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Author Topic: Does anyone here brew their own beer?  (Read 662 times)
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Graham
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« on: January 02, 2011, 11:08:21 PM »

I got a Mr. Beer brewing kit for a Christmas gift.  I have been doing some reading up on home brewing and was wondering if anyone else does their own brewing.

Do you use your own recipies or the mixes?

Do you use soda bottles for the carbonation step?  Ever try mason jars?

I like imperial stouts most.  Are dark beers easy to do with this kit?

Any help would be appreciated.
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Einsteinium
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« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2011, 12:18:44 AM »

I microbrew at least a batch every 6 months. The Mr. Beer kit is a good starter kit. You have to buy supplies for other types of beers from Mr.Beer, because it is about half the size of a normal recipe. A brewer's club will have a lot of details and options, but mostly with a full 5 gal kit (Mr. Beer is 2.5 I think)

Plastic bottles are ok at first, you learn to fill appropriately (glass bottles can shatter if you overfill)
Mason jars are a no-no. You can use beer bottles that you get, preferably brown, and absolutely NOT screwtop. A bottle capper is really cheap at a microbrew store.

Imperial stouts take a lot of work, I'd try a dark ale or lager to get used to it.

Good luck and have fun with it!
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Wargus
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« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2011, 01:12:59 AM »

I've been homebrewing for 4-5 years now. I've been on a brewing lull lately due to lack of time (its always like this during the holidays for me). however try to brew at least once a month normally.

I started using kits, moving from those to extract recipes found online & in books and magazines. I've moved on to grain brewing with my own recipes now. I keg everything (using cornelius -pop- kegs) and when I want to bottle use a counter-pressure filler (the Blichmann Beergun) and just bottle what I need at a time.  I'd hazard to guess (with no real evidence) that bottling is probably what stops most people from brewing. Its a pain in the ass.  For $500 to $1,000  you can start kegging (I know it is pricey, however, it is well worth the investment if you are serious about brewing).  You can do it for cheaper if you are at all mechanically inclined and build your own keg-orator. If anybody is interested I can put together a parts list for one.

I'd suggest buying "The Joy of Home Brewing" by John Palmer & getting a 1 year subscription to Brew Your Own. The first will teach you all the basics of brewing and is enjoyable to read, the second gives lots of tips, advice, and great recipes.

Brewing is awesome, relax, & drink a homebrew!
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Lee
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« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2011, 01:18:51 AM »

Homebrew? I thought you had your own brewery now Wargus?
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Wargus
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« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2011, 04:36:04 AM »

Quote from: Lee on January 03, 2011, 01:18:51 AM

Homebrew? I thought you had your own brewery now Wargus?

Unfortunately life got in the way of that.  Costs were escalating and my ability to handle them decreasing at faster than I could cope with so I had to sideline it. I had identified & was working on about $200,000 that would have bought the equipment & gotten me going, however I needed another $200,000 to get through the first couple years.  My ability to pay people back was really going to be an issue and I had to decide if I was really willing to tank my credit & risk my house & assets for it.  Ultimately I still have everything I've put into it to use for brewing or to create a name and intend to figure this out eventually, even if just very small scale (aka professional hobbyist). 

Essentially the economy shat on me.

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Scuzz
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« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2011, 05:33:42 PM »

I used to but when the kids came along I lost my brewery...the bath tub.

You can make some real good stuff at home.

Key thing........make sure everything you use is clean...very clean.
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Ironrod
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« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2011, 11:14:25 PM »

Quote from: Wargus on January 03, 2011, 04:36:04 AM

Quote from: Lee on January 03, 2011, 01:18:51 AM

Homebrew? I thought you had your own brewery now Wargus?

Unfortunately life got in the way of that.  Costs were escalating and my ability to handle them decreasing at faster than I could cope with so I had to sideline it. I had identified & was working on about $200,000 that would have bought the equipment & gotten me going, however I needed another $200,000 to get through the first couple years.  My ability to pay people back was really going to be an issue and I had to decide if I was really willing to tank my credit & risk my house & assets for it.  Ultimately I still have everything I've put into it to use for brewing or to create a name and intend to figure this out eventually, even if just very small scale (aka professional hobbyist). 

Essentially the economy shat on me.

Bummer.
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El-Producto
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« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2011, 11:29:17 AM »

Yes, I'm addicted. Once I started going All-Grain, my beers are fresher and better tasting then pretty much anything I can buy from the store.. and a hell of a lot cheaper!
Imperial Stouts are big beers, but Porters and Stouts are a great way to get into the hobby, as they will hide a lot of newbie mistakes.  I just brewed a FANTASTIC Robust Porter.

Be warned, it's a very slippery slope.  I started in August doing stovetop extract brewing, and have quickly purchased/made the following equipment:

Turkey Fryer
Copper Immersion Chiller
Mash/Lauter Tun
Temp Controller
Barley Crusher Grain Mill

I'm now doing All-Grain and my beers are fantastic.  I can brew a 5 gallon batch for around $15 using bulk grains/hops, reused yeast.  I live in Canada, so I don't have access to the wonderful Craft Beers from the USA.. oh well, I can just brew clone recipes and drink something really close to the commercial version.

I just bought 4 Corny Kegs.. can't wait to get kegging.
Somehow I have to get through the 6 cases of beer still waiting to be consumed Tongue

I'm about to embark on  my first sour beer.. super excited.



A Hoppy American Amber I just brewed.

Anyway, it's a great hobby and can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be.  If you love beer, it's a no-brainer!
« Last Edit: January 04, 2011, 11:42:22 AM by El-Producto » Logged

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Scuzz
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« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2011, 06:37:45 PM »

A guy down the street from me is like you. He kegs beer, bottles beer and is constantly making strange and wonderful tasting beer. He has twice placed in the Samuel Adams contest.
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Alefroth
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« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2011, 06:55:03 AM »

I've been brewing for 20 years. I'm not sure what comes with a Mr. Brew, but getting a basic setup isn't that difficult and will give you better results than those kits. I've heard of people turned off of brewing because of the kits.

Brewing kettle and carboy are the two items you definitely need. Bottling (and especially washing them) is a pain, but has some advantages over kegging.

Wargus, I think you mean Charlie Papazian.

It's a great pasttime, hope you enjoy it.

Relax. Don't worry. Have a homebrew.

Ale
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drifter
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« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2011, 11:35:59 PM »

key thing in home brewing is making sure everything is sterile so you dont get skunky beer.

When I carboated my before I mixed the sugar with warm water adn would stir it into the beer right before bottling so every beer was carbonated the same; no exploding beer caps for me.
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El-Producto
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« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2011, 09:07:11 PM »

Arise!

Just got my kegerator set-up.  Having draft beer at home, is so awesome it can't be described.
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Gryndyl
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« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2011, 11:37:20 PM »

Quote from: El-Producto on February 15, 2011, 09:07:11 PM

Arise!

Just got my kegerator set-up.  Having draft beer at home, is so awesome it can't be described.

This is an absolute truth.
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Wargus
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« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2011, 04:03:52 AM »

Quote from: El-Producto on February 15, 2011, 09:07:11 PM

Arise!

Just got my kegerator set-up.  Having draft beer at home, is so awesome it can't be described.

Awesome.  May I recommend you build or buy yourself a counter pressure filler? The Blichmann Beer Gun is a nice one (its what I use) however you can cobble one together out of parts if you want.  This will let you fill bottles from your keg without oxygen contamination. It allows you to purge the bottle with CO2 then fill with beer.  You will never look back to the old bottling days! Enjoy.
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El-Producto
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« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2011, 02:28:52 PM »

I prefer this.. MUCH cheaper slywink

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f35/we-no-need-no-stinking-beer-gun-24678/
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El-Producto
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« Reply #15 on: March 07, 2011, 05:35:45 PM »

Latest addition to my brewhouse.
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