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  • Homebrewing Beer

    Anybody on here make their own beer? I'm looking into doing some homebrewing and have just started to read up on it. Looks to be a bit labor intensive but could be fun. If anybody has done this before I would be interested to hear what you have to say.

  • #2
    Re: Homebrewing Beer

    It isn't too bad time/labor-wise if you have good equipment. 5 or 6 gallon pot to cook up the mash. Plastic pail with either a spigot at the bottom or a suction pump and a pail with airtight cover & airlock to let the yeasties contribute to global warming. A blow-off tube (which can double as airlock) or big Rubbermaid tub to set the pail in if the yeasties get too rowdy. Lots of empty clean bottles and a capper. Hygrometer to measure your batch before & after to tell how strong your beer is.The biggest time-sink for me is cleaning and re-cleaning all the equipment and bottles-don't want anything but your yeast to eat your sugar.
    "I think we'll be OK"

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    • #3
      Re: Homebrewing Beer

      My only concern is how to cook the mash as I have a glass top range and can't put a pot bigger than the burner on it. I'm not quite sure how I would do that.

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      • #4
        Re: Homebrewing Beer

        Originally posted by TransAmBison View Post
        My only concern is how to cook the mash as I have a glass top range and can't put a pot bigger than the burner on it. I'm not quite sure how I would do that.
        I've got a glass-top range too. I do it with a big 32-quart aluminum stock pot--works pretty well but you have to watch the temperature pretty closely, and I usually have to do some soaking and scouring of the pot after I'm done.
        "I think we'll be OK"

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        • #5
          Re: Homebrewing Beer

          in the 1980's we tried to make some beer using a recipe out of Easyriders Magazine. it blew up a lot and was potent but only one guy would drink it. later Easyriders said they used the wrong yeast. get some copper tubing, corn mash and whatever else and just build a still for some good moonshine.

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          • #6
            Re: Homebrewing Beer

            I brew a bit. Get yourself a copy of "The Complete Joy of Homebrewing" by Charlie Papazian. It will walk you through the process, equipment, ingredients, etc. I would suggest you start with extracts. You can do partial boils - 2.5-3 gal. If you enjoy the process and the results, you can move to partial and full grain (mash) brewing. If there isn't a good brew supply store in Fargo checkout Midwest Supplies on-line.

            As Filbert states below, cleanliness is critical and takes up much of the brew time. Also, two hints with glass top stoves, a triangular trivet made from stainless wire under the pot helps (think chem lab). Otherwise, a heating coil can be useful. A 240 V unit will bring the pot to boil alone but a 110 can supplement the stove nicely.

            When you get to the point where you want to go beyond kits contact me. I have a few recipes that produce IMHO fine beer and would be happy to help you formulate your own.
            You know that you're over the hill when your mind makes a promise that your body can't fill. - L. George

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            • #7
              Re: Homebrewing Beer

              Oh, BTW SurgisJeff, distilling is illegal. See, Whisky Rebellion.
              You know that you're over the hill when your mind makes a promise that your body can't fill. - L. George

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              • #8
                Re: Homebrewing Beer

                Originally posted by Prairiehaas View Post
                Oh, BTW SurgisJeff, distilling is illegal. See, Whisky Rebellion.
                I'm pretty sure its only illegal if you get caught. I could be wrong on that though.
                "The most rewarding things you do in life, are often the ones that look like they cannot be done. Arnold Palmer

                Don't sweat the petty things, and don't pet the sweaty things.

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                • #9
                  Re: Homebrewing Beer

                  Thanks Prairiehaas, that was a ton of good information. I really want to get past the kits and make my own so I will definitely be in contact at some point. I'm a ways out right now, but when I am ready I'll look you up.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Homebrewing Beer

                    Originally posted by TransAmBison View Post
                    Anybody on here make their own beer? I'm looking into doing some homebrewing and have just started to read up on it. Looks to be a bit labor intensive but could be fun. If anybody has done this before I would be interested to hear what you have to say.
                    I use a 30 quart turkey fryer as my brew pot. Bought it at Lowes for like 65 bucks. Comes with a thermometer and a burner. Then I just walked down to the plumbing section to grab copper tubing for the wort chiller. (Also, look into a pre chiller too...it is just another coil of copper that is submerged in ice before the chiller that is put in the brew pot)

                    It isn't really that labor intensive. The most work IMO is the sanitizing and the bottling.

                    I would also suggest going with the glass carboys and a bottle tree
                    -South Dakotan by birth, a Jackrabbit by choice.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Homebrewing Beer

                      More awesome advice. Keep it coming.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Homebrewing Beer

                        Keep asking questions and you will get answers. SoDak is spot on about using carboys. Much easier to maintain sanitation and carboys last forwever. You will want a Brew Hauler because full carboys are heavy. When fermenting with a carboy use a blow off tube rather than a bubbler airlock. An aggressive fermentation can blow a bubbler off (that is a mess).

                        I bottle, other use kegs, I found that getting or making wooden cases (plans available on the WWW) facilitates the handling and storage of bottles, empty and full. Wet bottles will eventually destroy paper cases. Take care to rinse bottles thoroughly after use. That reduces cleaning time on bottling day to a quick sanitation. I also use a bottling tree and a sulfiter for sanitizing bottles.
                        You know that you're over the hill when your mind makes a promise that your body can't fill. - L. George

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                        • #13
                          Re: Homebrewing Beer

                          I'm going to a beer making class in Minneapolis in a couple weeks, should be fun. I have to go along anyway so the wife is sending my father-in-law and me to the class...probably to get us out of her hair for a few hours!

                          How long does the fermenting take? Start to finish, how long before you can crack open and enjoy your brew (when the brew is properly ready)?

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                          • #14
                            Re: Homebrewing Beer

                            Originally posted by TransAmBison View Post
                            I'm going to a beer making class in Minneapolis in a couple weeks, should be fun. I have to go along anyway so the wife is sending my father-in-law and me to the class...probably to get us out of her hair for a few hours!

                            How long does the fermenting take? Start to finish, how long before you can crack open and enjoy your brew (when the brew is properly ready)?
                            Fermenting time depends a lot on the kind of beer you're making. For american style light beers, a couple of weeks will do nicely. If you're going for darker/heavier brews (up to stouts) they will take longer, possibly up to a couple of months, with a decanting from the primary fermenter into a secondary fermenter somewhere in the middle of the process, and with those, it may actually take a couple of more months of bottle-conditioning before they reach a peak of quality. But if you're just starting out, you'll probably just go with an american-style light ale, which is pretty quick and easy compared to what you can get into if you get fully consumed in the hobby (I'm talking there about grinding your own grains, etc.).

                            If you find a good homebrew store, the proprietors are usually pretty knowledgeable and all too willing to help out a newbie in picking out the proper equipment, yeasts, and malt extracts to start out with.

                            You might also look into homebrewtalk.com -- a discussion board of all things homebrew.
                            "I think we'll be OK"

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                            • #15
                              Re: Homebrewing Beer

                              I have to say you guys have definitely been the most help. I really appreciate it. I've gotten some info on BV and on another messageboard but this has given me some real stuff to chew on. I definitely plan on using the advice I've gotten here. I like the idea of the turkey fryer.

                              Just to give an idea of what ballpark I am shooting for, I like Fat Tire. I would probably shoot for something in that area.

                              Another question, can you make a beer/ale have a higher alcohol content? I'm guessing you can a little, but do you have a wide range? Could you get an ale up to 9% to 10% and still taste good?

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