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Calling all brewmasters!
Old 03-19-2011, 02:23 PM   #1
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Calling all brewmasters!

I will (hopefully) be retiring here in 3 years or so and was sitting around the other day thinking of some of the things I would like to do. I have a lot of interests and so I was listing them out and figuring now that I am moving into that next phase I could now have the time to start indulging many of the things I would like to do in retirement. Sort of a pre-emptive foray into my retirement if you will.

So one of the things on the list that I like to do was drink beer Now I like beer and living here in the Northwest I am home to some fine microbrews. But I have always wondered how difficult it was to brew your own beer? So I have decided to embark on home brewing.

I have a good friend who owns a company that sells kits, etc to home brewers and in fact I taking a class from him this Sunday. But I was wondering if there were any other home brew guys here who could give me some good advice.
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Old 03-19-2011, 03:10 PM   #2
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Tons of great info here:

The Brewing Network.com - Beer radio | The Brewing Network

You live in one of the major hot beds of craft brewing, so I'm guessing that there are numerous home brew clubs close by.
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Old 03-19-2011, 03:27 PM   #3
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Take a class, buy a beginner's kit and jump right in. Its pretty easy to get started and you can get complicated (or not) later. Find a local club and you will get to socialize with like-minded people whi can offer advice. Once you have a couple of batches under your belt, enter a competition or better yet volunteer to be a steward. Most beer judges are happy to teach the stewards about whatever is being judged.
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Old 03-19-2011, 03:47 PM   #4
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I'm often asked this question, and I know of no better resource for beginners than this one:

How to Brew - By John Palmer

The second great source is your local club of homebrewers, if you're lucky enough to live near one. Watching a procedure once is worth eight books of instruction.

Homebrewers Association | Find a Club

I've been brewing beer at home since 1987, and enjoy it enough that I still do it about once a month. It really is possible to make beer that is significantly better than 95% of what you can buy.

Of course, as with anything else, you are dealing with agricultural products that have a lot of natural variability, and the cost (to a hobbyist) of top quality equipment and ingredients may mean that you won't save very much compared to buying good beer.

But it's a very satisfying and relaxing hobby.
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Old 03-19-2011, 04:31 PM   #5
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Hmm, a hobby that involves beer. How could it get any better? I will check out the links.
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Old 03-19-2011, 10:39 PM   #6
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Brewing is a great hobby. I started in June, 2010, and brew 1-2 batches a month. I started with Brewer's Best equipment and ingredients kits

http://www.brewersbestkits.com/pdf/Brewer's%20Best%20Equipment%20Kit%20101028.pdf

I also reference "How to Brew" by John Palmer - the online version

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community. is an excellent forum for home brewers

Its surprising how easy it is to make beer that tastes as good as anything you can buy. Also, its great fun to research beers and ingredients and concoct your own. Also great fun to engineer your own custom setups/ procedures.

Good Luck and Happy Brewing!
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Old 03-19-2011, 11:52 PM   #7
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I've been brewing beer at home since 1987...
I had no idea that it could age for that long!
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Old 03-20-2011, 10:08 PM   #8
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Well I have my first ever beer going! I took my class today and overall it seems pretty straight forward. Luckily as I said the owner of the brew supply place is a good friend of mine, so he gave me lots of good advice and got me all set up. I went to his house about 3 months ago and he had this awesome Chocolate Porter which I loved.

So that is what I have perking in the other room as we speak. It is doing its thing as we speak. I see lots of good yeast activity. In 5-10 days I transfer to the secondary and add the cacoa nibs. Then in theory about 2 weeks later I can bottle it.

Wish me luck! First foray into this world but so far so good. I think I will like this hobby. Thanks for the links. I did find a local brew club that I might join this summer.
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Old 03-20-2011, 10:43 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by hakuna matata View Post
So one of the things on the list that I like to do was drink beer Now I like beer and living here in the Northwest I am home to some fine microbrews. But I have always wondered how difficult it was to brew your own beer? So I have decided to embark on home brewing.
Piece of cake if a kit is available, and really a blast too. We designed and printed our own labels for our bottles. The whole process was fascinating. And it all smelled so good!

Too bad I have way too many other irons in the fire. Besides red wine is my #1 beverage, beer only #2. Fortunately for me, my local grocery store carries a fine selection of Oregon microbrews, which is a darn miracle here in South Texas.

I always drink beer with seafood and with spicy food.

Audrey
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Old 03-22-2011, 07:29 PM   #10
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It's been a long time but for many years the only beer I drank was my own home brew. My advice is to not try to do any crazy recipes. Keep it simple. If you keep your batches small (48 bottles) then you will have lots of opportunities to try different recipes and can tolerate a few stuck fermentations.

For some reason, beginning brewers want to make dark beers with fruits and lots of grains. I actually, think it is harder to make light ales. Dark beers can hide your mistakes. Light beers take more finesse.
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Old 03-22-2011, 11:43 PM   #11
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We were avid homebrewers until our cats and kids discovered that if they jumped on top of the primary fermentation bucket they could create a foam cannon that sprayed our kitchen/living room with sticky beer foam.

Due to small-space living, we've had a hard time figuring out a way around this issue. Kids are older; cats still highly problematic.

I'm itching to get back to it, though. May start making mead instead, for starters, since I can make 1-gallon batches easily and ferment it on the countertop. Unlike my 5-gallon extract brewing.
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Old 03-23-2011, 12:35 AM   #12
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I am in your general area and brew as well. I'll second the resources listed above. There are a bunch of homebrew clubs in the area. Great place to meet other brewers and learn different techniques. Here are a couple that I know meet at local homebrew stores. Not sure which store your friend owns.

Impaling Alers - Larrys Brewing Supply in Kent
Cascade Brewers Guild - Mountain Homebrew in Kirkland

There are a bunch of other clubs too. Just check out the link Braumeister provided.
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Old 03-23-2011, 07:05 AM   #13
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We were avid homebrewers until our cats and kids discovered that if they jumped on top of the primary fermentation bucket they could create a foam cannon that sprayed our kitchen/living room with sticky beer foam.

Due to small-space living, we've had a hard time figuring out a way around this issue. Kids are older; cats still highly problematic.

I'm itching to get back to it, though. May start making mead instead, for starters, since I can make 1-gallon batches easily and ferment it on the countertop. Unlike my 5-gallon extract brewing.
Google "scat mat.". Drape that over the fermenter and plug it in.

Or switch to a glass carboy.
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Old 03-23-2011, 11:12 AM   #14
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Brewer, thanks. That scat mat might be useful for other applications as well. The kitchen counter comes to mind...
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Old 03-23-2011, 12:40 PM   #15
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Brewer, thanks. That scat mat might be useful for other applications as well. The kitchen counter comes to mind...
Plus it can provide hours of harmlessly cruel cheap entertainment.
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Old 03-27-2011, 09:44 PM   #16
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Well I added the cacao nibs today and moved it into the second carboy. It smells like beer so I am taking that as a good sign! I have it in this second carboy for 2 weeks and then I can bottle it. So far it seems to be working correctly! I would ask my buddy but he is in Costa Rica for a couple more days and I thought it was ready to make the transition. Let's hope I was right.

Thanks again for the links. It is pretty amazing the amount of info out there on the web on homebrewing!

Let's hope the bottling goes as smoothly as the second carboy was.
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Old 03-27-2011, 10:25 PM   #17
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It's a good sign that it smells like beer! You're on your way. The toughest part of the hobby is making sure that you schedule your batches so that you don't run out of home brew.
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Old 03-27-2011, 10:57 PM   #18
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I'm often asked this question, and I know of no better resource for beginners than this one:

How to Brew - By John Palmer
Great reference! Try the one that adds a bit of grain!! Easy and better. The next step is to buy the mash tun equipment and go all grain .... then you know you are hooked. But really I enjoyed just the extracts and adding a bit of grain. It is amazing how well it all comes out. Keep everything sanitized and don't cut corners. I am looking forward to having the time to really get back into it again.
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Old 03-27-2011, 11:14 PM   #19
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Great reference! Try the one that adds a bit of grain!! Easy and better. The next step is to buy the mash tun equipment and go all grain .... then you know you are hooked. But really I enjoyed just the extracts and adding a bit of grain. It is amazing how well it all comes out. Keep everything sanitized and don't cut corners. I am looking forward to having the time to really get back into it again.
Once I got hooked, my brew days looked like this:
Attached Images
File Type: png image-2024360246.png (616.0 KB, 13 views)
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Old 04-01-2011, 08:53 PM   #20
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Homebrewing is good stuff, but I can't beat the great beers I can pick up at a specialty store/Whole Foods/etc. Ballast Point Sculpin IPA is currently at the top of my somewhat-accessible-yet-world-class beers.
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