Gutter Drip Stout (from February of last year) actually aged rather nicely, the off taste that had plagued it is completely gone now. I'm looking forward to drinking the rest of that six pack.

My Finger In Your IPA (from March of last year) and Spoonbender Amber Ale (May of last year), unfortunately, did not age so well. They were virtually undrinkable, and I'll likely have to dump those six packs.

Did you brew either of these beers specifically with long ageing / shelf life in mind? The beers I've typically brewed are usually best enjoyed within a few months and completely unsuitable for months on the shelf. Anyway, I would have thought your IPA would have produced the best long term results. This beer thing; it can be quite funny stuff.

Which of the beers had the highest ABV? They certainly take longer to condition. The barleywine and Russian imperial stout my husband made me conditioned for 2 years and about 10 months, respectively, and they're great. Also, at what temperature were they stored?

Anyone running an outdoor burner on natural gas?

We're in the process of building a deck so we'll also be running a natural gas line out of the house for the grill. I was thinking of teeing the line at the grill and converting my bayou classic to NG but I'm not sure if there will be enough pressure in the line.

Hey! I got laid off and ended up with a month between the end of my old job and the start of my new one. I did many things during my time off, including three brew days.
We're drinking a summer wheat ale right now. It's very light and drinkable which is perfect for relaxing after these long hot summer days.
I have a big IPA in the secondary fermenter now. I dry-hopped with Citra, and have high hopes for it when it's ready in a week or two.
I also have a Czech Pilsner fermenting at a comfy 48 degrees right now. Once it's close to done with primary fermentation I'll dry hop it with a bit more Saaz, give it a diacetyl rest, and then lager it for a few weeks. I'm using this as a test run for what will be a late-for-season Oktoberfest which I'll start once the pilsner is in the keg.
What's everyone else brewing this summer?

Phishposer wrote:

Hey! I got laid off and ended up with a month between the end of my old job and the start of my new one. I did many things during my time off, including three brew days.
We're drinking a summer wheat ale right now. It's very light and drinkable which is perfect for relaxing after these long hot summer days.
I have a big IPA in the secondary fermenter now. I dry-hopped with Citra, and have high hopes for it when it's ready in a week or two.
I also have a Czech Pilsner fermenting at a comfy 48 degrees right now. Once it's close to done with primary fermentation I'll dry hop it with a bit more Saaz, give it a diacetyl rest, and then lager it for a few weeks. I'm using this as a test run for what will be a late-for-season Oktoberfest which I'll start once the pilsner is in the keg.
What's everyone else brewing this summer?

Phish: You doing all grain, or extracts? I'm curious what your experience with the wheat ale was. It's a style I haven't gotten around to brewing up yet.

On a side note, anyone seen Northern Brewer's new(ish) wide-mouth carboys? I'm pretty tempted to order one or two, even if the old fashion glass ones I have work perfectly fine.

Ive been brewing all-grain. The grain bill for the wheat ale was about 60/40 malt/wheat. I just mashed the wheat with the two-row base malt. There wasn't really anything different from a normal brew other than a bunch of extra protein to skim out during the boil. It's not my favorite, but it's been a huge hit with guests. I'm probably going to have to brew it regularly to keep up with demand.

I'm nearing the end of a couple of recent batches, I need to get something going again. I made a honey blonde that I was super pleased with. It was the first beer I've made that I have been excited to share with others. I'm definitely going to have another go with that recipe. I also did an attempted clone of Fremont Brewing's Summer Ale. It wasn't a perfect clone, but holy cow was it good. Light and refreshing.

I've got 5 gallons of California Common cold crashing in the fridge that I need to get into bottles this week. I look forward to seeing how this one turns out. I'm not sure what will be next to try, something simple is the plan. I'm thinking maybe just some Maris Otter and Kent Goldings hops, a nice basic british pale.

Lucky Wilbury wrote:

I've done a few homebrews myself and I decided to get back into it and dug out all my old brewing gear from my parents place. All is well except all my old 22 oz bottles were tossed. Because of that and this thread, I'm contemplating the idea of ditching the bottles entirely for a keg system, but the only problem is I'm having a difficult time nailing down all the things i would need and how much all those parts would cost (my google-fu is weak; my searches found cost estimates that ranged from dirt cheap to prohibitively expensive).

Arise four years ago me! Still never got around to doing the kegging and, due to bouncing around the East Coast the last couple years, haven't had time/space to brew since 2010. I've finally settled down (in a spacious house with a lovely woman who will allow me to brew beer) and will be looking at buying the kegging equipment in the next week or so. The only downside is that I had given away all my brewing equipment a few years ago so I'll have to essentially start from scratch.