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I want to start brewing but i got a few questions??

Discussion in 'Beer & Ale' started by bratrules, Sep 21, 2010.

  1. bratrules

    bratrules Smoking Fanatic

    Well in the pass few week i really been thinking about getting in to home brewing and i just want to know how much money i have to invest to get started? also i live in southern California and i am not sure how the weather here will effect my fermentation? Well i want to make a wheat brew so if anybody has in advice it would really help me out thanks.
  2. bbally

    bbally Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Home brewing is like any other hobby, you can get started for about $100.00 or you can go nuts and have 10K into the hobby.

    I would suggest starting out brewing a couple of Ales, once you get that down then move on to your Wheat Beer.
  3. bratrules

    bratrules Smoking Fanatic

    so should i wait to the weather to change before i start to make my first brew? its about 75 to 84 over here
  4. hughjass

    hughjass Fire Starter

    You can buy home brewing starter kits.  Here's one that would get you started.


    IMO, it's better if you can boil the full volume (beginning volume is ~6.5 gallon) than boiling a couple of gallons and topping up with water, but either will work for you.  If you have a turkey fryer, you can use it for the boil kettle.

    I ferment all of my ales between 59F and 63F depending on the yeast strain.  Remember, fermentation is exothermic, so the ambient temp is not the actual temp inside your fermenter.  There are fairly simple ways to adjust ferment temps.  Something as simple as partially submerging your fermenter in water.  Place frozen 2-liter bottles in the water to keep both the water and beer cooler than ambient temp.

    A wheat beer is typically pitched with an ale yeast.  They're pretty straight forward.  When using extract, it'll be ~6 lb of extract, some hops added at different times during the boil, and yeast.

    Do you prefer a weizen (german wheat) which typically has more of a banana/clove flavor or an American wheat that's hop forward?

    If a weizen, here's a simple, solid recipe:


    If an American wheat, try this one:


    Any other questions, ask :mug:
  5. bratrules

    bratrules Smoking Fanatic

    great thanks for all the info!!!!
  6. hughjass

    hughjass Fire Starter

    You're welcome.  Please let us know how it turned out. 

    Good luck. :cheers:
  7. bilder

    bilder Fire Starter

    If you really want to be cheap, you can put together a 'kit' for next to nothing.

    Go to your local grocery store and stop by the bakery dept.  With a big smile on your face, ask kindly if they have any food grade buckets to spare.  You can usually get all you want for free at the right place.  Wash them good as they will have the smell of icing in them. :)

    After that you can buy the spigot for the bottom of the bucket for a buck or two and install it yourself.  Homebrew shops charge anywhere from 8-18 bucks for a bucket when you can make your own for a fraction of the price.  You can also use plastic soda bottles for your first batch or two until you know you will like home brewing.  After that you can upgrade to glass or kegs if you wish.  All you will really need after that is an airlock (1-3 bucks) and some food grade tubing to siphon off your beer (less than a buck a foot most places).  Then you can buy some nice ingredients and have at it.

    Be sure and check out Craigslist or the local thrift stores as well.  You can score a kit for cheap if you shop around.  CL is also a great source for free bottles as well.

    Many guys also start out with the Mr. Beer kits.  You can make good beer with them, but you will need to make some adjustments from the instructions included if you want to achieve the best results.  Do not use the booster included with the kits.  Use all malt extract and you will make a great beer with these kits.  Mr. Beer is a 2.5 gallon unit and you will need 3 pounds of malt extract in order to make a batch of beer.  Simply take a 5 gallon recipe and cut the ingredients in half.  The boil times are the same as a 5 gallon batch, so do not skimp on the boil times.  I still use my Mr beer keg to make beer in.  I like to make smaller batches and they store really easy in my closet. 
  8. jethro

    jethro Smoke Blower

    Use to brew alot but not so much lately but I would HIGHLY recommend the turkey fryer option instead of your stove...there seems to be a fine line between proper tempature and a volcanic boil over. Also just starting out use dry yeast. It always works sometimes the liquid can be stubborn and sometimes not work at all, liquid is also way more expensive. Enjoy.
  9. monty

    monty Master of the Pit Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Good luck on your adventure into brewing! Here's another el cheapo suggestion. If you decide to go with glass bottles the least expensive way I found to get good pop top, not screw top, bottles is at the redemption center. Here in VT the deposit is a nickel a bottle and the redemption center makes two cents a bottle from the distributor. So I pay ten cents a bottle. $2.40 a case and no shipping! When I want to get some more bottles I let the guys at the counter know a few days ahead of time and they generally do a great job of putting aside bottles for me with six pack holders and cases, too!

    Generally I like the Sam Adams bottles which are plentiful in this neck of the woods and I generally like to stay with one brand because all bottles are not created equal requiring occasional adjustments to the capper.

    To put other questions to bed and maybe answer a few questions you don't know you have yet buy yourself a book or two on the subject such as:

    Homebrewing For Dummies by Marty Nachel

    The Complete Joy of Homebrewing by Charles Papazian

    HOME BEERMAKING Book            (Moore)


    I would start with the Dummies book and as you progress get into Papazian's book. It will take you into the realm of the brewmaster. The Home Beermaking Book is offered in many beer starter kits and is basically all you need. It generally sells for about five bucks or, as I mentioned, free with a kit. 


    Good luck and keep us posted on your progress!


    Last edited: Sep 25, 2010
  10. bratrules

    bratrules Smoking Fanatic

    i check the first two books out from the library i usually check them out first then if i like what am reading ill buy it. But the more i read on the subject the more fascinated i get!! i cant wait to get started.
  11. bilder

    bilder Fire Starter

    Another good book is How to Brew, by John Palmer.

    Another cheap hint is to get some plastic water cooler bottles to use as a fermentation vessel.  Be sure and use the ones with the number 1 or 2 in the triangle.  There is some debate on using the number 7 water bottles for home brewing, so I decide to err on the side of caution and stick with the #1's.
  12. hughjass

    hughjass Fire Starter


    Just to add further, here's Palmer's book. 


    If I were starting over, I'd try to get a few batches under my belt with the least investment as possible to see if I liked brewing or not.  Craig's list is a good idea.  Be careful, tho.  Some people on Craig's list are pretty proud of their equipment and price it accordingly.

    good luck to you.
  13. pit 4 brains

    pit 4 brains Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    One more vote for the turkey fryer! Do not do this on the kitchen stove. Malt extract is like roofing tar when cold and it doesn't loke to come off of things. You can get a large, porcelain-coated stockpot really cheap at outlet malls or army surplus type stores. You will be boiling around six gallons so you need something that can handle the volume plus expansion and some boiling. A lons, sturdy wood spoon is gonna be handy also. Good luck with your first brew.

    Remember. SANITATION IS EVERYTHING. Get some iodophor and clean everything very well. Keep your work areas and your hands clean at all times.
  14. bmudd14474

    bmudd14474 Legendary Pitmaster Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I would locate a local brew shop and talk to the folks there. I have a buddy big into brewing and went to the brew shop once. The guys there were more than willing to help out.
  15. bratrules

    bratrules Smoking Fanatic

    There was a place here in downey c.a. which is about 5 mins from my house but am not sure if its still open. am going to give them a call to see what happens. i think am going waiting to get started were having a bit of a heat wave over here.
  16. bratrules

    bratrules Smoking Fanatic

    I got another question, can some tell me the difference between the ambient temperature in the room and the temp inside the fermenter. How many degrees of a difference between the two?
  17. bratrules

    bratrules Smoking Fanatic

    Or can someone give a idea of at what ambient temperature is good for fermenting?
  18. coyote-1

    coyote-1 Smoking Fanatic

    A good ambient temp for fermenting a typical ale is 65-68 degrees. Cooler than that and it takes longer. Which in itself is no big deal; I'm having great success fermenting my ales around 63 degrees. They ferment for a month or so.

    Just make sure your yeast gets a good start either way, and you'll be fine.

  19. bratrules

    bratrules Smoking Fanatic

    great thanks for the info. i think am going to start with a hard cider first when things get to that right temp.
  20. squirrel

    squirrel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    This is really exciting to read all this about brewing. I had a friend many years ago that did some and, well, they tasted HORRIBLE! I would love to learn more about it, not sure if I am willing to try it myself, but maybe someday.

    Can you guys maybe start showing some home brewing Q-view? I for one would love to see it first hand! Thanks!