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Old 03-29-2006, 02:00 PM   #1
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Homebrewed Beer Facts

Thought I would try to start a thread on Homebrew. I suggest we brewers can provide some info to the non-brewers which they might find helpful if not interesting.

So Ronjon and others, chime in. (Lets keep it sort of non-technical unless something comes up.)

Most large American brewers, Bub/Millers/Coors, use a lot of cheap adjuncts (additives) to their swill, er beer, to save money. What we are talking about here is Corn, Corn Sugar and Rice, instead of malted barley. This is a cheap way to feed the yeast to make alcohol. Unfortunately it does not add much in the way of (good) taste.

The beer made in America pre-prohibition was fuller, richer, and more authentic than what is going on in the large houses today. A good homebrewer can make just about any style of beer made in the world toady.

The Craft Brewing movement (brew pubs and microbreweries) are making authentic, real beer with just 4 ingredients, malted barley, water, hops and yeast.

The ingredients and equipment to make your first batch of homebrew can be had for about $50. Most serious cooks can do it for less because they probably have large stock pots. But you do need to come up with about two cases of good bottles. Do not try to re-use the twist off cap bottles. They are thin and weak.

The old wife's tale about exploding bottles has been surpassed by far better kit ingredients and better yeast. As long as you follow the sanitization scheme you will not have bottle bombs.

By the way, you will probably find you spend more time cleaning and sanitizing than actually cooking the beer.

Legality? Homebrewing is legal by Federal statute. The main limits are the volume of beer you make each year, limited to something like 500 gallons (no body keeps score- its the honor system)...and you can't sell it.

Questions?

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Old 03-29-2006, 02:10 PM   #2
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Great info, thanks!

Can you describe the bare bones equipment needed to get started and what each piece is if it is not obvious already?
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Old 03-29-2006, 02:16 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hopz
Most large American brewers, Bub/Millers/Coors, use a lot of cheap adjuncts (additives) to their swill, er beer, to save money. What we are talking about here is Corn, Corn Sugar and Rice, instead of malted barley. This is a cheap way to feed the yeast to make alcohol. Unfortunately it does not add much in the way of (good) taste.
Actually, I think I read once that based on market fluctuations, the rice can cost A-B more than the barley! Probably why they like to advertise how fancy and good their rice is. Me, I use the cheapest rice I can find when I brew with it. I'm just after the starch/sugar.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hopz
The Craft Brewing movement (brew pubs and microbreweries) are making authentic, real beer with just 4 ingredients, malted barley, water, hops and yeast.
I don't really have anything against adjuncts. Heck, Belgian brewers have always used them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hopz
The ingredients and equipment to make your first batch of homebrew can be had for about $50. Most serious cooks can do it for less because they probably have large stock pots. But you do need to come up with about two cases of good bottles. Do not try to re-use the twist off cap bottles. They are thin and weak.
12 ounce longneck bottles seem to breed like rabbits in my basement, anybody want some?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hopz
The old wife's tale about exploding bottles has been surpassed by far better kit ingredients and better yeast. As long as you follow the sanitization scheme you will not have bottle bombs.
No comment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hopz
Legality? Homebrewing is legal by Federal statute. The main limits are the volume of beer you make each year, limited to something like 500 gallons (no body keeps score- its the honor system)...and you can't sell it.
It's 100 gallons per legal adult in the household up to 200 gallons. Thing is, it's next to impossible to find all the beer I drank up until the start of Lent. Unless you're some sort of sewer technician...

John
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Old 03-29-2006, 02:16 PM   #4
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Great idea for a thread. My girlfriend and I want to get started but we don't have a clue... so a materials list would be nice. We both enjoy our beer so we don't want a 'cute hobby' set. We want to go into production. We both enjoy lighter ales but don't mind it a bit chewy.
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Old 03-29-2006, 02:18 PM   #5
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Of course, there is always hope...

Craft Beer Growth Leads All Adult
Beverages for Second Year
Volume Up 9 Percent in 2005 Says Brewers Association
Boulder, Colo. • February 16, 2006
- America’s craft brewers sold 9.0 percent more barrels of beer in 2005
versus 2004 making craft beer the fastest growing segment of the US beverage alcohol industry for the second
consecutive year, according to the Brewers Association, the Boulder, CO-based trade association for US craft
brewers.

Full release here...
http://www.beertown.org/pr/pdf_Word/pdf/2005stats.pdf

John

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Old 03-29-2006, 02:52 PM   #6
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Great question GB... sure.
As for equipment you need:
a large pot to cook in... at least 3 gallons- larger is better.

(Note: today's kits come with a concentrated liquid malt which you boil with about 2 gallons of water, plus the hops. You boil for about an hour or so adding the hops at various times. After the boil you let it cool and then make up the rest of the 5 gallons with clean water, and then add the yeast.)

You need a vessel to ferment in. This will be at least 5 gallons. Many people start the hobby with a food grade plastic bucket that has an on/off valve at the bottom.

You need a way to keep the air out of the bucket while fermentation is going on, and at the same time let the CO2 gas out from inside the bucket. These little plastic bubblers cost about a dollar.

Next you need at least 4 feet of plastic food grade tubing.

A plastic thing we call a "wand" for bottling. (note: getting the beer in the bottles uses this nifty tool. A clear plastic tube with a valve on the end. Just connect the vinyl tube to it from the fermenter, and insert it into the bottle. Press down and the valve opens and beer flows into the bottle. When the bottle is full, stop pressing, and withdraw the tube,,, the volume of the tube makes perfect "head space" in the top of the bottle.)

Then you need a way to cap the bottle. These are known as crown cappers and they are inexpensive and easy to use. Obviously you need a supply of caps.

Aside from the ingredients, you will need the bottles and some sanitizing liquid, such as clorox.

Like most hobbies, you can add a lot of more sophisticated tools as the need arises. Funny but a lot of home brewers are gadget guys... like to discover and make tools for brewing... don't get me started.

Having said all that... get yourself over to the Homebrew shop. You will find a friend, and a source of info, not just the parts you need!

What else?
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Old 03-29-2006, 03:07 PM   #7
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Oh wow, great thread!

Just a few weeks ago I went to a bar with my brother and his fiance and we ordered their "Honey Wheat" beer that they brew themselves and I was absolutely blown out of my stool! It was amazing. I told my brother "I didn't think beer could have this much flavor!," after trying it. After that I checked out some homebrew books at the bookstore where I work, but it seemed like it would be complicated and expensive. Complicated isn't bad, but I'm just starting other hobbies right now and I can only handle so much.

I did buy a very large (16 quart) stockpot at a thrift store a while ago and hadn't found a use for it...I think it was desiny

brad
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Old 03-29-2006, 03:08 PM   #8
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A great way to learn about brewing is to see it live and in person.

And, as luck would have it, this is coming up....

http://www.beertown.org/events/bigbrew/index.html

It's National Homebrew Day. There are events at brewshops and breweries all over. A perfect opportunity to find out more about what goes into making your own beer.

John
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Old 03-29-2006, 04:20 PM   #9
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Phantom... I suggest you take a close look at The Complete Joy of Homebrewing, by Charlie Papazian.
More people have begin Brewing with this book than any other.

Five years from now after you have become an expert brewer you will think Papazian got a lot of the details wrong. For now- buy it, follow it closely, and you will have a great beer experience.
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Old 03-29-2006, 06:22 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hopz
Phantom... I suggest you take a close look at The Complete Joy of Homebrewing, by Charlie Papazian.
More people have begin Brewing with this book than any other.

Five years from now after you have become an expert brewer you will think Papazian got a lot of the details wrong. For now- buy it, follow it closely, and you will have a great beer experience.
Amen!

To this day (5 years, and a bronze medal at the AHA nationals) I still follow Charlie's philosophy.

Relax
Don't Worry
Have a Homebrew

It always amazes me when I see the numbers of people that want to turn a really fun hobby into TOO MUCH work and worry!

John
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