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OT: BEER

Does anyone brew beer at home? Any suggestions on what type of setup to start with?
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Comments

  • bgebrentbgebrent Posts: 17,542
    Sandy Springs & Dawsonville Ga
  • FoghornFoghorn Posts: 6,885
    edited October 2017

    XL BGE, Klose BYC, ProQ Excel, Weber Kettle, Firepit, Grand Turbo gasser, and a portable Outdoor Gourmet gasser for tailgating

    San Antonio, TX

  • HubHub Posts: 735
    DMW said:
    Beer is not off topic.

    I was thinking the same exact thing!
    Beautiful and lovely Villa Rica, Georgia
  • CarhochCarhoch Posts: 10
    My husband started with that kit http://www.northernbrewer.com/deluxe-brewing-starter-kit and he loves it 
    Suffolk,VA .XLBGE ,Blackstone griddle.
  • steel_eggsteel_egg Posts: 238
    Midwest home brewing supply is where I got started many years ago. I haven’t been brewing last few years but I still check out their site every so often. 
    https://www.midwestsupplies.com/
  • Thanks for the links.  I am a big craft beer drinker and think it would be fun to try making my own craft batch. I mean how hard can it be?  It cant be any worse than trying to master the brisket.
  • buzd504buzd504 Posts: 2,695
    Making beer is easy.  Making good beer is challenging.
    NOLA
  • NsdexterNsdexter Posts: 195
    learn to brew by john palmer and brewing classic styles by jamil zhenachif (i might have spelled that wrong) are both good starting points.
    HFX NS
  • milesvdustinmilesvdustin Posts: 1,739
    I homebrew. I have graduated to a full electric HERMS brew rig with two pumps and a counterflow chiller. Its a hobby that will spend your money faster than the egg!!!! 

    Its also a great time. If your first few batches dont come out right, dont be discouraged. Take detailed notes throughout the process, helps to go back and fine tune. 

    2 LBGE, Blackstone 36, Jumbo Joe

    Egging in Southern Illinois (Marion)

  • vb4677vb4677 Posts: 533
    I brew, too.  I went the extract route and then into all grain after about a dozen batches.  ALWAYS buy bigger than you think you need.  I've got a 7 gal kettle that hasn't seen the light of day in 2 years... grab a 16 gal kettle instead.

    I started with extract and then moved into all-grain.  I'd highly recommend you do some research and soul searching to see how far you want to go with this hobby.  If you're gonna go big, then go straight to all-grain.  Get the bigger coolers, kettles, burners, etc.  If you aren't sure, then start with Extract.  You can make awesome beer either way, but you need to know about how YOU are gonna do within this hobby.

    And join your local homebrew club - you'll be amazed at the talent and knowledge base that's readily available.  I've got a couple of BJCP certified beer judges and a guy that's been brewing since before Jimmy Carter signed homebrewing into law in my club.  AWESOME resources and pretty darned good people, too!
    Kansas City: Too Much City for One State - Missouri side
    Large BGE, Instant Pot, Anova Sous Vide, and a couple of gas smokers...
    Barbeque, Homebrew and Blues...
  • thetrimthetrim Posts: 7,000
    I love beer, but I've never had the patience to brew it at home.   
    =======================================
    XL 6/06, Mini 6/12, L 10/12, Mini #2 12/14 MiniMax 3/16
    Tampa Bay, FL
    EIB 6 Oct 95
  • +1 on northern brewer. Great bunch of people.
    Wisconsin, lbge, MM, kab, pig tail flippers, bear claws, and more rubs than I will admit to.
  • nolabrewnolabrew Posts: 241
    There's no right answer to how to get started so I'll just give you some of my thoughts. 

    1) start with all grain. Extract really doesn't give you enough flexability in your recipe creation. Pretty much everyone who gets in to brewing does all grain eventually, so why not start there? 

    2) have a plan to control your fermentation temperature. Unless you really like saisons, you're going to need to control your temperatures. There are several ways to go about doing this, just take a look at Google. 

    3) keg asap. Bottling saps the joy out of brewing for me. 

    4) join a brew club. Learn how to do things and how not to do things. 

    5) keep notes. Use brewsmith or if you like I could send you my spreadsheet. 
  • GrillSgtGrillSgt Posts: 2,372
    I have 3 friends that brew. Their beer is as good as you would want and #3 above is great advice. 
    Woodford & Barren Co. KY

    LBGE, XLBGE, Smobot, 2 Weber Genesis, Weber 22" kettle

    I’d kill for a Nobel Peace Prize
    Temperance, like chastity, is it’s own punishment. 
  • tjosbornetjosborne Posts: 527
    Make sure to check out homebrewtalk, great resource there. Every question you may have has been answered a dozen or more times there.
    middle of nowhere- G.I. NE
  • bgebrentbgebrent Posts: 17,542
    thetrim said:
    I love beer, but I've never had the patience to brew it at home.   
    Your impatience is telling ;)
    Sandy Springs & Dawsonville Ga
  • gmacgmac Posts: 1,809
    edited October 2017
    Have been for the past 30 years. I'm a BJCP certified judge and won a lot of medals back when I used to think that was important.

    Plus 1 on How to Brew by Palmer, kegging, beer smith and starting all grain. Batch sparging is simple and a great way to get started for minimal costs. The costs come later (I'm running 3 fifteen gallon stainless fermenters now). 

    Biggest (and easiest) ways to improve your beer are pitching the right amount of yeast (use an online yeast calculator like Mr Malty) and fermentation temps. Keep the temp where it should be (65ish for ale). Don't over complicate your first few batches. Simple recipes can make great beer. 

    Since you aren't afraid of forums, the American Homebrewers Association forum is excellent. Some great guys there that have helped me out lots. 
    Mt Elgin Ontario - just a Large.
  • JeremiahJeremiah Posts: 6,186
    To piggyback on the all grain route, what do you veterans think about the Grainfather? Im thinking it's gonna be my Christmas. 
    Slumming it in Aiken, SC. 
  • nolabrewnolabrew Posts: 241
    gmac said:
    The costs come later (I'm running 3 fifteen gallon stainless fermenters now). 

    I'm thinking about getting a SS conical fermenter. Any thoughts?
  • The_StacheThe_Stache Posts: 1,014
    @Jeremiah, Watch the youtube on Grainfather and it's competitors.  Looks like a nice device!  For me, brewing tends to be a social event and Step No. 1 of all homebrew is "Relax Have a Beer".  Grainfather might take some of that joy away from the process!

    @Nolabrew... I went with SS Brew Stainless fermenters a few year years ago and have wondered since then why I didn't start with stainless!! 

    Lots of great input here!  There is no right or wrong and yes, if you like brewing, you'll be putting $$ into making it better or easier.

    The Northern Brewer Kit is a cheap way to get started to learn the process.  Extract kits can be tinkered with to be able to do some amazing things without going to all grain. 

    My advice, relax and enjoy and do NOT get all anal about exact temps, times, or measure of ingredient UNLESS you plan on exactly replicating a brew.  I have done many brews where I think I break ALL of the rules EXCEPT sanitation and they have all come out consumable and in some cases really great!  In the years I have brewed I have yet to brew the same thing twice.  I like to experiment and see what the results are. 

    All of the advice of "take notes" IS a very good thing to do just in case you come up with "a keeper" Beersmith is a great tool to keep notes and see where you are and where you can evolve your brews.

    Brew magazine has some really good sources of information.  It comes in paper and digital.  If you don't already subscribe, please do.  I have a number of back issues (paper) that I'd be happy to send to you if you're interested.

    Best of luck!!

    In a full time state of entropious nebulinity as Head Brewmeister and Chief Flatulator @ Rancho Loco Brewery and Flatutorium, Kirkland, TN

  • nolabrewnolabrew Posts: 241
    Jeremiah said:
    To piggyback on the all grain route, what do you veterans think about the Grainfather? Im thinking it's gonna be my Christmas. 
    I can't answer that for you.  If what you're interested in is repeatable results with much less work, then this looks like a winner.  I'm in to the process.  Setting my sparge up just right is a moment of zen. 
  • Another vote for Northern Brewer especially if you are just starting out and wanting to gauge further interest.  Have to say I really enjoyed the whole process and the product I turned out.    Actually became a fun family project with my boys helping with the process.  And as others have said while things like temps, times, etc. are important they are not crucial to making a drinkable beer.  Sanitation on the other hand is a must.


  • GriffinGriffin Posts: 7,726

    Another homebrewer here. batch #33 and 34 fermenting away.

    Two biggest things are sanitation and fermentation temperature. You need some way to keep it cool while the yeast does its thing making alcohol.

    I've done extract and all grain with the three vessel set-up, but have switched to BIAB (brew in a bag. Look up Wilser Bags) with full volume mashing. Much less complicated than 3 vessel if you are going all grain as you don't have to worry about sparging and vorlauf (and all those terms you have no idea what they mean anyway right now).  You just need a kettle (at least 10 Gallons), a bag to fit it and either a bucket or a carboy to ferment in. And I'd stay away from glass carboys. If you need a reason, google glass carboy accidents


    Rowlett, Texas

    Griffin's Grub or you can find me on Facebook

    The Supreme Potentate, Sovereign Commander and Sultan of Wings

     

  • gmacgmac Posts: 1,809
    edited October 2017
    nolabrew said:
    gmac said:
    The costs come later (I'm running 3 fifteen gallon stainless fermenters now). 

    I'm thinking about getting a SS conical fermenter. Any thoughts?
    I started with glass like most people. Heavy, dangerous, slippery and hard to clean. I went to plastic pails for a couple years but I got a natural Brett infection in some of my plastic so I decided to go to stainless and I am so glad I did. Mine are the 15 gal brewhemoth out of St Louis. They are tri-clover fitting so they are sanitary and I made a clean in place system from a submersible pump and the CIP ball fitting that makes it super easy to clean. 

    I love that I can dump trub out of the bottom valve, collect yeast to do a direct pitch and I use a spunding valve so I can transfer under CO2 direct to my kegs which as you know prevents O2 and reduces storage issues. I love my stainless conicals. If I don't get them clean enough or there is something stuck, I can blast it with the pressure washer. Only hard part is sanitizing because of the size. But I have kids so I just put a gallon of Star-San in the bottom and then one of the boys helps me slosh it around. If you go smaller than 15 gals it won't be an issue and really isn't at 15 gals. 

    I went with the Brewhemoth because I think Blickmann stuff is way over priced and is mostly name recognition. I have a 30 gal Blickmann pot I got a deal on and it's got a few issues with the valve I should fix but I siphon directly out of the pot. Ive never used their conical so it may be awesome but I'm not complaining about mine at 1/2 the cost. 

    Whatever way and size you choose to go, stainless conical is the best. Nothing compares for cleanliness and if you want to harvest year it's fantastic. The beer usually sits for a couple weeks before I keg and it's very bright as well after the first bit clears the yeast from the racking valve. No downside beyond cost in my opinion (assuming you have capacity to cold store if you're into lagers etc but that's not the conical a fault. They just sit a bit higher as you can imagine. 
    Mt Elgin Ontario - just a Large.
  • KchevesKcheves Posts: 84

    I'm a brewer with a 2-tier 10 gallon setup.  My recommendation is to find a brewing partner.  Makes the process go more smoothly, they can store some of the gear, and you can split batches.

    And as others have said, ditch the bottles if you brew more than a couple batches.  In addition to being easier and more sanitary, kegging also lets you force carbonate the fermented beer, which will save you a couple of weeks per batch.

    Depending on where you live, temperature control during fermentation may not be an issue.  I live in San Diego and can ferment ales in my garage almost year round.

    "Semper ubi sub ubi"

    San Diego, CA

  • WoodyWoody Posts: 108
    I have homebrewed for years and agree Northern Brewer is a good place to get equipment and supplies.
    For a beginner, I would recommend that you start with beer kit approach with specialty grains.  The grains significantly improve the taste of the beer without getting too complicated.  These grains are merely steeped like tee and enhance the extract flavor.  NB has a number of kits that you can choose from.
    Sanitation is the single most important thing for good taste.  At all points after boiling it will help to minimize the chance of off flavors.
    Also recommend the buddy system, makes it more enjoyable and goes quicker.
    Good luck.
    Woody in Northville, MI
    Large BGE with AR R & B Oval Combo w/Extender and Sliding D Grid, Kick Ash Basket, Smokeware Cap, Wok, Grill Grates and Kettle Q
  • JeremiahJeremiah Posts: 6,186
    Another rookie question: in going all grain, (and not buying a grainfather) would y'all recommend buying a cooler setup or all stainless?
    Slumming it in Aiken, SC. 
  • GriffinGriffin Posts: 7,726
    edited October 2017
    Jeremiah said:
    Another rookie question: in going all grain, (and not buying a grainfather) would y'all recommend buying a cooler setup or all stainless?


    Or you could look into BIAB (Brew in a bag). One kettle to buy, only one kettle to clean. Get your water to temp, shut off the heat, drop in your bag, mix in the grains, put a lid on it, maybe insulate it with a blanket or sleeping bag and wait an hour (I usually stir it every 15 minutes and take a temp reading. After an hour, raise the bag, let it drain back into the kettle, apply heat and bring it to your boil. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. No need to transfer your wort from one vessel to another, no sparging, no stuck sparges, no vorlauf. Simplifies the whole process IMHO.

    You will either want to get your grain milled finer or do double crush at your home brew store. I've got my own mill and I've got it set at the tightest it will go which I believe is 0.020"

    If you do go the cooler route, get a rectangular cooler. Easier to stir and mash in. I've got a round beverage cooler that I think I used maybe 5 times before I went BIAB. Doubt I'll ever use it again. Need to sell it or give it away or something.

    Rowlett, Texas

    Griffin's Grub or you can find me on Facebook

    The Supreme Potentate, Sovereign Commander and Sultan of Wings

     

  • KchevesKcheves Posts: 84
    edited October 2017
    Jeremiah said:
    Another rookie question: in going all grain, (and not buying a grainfather) would y'all recommend buying a cooler setup or all stainless?

    I use a converted GOTT cooler with a false bottom.  This is a very common setup, and works great. It's insulated and can hold the temperature well.  I like the round form factor, because I use a Phil's rotating sparge arm that fits perfectly and is very efficient.

    I'm not sure that there is any real advantage to stainless for this application, unless you make batches > 10 gallons.

    "Semper ubi sub ubi"

    San Diego, CA

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