T Nation

Home Brew Questions


#1

Ok, so i just inherited my very first home brewing kit and i was going to see if any of you out there have any suggestions on where to buy ingredients, or look up recipes that have worked out for you.

Also any tips for someone trying this out for the first time?

i have been checking stuff out on youtube and reading up, but there is so much info out there I was just going to check with my T-Brethren first.

Thanks for any help!


#2

i just leave it to the profesionals, plenty of them screw it up already


#3

I spend too much time in the steroid forum I totally did not realize what you were talking about here.

lol.


#4


Really, the best thing you can do is find a good home-brew store and just pick their brains. Say something like "I want to make a porter, what do I need?" and they should help you out.
I'd say to try a few extract brews before you go into all grain, it'll give you some basic experience in the process and it's less likely you'll screw it up.
Buy some one-step sanitizer and sanitize the shit out of everything you're using. Clean everything with soap and water to get all of the major shit out, then sanitize it after that. Sanitize your hands, the counters, everything. I've seen more than enough batches go bad just because of contamination.
Papazian's book The Joy of Homebrewing is a good one for recipes and brewing process.


#5

Thanks for the responses everyone! Guess not too many homebrewers in here...

But thanks ryno, actually the guy who gave me the kit gave me that book and a book called "clone brews"...so i am stoked. thanks man!


#6

I am an avid beer homebrewer.

The best thing I ever did for my homebrew was to buy a chest freezer and a "Johnston Controller." You can use the controller (an external thermostat) to turn the freezer on and off, so the temperature stays where you want to brew --- 65F, for example.

Second was a cooker so I could brew the wort outside and not risk messing up my kitchen.

An oxgenator was the next best purchase.

Just experiment. Start with a ready-made kit from Midwest or DeFalcos. Worst thing that happens is you pour it out.


#7

Theres a couple homebrewers on here. I ordered a kit and asked some questions awhile ago. Some of the guys are pretty knowledgable and they will show up sooner or later.

I brewed a porter my first time and it turned out good. I got a wheat beer kit waiting downstairs that I've been slacking on.

The biggest pain in the ass is cleaning up the kitchen to do it, which means rubbing diluted bleach solution on everything the necessary parts will touch, then sanitizing the equipment, and bottles.

After that it is pretty easy. I did the extract brew and just let it ferment in my closet.

I got my kit and extracts from here: http://www.homebrewers.com/ .


#8

Use the iodine solution. No rinsing.


#9

I always got good ingredients/ideas/equipment from www.MoreBeer.com.

DB


#10

Use Iodaphor as your sanitizer. Very potent and no rinse.

Start with a kit. You won't technically be "brewing" but you'll learn important things like sanitation, bottling, measuring gravity and so on. No matter what anybody tells you these things are an integral part of brewing.

From there, this hobby can go as far as you'd like. You can continue with the kits or do triple decoctions...it's all up to you. After you get some experience full boils really are the way to go, both in terms of taste and cost.

Some random pieces of advice:

1.) If you're starting with a kit, go with something forgiving. IPA's are great...their hoppiness can cover almost any error. Wheat beers are another good choice...no hopping, bloody easy and you'll be surprised how great they taste.

2.) Never open a beer prematurely. If you're bottle conditioning WAIT until they've conditioned!

3.) Beeradvocate.com, homebrewing area of the forum. You'll learn a lot. Homebrew42 is a guy to listen to.


#11

The T-Nation of beer...BeerAdvocate.com. I spend as much time there as I do here. Here is a link to the home brewing forum...

http://beeradvocate.com/forum/list/2


#12

Thanks a lot for all of the replies fellas.

Any particular recipes or kits you guys would recommend for my first attempt?

I've got a few picked out from "the joy of home brewing" book...but if you guys have suggestions, i'd love to hear them.

Thanks again!


#13

im a newb homebrewer, but starting with kits is pretty easy. Id recommend looking up local groups of homebrewers/ having a friend. Its fun to share a few beers with people, pick their brain and collectively make a good batch of beer. Ive found homebrewers are the type that really like to share. Zymurgy is a good mag.


#14

Ok so I brewed my very first batch this weekend. All was well, and I put the fermentation lock on, at about 4 PM, then around 11PM i heard a loud pop and the lock has shot off and brew was foaming out like a 6th grade science project volcano...

So i attached at hose to all ow the blow off to continue, then the next morning I re-attached the fermentation lock and all seems well...

My question is, Did i just ruin my whole batch?

and if it is no longer sanitary, how would I know?

thanks to all of you who know this stuff!


#15

You're probably OK. Primary fermentation tends to be pretty forgiving to infections. I can't even count how many times I've had catastrophic "blow-ups" and the beer turned out perfectly. Did you pitch your yeast at 4pm? Because if so, that is rather fast fermentation. Did you make a yeast starter solution (yeast mixed with dark malt extract)?

Signs of an infection...a slimy-looking skin appears on the top of your beer (don't confuse this for leftover krausen, which is completely normal. What I mean by that are the remnants of the frothy bubbles which caused the blow-up...sometimes they look dark yellow or brown, again, perfectly normal). Another sign is if the gravity stops dropping prematurely. I'm confident you're fine though.

I don't know if you're doing a secondary fermentation next, but once the vigorous fermentation stops you have to be extra mindful of getting everything sanitized properly.


#16

First, thanks so much for giving me advice brother.

But no, I followed the kit perfectly, (Although I had read in "The Joy of Homebrewing" about the blow-off hose) and it never mentioned making a starting solution and just throw on the Fermentation lock...and like I said I threw it on about 4PM, and stuck in in a corner in my basement, then had a few beers with buddies until we heard the "Pop" and found an overflowing fermenter.

After i put the lock back on, it was bubbling pretty good and now it letting off a bubble about 1 every 30 seconds...I am not sure if I screwed it all up BC according to what i have read it should be doing more than this right now...

Is it possible I lost some of the yeast in the explosion?

Stupid beer not listening to what i say...

Thanks again for your help man.


#17

No problem, glad I can help.

I forgot you were using a kit. Did you use a powdered yeast, perhaps in a little golden packet? If it's from a kit it's probably a US Ale yeast. These tend to ferment faster than liquid yeasts, so what you're experiencing is normal.

The vigourous fermentation is usually over very quickly, sometimes within hours. You probably didn't lose much yeast. 1 bubble per 30 seconds is a little bit on the slow side, but not abnormal. You might do a gravity reading in the next day or two...as long as it's dropping close to your target gravity you're fine.

Are you fermenting in a glass carboy, or plastic bucket? If it's glass, you should see a layer of sediment starting to form on the bottom.

You didn't mention if you were doing a secondary fermentation, or just doing the primary fermentation and then transferring to a bottling bucket. In both cases, make sure you keep your siphon away from the bottom of the vessel so you avoid transferring all the yeast sediment. The less of this sediment you transfer, the better your beer will taste and it'll be easier to clean your bottles.

Later this afternoon I'm going on a business trip and will be away from the computer for a few days, so if you have any specific questions check out the "homebrewing" section of BeerAdvocate.com. There are a lot of guys there who have been at this far longer than me who can answer any questions you have.

One last tip...it's tempting to crack open a bottle prematurely, but let them sit and bottle ferment for at least an extra week or two above and beyond what the kit instructions say. The beer will taste better.


#18

Thanks for the help and the link man...

Yea it was a little packet of yeast just like you said, and i am just doing a primary fermentation in a glass carboy. I just checked for sediment and there is some of it on the bottom (it's white)

Also i am at about 48-50 since adding the yeast and the fermenting lock is all but stopped...I will try to take a gravity reading in a day or so like you said...

Again, thanks so much for your help brother


#19

Kinda on the same topic, I was talking to my friend that drinks more beer then me. I said I was thinking about brewing beer for fun. He said he didn't think it was a good idea. His friend brought homebrew to a party and everyone who was drinking it go some case of the "runs" pretty bad the next day. I said this is a case of not properly cleaning everything he used to make his brew.

Think I was right? Or does this run happen depending on your ingredients?


#20

Almost certainly a contamination issue...my friends who homebrew are freaks about sanitizing absolutely everything...it is the key.