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Old 07-15-2013, 08:14 PM
 
5,233 posts, read 2,661,722 times
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Tip 1. You want cheap ass beer buy a cheap kit. Spring for the extra few bucks and get something decent, unless you enjoy cheap ass beer.

Tip 2. Clean, clean and clean. You want skunky beer (or beer yogurt)? Stick your grubby fingers in the wort and don't disinfect EVERYTHING.
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Old 08-24-2013, 09:26 PM
 
Location: Hollywood Baby!
3 posts, read 10,745 times
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Default Cheapest Beer Kit I Could Find Anywhere!

Try theamericanbrewer.com for cheap beer kits, I've looked all over and have found they have the best pricing anywhere. Their ebay sellers rating is 100% positive so I made the plunge and ordered a kit awhile back. The beer came out great and I just ordered another ingredient kit from them this week. They have taken care of me with really good customer service over the past several months. I guess it's a frikken crime to be happy with a retailer and post positive things about them. Some senior members obviously live their lives as conspiracy theorists. Man, it must really suck to live life like that, always looking for something that has to be wrong instead of looking for something that's right! You are the first ones to write a negative review about anything and never even think twice about saying something nice to or about some one. Your intellectual capacity is evident by the amount of time you spend on this site! (3,000+ and 5,000+ posts, really? OMG) Just to set the record straight I gave my first smaller brew kit I bought from theamericanbrewer.com to my little brother who is in the air force at Vandenburg (and he frikken loves it), I then bought another deluxe kit with an ingredient kit in July to replace the one I gave away (want my invoice number too?). And by the way, do you know the difference between a beer kit and an ingredient kit?

Last edited by spunkybrewster; 08-24-2013 at 09:53 PM..
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Old 10-08-2013, 08:57 PM
 
Location: Out there....
3 posts, read 5,187 times
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FWIW, Mr. Beer "premium" recipes can make awesome beer!! You have to do a little research, there are several "home-brew" sites with good folks that offer advice, at times a bit much, but all-in-all worthwhile! Once you figure out what different hops can do, what different strains of yeast can do...the evil genius scientist in us all finally comes out and you're brewing your very own amazing beer!
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Old 11-04-2013, 12:07 AM
 
Location: Maryland not Murlin
8,192 posts, read 22,275,703 times
Reputation: 6153
Quote:
Originally Posted by rayoso View Post
I'm looking to get a "cheap" home brew kit to brew for the 1st time. Is it hard for a rookie? any advice? tips? Thanks!
You want cheap, here you go:

-Go to Home Depot and buy two of their orange plastic buckets.
-Buy one lid from your LHBS to fit a five gallon bucket.
-Buy 4 - 5 feet of plastic tubing (raking tubing) from your LHBS.
-One plastic clippy stopper thing for the raking tube.
-Buy 1 air lock, and if needed, a rubber bung (the lid may or may not come with one).
-Search your kitchen for a 3-gallon pot (if you are doing extract). If you do not have at least one 3-gallon pot, borrow one. Or find one at a thrift store, yard sale, etc.
-Use what-ever stirrers you already own.
-Buy, and drink, 2 1/2 cases of bottled beer. You do not want twist-offs, although these can work. Seriously, you can recap them.
-Buy one bottle capper and bag of caps from LHBS.

On or the other:
-Spigot for one of the buckets. Requires cutting a hole. Word of advice: make sure the hole is round. Otherwise expect a leak. Or:

-Raking cane.

I might have forgot something, but honestly if you are doing extract brewing you do not need much. And if you are going all grain, you just need a larger pot and at least a 5-gallon beverage cooler extra.

If you are going to buy a complete kit, buy one from Midwest. I believe they are cheapest.


Quote:
Originally Posted by vmaxnc View Post
Clean, clean, clean. Home brewing most often fails due to contaminated tools and vessels. Skunky beer is caused by mold and bacteria. Be sure to follow the cleaning instructions that will come with any kit.

Do NOT let the wort boil over. That is a stink that does not come out of the range for a while.
I've been homebrewing for 15 years, only had to pitch one batch due to contamination. And I am fairly lax when it comes to sanitiation. The fermenting wort is an ever changing environment. Any opportunistic bacteria or yeast that may be introduced will soon fall out of favor. The majority of contaminations produce off-flavors only; they won't kill you and you might like the flavor.

I've brought this topic to a prominent homebrewers forum I am a member of; most agreed that we are a little OCD with the cleanliness.

Quote:
Originally Posted by andywire View Post
Does anyone know how temperature influences the final result after preparing the wort? Is it necessary to rapidly cool the wort after transferring into the primary fermentation bucket? I've always been weary of home brewing in the summer because I heard you have to cool it quickly.
You will always hear Cool the wort as fast as possible, yet, if you actually hangout with these people you will find that "fast" ranges from 5 minutes to three+ hours. Some use wort-imersion chillers, and others just let "air cool". You want to get the wort temp down to pitching temp, which is roughly 75˚ F. Some will say higher, perhaps as high as 86˚ F.

"Rapidly" cooling also helps remove DMS. DMS lends an off-flavor that some may describe as "creamed corn" and others as "butter".

If you are doing extract, you can let it cool on the stove for an hour, then rack into your primary and add enough cold water to reach 5 gallons (assuming you were doing a 3-gallon boil).

You want it to cool before you transfer (rack). Dealing with just-boiled liquid may not be pleasant.
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Old 02-01-2014, 02:40 PM
MJ7
 
6,221 posts, read 8,600,373 times
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Default Homebrewing

Well, I just broke my homebrewing cherry today, and I have a nice 4 gal batch of mead just blasting off. Should be 2 months before it's ready, can't wait.

Anyone else homebrew? If so, what do you brew?

I use to be a huge beer fan, then I discovered wine. I have yet to explore mead, as it's rare to find. I figured I would start my own. I will probably start experimenting with smaller 2 gal batches later, fruit + mead.
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Old 02-01-2014, 03:42 PM
 
5,233 posts, read 2,661,722 times
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Congratulations. I've done a few home brews with a couple friends before, including a triple Belgium and a stout. It's great fun and very rewarding to enjoy your own brew. The first time we did it it came out ok but it had some weird off notes, like licking a band aid. I found out afterwards that it was the chlorine in our water that caused that. So, we now filter our water and the problem was solved.

Another issue we had was one of our brews became too carbonated. When we opened a bottle it was like watching one of those old science experiments that you did in school when you mixed baking soda and vinegar. The foam just kept coming out the bottle. I'm not sure what that was, maybe too active a yeast or fermenting it at too high a temperature. At least we haven't had a beer go skunky on us yet. I know the three most important rules for home brewing are clean, clean and clean.

I always wanted to try mead but haven't yet. Two months seems like a long fermentation time. How much honey do you use per batch? I suppose you can experiment with the kind of honey you use too.
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Old 02-01-2014, 03:55 PM
MJ7
 
6,221 posts, read 8,600,373 times
Reputation: 6514
Quote:
Originally Posted by biggunsmallbrains View Post

I always wanted to try mead but haven't yet. Two months seems like a long fermentation time. How much honey do you use per batch? I suppose you can experiment with the kind of honey you use too.
Thanks.

Different recipes call for different amounts of honey. And in general, mead will take longer because it is of higher gravity (higher alcohol content).

A three basic recipes are (also, no heating required as honey is naturally antibacterial):

Dry mead:

12 lbs honey, 4 gals spring water, 1 packet yeast, 1 packet yeast nutrient

Medium mead:

15 lbs honey, 4 gals spring water, 1 packet yeast, 1 packet yeast nutrient

Sweet mead:

18 lbs honey, 4 gals spring water, 1 packet yeast, 1 packet yeast nutrient

Of course there are all types of variations you can put on mead, the type of honey for regular mead and then you can add all sorts of fruit/spices to make different flavor profiles. Because I have no experience with mead I am going for a basic medium mead right now, but I should try some smaller 2 gallon batches of flavored meads later. Honey is not cheap at these quantities though. I can get local honey 48 bucks for 12 lbs.
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Old 02-03-2014, 08:14 AM
 
Location: Tejas
7,541 posts, read 16,350,576 times
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Congrats on poppin that cherry, keep it coming. Ive made some Mead in my day too. It should be ready in a few months but will have its best flavour in a year or 3. I always try my mead after about 5 months or so and it tastes good but not great. Its when you get to the year or three later that it takes on a real good level of flavour.

Make sure you brew some beer in the meantime to keep you tied over.
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Old 02-04-2014, 07:05 AM
 
Location: Northglenn, CO
521 posts, read 718,470 times
Reputation: 1160
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJ7 View Post
Well, I just broke my homebrewing cherry today, and I have a nice 4 gal batch of mead just blasting off. Should be 2 months before it's ready, can't wait.

Anyone else homebrew? If so, what do you brew?

I use to be a huge beer fan, then I discovered wine. I have yet to explore mead, as it's rare to find. I figured I would start my own. I will probably start experimenting with smaller 2 gal batches later, fruit + mead.
Welcome to the hobby! While I haven't messed around with mead yet, I have brewed quite a few batches of IPAs, saisons, pale ales, and wheats. I also "brew" cider but that just mainly consists of mixing apple juice, dextrose, and yeast and letting it go for as little as four weeks and as long as six months.

Beware, the hobby can be extremely addicting. I remember the first buzz I had off my first batch of homebrew. I felt like a teen having sex for the first time. It was glorious!

Good luck going forward!

Quote:
Originally Posted by biggunsmallbrains View Post
Another issue we had was one of our brews became too carbonated. When we opened a bottle it was like watching one of those old science experiments that you did in school when you mixed baking soda and vinegar. The foam just kept coming out the bottle. I'm not sure what that was. . .
You guys bottled too early. "Gushers" are caused by bottling before fermentation is complete most of the time. The rest of the time they are caused by a contamination somewhere along the process. If you tasted the foam and it was fine then it was bottling before the beer hit its final gravity. No worries! It has happened to all of us starting out at some point.
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Old 02-04-2014, 11:48 AM
 
Location: WV and Eastport, ME
11,114 posts, read 10,942,489 times
Reputation: 7381
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiScree View Post
Welcome to the hobby! While I haven't messed around with mead yet, I have brewed quite a few batches of IPAs, saisons, pale ales, and wheats. I also "brew" cider but that just mainly consists of mixing apple juice, dextrose, and yeast and letting it go for as little as four weeks and as long as six months.

Beware, the hobby can be extremely addicting. I remember the first buzz I had off my first batch of homebrew. I felt like a teen having sex for the first time. It was glorious!

Good luck going forward!



You guys bottled too early. "Gushers" are caused by bottling before fermentation is complete most of the time. The rest of the time they are caused by a contamination somewhere along the process. If you tasted the foam and it was fine then it was bottling before the beer hit its final gravity. No worries! It has happened to all of us starting out at some point.
I brew using extract kits. I've made a lot of wheat beers trying to duplicate Shock Top Rasberry Wheat, Sea Dog Wild Blueberry Ale, and Sam Adams Blackberry Witbier. I've made a couple of batches of White House Honey Ale. That's the beer two homebrewers who work in the White House make for the President. I've made some Honey Wheat beer that turned out good, partly because I primed it with honey instead of sugar. I made a wheat beer once and then added lemonade to the honey prime and it turned out to be a great clone of Sam Adams Porch Rocker. I like Octoberfest so much that I try to keep it in the house year round.

I learned another thing that will create gushers. Failure to give the bottling bucket a good stir. I forgot to stir the bottling bucket when I was in a hurry and got a few gushers out of the batch.

I have an Irish Red in a fermenter right now. It's still bubbling a little after 2 weeks, but it will be good to drink by St. Patrick's Day. I've got a recipe for an IPA to make when I have time, and I meant to make some Holiday Pumpkin Ale last year, but my extended stay in the hospital kept that from happening, so I'll make it a priority to get that done this year.

I enjoy my hobby and can't make any sense out of going to all the extra work to make all-grain batches. I want to get some lagers made in the next year or two. I've got a cellar that stays cool enough for lager years to work, so I'm getting tempted.

Are any of you using PC software to craft recipes? Brew Target is free and it seems to work well.
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