Homebrewing, anyone?

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GA Russell
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Post by GA Russell »

I haven't heard from anyone yet. Doesn't anyone want the DVD?
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PM sent.
Gary

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GA Russell
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Post by GA Russell »

I went to the brew supply store again today and picked up some more things in preparation of my first batch...

more bottle caps.....$2.84
plastic hydrometer tube.....$3.40
auto-siphon....$9.99
auto-siphon clamp.....$3.80
24" plastic spoon.....$3.60
2 cases of 12 oz. beer bottles.....$25.50
6.5 gal. sanitizing bucket.....$12.99
bucket lid.....$1.75

Twenty years ago people sold caps by the gross, but this store sells them by the ounce. So I just buy a cupful each time I go.

My Midwest Supplies deal included a hydrometer, but not a tube for it! How dumb is that?

The auto-siphon is something that has been invented since I last brewed beer. It is a pump to get your siphon going when racking the beer from one fermenter to another, or to the bottles. This eliminates the need to use your mouth, and possibly contaminate your batch.

The long-handled spoon is necessary to reach the bottom of the brew kettle when stirring the wort. Liquid malt extract will sink to the bottom, and will scorch the bottom of the kettle if it is not stirred and scraped off it. I would have preferred a paddle which has a flat bottom, but the store didn't carry any. I've put a paddle on my wishlist for my next Midwest Supplies order.

Sanitizing buckets are a new requirement necessitated by the fact that kitchen sinks today are divided, and therefore too small to sanitize much of the equipment.

I then went to the ABC store to pick up some vodka for the airlock. I moved to North Carolina in 2001, and this was the first time I shopped for liquor in an ABC store (the state government monopoly). As the old saying goes, the good stuff was "top shelf", and the rotgut was "bottom shelf." I found a number of pints in plastic bottles (!) on the bottom shelf for $3.65, and I chose one called Vladamir (bottled in Baltimore!).

Yesterday I found something interesting on Midwest Supplies' website called a "carboy parka." It looks to be a towel which fits over the carboy and blocks all the light. Perhaps it should be wet during the summer, which might keep the wort cool. It costs $12.99, and I've put that on my wishlist as well.
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GA Russell
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Post by GA Russell »

GA Russell wrote:I haven't heard from anyone yet. Doesn't anyone want the DVD?
Gary/brothers has spoken for it, and it will go out in the mail Monday.

I expect to place another order with Midwest Supplies in a couple of weeks, and when I do I'll ask for another DVD.
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Post by GA Russell »

Amazon's prices fluctuate quite a bit. I've just ordered Brewed in Canada from a Marketplace Seller for $3.48 plus the usual $3.99 shipping.

http://www.amazon.com/Brewed-Canada-Can ... N1732N3DEF
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GA Russell wrote:
GA Russell wrote:I haven't heard from anyone yet. Doesn't anyone want the DVD?
Gary/brothers has spoken for it, and it will go out in the mail Monday.

I expect to place another order with Midwest Supplies in a couple of weeks, and when I do I'll ask for another DVD.
My son's just finished his first attempt at home brewing, and he's a bit disappointed, but not discouraged. I think maybe he can glean a bit of helpful information from this DVD, and am looking forward to presenting it to him, thanks to your generosity, Russ. Thanks!
Gary

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Post by GA Russell »

Gary, knowing nothing at all about your son's situation, tell him I said to spend a hundred dollars on a good countertop water filter!
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Post by dosco »

IME cleanliness is usually the problem, assuming the recipe and temperature schedule have been followed.
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Post by GA Russell »

Tonight I finished the Papazian book. Again, I skipped the chapters for the advanced all grain homebrewers.

I found it much more helpful than the Palmer book. Five stars. Intelligent discussion throughout without bogging down into lengthy discussions of chemical reactions.
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Post by brothers »

GA Russell wrote:Gary, knowing nothing at all about your son's situation, tell him I said to spend a hundred dollars on a good countertop water filter!
Now that he's got the DVD, I'll make sure to remember to tell him. Thanks again for the DVD.
Gary

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Post by dosco »

GA Russell wrote:Tonight I finished the Papazian book. Again, I skipped the chapters for the advanced all grain homebrewers.

I found it much more helpful than the Palmer book. Five stars. Intelligent discussion throughout without bogging down into lengthy discussions of chemical reactions.
Relax, don't worry, and have a homebrew!!
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GA Russell
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Post by GA Russell »

dosco, here's a t-shirt with the slogan printed within the red perimeter...

http://members.brewersassociation.org/s ... px?id=100L
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Post by GA Russell »

brothers wrote:
GA Russell wrote:Gary, knowing nothing at all about your son's situation, tell him I said to spend a hundred dollars on a good countertop water filter!
Now that he's got the DVD, I'll make sure to remember to tell him. Thanks again for the DVD.
You're welcome, Gary!

I hooked up my water filter this evening. The water is sparkling! I microwaved/boiled some fresh spinach tortellini in a pyrex measuring cup, and it tasted great.

If I can find the time, I will make my first batch tomorrow.

By the way, there haven't been many of us who have posted to this thread, but I am very pleasantly surprised that it has 1,253 views!
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Post by GA Russell »

This afternoon at my local shop I picked up a few items...

jet bottle washer....$14.50
faucet adapter for the bottle washer....$4.80
carboy dryer....$7.50
pint glass....$3.00

The bottle washer was strongly recommended by Papazian in his book. It makes it easier to clear out any gunk left.

The carboy dryer may be a waste of money. It's a plastic gadget that holds the carboy upside down by its neck to allow the water to drain out. But aren't we all agreed that hanging a shaving brush upside down is a bad idea because the water evaporates up, not down?

I just thought it would be fun to have a pint glass with the logo of the bar which is part of the brew supply shop operation.

On Wednesday I placed an order with Midwest Supplies. I'll post the list when the package arrives and I see the receipt.
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Post by GA Russell »

OK, I see the invoice of my Midwest Supplies order from Wednesday on the internet, so here it is.

2 carboy parkas....$25.98
28" plastic stirring paddle....$4.50
5 gal. PET carboy....$23.99
#10 drilled rubber stopper for the carboy....$2.49

I bought two parkas because the minimum shipping from Midwest is $12, and I didn't want to spend that on a small order should I decide to get a second carboy in the near future.

The paddle makes the spoon I purchased redundant, but if the $4 I spent on the spoon is my biggest mistake in all of this, then I'm doing great!

Midwest had a 10% off sale this week on carboys. I decided to order it because its presence in the order didn't increase the $12 shipping charge.

Other than a wort chiller (which I may never get) and a second airlock for the carboy (which I can get anytime locally when I purchase the last ingredients for my second batch), I think that I have now purchased all of the equipment I will need. I haven't totalled up what the amount has come to, but you can see that it is far greater than the initial expense of the LivingSocial deal.
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Post by GA Russell »

Well tonight I made my first batch in 17 years. A lot went wrong, but I am still hopeful.

I used the Midwest Supplies Irish Stout kit which came with the OP offer, but substituted the White Labs Irish Stout liquid yeast I subsequently ordered for the Munton's dry yeast which came with the kit.

I don't cook very often, and I haven't learned the stove of my new apartment yet. While steeping the grains, I accidentally allowed the water to boil even though I had the knob at 6 out of 10.

Talk about boiling! Palmer suggested using three old copper pennies in your wort to prevent boilovers. I didn't do that, and I will have to consider that the next time. Tonight I had a boilover every five minutes! Most weren't too bad, but I'll still have some cleaning up to do tomorrow.

I used frozen ice packs to cool the wort. After an hour, the temperature had decreased only to 160. After another 40 minutes, it had gone down to only 140. So I figured that that wasn't working, so I put two gallons of cold water into my primary fermenter, and then added the wort. That brought the temp down to 78.

The directions of the yeast said not to pitch the yeast unless the wort is below 80, so I figured I was good. But after I pitched the yeast but before I had bothered to take the hydrometer reading, I accidentally knocked over the hydrometer jar with the wort! So I'll never know the alcohol content of this batch. Oh well.

I'm using a 6.5 gal plastic tub as my primary fermenter. In a week, I'll rack the wort to a carboy for another week's fermentation.

I started at 7:25 and finished at midnight (not including cleanup), so it took 4.5 hours, plus a half hour to clean up.
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Post by GA Russell »

A few thoughts I have collected during the day after last night's efforts...

Another mistake I made was regarding the liquid yeast and the liquid malt extract. I left them both in the refrigerator until it was time to use them.

The LME was fairly difficult to extract from the plastic jug it came in. (Twenty years ago, LME came in vacuum sealed pouches that were easy to snip open and squeeze the contents out of.)

The directions on the yeast said to remove it from the fridge four to six hours before pitching. I didn't read the directions until it was time to pitch. I don't expect any harm done, but I do expect that the start of fermentation will be delayed, as the yeast were probably startled by the change in temperature.

This was my first time using liquid yeast. There are many, many types of liquid yeasts which are specific to the styles of beer. There are only a few dry yeasts; in some cases only one per company. Twenty years ago I had a number of friends who went first class with liquid yeasts, but I never found that their beers tasted better than mine. Liquid yeast costs five dollars, while dry yeast costs one dollar per packet. You might pitch two packets of dry yeast into your batch.

Another thing I did for the first time last night was use a strainer when transfering the wort from the brew kettle to the fermenter. Years ago I used to pour it all in. The strainer caught a surprisingly large volume of hops. I suppose this will make my beer more clear. I wonder if it will make the beer less hoppy. It will also increase the number of bottles in the batch because after transferring the wort I filled the fermenter up to the 5 gallon mark. But that's five gallons after all the hops have been removed.

Both Palmer and Papazian stressed that it is important not to disturb the beer when you rack it from the primary fermenter to the secondary. Years ago I used to pour it from the one to the other.

The OP order came with 7 tablespoons of sanitizer. I used 5 in the sanitizing bucket and two in the sink. I will have to buy a lot more for next week (and beyond) when I transfer the wort.

Owen mentioned using gypsum. I don't recall using it twenty years ago, but the kit came with a packet of one tablespoon of gypsum. I followed the directions, and added it to the brew when I added the malt extract.
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Post by GA Russell »

I spent a little time over the weekend searching Amazon for homebrew recipe books, and this one looks interesting...

The Homebrewer's Recipe Guide by Patrick Higgins
http://www.amazon.com/The-Homebrewers-R ... roduct_top
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Post by dosco »

GA Russell wrote:Another mistake I made was regarding the liquid yeast and the liquid malt extract. I left them both in the refrigerator until it was time to use them.
As long as the fermentation starts within a day or so, you should be fine.
Another thing I did for the first time last night was use a strainer when transfering the wort from the brew kettle to the fermenter. Years ago I used to pour it all in. The strainer caught a surprisingly large volume of hops. I suppose this will make my beer more clear. I wonder if it will make the beer less hoppy.
As long as the strainer was sanitized prior to use, you should be OK. I always get paranoid about doing things with the wort after the final boil.

As far as the hops that were removed ... probably nothing to worry about either way. Not sure that it will impact your final flavor ... be sure to report back!
Both Palmer and Papazian stressed that it is important not to disturb the beer when you rack it from the primary fermenter to the secondary.
Supposedly don't want to oxygenate the final beer because it contributes to off flavors.
Owen mentioned using gypsum. I don't recall using it twenty years ago, but the kit came with a packet of one tablespoon of gypsum. I followed the directions, and added it to the brew when I added the malt extract.
Yes, this is a way to attempt to replicate the water chemistry of England to ensure the final flavor matches the "original British style."
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GA Russell
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Post by GA Russell »

My latest Midwest Supplies order arrived today. More about that later.

I ordered another instructional video to PIF. So the same deal as last time.

First one to PM me his address gets it.

CONUS is on me. Canada and UK, I'll be happy to send it to you if you will paypal me the shipping cost.
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