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Old 04-01-2011, 10:45 PM   #21
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May start making mead instead, for starters, since I can make 1-gallon batches easily and ferment it on the countertop.
That takes me back to 1969 when my wife and I were making mead on our kitchen countertop in a gallon glass jug. It was smelling pretty good, but then it exploded. I guess we did something wrong. Stickiness.
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Old 04-10-2011, 05:10 PM   #22
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Okay I bottled it today! I have about 40 lovely bottles all full of some yummy beer (I hope). I have to wait for two weeks at room temp, then into the ref and finally I can have one. I did try a sip today, it tastes and smells correct so that is a good sign...right? RIGHT

I had to enlist my young daughters help though. My wife was out in her garden and I didn't have enough hands. But it was a science experiment, yeah, that's the ticket! I mean we discussed what was happening with the yeast and the sugar I added before we bottled, and she got to learn all about siphons. Actually it was kind of fun, nice father-daughter moment, almost brings a tear to one's eye.

But I am excited. First time out of the gate and I think I may have an okay tasting beer. Let's keep our fingers crossed. Two weeks...April 24th...I can last that long I think.

Thanks everyone for the links and advice.
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Old 04-10-2011, 06:06 PM   #23
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If it tasted good at this point, you are on the way to lots of good beer. No worries.
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Old 04-10-2011, 06:35 PM   #24
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Homebrewing is good stuff, but I can't beat the great beers I can pick up at a specialty store
For most people, you're absolutely right.

But when you really get into it (I've been homebrewing since 1987), you can actually make better beer than 95% of what you can buy.

The key (beyond the recipe and the process) is that what you make is absolutely fresh.

Brewers (large or small) have a rule of thumb that beer starts losing flavor when it leaves the brewery, and after about six months the flavor difference is noticeable to almost anyone.

There are only two ways to extend that shelf life.
You can pasteurize it, which gives you a huge flavor hit but lets the beer keep whatever flavor is left for a very long time.
Or you can run it through a very tight (sterile) filter, which does pretty much the same as pasteurization.

In either case, the shelf life is extended, but the extension is only for a greatly diminished flavor.

If you've ever taken a brewery tour, they probably gave you a sample at the end of the tour. That would be fresh beer that has not been either pasteurized or filtered, and it probably tasted wonderful. That's the effect that homebrewers strive for.
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Old 04-10-2011, 06:41 PM   #25
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Okay I bottled it today! .... I did try a sip today, it tastes and smells correct so that is a good sign...right? RIGHT
Yes- RIGHT! Good news! It is tough to tell exactly how a beer will taste from the warm, flat sample taken when you bottle, but there are a lot of flaws that will make themselves apparent at that stage. So if there wasn't anything 'bad' tasting, that's good! It will very likely be a very good beer.

In fact, after seeing your post I couldn't help but crack open a bottle of the Porter I bottled recently - I 'force carbed' two samples ( I use a 500mL soda bottle with a tire stem cap on it, and I have a CO2 source with an air chuck - no priming sugar added), and it is still a little flat, but I just had to have a taste. I think this will be very good with a bit of aging.

Oh, but don't sample your bottle primed beers until they have had time to carb up. If you sample early, not only will they be a little flat, but the sugar will still be there that the yeast have not eaten yet. Flat and sweet just don't cut it for most beers. Keep 'em at 70F or thereabouts for two weeks before sampling.

Oh, that reminds me of a tip I've used - bottle one or two in a 500mL (16 oz) soda or soda water bottle (not a regular water bottle - they need to handle pressure). Squeeze out the air and twist the cap on. You can feel the pressure as the carbonation builds up. This is a great confidence builder, esp for your early batches where you want as much feedback as possible to assure everything is going well.


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Old 04-16-2011, 11:04 AM   #26
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There are only two ways to extend that shelf life.
You can pasteurize it, which gives you a huge flavor hit
This reminded me of the story that Coors needed to restrict distribution of its unpasteurized beer to make sure it was always kept refrigerated, but it was prevented from doing so by the FTC. Here is a pointer to a Texas Monthly article about that Texas Monthly - Google Books
(hope it works). I've never been clear about just what happened there.

Are any commercial beers now sold unpasteurized?
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Old 04-16-2011, 11:25 AM   #27
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This reminded me of the story that Coors needed to restrict distribution of its unpasteurized beer to make sure it was always kept refrigerated, but it was prevented from doing so by the FTC. Here is a pointer to a Texas Monthly article about that Texas Monthly - Google Books
(hope it works). I've never been clear about just what happened there.

Are any commercial beers now sold unpasteurized?
Most if not all smaller breweries sell unpasteurized. I believe all the big boys pasteurize.
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Old 04-16-2011, 01:16 PM   #28
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Brewer12345 is right, of course, but even many breweries that brag about not pasteurizing their beer will "sterile filter" it instead. That means passing it through a filter that is so tight (3 microns or often much smaller) that no little nasties can get through it. Kill 'em with heat (pasteurization) or strain 'em out with a filter -- there's effectively no difference.

The drawback for the consumer is that the pasteurization heat has a harmful effect on the flavor, but the sterile filter is so tight that it strips much of the desirable flavor out along with the nasties. Either way, the drinker loses.

That's one of the biggest reasons that beer at a good brewpub or from an experienced homebrewer nearly always tastes better than what you buy at the store (besides the fact that it's generally fresher).
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Old 04-24-2011, 01:04 PM   #29
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Had to revive this to let you all know I tried my beer last night and it was AWESOME!! It actually turned out very nice--nice flavor and nice bouquet. Even my wife liked it! I think I can share this with a few friends without them hating me. Quite a long process but the end result was worth it.

I am pretty picky when it comes to my beers and I like this one, it tastes like the Chocolate Porter I remember from my friends house. I will now have to give it another go with an Amber or ESB this next time I think.

Thanks again for all the links and advice!
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Old 04-24-2011, 01:21 PM   #30
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I think I can share this with a few friends
NOW you're in trouble. Free beer tends to provoke requests for more work from you!

The fun part of brewing (for me, anyway) is developing your own recipes and trying to make the end product turn out the way you want. Here's to many years of enjoyment of your new hobby.
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Old 05-11-2011, 08:04 AM   #31
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One piece of advice I can give you is invest in a keg-o-rator and the five gallon kegs. It is much easier cleaning one keg than 48 bottles. I love brewing but I do not think I would have stayed with it if I had to clean/sanitize 48 bottles every batch.
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Old 05-11-2011, 08:39 AM   #32
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One piece of advice I can give you is invest in a keg-o-rator and the five gallon kegs. It is much easier cleaning one keg than 48 bottles. I love brewing but I do not think I would have stayed with it if I had to clean/sanitize 48 bottles every batch.
I'll counter that and say it's personal preference. A lot of brewers prefer kegs over bottling, but you need to invest some $, rig up the kegerator, pay the electric bill, deal with CO2 and some plumbing, moisture build up, tap/line cleaning - and then you have a limited number of beers on tap.

Bottles can be stored at cool room temperature, and a few chilled as needed. I have about ten different batches I can choose from for dinner, I would need a lot of kegerator space to keep that many on tap. And some beers benefit from some long aging. No need to tie up a corny keg for that.

I give my bottles a good rinse/drain that evening. I jet-spray and shoot with sanitizer and drain right before I bottle. I don't find it to be that much work, but some brewers seem to just hate it.

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Old 05-12-2011, 01:01 PM   #33
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I'll counter that and say it's personal preference. A lot of brewers prefer kegs over bottling, but you need to invest some $, rig up the kegerator, pay the electric bill, deal with CO2 and some plumbing, moisture build up, tap/line cleaning - and then you have a limited number of beers on tap.

Bottles can be stored at cool room temperature, and a few chilled as needed. I have about ten different batches I can choose from for dinner, I would need a lot of kegerator space to keep that many on tap. And some beers benefit from some long aging. No need to tie up a corny keg for that.

I give my bottles a good rinse/drain that evening. I jet-spray and shoot with sanitizer and drain right before I bottle. I don't find it to be that much work, but some brewers seem to just hate it.

-ERD50
Another nice feature of bottling is the ability to give away some as gifts.

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Old 05-12-2011, 02:02 PM   #34
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I've been thining of trying this but have not made the jump in to it yet. I figure its a good idea to get all my buddies up for a day, drink beer, BBQ and brew several batches. That way we all get a 6 pack of each flavor.

Maybe I will still try it. In the mean time I am saving my empties! I went on an IPA kick last summer so may give that a try.
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Old 05-12-2011, 03:32 PM   #35
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Began brewing in the late 60s when in college. Rather than using 5 gal glass carboys I used a 20 gal plastic garbage can. We were into high alcohol content; quantity; quality was on the lower end of the priorities. At least the garbage can was new and we put cheese cloth over the top to keep the flies out. Soon found that sanitizing bottles was a PITA and probably was not done as well as it required.

Years later I switched to proper brewing equipment and using 5 gal soda pop kegs (much easier to sanatize). Last year my son borrowed my equipment and has started brewing. His quality level is greatly above my initial batches.
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Old 05-21-2011, 01:24 AM   #36
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I still have all my stuff for bottles and 5 gal. stainless kegs including the mash tun and burner set up. My problem is time and the right time of year. My window on beer making is closing up very soon for this season as it is warming up and the warm up here is intense so unless you like Fire-brewed beer I won't be making any until maybe this Fall if I am here long enough.

I really enjoy playing with the different grains and hops. My favorite was an India Pale ale followed by an Irish stout (redundant) but not a Guiness..less sour and no nitrogen.

I see the stuff everytime I look for something in the garage and I keep telling myself to get back into yeast farming and hops collecting but it just slips past me one more time. Maybe when I get old and retire...then I'll have plenty of time.
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