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Any particular reason you DON'T homebrew?

Discussion in 'Beer & Ale' started by grahamfw, May 5, 2014.

  1. mike5051

    mike5051 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Thanks for the links HopVol!  I am interested in getting into this hobby, not like I need more hobbies!  [​IMG]

  2. slysmoke

    slysmoke Smoke Blower

    So I started out with a Mr. Beer kit several years ago. Brewed a few of their recipes, and joined their forum at http://community.mrbeer.com/.

    After a while, and reading the forum, I started to experiment with adding hops and other add-ons from their site to see how it affected the recipes.

    Then they changed the forum, and alienated most of the users, so we moved to http://www.beerborg.com/forum/index.php?sid=35eee9a2ce797d53a643a25138ea7f6d 

    where a bunch of longtime Mr. Beer folks still hang out.

    I now understand Mr. Beer has reopened the forum, and the community seems to be getting back to the level of knowledge sharing it used to have.

    I also note via emails I still get form Mr. Beer they have started adding the option to add specialty steeping grains to their recipes, which was the second step in my evolution, so hopefully there is some good info on how to best utilize that option on their forums now.

    I eventually switched to doing all-grain via brew-in-a-bag (BIAB), but due to too many household projects haven't brewed in a while.

    As HopVol said, the Palmer book is a great way to understand exactly what is going on in the brewing process.

    Also, if you happen to have a Home Brew Store in your area, it's worth a trip there just to poke around, ask questions etc. Maybe eventually start buying extracts and hops from them for your own recipes.

    The Mr. Beer fermentors (Little Brown Kegs LBKs) make great simple fermentors for small experimental batches as well.

    Good luck, have fun and remember, at the end of the day, you're making beer!
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2016
  3. I hope you enjoy it. SlySmoke brought up a good point about talking to the people at your local home brew store. I know at least one store here in Nashville that does home brew classes for beginners. I'll also add, check out your local home brew club. The club I'm in does Big Brew Days a couple times a year where we all get together and brew. We eat, drink, and make a day of it. Its a great opportunity for beginners to come out and help or just watch and learn.
  4. tjdcorona

    tjdcorona Meat Mopper

    I have thought of it and looked heavily into it before I put it aside. Like people have said - theres so many good brews around, and I enjoy going to a brewery and discussing beers with the people.
  5. I agree. It is time consuming but can be very rewarding. I started home brewing way back in the 1960s (I'm 70 years young) and the reason for the home brew was to get a decent brew. Back then, we only had the large regional breweries Molson's, Labatte, Carling etc. (Canada) and they pretty much held the monopoly. The beer was crap, and still is so to get a good beer, you had to make it yourself. When the craft brewers got going, I found that I couldn't make as good a quality as they so I gave up making my own due to what you said, time consuming. Why make it if the micro/cottage craft breweries are making it for you. San Diego is the place to be.
  6. Wow, this is a crazy old thread that keeps getting the Walking Dead treatment...haha

    I brew. A lot. I have a big stainless 15 gallon rig but if I were just going to dabble I'd have started differently. Below is the advice I give to people who are thinking of brewing but want to start with something more than extract or Mr. Beer.

    Small batch brew-in-a-bag all-grain brewing in small steps.


    Cheers! I hope someone out there finds this useful.

    Phase One:

    BeerSmith (moble ap or PC version)

    3 Gallon Kettle

    BIAB bag to fit (if you scale up later, this is your hop bag)

    Auto Syphon

    Scale (tenth gram accuracy – hops now, water additions later)


    FG Hydrometer

    5L wine bottle or equivalent (Capable of fermenting 1.25 gallons with headspace for krausen)


    (2) 2L flip-top growlers/bottles

    Corn Sugar for priming, grain for recipe (pre-milled), hops for recipe




    *With this setup you can mash and boil 2-2.5 gallons of wort on your stovetop (need at least 1.25 gallons of boiled wort), chill the boiled wort in your sink, transfer wort and ferment in the wine bottle, then transfer to the growlers and prime for carbonation. You end up with 4L of finished beer in two growlers. Not to mention you can do this in your kitchen.

    Phase Two:

    Mini fridge (tall enough to fit your fermentation vessel with airlock)

    Inkbird temp controller (2 stage)

    Reptile heat-mat (or propagation heat-mat or whatever source of heat you want to use)

    Second 5L wine bottle

    Second airlock

    Two more flip-top growlers

    Maybe a cheap Corona grain mill, but buying pre-milled at this rate of consumption is totally fine

    **Now you are set to control the temperature of your fermentation and double you production capacity. With a 2 week fermentation window and a 1 week bottle refermentation you could add a third set of fermenter/airlock/growlers and set yourself up with 2 growlers per week with weekly brew days, and you can make a wide range of styles and not have to worry about what you’ll do with 5 gallons of Russian Imperial Death Water. Not to mention that if a recipe does go awry, you can dump and not lose much in the way of cost.

    Phase Three:

    Download Brew’n Water (and read all the notes)

    pH meter

    pH meter calibration/storage solutions


    Lactic Acid (go EASY on additions here…start with half what is specified in Brew’n, measure and adjust further)

    All chemicals for water adjustment listed in Brew’n Water (Gypsum, Calcium Chloride, Baking Soda, etc.)

    ***Now you are not only controlling the temperature of your ferment, but you are also in control of your water profile. It can be tailored to support certain styles and their characteristics.
  7. Yes. I used to homebrew, but stopped when I realized I was spending right around the same amount of money to make my own beer vs. buying very good beer. I loved it, but financially didn't make any sense. Now, I work PT at a brewery and love every second of it.
  8. Yep. It is a hobby for sure, not a way to save money.
    Derek717 likes this.
  9. Civilian

    Civilian Newbie

    Just don't have that much time right now.
  10. Jim McDonald

    Jim McDonald Newbie

  11. Jim McDonald

    Jim McDonald Newbie

    Well, actually, I thought I'm only one step away from moonshine..so, i built a still, actually two. Missouri allows you to make 200 gallons of moonshine per household of two adults....so, i buy beer, but cook and ferment, distill grain etoh. Cost effective! And best of both worlds!
  12. zwiller

    zwiller Smoking Fanatic

    Never saw this thread... As a long time homebrewer (25yrs and BJCP) and father, it was also tough finding time to brew so I went ape and started pushing every envelope to whittle down the (all grain) brew day. I can get a 6G batch done in well under 3 hours and close to 2. The old school 90m mashes and 90m boils are over. 30m mash/30m boil/15m batchsparge. Remainder of the time is getting water up to temps and cleanup. A good propane burner is essential (outside). The ultimate time saver is extract. Extract can make awesome beer, the key is to do full boils and not top off. 2 other things to get you to a good start: Use RO or distilled water over tap as it is likely better for the process and always pitch yeast into cool (low 60's) wort.

    Yes, my avatar is my own...
  13. I've been brewing since 1994. I've brewed 8 batches already this year. (My wife doesn't drink).

    I was going to brew a Hefe Weizen today, but didn't feel like it after getting up.

    I racked a batch of Hefe Weizen to a carboy and washed the yeast for reuse. It's my second HW this year. I plan to brew another one then blend them before bottling. Probably later this week.

    I have my own kitchen in the basement and several storage rooms, a 2 tap kegerator, a keezer and a SOFC. I have over 20 kegs and 20 carboys. I lived in Germany for 9 years and brought back about 15 cases of beer when I left there in 2004. I also have about 300# of grain on-hand and about 18# of hops in the freezer.

    I also make ciders and meads. I have some bottles that are over 20 years old, many over 10.

    As mentioned earlier, if anyone has any questions feel free to contact me. Always glad to help.

    Did I mention I also smoke meat? LOL!

    Bill @ [email protected]

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