Drinkers with a Running Problem

Home Brewers... (Read 1559 times)


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    Hi All, Had to join up here, hope you don't mind. I'm such a pale ale hound that I've seriously considered brewing my own. There's a alot of info on the net but so confusing. I'm a chemist by training so I get it but wonder if all the stuff in these starter kits is really needed. I have a ton of questions on yeast and hops varieties. WOuld appreciate some guidance on getting started. Cheers!

    San Francisco - 7/29/12

    Warrior Dash Ohio II - 8/26/12

    Chicago - 10/7/12


      I can help with that. How do we begin?

      Lou, (aka Mr. predawnrunner), MD, USA | Lou's Brews | lking@pobox.com


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        First, Merry Christmas! Secondly, excellent. I need to get a starters kit, I suppose. Any recommendations on sources or essential items?

        San Francisco - 7/29/12

        Warrior Dash Ohio II - 8/26/12

        Chicago - 10/7/12



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          I'm assuming the links in your sig are where you would send me. Not quite awake yet, but I see plenty to read up on through this.

          San Francisco - 7/29/12

          Warrior Dash Ohio II - 8/26/12

          Chicago - 10/7/12


            Merry Christmas! Beer Beer and More Beer (www.morebeer.com) is a great place to shop on the internet, but I always like to support the local homebrew shop (LHBS). They might be a little more expensive than the internet shops, but by buying locally you'll be helping to keep them in business and also you'll make relationships where you can go to ask questions. Oh, and please don't let the looks of my brewery scare you off. I'm a little over the top, but you should be able to get started for I think $100-$150, maybe even less. Most brewers brag about how inexpensive their equipment is, and relish in finding used equipment on the cheap. Our LHBS also sponsors a homebrewing club. You might want to look for one in your area. A club is a great place to learn what works and what doesn't work, to share your beers, and to share others'. If you'd like to reach me offline, feel free to contact me at lking at pobox dot com. Best of luck.

            Lou, (aka Mr. predawnrunner), MD, USA | Lou's Brews | lking@pobox.com


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              Many thanks. I'm sure I'll have questions. and I'll look for local folks too. Cheers.

              San Francisco - 7/29/12

              Warrior Dash Ohio II - 8/26/12

              Chicago - 10/7/12



              Head Procrastinator

                Merry Christmas! Oh, and please don't let the looks of my brewery scare you off. I'm a little over the top, Best of luck.
                Nah, you over the top? <snork>
                ~ My Profile~ The avatar is happy BOC wootcats


                A Dance with Monkeys

                  I do not use kits. I only use whole grains. I use recipes and temperature settings only as guides, not as strict formulae. It is very easy, loads of fun and almost always comes out great. Do not use kits. Smile
                    I've been whole grain since about 2000, but you can make pretty good beer with extract and partial mash. Since I went whole grain I maybe used a recipe once. Rather I have my own recipes but get most of my ideas from Designing Great Beers by Ray Daniels. I agree kits are not the best way to brew -- I assumed Trey was talking about a kit for the equipment, not for the ingredients. Otherwise, I would have said the same as Trent.

                    Lou, (aka Mr. predawnrunner), MD, USA | Lou's Brews | lking@pobox.com


                    A Dance with Monkeys

                      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 Did I miss anything? You can get this together in some kits or you can put it together a la carte. For this, it is often best to try and find a local homebrew store; they can put together a deal and then you won't have to pay to ship all this stuff. Down the road you can use the online retailers for yeast, grain, hops, bottle caps, etc. Only after years of brewing did I invest in a sparging tun, and I still do not have a rapid heating/cooling apparatus. A friend gave me a grain grinder, so now we grind the grain last-minute. I've been brewing now 16 years, mostly beer, some wines. I have used extracts only 1-2 times, and that only at the beginning, and have not looked back!


                      Needs more cowbell!

                        I'm glad Trent weighed-in. If/when I ever decide to try my hand at beer making I will definitely be coming to this bunch for advice. Smile

                        Kirsten - aka "Auntie Kirsten"

                        '14 Goals:

                        • 2 olympic distance duathlons -- 6 days apart -- PR at least 1

                        • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)


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                          Yes, I was looking for a starter kit for the equipment. Or at least to get the basic components. Some things I've started to learn I could get locally...like glass carboys, food grade tubing, etc. But still, assembling the basics like this can get pretty expensive fast. So, a simple starter kit like Lou mentioned seemed to be a good way to get my feet wet. However, since ingredients have been brought up, regarding whole grains, I'm assuming you guys have a special grinder. I saw a hand-crank grain mill on the internet somewhere and it wasn't cheap. But, I can't imagine that this is something I would want to be without. So, I'll want to source whole grains but man, the quantities are enormous. This begs the question, and since I don'thave a farm to feed the extra grain to livestock, how long can I keep grains? I just ran into a guy locally that has a 40 or 50 lb bag in his living room - he brews alot but still says the bag will last him forever. Surely smaller quantities are available? If not, I'd be glad to share the grain with others just so it doesn't go to waste.

                          San Francisco - 7/29/12

                          Warrior Dash Ohio II - 8/26/12

                          Chicago - 10/7/12



                          A Dance with Monkeys

                            Most online and in person beer stores have grinding facilities and sell grains by the pound. I keep grain in a deep freezer for months to years. You will use 5-10 lbs of grain for a 5 gallon batch.


                            A Dance with Monkeys

                              Oh, and the hand grinder I have retails at about $40-50 I think. MTA: just found one: http://www.wineandcake.com/browse.cfm/4,930.html
                                Tent is right about grinding at the LHBS. I have the JSP Malt Mill http://schmidling.com/orderpp.htm so I can't speak for the Corona mill. Yes, this one is a little pricy. I have the non-adjustable model which works really well, but would probably buy the middle one if I had it to do over again. The only grain I have difficulty with is wheat. I dumped the handle and hook up my cordless drill. I brew 10 gal at a time, so use about 16-20# per batch. I think if you keep the grain in a cool dry place it'll be fine. I do have some grain which is getting old, so if I do brew a batch which requires it (Moravian malt -- Czech Pilsner), I'll let you know if I wasted my time brewing. Starting all grain you should know the process is a little longer than using extract, but not that much more difficult. I don't know how Trent does without a chiller, you should get at least an immersion chiller. I'm also not sure how Trent mashes and sparges. I'd suggest to start make a zapap lauter tun (use google to get some references). Cheap and easy. A homebrewing buddy made really good beer with a zapap, then bought some really expensive equipment and his quality didn't improve in fact may have gone down a little. One thing about buckets vs. carboys. The carboys can be dangerous if you move them around. You drop 5 gal of beer in a carboy and it'll make a big mess and a lot of glass shards. The buckets you just have to be careful to clean with a soft cloth. I do all my lagers in buckets which fit in my lagering fridge. I have glass carboys from my early days but don't use them. I will try to remember to look around at my old equipment and see if there's anything else I'd suggest that Trent hasn't already mentioned. Also check out the internet stores to see if their starter kits have anything of interest. Finally check out http://www.howtobrew.com/ . Good information. You might want to buy the book as well.

                                Lou, (aka Mr. predawnrunner), MD, USA | Lou's Brews | lking@pobox.com