Drinkers with a Running Problem

Home Brewers... (Read 1573 times)


Prince of Fatness

    Equipment, for starting:
    2 5 gallon glass carboys
    1 5 gallon stock pot
    1 5 gallon plastic bucket
    2 airlocks with rubber stoppers sized for bucket and for carboys
    clear tubing: 1 flexible, 1 stiff (for siphon)
    bottles, preferably 22 oz
    bottle caps
    bottle capper
    straining bag
    hops bag
    floating thermometer

     

    OK.  I am thinking of giving home brewing a shot so does this list still apply?

     

    I am heading over to the local brewery this weekend for a growler fill.  I'll ask them for some info on home brewing resources in the area.  I give the brewery a lot of business so I think that they will be cooperative.

     

    Since I am looking to experiment I think whole grains are the way to go as Trent says, right?

     

    I do have a question.  Where do you folks boil, outside?  I was told that outside is better just in case you boil over.  I don't have the side burner on my grill but I think that I can find something.  Anyone do this on their kitchen stove?

    Semi-retired.


    Former runner

      In addition to a local homebrew shop I'd recommend seeing if there is a local homebrew club in your area. The LHBS will be a good source of info and a good place to get started but finding someone to teach you the basics will save you a lot of time. You can search for local clubs on the AHA website. http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/pages/directories/find-a-club I'd probably still be using extract kits if I didn't start getting help from some of the other local brewers.

       

      I started with one of the equipment kits which will get you most of the basic equipment to get started. The down side is that I ended up replacing a few of the items with better items later. So its worth the time to think ahead on your purchases to avoid buying the cheap stuff.

       

      You can definitely start by using your stove. The main issue is if its gas or electric. I started on my electric stove and found that it maxed out around 4 gallons. You can make 5 gallon batches by doing partial boils  I know someone who brews in his apartment making 2 and 3 gallon batches. The main downside to using a stove is the risk of boilovers. Its not a question of if you'll boil over but when. Get an extra set of drip trays for the burners because you'll pretty much ruin them.

       

      Most people use the propane burners because they generate more heat than a stove and will save you time. Propane requires you to use them outside or a well ventilated garage. The side burner on your grill will probably not be powerful enough. I know I tried it.

       

      A cheap way to go all grain is to make a cooler mash tun. Get a 50 qt+ cooler on sale, add a stainless steel braid and you have a mash tun for under $50. There are a bunch of how-tos out there. This is pretty much the guide I followed. Conversion guide

      Ross


      Prince of Fatness

        Thanks.  I'm thinking that the last think that I need to do is to make a mess in my kitchen.  I have a gas stove in my kitchen, but I know for sure that I am not boiling 5 gallons on it.  I am thinking that an outdoor turkey fryer may be the way to go.  I'll look into those.

         

        I'm not in a big hurry to get started with this, but I am pretty sure I will enjoy doing it (I love beer and sampling different varieties) so I am thinking that I am better off spending a few extra bucks for better equipment where it makes sense.  I also know a couple of people who have done home brewing so I may be able to borrow some supplies initially.

         

        This could be fun.

        Semi-retired.


        Former runner

          You might see if one of your friends is willing to split a batch with you. I split a batch of Amarillo IPA with a friend last Saturday. He had all the grain but only one empty carboy so we made 10 gal and split it into 2 carboys. I used a different yeast in mine so we're planning on comparing the results when they're ready. Brewing with someone gives you a chance to ask questions while your brewing. Plus most group brews involve sampling.

           

          A quality brew pot and burner are a good investment. I started with a 27qt stock pot that turned out to be a bit too small for a 5 gal batch. You need extra space in the pot to account for evaporation and limit boil-overs. A lot of people use converted kegs. Craigslist is a good source for used equipment. However there are legitimate sources also.

           

          I ended up with an extra gallon of wort while making a Belgian Wit recently. Oops. I had to figure out where I was going to put it but now I have a little experiment awaiting some fruit.

          Ross


          A Dance with Monkeys

            No change.

             

            Post pictures.


            Prince of Fatness

              I was looking for fryers and found this.  Cheaper than fryers.  I know you get the pot with the fryer but they are aluminum, which from what I hear is what I don't want.  So I will make my mess outside or in the garage.

              Semi-retired.


              A Dance with Monkeys

                I have made 5 gallons on an electric stove and on a gas stove.  I have a big 5ish gallon stainless steel pot.  Works great.

                 

                Note: you are not heating up the mash that much.  Too hot and the enzymes won't do their work.  The only time you need it hot is for the water you use to sparge the wort.  Remember, your primary wort may be 4-5 gallons, but that inlcudes a load of grain.  Once you drain the wort off the grain, you may only have 2-3 gallons.  You will make up the rest of the volume in the sparge, so you really don't ever heat up that much volume of liquid.


                Former runner

                  I have made 5 gallons on an electric stove and on a gas stove.  I have a big 5ish gallon stainless steel pot.  Works great.

                   Are you doing full wort boils in your pot?

                   

                  I have a 6.5 gal carboy for my primary fermenter so I shoot for 5.5 gal of wort after the boil. I usually start with 6.5-7 gal at the start of the boil.

                   

                  I went with the big burner.  Mainly because I wanted something capable of 10 gal batches. I think they sell burner and pot combos with stainless pots also. I've heard of people using the aluminum pots and claim its no problem. I guess the concern is that the wort is acidic and will pit the aluminum.

                  Ross


                  A Dance with Monkeys

                    I do the entire wort in my pot.  It usually ends up being ~2 gallons of grain and ~3 gallons water.  I then heat ~2-3 gallons for sparging.  Then I put the entire 5 gallons of wort back into the pot to hop.  Occasionally I have had to overflow into another pot (a 1-2 gallon pot).

                     

                    My primary fermenter is usually my 7 gallon food grade bucket.  My carboys are all 5 gallons, thick glass.


                    Prince of Fatness

                      I ordered that burner I linked to.  It was a pretty good price and a few of the comments were from home brewers who approved of it.  There was mention of boiling 10 gallons without a problem.  I don't know what I will do but it's always good to have the option of going to a larger pot.

                       

                      Some of what you are saying is foreign to me, but I'll get it,  I also ordered this book, which I have seen recommended a couple of times here.  Shipping was free for both items.  So rather than bore you with questions now I'll read up on it first.  I do appreciate the tips you guys are providing.

                      Semi-retired.


                      Former runner

                        Ross


                        Prince of Fatness

                          OK.  I will ask a question.  Check this out.  Does that kit have what I need and is the price reasonable?  This place is about a half hour away.

                           

                          Also, where is a good place to shop for stainless steel pots?  Just trying to keep the start up costs down if possible.

                          Semi-retired.


                          A Dance with Monkeys

                            Do you have a homebrew store near you (i.e., is that place 30 minutes out a real homebrew store; it appears to be)?  I find it best to buy the stuff in person where you can also get advice.  They should have pots and can customize the kit.

                             

                            For $65, this is reasonable:

                            • Primary fermenter, 6 gal., food grade plastic
                            • Bottling bucket with spigot, 6 gal., food grade plastic
                            • Airlock
                            • Stick-on thermometer
                            • Auto Siphon
                            • Hydrometer
                            • C-Brite cleaner, ten 0.8 oz packs
                            • Bottle brush
                            • Priming sugar
                            • Bottle capper/caps
                            But I see no carboy.  Priming sugar, the special thermometer, the auto siphon and the cleaner are not necessary.  Table sugar is fine, or use leftover wort if you are a purist.  Any kitchen thermometer is fine.  You do not need a special detergent (if any at all).  And I have no idea what an auto siphon is, but what you need is a rigid J shaped tube and a soft tube to go with it.


                            Prince of Fatness

                              Yeah, Bethlehem PA is about a half hour.  This place appears to be the place to go for home brewing in this area.  I was going to take your list with me and talk with them and negotiate a price for a custom kit.

                               

                              And what is the carboy used for?

                               

                              Semi-retired.