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Who brews?!
Old 08-15-2017, 03:42 PM   #1
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Who brews?!

So I started this conversation in one of the other topics

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Hey what kind of beer are you brewing? I was thinking about getting a starter kit and brew some beers. What kind of time do you put into it? I'm a IPA and Pale Ale guy in the summer and more of a Imperial Stout drinker in the fall and winter.

A range of ales. Maybe best to start a new thread, there are a few brewers on the forum, and I think we've probably hi-jacked this one enough with Dave stories! But do it! I can give some tips on a starter kit, most include stuff you won't need, and other stuff you might outgrow so fast that you are better off starting with an upgraded component.

-ERD50

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So here we are. What kind of beers are you guys and gals brewing and what kind of time do you need to put into it?
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Old 08-15-2017, 03:53 PM   #2
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Get a starter kit and a book or two and try a pale ale. This is a forgiving style and will let you see if you enjoy the hobby.
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Old 08-15-2017, 04:23 PM   #3
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With present day equipment and ingredients available at the typical homebrew supply shop, it's hard to make a beer that isn't at least drinkable and cheaper than you could buy the equivalent.

It's also a lot of fun and nearly everyone has access to a local homebrewers club where you can find a wealth of information about improving your process.
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Old 08-15-2017, 04:26 PM   #4
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It sounds like you're just dipping your toe into it. I'd say go for it...it's a fun hobby. But don't do it to "save money". True, your beer will be cheaper than store beer, but only if you put a zero dollar per hour on your labor!

I have a few suggestions:
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Old 08-15-2017, 04:49 PM   #5
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I brewed about 70 batches from 2010 through 2015. Started with kits, ended all grain. But I quit because I don't drink as much beer as I used to. And good beer is far easier to buy commercially now than it was when I started brewing.
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Old 08-15-2017, 04:52 PM   #6
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I stopped brewing about 20 years ago when the kids came, but I still have my equipment. It's on my list to take up again - perhaps this winter.
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Old 08-15-2017, 05:25 PM   #7
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I started homebrewing decades ago, mainly because it was very difficult in those days to find great beer. And if you could occasionally find one, it was really expensive.

Over the years I gradually upgraded my equipment to where it was essentially commercial quality. I still enjoyed the process, despite being involved professionally with a number of "real" breweries as a consultant.

Two years ago we moved to a condo where I simply didn't have the space to use my amateur equipment any more, so I looked around for a good home for it.

As it happened, a local brewery would love to have it to use as a pilot system for testing new recipes. I happily gave it to them and set it up in their facility, where it is used regularly. The employees also like to use it for their own homebrewing adventures. Win-win all around.

Today, I find it possible to buy almost anything I want in ⅙ barrel kegs to have at home. And if I want something out of the ordinary, I can always go to the local facility and use my old system (that was part of the deal).
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Old 08-15-2017, 05:33 PM   #8
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I brewed "way back when", when you couldn't really get good craft beer unless you did it yourself.

Now, there are SOOOO many craft brews available, it doesn't make any sense to me. I have too much fun trying all of the different batches and flavors, I couldn't possibly brew all of them myself! Mostly a HIGH-IBU IPA and Porter guy.
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Old 08-15-2017, 05:45 PM   #9
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Eh, I enjoy doing it and appreciate the cost savings as well. I can also make exactly what I want or experiment with stuff I cannot otherwise buy. Sipping a British golden ale made with honey from my backyard hives at the moment.


I also do not care for the hugely stupefying beers that seem to be more popular these days. I would rather have a couple of pints of flavorful 4% beer than one pint of 8% headcracker. So that is what I mostly make.
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Old 08-15-2017, 05:54 PM   #10
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Today, I find it possible to buy almost anything I want in ⅙ barrel kegs to have at home. And if I want something out of the ordinary, I can always go to the local facility and use my old system (that was part of the deal).
Sounds like a sweet deal for you.

A few years back out neighbor was the Brew master for a local brew pub. We could get the 1/6 barrel kegs with a few days notice (and really cheap). His Maiboch could knock you on your a$$. 11% and tasted so good going down.

Alas, he has moved on to a higher calling as Brew master for a national brewery. Good for him, but we miss the small batches.
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Old 08-15-2017, 05:58 PM   #11
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I also do not care for the hugely stupefying beers that seem to be more popular these days. I would rather have a couple of pints of flavorful 4% beer than one pint of 8% headcracker.
+1000!
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Old 08-15-2017, 06:09 PM   #12
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Eh, I enjoy doing it and appreciate the cost savings as well. I can also make exactly what I want or experiment with stuff I cannot otherwise buy.
That's why I brew - to have fun, try new things and get exactly what I want. I use liquid malt extract for now, but I can see moving to all grain once I retire and have more time. In addition to beer, I also make hard cider. I've been thinking about distilling the cider into an apple brandy.
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Old 08-15-2017, 07:10 PM   #13
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That's why I brew - to have fun, try new things and get exactly what I want. I use liquid malt extract for now, but I can see moving to all grain once I retire and have more time. In addition to beer, I also make hard cider. I've been thinking about distilling the cider into an apple brandy.
You will appreciate the control you get with all grain.

I would love to fool around with a still, but there is the legal thing.
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Who brews?!
Old 08-15-2017, 07:23 PM   #14
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Who brews?!

One of my favorite batches started with a trip to a friend's wheat field. He gave me a 5 gallon bucket full. I had done a lot of research on how to brew with unmalted grains and a step mash. It turned out great. I bottled some and gave it to the farmer. It was cool that the beer came in part from his field. That's the great thing about brewing. The experimenting and creating something truly your own.
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Old 08-15-2017, 07:33 PM   #15
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I have been brewing for several years. Have bounced around from kits to all grain and back again to save time. Have yet to create my own recipes but I am almost there. I have graduated to kegging which I really like vs bottling.

There are 4 beer drinkers in the house and with occasional guests, I am brewing on a regular schedule. Our household takes pride in home made dishes. Since I do little of the cooking, beer is my main contribution. It is fun bobby and in all my brewing years, I had only one batch I tossed for contamination. And, none due to flavor.

The industry must be growing as the 'big boys' have gotten in the business. Northern Brewer was recently acquired by In Bev or Miller-Coors, I can't remember.

You have received some good advice already. You Tube can also be your friend. Good luck.
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Old 08-15-2017, 07:45 PM   #16
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I've been brewing for about 15 years or so. I like to say that I love to cook and I love craft beer and brewing is simply cooking beer.

I second patronizing your local homebrew store (LHBS as we say over on the brew forums). The brain behind the counter is the best resource for newbies.

I started with extract but with specialty grains. The LHBS will mill those and you'll put them in a muslin bag and steep them in hot water. A tiny bit of additional effort for a large increase in quality. If you get into it like I did you can invest in all-grain equipment later. Took me only six brews.

Extract brewing takes a couple of hours on brew day, and another couple on bottling day. A batch is five gallons or just over two cases. All-grain brewing takes about six hours on brew day, but if you keg then kegging day takes only a few minutes.

I say go for it!
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Old 08-15-2017, 07:54 PM   #17
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I started with extract but with specialty grains. The LHBS will mill those and you'll put them in a muslin bag and steep them in hot water. A tiny bit of additional effort for a large increase in quality.
I do this, and it really does make a big difference. I most recently used peat smoked barley to make scotch ale.
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Old 08-15-2017, 09:34 PM   #18
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Thanks for the thread.
Our first batch we bottled Monday the 6th. We made a Stout to start and tasted it yesterday -still a little flat. The local brew house was very helpful. Looking forward to trying a few more kits and then graduating to the next level once comfortable.
My son leaves for school soon and will be taking his half, so 23 litres won't last very long!
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Old 08-16-2017, 06:52 AM   #19
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Yum!

I brewed my first batch in 1988. By definition, homebrewing makes the best beer in the world, since the brewer can customize it to his own taste. Not everybody's taste, certainly, but to me it was perfect.

I really loved it because, as others have noted, back in the day, the only beers you could buy retail were the big, bland, commercial brands. Hardly the case today; the marketplace is awash in craft brews.

Even though I'm a malt guy (porter/stout) more than an hops (IPA) fan, I do grow my own hops, whereas I'd never bother growing my own barley. That would be too much like work.

I still have the issue of Zymurgy magazine with Kathy Ireland on the cover.
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Old 08-16-2017, 09:24 AM   #20
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Many years ago my DW bought me a beer brewing kit, but I was too busy, too intimidated to ever try it. I think I ended up giving it to a co-worker.

Since I retired last year, I decided I wanted to give it a try. I have more time. I enjoy learning new things. I went to my local home brew store and dove in. I've made a handful of batches so far, and all were, per friends and family, very good.

I think what I've discovered is that I enjoy brewing well enough, but I REALLY enjoy beer marketing. Designing my own labels, bottle caps, stickers, etc. is great fun. I even sent a "press release" to friends and family to announce the availability of my latest batch. They get a kick out of it. Dear ol' Pops even has one of my stickers on the back window of his car. Cracks me up every time I see it.
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