T Nation

Beer--Homebrewing

Anyone brew beer at home?

This Christmas I got a “kit,” decided to spend a little more money and bought some additional stuff, and I just bottled my first batch the other day. Anyone else?

Yup. Started last year and you only fall more in love with it. I’ve got two kegs I’m waiting a few more weeks on to drink. A Smoked Porter and my favorite Maple Ale.

Hey Gambit, you still in Japan?

There was a pretty active homebrewing club when I was there. If you’d like I can try and dig up the contact info

Used to do this with my buddies back in college. It was fun, rewarding time spent together, and it ended up saving us a bit of money in the long run. You have to be careful, though, as just a little miscalculation in ingredient ratios and you will be drinking flat, gag-inducing beer-wine. Ugh.

Pimpbot, will you throw it up here for me, anyway? I may be interested.

Lost the guy’s email address but he was really helpful in getting me set up for homebrewing in Japan

Hey thanks! That looks like a great article. I guessed before I ever read it that the idiot government here would have already created a law making it practically illegal to do something like this on your own. Yeesh. Not that that kind of thing has ever deterred me.

I’ve made wine, nocino, and limoncello.

Great to drink your own creations man.

I’m back in the States now. I’m using the ingredients kit from Brewers Best for my first few tries. http://www.brewersbestkits.com/pdf/1007%202013%20American%20Amber%20Recipe.pdf

This is my first brew. We’ll see how I do. My biggest worries right now are if my water is clean/good enough (We boiled most of it, but somehow didn’t do the math right and had to add some from-the-tap water to get the hydrometer readings right).

I want to brew a few different batches “from the kit” but eventually learn more about how to develop my own batches.

I’ve homebrewed quite a lot in the last year.

Everything from Stouts to Pilsiners… to seasonal beers. My dry stout recipe is by far my favorite and I brew it the most often. It’s like guiness but stronger… both alcohol-wise and taste-wise. I adapted it based on a northern brewer recipe I had seen and haven’t changed it since.

It’s certainly a fun hobby. It does have its cons though:

-Real hard to not drink beer when you have a refrigerator full of it most of the time. Definitely not conducive to building huge muscles.
-Shipping costs for supplies is a bitch if you do not have a local homebrew store near you (as is my case).
-It takes 6 weeks or more but can still come out terrible.
-It’s a bit of an investment buying the huge pots, carboys, etc
-People around you may begin to brew beer and make you try their fizzy disasters. (COCONUT BEER? OMG I HATE YOU)

[quote]krazykoukides wrote:

-It takes 6 weeks or more but can still come out terrible.
[/quote]

^^^ Definitely the biggest drawback. This is why it is best to stick with kits at first until you really get a feel for what you are doing.

[quote]PimpBot5000 wrote:

Lost the guy’s email address but he was really helpful in getting me set up for homebrewing in Japan[/quote]

Thanks for sharing. I will get on this during Golden Week.

No problem.

Japan has some really solid beer. I miss the Hitachino nest stuff a lot. Also Ginga Kogen in the summer - best wheat beer I’ve had anywhere…

So I have a question for you all. Without getting all sappy, I owe my father BIG TIME, for a lot of reasons. And I want to create a special brew for him.

What kind of brew? He’s of the old-school, cooler-full-of-light-beer, 10-plus-beers-on-a-weeknight drinking style. He’s been a “hard drinker” for decades before I was born, and he won’t be changing anytime soon. I know he’d love his own beer-style. It’d have to be light, preferably cheaper, and probably resembling bud light.

Anyone have any hints/ideas for me?

There is a homebrew shop about a mile from my place, so I probably can get anything I need. I’m new at this, so simple is better I think. I was reading some recipes online at homebrewtalk and my head was spinning a bit. His birthday is coming up in April, so I was thinking that that might be a good deadline…

Any help will be appreciated! Thanks!

[quote]Gambit_Lost wrote:
So I have a question for you all. Without getting all sappy, I owe my father BIG TIME, for a lot of reasons. And I want to create a special brew for him.

What kind of brew? He’s of the old-school, cooler-full-of-light-beer, 10-plus-beers-on-a-weeknight drinking style. He’s been a “hard drinker” for decades before I was born, and he won’t be changing anytime soon. I know he’d love his own beer-style. It’d have to be light, preferably cheaper, and probably resembling bud light.

Anyone have any hints/ideas for me?

There is a homebrew shop about a mile from my place, so I probably can get anything I need. I’m new at this, so simple is better I think. I was reading some recipes online at homebrewtalk and my head was spinning a bit. His birthday is coming up in April, so I was thinking that that might be a good deadline…

Any help will be appreciated! Thanks!

[/quote]

Pilsner. There are a ton of kits for them online.

It sounds like he likes adjunct lagers and maybe Pilsners.

Keep in mind that both of these styles are much more challenging for a first time brewer, for a couple reasons:

1.) You will need to invest more in equipment - both styles require a designated refrigerator with fairly accurate temperature settings.

2.) Pilsners especially are really easy to fuck up. They are light, crisp and refreshing, and therein lies the problem - if you make a mistake, it will be very noticeable in the finished product. Ever notice that there are relatively few good Euro-style pilsners like Czechvar (Budvar) in North America? Pilsners are a headache for even experienced brewmasters. (I haven’t investigated that kit that Testy posted, but I would be wary)

I would recommend making a light-tasting ale for your first go, maybe a red ale.

[quote]Gambit_Lost wrote:
So I have a question for you all. Without getting all sappy, I owe my father BIG TIME, for a lot of reasons. And I want to create a special brew for him.

[/quote]

[quote]PimpBot5000 wrote:

It sounds like he likes adjunct lagers and maybe Pilsners.

Keep in mind that both of these styles are much more challenging for a first time brewer, for a couple reasons:

1.) You will need to invest more in equipment - both styles require a designated refrigerator with fairly accurate temperature settings.

2.) Pilsners especially are really easy to fuck up. They are light, crisp and refreshing, and therein lies the problem - if you make a mistake, it will be very noticeable in the finished product. Ever notice that there are relatively few good Euro-style pilsners like Czechvar (Budvar) in North America? Pilsners are a headache for even experienced brewmasters. (I haven’t investigated that kit that Testy posted, but I would be wary)

I would recommend making a light-tasting ale for your first go, maybe a red ale.

[quote]Gambit_Lost wrote:
So I have a question for you all. Without getting all sappy, I owe my father BIG TIME, for a lot of reasons. And I want to create a special brew for him.

[/quote]
[/quote]

I didn’t realize they were that complex. You could always add lots of water and tell him it’s bud lite.

Thanks for the advice guys. I’m hesitant to start lagering and/or having more temperature controlled brews just yet. Perhaps I’ll get a special fridge in the future, for now I’d guess I’m thinking about producing a number of easier ones… definitely something to think about. Thanks for letting me know “what’s coming.”

Right now I have http://www.brewersbestkits.com/pdf/1018%202013%20American%20Light%20Recipe.pdf
in my carboy. PimpBot, think this will turn out close enough in flavor?

Man I really wanna do this at some point. I can’t get beer at the store that’s dark enough in America without going to some specialty place and spending 15 bucks for like two bottles.

[quote]Gambit_Lost wrote:

Right now I have http://www.brewersbestkits.com/pdf/1018%202013%20American%20Light%20Recipe.pdf
in my carboy. PimpBot, think this will turn out close enough in flavor? [/quote]

Yeah man that should be just fine, I’m sure your dad will love it.

A couple things to keep in mind:

1.) Sanitize the hell out of your bottles and bottle caps with Iodophor or StarSan. Put some in a spray bottle, periodically clean your hands when bottling

2.) Definitely get a friend to help you bottle (if using a bottling wand). Very tough to do this step on your own. You want to steer clear of the sediment layer which you will soon see at the bottom of your carboy.

3.) Let it bottle condition for longer than the instructions say. Be patient - even a couple weeks can make a huge difference in taste

Good Luck