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Old 12-09-2010, 10:10 AM   #1
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Any Jeepers out there home brewers?

Recently got into home brewing, shortly before i got my first Jeep (its been a good year ) and I was just wondering if there were any other home brewers or wine makers out there.

If so, what kind of setup do you have? I might want to pick at your brain for some suggestions, or answers to some questions that I have.

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Old 12-09-2010, 10:13 AM   #2
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I have been wanting to start brewing my own beer for several years now, but its a time and money investment that I just haven't been able to commit yet.

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Old 12-09-2010, 10:18 AM   #3
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It really is fun, especially if you have a brew buddy, but it was a little steep to get started. I got my rig for about $500, but then again, i bought everything all at once. The most expensive pieces were the wort chiller, the burner, and brew pot.

Problem is, im getting a funky flavor from it.
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Old 12-09-2010, 10:18 AM   #4
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Home brewer here! Love it, but definitely an amateur at it. I have brewed about 5 successful batches at 2 gallons each time.

Huge sense of accomplishment when it's done and I catch a nice Friday afternoon buzz.
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Old 12-09-2010, 10:38 AM   #5
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What type if pot do you use? Are you brewing intermediate style with specialty grains? What do you use for sanitation agents?

Wow, kind of sounds like a 5yo shooting off questions, but I definitely have tons. I'm on my second batch, a Porter, but I am nervous of the out come.
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Old 12-09-2010, 11:49 AM   #6
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What type if pot do you use? Are you brewing intermediate style with specialty grains? What do you use for sanitation agents?

Wow, kind of sounds like a 5yo shooting off questions, but I definitely have tons. I'm on my second batch, a Porter, but I am nervous of the out come.
Large stainless steel is the ONLY way to go, I use a no rinse sanitizing agent sold for just this application on my bottles, spoons etc. Feel free to sanitize via dishwasher after your done brewing however the no rinse (IMHO) MUST be reapplied just before brewing a new batch. Try to keep everything as sterile as possible. If you use a plate to set your spoon on, sanitize it!!! See what I'm getting at???

Another VERY important rule to follow (until you can make your own rules) is the 222 method. 2 weeks fermenting, 2 weeks bottled, 2 weeks cold bottled for finishing. Over this time is fine but under is NOT recommended.
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Old 12-09-2010, 12:19 PM   #7
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Yeah, i was coerced into buying the black speckled pot (i think that is part of it). I use C-Brite for the cleaning, and iodine mix for the sanitation. No funky mold, or anything like that, but i swear there is a chalky mouthfeel at the end, and a hint of iodine. My first batch, i let the bottles air dry, and another brewer said i didn't rinse them good enough after. So, this time, i did a quick dip in a boiling pot of water (the brew pot) after i did iodine.

The kit i am using says 1 week only for fermentation, and when i took my final gravity after that week, i was right at 1.014 (with the adjustment of the temp, +.001). with a starting gravity at 1.048

When you are ready to move from fermenter to the bottling bucket, nothing should be on top of the brew, right? Cause i never have anything, just bubbles with the leftover hops and grain on the side wall. But even then, when i take a sample taste of the wort after fermenting, i taste the alcohol, but on the second batch, there's that familiar taste of chalkiness and iodine (maybe not iodine, but definitely a sweet/sour taste) and it has nothing close to a porter taste, no chocolaty after tones, or coffee. This is after the priming sugar has been applied in the bottling bucket.

Do you by chance have the name handy of the no rinse agent? Would it by chance be S-Brite?

Could all of this be from the pot itself? I told wifey and brew pal that if this has the same flavor again, i was ditching the pot i have, and getting stainless steel. Some other brew forums have a 6-of-one / half a dozen of the other feel towards the use of black speckled vs stainless steel.
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Old 12-09-2010, 03:29 PM   #8
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Got a MR Beer and made 1 batch. It was fun but didnt really taste good till I read to ditch everything about the kit and buy everything seperate. But it was fun...
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Old 12-09-2010, 04:40 PM   #9
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The Mr Beer is basically add water and boil right? Comes in a rather large box? I dont recall the one that I use, but as long as its not the ingredients, then I am presuming they are ok. I can taste the potential, unfortunately, there is plenty more to taste than i care for.
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Old 12-09-2010, 06:11 PM   #10
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I have successfully brewed an American Wheat and a Bavarian Heffeweizen, I am using kits to brew and you can check out Monsterbrew.com they sell kits and the things you need to start. Its not too expensive. You can find the brew pots on ebay for around 40$ you need at least a 16 quart. Also check out perfect brewing supply in Libertyville, IL, they are cheaper. you do need a sanitizer, I use one called Five Star Star San, its an acid sanitizer that is the best. You also need a hydrometer to check the gravity reading and a bottle capper. I use Sam Adams bottles and soak them in hot water to get their labels off and the sanitize them in the kitchen sink. YOu can learn all this stuff on Joh Palmer's website:howtobrew.com He has his whole book on intro to brewing on there to give you hints and tips. I didnt read the whole thing but only what I needed to get by. Enjoy! Its so much fun to share with friends when you brew
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Old 12-09-2010, 08:55 PM   #11
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Yeah I have all the stuff, hydrometer, wort chiller, pot, fermentation bucket, bottling bucket, siphon, the works plus the grolsch style pint bottles with the ceramic top. But I get funky flavors out of it all. Its tons of fun, but such a waste to toss 5 gallons when it doesn't come out right. Last batch was a Bock style, about 6%, but ot had a funky flavor. Got ya drunk, and I regained feeling from the left side of my face after a while, but still something was there that I don't think should have been.
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Old 12-10-2010, 05:21 AM   #12
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How long did you leave it in the bottles/fridge for cold finishing??? I have found that even a funky tasting beer will clean up after an extended period of time. When it comes to home brewing, patience is your best friend! Bottle them and keep them around for a while. You might be pleasantly surprised.

REMEMBER THE 222 RULE!! Trust me on this one.
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Old 12-10-2010, 08:39 AM   #13
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4 weeks of conditioning. at least 2 at room temp, then 2 more weeks in the fridge. I am getting the funky taste before the conditioning process is over.In fact, i still have almost a 12 pack left of my Bock. Those have been sitting in the fridge for over 2 months now. Cracked one open last night for grins, and no change. Drinkable and strong, but something is there.

When i bottled, I didnt have enough to fill my last bottle, so i pored a little into the palm of my hand and had a taste. couldn't even tell it was a porter, didnt even smell like a porter, but that funkiness with sweet/sour taste at the end. I use the True Brew home brewing intermediate kit. so its happening somewhere before i bottle.

I used the correct iodine mix for my bottles in my bottling bucket. What it did was, fill the bucket up with 5 gallons of water. Put in the amount, 1oz i believe, of iodine. Then placed my bottles, after being cleaned with C-Brite, into the bucket. Let them have a minute of contact time as recommended. Did that with 7 bottles at a time until i had all 48 bottles sanitized. Then, let the mix drain out the spigot, and hose to get those sanitized. Dumped out the rest of what was left at the bottom.

Grabbed the fermenter, started the siphon process, added priming sugar as it was filling up the bottling bucket, then started bottling. Surely there isnt enough of the iodine in the bottling bucket to leave that strong of a taste. I was told that its not enough to change the flavor of the beer.

So, where i am at, is either a) switch to a no-rinse sanatizer like your self, or b) ditch the speckled pot and go with stainless steel like i should have in the beginning, or c) all of the above.

Again, this is only my second batch, so its not like i am getting beyond frustrated, its just i need to tweak my setup and procedures. Bad thing is, its the blind leading the blind as both me and my brew buddy are huge fans of beer, but neither know anything about brewing. So alot of it is trial by fire. Right now, the fun we have in the process, is out weighing the side effects.

Oh, and just to be sure we are all on the same page, i brew 5 gallon batches. Doubt that makes a difference, but i noticed that you do, or someone else that has commented, does 2 gallons.

Also, about the 222 rule, how can i leave it in the fermenter for two weeks, when my final gravity is ready in a week and the recipe calls for only one week? If I leave it in there too long, wont the yeast eat up everything, and then when i pitch the priming sugar, and if the yeast has died off, wont i get flat beer? From what i have read, some kits only have you do it for a week so that the active yeast is still hungry to work its magic when you prime it. Your AC goes up a tad, but not that much. For the next batch, i will consider the 2 week deal, but my airlock stops bubbling after 48 hours actively. Then 72 - 96 hours of sitting before i am supposed to check the gravity.
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Old 12-10-2010, 08:55 AM   #14
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4 weeks of conditioning. at least 2 at room temp, then 2 more weeks in the fridge. I am getting the funky taste before the conditioning process is over.In fact, i still have almost a 12 pack left of my Bock. Those have been sitting in the fridge for over 2 months now. Cracked one open last night for grins, and no change. Drinkable and strong, but something is there.

When i bottled, I didnt have enough to fill my last bottle, so i pored a little into the palm of my hand and had a taste. couldn't even tell it was a porter, didnt even smell like a porter, but that funkiness with sweet/sour taste at the end. I use the True Brew home brewing intermediate kit. so its happening somewhere before i bottle.

I used the correct iodine mix for my bottles in my bottling bucket. What it did was, fill the bucket up with 5 gallons of water. Put in the amount, 1oz i believe, of iodine. Then placed my bottles, after being cleaned with C-Brite, into the bucket. Let them have a minute of contact time as recommended. Did that with 7 bottles at a time until i had all 48 bottles sanitized. Then, let the mix drain out the spigot, and hose to get those sanitized. Dumped out the rest of what was left at the bottom.

Grabbed the fermenter, started the siphon process, added priming sugar as it was filling up the bottling bucket, then started bottling. Surely there isnt enough of the iodine in the bottling bucket to leave that strong of a taste. I was told that its not enough to change the flavor of the beer.

So, where i am at, is either a) switch to a no-rinse sanatizer like your self, or b) ditch the speckled pot and go with stainless steel like i should have in the beginning, or c) all of the above.

Again, this is only my second batch, so its not like i am getting beyond frustrated, its just i need to tweak my setup and procedures. Bad thing is, its the blind leading the blind as both me and my brew buddy are huge fans of beer, but neither know anything about brewing. So alot of it is trial by fire. Right now, the fun we have in the process, is out weighing the side effects.

Oh, and just to be sure we are all on the same page, i brew 5 gallon batches. Doubt that makes a difference, but i noticed that you do, or someone else that has commented, does 2 gallons.

Also, about the 222 rule, how can i leave it in the fermenter for two weeks, when my final gravity is ready in a week and the recipe calls for only one week? If I leave it in there too long, wont the yeast eat up everything, and then when i pitch the priming sugar, and if the yeast has died off, wont i get flat beer? From what i have read, some kits only have you do it for a week so that the active yeast is still hungry to work its magic when you prime it. Your AC goes up a tad, but not that much. For the next batch, i will consider the 2 week deal, but my airlock stops bubbling after 48 hours actively. Then 72 - 96 hours of sitting before i am supposed to check the gravity.
You actually still have active yeast in your beer at ANY time. You could (and some do for consistency in flavor etc) reuse part of the old yeast keg for the next batch. Just because it's done bubbling does not mean the yeast have died or are not doing "their thing". Even after two weeks of fermenting the yeast is still around and there is PLENTY of it. That is why you can actually over prime your bottles with to much sugar and cause them to burst. It's because the yeast is till active and the more sugar that is available, the more it will consume. The finishing process in the cold is the yeast cleaning up after itself and any other foreign things it can consume as well.

Patience my friend and enjoy it. After all isn't that why you started doing it in the 1st place??? On your next batch give it TWO weeks and i guarantee you will notice a difference. Some people even go longer but that is kind of overkill. Oh and what are you using in your bubbler?? I suggest vodka as it naturally kills off bacteria where as water does not!
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Old 12-10-2010, 09:00 AM   #15
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You guys rock...i envy you. For years i've wanted to brew my own. I love to drink beer. Just haven't pit the bullet and took action to brew my own :/
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Old 12-10-2010, 09:06 AM   #16
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I've been home brewing for about 5 years and founded our local club, Berks County HomeBrew.
No rinse sanitizer is the way to go, I use star san. By far the best. You can leave foam in the carboy and bottles and it wont affect the taste.
I started out using a speckled pot, but moving up to a 7.5 gallon stainless pot is much better. Right now I am using a converted 15.5 gallon keg. The larger the boil volume the better hop utilization you'll get.
As for the fermentation time. It varies greatly with each type of beer. Typically you will keep it in the primary fermenter for 1-2 weeks or whenever the bubbles slow. Then into a secondary fermenter to get it off the yeast cake (the sludge in the bottom). I usually leave it in there for 1-2 weeks for an ale.
Before you bottle you'll want the final gravity to be very close to your target. If it's too high and you add the priming sugar you'll make bottle bombs. They will explode!
The yeast don't die. Well some do, but they just become dormant. Once you add the sugar they will come back and eat it all.
You wont ruin the beer by leaving it in the fermenter for too long. Just so long as you are very anal about sanitization. All equipment, hands, surfaces where you set things need to be clean and sanitized.
The off flavors that lead to funkiness are from 2 sources. Contamination or the temperature fluctuating/being too high or too low.

Any other questions I'd be happy to answer!
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Old 12-10-2010, 09:17 AM   #17
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I've been home brewing for about 5 years and founded our local club, Berks County HomeBrew.
No rinse sanitizer is the way to go, I use star san. By far the best. You can leave foam in the carboy and bottles and it wont affect the taste.
I started out using a speckled pot, but moving up to a 7.5 gallon stainless pot is much better. Right now I am using a converted 15.5 gallon keg. The larger the boil volume the better hop utilization you'll get.
As for the fermentation time. It varies greatly with each type of beer. Typically you will keep it in the primary fermenter for 1-2 weeks or whenever the bubbles slow. Then into a secondary fermenter to get it off the yeast cake (the sludge in the bottom). I usually leave it in there for 1-2 weeks for an ale.
Before you bottle you'll want the final gravity to be very close to your target. If it's too high and you add the priming sugar you'll make bottle bombs. They will explode!
The yeast don't die. Well some do, but they just become dormant. Once you add the sugar they will come back and eat it all.
You wont ruin the beer by leaving it in the fermenter for too long. Just so long as you are very anal about sanitization. All equipment, hands, surfaces where you set things need to be clean and sanitized.
The off flavors that lead to funkiness are from 2 sources. Contamination or the temperature fluctuating/being too high or too low.

Any other questions I'd be happy to answer!
Perfectly stated!!!
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Old 12-10-2010, 09:49 AM   #18
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Does using plain tap water matter or do you go and by bottled water for the brew? Am i correct to assume that this doesn't matter until you reach the level where you are mashing, as far as keeping the Ph levels right? Looks like i'll have to re-evaluate my process and sanitation procedures with this on the next batch. Just bottled 2 weeks ago.

It may be starting off right at the beginning with my brew pot. Maybe i'm not cleaning it enough while under the presumption that the boil process will kill anything i missed with the cleaners. Also i will try that sanitation product you mentioned. And about the vodka, never even thought of that. I use distilled water for the air lock.
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Old 12-10-2010, 09:56 AM   #19
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You guys rock...i envy you. For years i've wanted to brew my own. I love to drink beer. Just haven't pit the bullet and took action to brew my own :/
It really is a ton of fun! Start buying your kit here and there. The buckets are like $12 a piece, and everything else is pretty cheap. The most expensive items are the pots, wort chiller (not always needed though), and bottles. If you drink regularly (by that I mean a couple a night, or on weekends) save your bottles that are pop offs (cant use twist offs) like sugaror and get a process down.

My only problem is that i learn better by being shown by someone who knows what they are doing instead of me shooting from the hip. And in this case, its all me, trial by fire. But i love it. When the pot is boiling out in the garage, and you drop the hops... MMMMmmmmm smells so amazing!
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Old 12-10-2010, 09:59 AM   #20
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Does using plain tap water matter or do you go and by bottled water for the brew? Am i correct to assume that this doesn't matter until you reach the level where you are mashing, as far as keeping the Ph levels right? Looks like i'll have to re-evaluate my process and sanitation procedures with this on the next batch. Just bottled 2 weeks ago.

It may be starting off right at the beginning with my brew pot. Maybe i'm not cleaning it enough while under the presumption that the boil process will kill anything i missed with the cleaners. Also i will try that sanitation product you mentioned. And about the vodka, never even thought of that. I use distilled water for the air lock.
I personally used bottled water but that's just me. I have heard that tap water can have an affect on your final product.
Sanitizing everything is essential! As I said, you put down your spoon on a plate, make sure the plate was sanitized just prior to your process. You touch a towel that has been hanging on your fridge, sanitize your hands. Be as clean as possible and the no rinse sanitizer is the way to go. Super easy to use and will not ruin your beer. Keep it around in a pitcher to randomly dunk your equipment (or hands) in if necessary. Its basically a package of powder you add to water.

As far as Vodka goes, just buy a cheap jug of it to use in your air lock. No point in wasting the good stuff on bacteria. =)
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Old 01-12-2011, 03:02 PM   #21
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I just started brewing. I'm bottling my first brew this weekend! My fingers are crossed that it will be a great one but I'm trying not to get my hopes up too high.

So far I am getting my most tips from "The Joy of Home brewing" Book and I have got a lot of good tips from a local home brew store. All the guys that I have talked to that are into home brewing are very willing to share tips and share sips as well.

Cheers!

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Old 01-12-2011, 03:09 PM   #22
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Man... best of luck to you. I opened a bottle right before Christmas that had finished conditioning. It was much better in two ways than my first batch of Bock.

The carbonation was beautiful, made a wonderful "POP!" sound as i unlatched the porcelain top (Like the Grolsch 16oz bottles)

When poured, the head was a work of art, very very nice. A caramel color (porter brew). Then..... I took a swig and swirled it around. My eyes started to water , my tongue started to sting (seriously) I wanted to vomit, and it felt like i had a packet of Tums in my mouth, all at the same time... *...sigh..."

Another 5 gallons... down the drain. My wife is going to over look my sanitation procedures during the next one and tell me where i am screwing up. Acidic and chalky characters, from what i understand, are tall tale signs of contamination.
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Old 01-12-2011, 03:17 PM   #23
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I really want to get into this, but I'm scared:
-If it's bad, i wasted time and money.
-If it's good, I'll get all excited and make more, and I'll end up with a lot of beer.

Both of these are kinda losing propositions.
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Old 01-12-2011, 03:50 PM   #24
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Man... best of luck to you. I opened a bottle right before Christmas that had finished conditioning. It was much better in two ways than my first batch of Bock.

The carbonation was beautiful, made a wonderful "POP!" sound as i unlatched the porcelain top (Like the Grolsch 16oz bottles)

When poured, the head was a work of art, very very nice. A caramel color (porter brew). Then..... I took a swig and swirled it around. My eyes started to water , my tongue started to sting (seriously) I wanted to vomit, and it felt like i had a packet of Tums in my mouth, all at the same time... *...sigh..."

Another 5 gallons... down the drain. My wife is going to over look my sanitation procedures during the next one and tell me where i am screwing up. Acidic and chalky characters, from what i understand, are tall tale signs of contamination.
Bummer man. I love a good porter. Just for thought.... My pops has brewed for a long time and he and I brewed a beer at his house over Christmas. He uses bleach for sanitation. We did everything we could to keep everything sanitary and while doing it he mentioned that he had over sanitized once and it destroyed his beer. If you are using bleach make sure you rinse thoroughly. The bleach can wreak havoc on your flavors he says.

Good luck with your next one. I'll let you know how mine comes out. I'm doing a seasonal IPA from Brewers Best called "HopNog".

-Travis

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I really want to get into this, but I'm scared:
-If it's bad, i wasted time and money.
-If it's good, I'll get all excited and make more, and I'll end up with a lot of beer.

Both of these are kinda losing propositions.
"Relax, have a Homebrew" - common quote from "The Joy of Home Brewing".. I couldn't pass it up.

Do it. I got my start up kit with ingredients to do my first brew for about $200.00 I still have a few things to buy, bottle washer is next and I don't have a wort chiller yet either (Not sure if the WC is really necessary though. You can chill 1/2 of your water before you add it to the primary fermentor). but it doesn't take much to get started. The worst that can happen is you have to pour it down the drain...
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Old 01-12-2011, 04:17 PM   #25
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A wort chiller is totally necessasry, but it is nice. With all that copper, its a pretty penny though. i use one so i dont have to go from the burner in the garage to the bathroom with a 6 gallon pot of boiling wort.

With you doing an IPA, do you have a carboy to do secondary fermentation, or are you just going to use another fermenting bucket as a secondary fermenter.



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Originally Posted by Geoff@Bestop View Post
I really want to get into this, but I'm scared:
-If it's bad, i wasted time and money.
-If it's good, I'll get all excited and make more, and I'll end up with a lot of beer.

Both of these are kinda losing propositions.

You really dont have to spend that much money, plus, get some friends to go in on it with you. Bottles alone can set you back a couple of bones. But, once you do get all the equipment, its ~$45 for the ingredient kit for each brew. The only other thing you are spending, is time. Plus alot of patience. 5 gallons yields roughly 2.5 cases. Thats easy to go through with friends for sure. Time takes ~6 weeks, but it goes by quick.

If you are passionate about beer, and want to learn how, it really is worth it in the end, i promise. I have had 2 bad batches in a row, but its not going to stop me. Jim Kock (Sam Adams) and Sam Calagione (Dogfish Head) influence me entirely too much to give up any time soon.

Prosit!
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Old 01-12-2011, 04:31 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Hammerwalk View Post
A wort chiller is totally necessary, but it is nice. With all that copper, its a pretty penny though. i use one so i don't have to go from the burner in the garage to the bathroom with a 6 gallon pot of boiling wort.

With you doing an IPA, do you have a carboy to do secondary fermentation, or are you just going to use another fermenting bucket as a secondary fermentor.
unnecessary or necessary? I was thinking about making one to save a buck but right now I only brew with 2.5 gallons. I add the other 2.5 when I add my wort to my fermentor so I end up with 5 gallons in the end.

I have a glass carboy for the second phase of fermentation. I am dry hopping in it right now. I'll be bottling it on Friday if everything goes well.
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Old 01-12-2011, 04:46 PM   #27
I like beer and stuff

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whoops, my bad. Unnecessary. The guy i buy my stuff from down here, Formans General Store, calls it "Fru-Fru" products. But yeah, i got one, but you dont have to have one. But yeah, since you are doing 2.5 gallons, i wouldn't spend the money on it. You can cool it down with ice or other means, like the bathtub or cooler filled with ice.

I had to go big and get everything for 5 gallon batches. Go big, or go home i guess.

My mouth is watering just thinking of that carboy dry-hopping... got any pics?
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Old 01-12-2011, 05:42 PM   #28
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I'll snap some pics this friday for you. It probably won't be too interesting at this phase though. It just sits in a dark corner and teases me.

I still brew 5 gallon batches. I basically make a concentrated Wort and then once I add it to my fermentor I end up with 5 gallons. (with the addition of water) With your pot you should be able to brew 10 gallons at a time if you have a pot big enough for 5 gallons of wort. You'd need something like this though, for a fermentor...

Blichmann 14.5 Gallon Conical Fermentor Leg Extensions
(not the leg extensions, the conical Fermentor in the pic)
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Old 01-12-2011, 08:11 PM   #29
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I have tried the Mr. Beer kit and it was a decent tasting product, but the carbonation was overboard. Drink one and be burping all night and heart burn followed. I took some to the last So Cal Meet and Greet to share. It was fun and I will more than likely try it again but using some of the tips from this thread.

Jeff
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Old 01-12-2011, 08:19 PM   #30
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I helped my dad brew beer when he was alive and it was good. I did it myself once since but wasn't the same without the old man. He had some old wine stuff laying around so I tried that and it is much easier. You can really make some interesting stuff.

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