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Alco Engineer
08-08-2005, 03:27
Hey Guys,

Well my girlfriend bought my my first very own home Brew kit yesterday. (Yes she's actually encouraging me to drink more! I was tossing up between that and 2 boxes of miniatures but I decided to go for Beer.)

I've put down a few home brew's with my Dad in the past but I thought it might be good to open up a thread and see what any other Home Brewers out there do. Have you got any special tricks? Favourite styles etc....

I put the first down last night. Started with a lager. I figured put down a couple from the recipe first and then strat to get creative once I know the kit and its capabilities.

Eventually I'll get a second Barrel/fermenter to rack it but I figure start slow and see where it takes me.

I'd like to hear any recipes anyone out there has bacause I'm trying to increase my Alcohol production skills. (who know's I might eventually get a job at a brewery??......Oh well a distillery will do for the time being)


And make good beer

arxhon
08-08-2005, 04:19
You made the right choice. :cool: I can't help you wtih the actual beer making, though.

Sojourner
08-08-2005, 08:45
I've been looking into this. I've heard that it's actually quite straightforward and 70% of the art is CLEANLINESS. Best way to avoid sediment is to keg the beer rather than bottling it, but pressure barrels are expensive.

Alco Engineer
08-08-2005, 09:00
You can also rack it to avoid sediment. this is basically putting it in another fermenter without the sediment and standing it for another couple of weeks. I've been very careful with cleanliness. I have worked in the food industry so I certainly understand what a lack of cleanliness can acheive.

1 thing I did learn that I hadn't heard was soaking the brew can in hot water bofore opening it softens it making it less viscous and able to pour much easier.

Sojourner
08-08-2005, 09:09
Wouldn't know about that, I haven't looked at readymade canned stuff. One source I read said that you might as well make your own wort from fresh ingredients first fof as you'll be tempted to do it that way sooner or later anyway.

Freak Ona Leash
08-08-2005, 10:46
I dont make beer but I know plenty of people in the SCA who do. Heh, us stick jockeys need nourishment. :D Most of what they make is some kind of dry wine or Mead. So I say you made the correct choice. Alcohol, nectar of the <insert title of religous/secular significance> ;) Ever heard of Swamp Gas? Pure alcohol mixed with green mountain dew(or other good-tasting green liquid) with dry ice put in it. Guarenteed to knock you out after the first pint*...




*Drinking pure alcohol(or near it anyways) in pints is a BAD idea! Dont do it.

The boyz
08-08-2005, 12:12
Mum and Dad always used to make homemade wines and stuff, Dad made a homemade Rhubarb wine he said that was pretty good, but apart from that I have never tried it. Made some Sloe Gin though a while ago, it was ok.

McMullet
08-08-2005, 12:30
I'm onto my second batch of homebrewed mead. The first lot went a bit wrong due to an early bottling error, resulting in explosionesque problems. The last lot worked out pretty well, although could've been bottled earlier.

Recipe:

10lbs clear honey
Irish peat moss (heaped teaspoonful)
Mixed spices (heaped teaspoonful)

Mix the honey with a lot of water add the moss and spice, and heat up. It needs to be kept just below boiling, so that the protein content of the honey can be removed, it floats to the top as a sort of scummy material. Scoop it off (it goes quite nicely on toast).

Then, stick it in a sterile fermenter, add water, activate some yeast and stick it in, put an airlock in the top and leave for a few months. Then bottle it, with about a teaspoon of sugar per pint of mead. It needs to age for 6 months or so, then is like a dry/medium dry slightly sparking white wine. It comes out at around 8% ABV, but seems to get you drunk a lot quicker than you'd expect.

x-esiv-4c
08-08-2005, 14:05
Homemade Vodka = leave a bucket of potatoes under a radiator for a few months.
Yummy!

Freak Ona Leash
08-08-2005, 14:06
Isnt that home-made poteen?

x-esiv-4c
08-08-2005, 14:26
.....Are you saying i'm a Quebecite?

Freak Ona Leash
08-08-2005, 14:37
:wtf: You got that from my post? Isnt Poteen some kindof alcohol made from potatoes?

x-esiv-4c
08-08-2005, 14:39
No. Poteen is a type of Quebec food. Essentially french fries ( or freedom fries if you watch Fox ) drowned in a thick gravey with chunks of cheese on it.

Freak Ona Leash
08-08-2005, 14:40
:eyebrows: ...well thats interesting. Are you actually from Quebec by any chance x-esiv? :p

McMullet
08-08-2005, 14:54
Homemade Vodka = leave a bucket of potatoes under a radiator for a few months.
Yummy!

You'd have to distill it first - Otherwise it's just potato wine (what a horrible thought). I've a feeling home distilling is really rather illegal in most countries.

x-esiv-4c
08-08-2005, 14:54
negatron Skycaptain. Belgian born, live in Quebec but currently working in Huntsville Alabama. I live in Montreal specifically.

Alco Engineer
08-08-2005, 23:01
Distilling is illegal for 2 reasons. Fisrtly Customs and Excise like to keep tabs on all alcohol made in spirits as in Australia they charge over $50 per LAL (or L of pure Alcohol). Secondly the heads (the first evaporated bit) and the tails (the bottoms) from a pot still are toxic. The meads are basically acetal and Methanol....i.e. Methylated spirit and nail polish remover. And the bottoms are fusel oils. they are bad for you. If distillation isn't carried uot correctly these can be present in the spirit (in large quantities) and can make you VERY sick.....(and not just hung over)

I figured I'd start the brewing with a few Coopers Home Brew cans (Australia's own) and see where it takes me.

Last night I checked the S-bend on the top of the fermenter and the guage pressure in the vessel is over 1kPa (i.e. 10cm of water)

Its coming along nicely and I guess I'll drop an update if anything changes.

Gavmo
08-08-2005, 23:49
I know a guy who once put coffee and cinamon sticks in his brew...

Alco Engineer
09-08-2005, 00:02
But it didn't taste any good. he tried to get too tricky too fast and the beer suffered. Beer should never suffer. mmmmm Beer.

that's why I'm starting out with the easy ways and then I'll become more adventurous

One of the guys at work puts chocolate and Lychee and Mango Juice in his beers (not all of them in the same one)

Kiro
09-08-2005, 00:20
I once made my own stuff, when I was 14. I simply put anything alchoholic I could find into a plastic jug, including beer, wine, and vodka, and let it ferment for a week. The resulting concoction was duly potent, and possibly lethal in moderate quantities. A fat pro-wrestler's jock strap soaked in cat **** would probably have tasted better. Anyone who drank from my foul brew instantly vomited. This, I kid you not.

Sojourner
09-08-2005, 07:16
Apparently hobos drink a mixture of meths and cider when they can't afford proper booze. something about the cider reduces the toxicity of the methanol, apparently.

Marty D
09-08-2005, 14:00
nowadays we have university courses in brewing in case any of you fancied that idea

one of my mates is going to uni in september to study just that - i thought that was a great idea myself

Verergoca
09-08-2005, 14:49
nowadays we have university courses in brewing in case any of you fancied that idea

one of my mates is going to uni in september to study just that - i thought that was a great idea myself

That's cool:)

I have brewed some beer meself, as a school assignment (in Holland, to finish highschool, you have to do a selfchosen project. Me and a friend chose "yeast" which divulged into beerbrewing)

The one thing I learned is; DO NO USE DISTILLED WATER! Yeast dies, beer gets horrible

(and yes, we did use distilled water....)

McMullet
09-08-2005, 15:44
Yeah, hard water (lots of calcium carbonate) is supposedly the bestest. Although some way to get rid of chlorination is probably a good idea, you can get things to fit over the tap I think. Or boil it and leave it stand. Or leave it stand then boil it.

Alco Engineer
09-08-2005, 22:02
I think that's why South Australia makes such good beer (Coopers for example) is because we have very hard water. Apparently the Navy doesn't even fill up with Water when they stop over.

I have all sorts of issues with water hardness at work as scale is rapidly increased by the calcium in hard water.

I hadn't heard about the Cider and Metho. I know what the antidote for methanol poisoning is though. Ethanol. That's because it fights for the ezyemes (or whatever) and takes presedence over the methanol to be broken down/absorbed and the methanol is left alone. So if you find youyrself sick from drinking metho. have a couple of shots of Vodka and you should be ok.

Kiro
09-08-2005, 22:59
I hadn't heard about the Cider and Metho. I know what the antidote for methanol poisoning is though. Ethanol. That's because it fights for the ezyemes (or whatever) and takes presedence over the methanol to be broken down/absorbed and the methanol is left alone. So if you find youyrself sick from drinking metho. have a couple of shots of Vodka and you should be ok.

Hmmm, very interesting. I hope I can remember this the next time I drink some metho :)
Thanks for the tip!

Alco Engineer
09-08-2005, 23:05
PLease note. this is only theory. i do not hold myself accountable if anyone out there does try to drink metho! But it's a better option for you than inducing vomitting from what I understand

Freak Ona Leash
09-08-2005, 23:11
Is there any methonal in Listerine? Why? No reason *whistles*

Alco Engineer
09-08-2005, 23:23
No I beleive that is iso-propyl alcohol (IIRC I'm at work not in my bathroom so I can't confirm) which is also used in dettol and is a rubbing alcohol. Nowhere near as poisonous as methanol.

The human body can withstand certain amounts of methanol. Australian wine and spirits have a legal limit of 3000mg/LAL which is a fair bit when poisons are taken into consideration.

Clostridium Botchulinum for example (a bacteria) that grows in food that's not stored correctly (i.e. heated to 90'C then not cooled to below 45'C in less than 45mins is the rule in the food industry) can cause botchulism (what's in Botox) which is deadly with only several micrograms. (i.e. millionths of a gram)

Sorry guys. I got a bit carried away and turned into a chemistry teacher. If you want me to cut back on the useless info just let me know.

Guido le Wombat
09-08-2005, 23:31
I hadn't heard about the Cider and Metho. I know what the antidote for methanol poisoning is though. Ethanol. That's because it fights for the ezyemes (or whatever) and takes presedence over the methanol to be broken down/absorbed and the methanol is left alone. So if you find youyrself sick from drinking metho. have a couple of shots of Vodka and you should be ok.


Couple of shots, no

Couple of bottles, yes.

You need a fairly large amount of vodka to be on the safe side :cool:

Verergoca
09-08-2005, 23:36
*english/ biology teacher mode*



Clostridium Botchulinum for example (a bacteria) that grows in food that's not stored correctly (i.e. heated to 90'C then not cooled to below 45'C in less than 45mins is the rule in the food industry) can cause botchulism (what's in Botox) which is deadly with only several micrograms. (i.e. millionths of a gram)

Its botulism! Which can also be caused by Blue Algea in nutrient rich waters, which in turn kills fish, because of algea blooms, in which (the rotting fish etc) the Clostridium Botchulinum lives.

Damn, I work to much on this with these items... Then again, a major part of my education, so I should:)

And now, back on topic, beer = divine!

*Sips Leffe Double*

Alco Engineer
09-08-2005, 23:40
That reminds me.
Metho isn't just methanol as a lot of people would think. legally it only has to be 15% MeOH IIRC (about 5-6 times the legal limit in spirit). The rest is still ethanol (plus about 4-5% water) Where I work we make it for cooling fluid where it gets up to 45% methanol.

So the point I was trying to make is that if you just have a little bit of metho, I'd say about 4 times that volume in spirits (since mst spirits are about 40% alc where as metho would be closer to 96% alc) and you'll have a much better chance of surviving. Still go to hospital. You'll still probably need your stomache pumped out. And you'll be very sick.

This has been Alco Engineer's first aid lesson for the day.

Quote of the day:
An apple brandy a day keeps the doctor away

Alco Engineer
10-08-2005, 04:38
*english/ biology teacher mode*

Excellent. At least I'm not the only one playing teacher.

update on my beer. it's cooling to below 20'C. Damn these cold South Australian Winters! Sure we have hard water but I'm not used to the cold. The fermenter's wrapped in a blanket at the moment (Not an electric one though) and the temps still dropping. I'm thinking I should take it to bed with me tonight to keep it warm. (I think my GF would regret buying it for me if that were the case)

Sojourner
10-08-2005, 08:28
Don't you have a radiator, man?

Verergoca
10-08-2005, 09:11
When we brewed the beer, we placed the tank in the bathroom, these have usually a fairly consitent temperature...

Alco Engineer
10-08-2005, 23:07
It's in the lounge room now. I don't have a radiator I have a reverse cycle air conditioner which is mounted on the wall above a glass sliding door (which sucks the heat out of anything in front of it. The temp dropped below 18'C this morning so I'll probably be thinking about it all day. my poor beer. the yeast should kick in again once the temp goes up again.

It was in the laundry, and the temp was consistant but it was consitantly cold. that's why I had to take action.

Alco Engineer
14-08-2005, 23:25
Well its been bottled. I managed to keep it up to Temp for most of the weekend and finally bottled it last night.

If it's not ready I'm sure I'll find out when bottles start exploding in my cupboard.

What an Adventure. My girlfriend even caught me hugging the keg on Sat Night (I told her I was trying to keep it warm ;) )

Verergoca
15-08-2005, 11:28
Hugging the keg...

For that extra personal touch;)

Alco Engineer
29-08-2005, 06:04
Just to finished the thread off. I tried the Home Brew last night. Not too bad. Could do with a little age though. I have to drink half the batch so that I'll hav eenough bottles to start the next one. Hmmm.... Probably a Coopers Pale Ale.....

Wiseman
29-08-2005, 11:16
just buy a large amount of bottles, my ex's dad has about 300-400 bottles all the time, some aging some being drunk, some being made at the time, never ending supply:D

Verergoca
29-08-2005, 11:49
That's an idea. The other idea is to not return crates of beer to the store, so you gradually build up a collection of bottles to use:)

Wiseman
29-08-2005, 11:53
yep it works wonders:D

McMullet
29-08-2005, 12:13
I did that over 2 years at uni. Then, I had to move back home to my parents house. I had around 100 bottles in my room, and no space in the car to take them home. There wasn't even enough space for them in the bin.

I think I concentrated too hard on the buying and drinking beer aspect of bottle acquisition, and forgot entirely about the whole homebrewing thing.

Another possibility is to use plastic bottles. Not as classy, I know, but 2 litre soft drink bottles work pretty well, and are far easier to get hold of, fill, close, and clean.

Alco Engineer
29-08-2005, 22:48
I think that I can get 2nd hand bottles for 50c-$1 at local home brew shopss. that's not too bad. It just hard trying to find pop cap seal (as opposed to twisties) My eventual plan is to have enough to have 3-4 brews down at a time. The bottles I used for the last Brew were all plastic (similar to soft drink bottles) that Coopers make (they came in the kit + I bought 1 more box of 15 so I have to drink about 10 before I put my next brew on)

Has anyone got any tips on additives that'll make a good brew (preferably something easy to add to a tin (like Malasis into a stout etc...)??

He Who Laughs
30-08-2005, 02:57
I've tried brown sugar in place of dextrous (for the initial fermentation) for a stout - turned out quite well - tasted like a thicker Old. I reckon using part mollasses would work well, though you'd still need some other sugar (dextrous etc) for the other part. I'd avoid T-1's "experiments" - with capers and cinnamon sticks and wotnot else. I'm sure the guy at the homebrew shop was taking the **** when he told him to do that.

Though I've not tried it (and my girlfriend keeps making subtle hints that I should), you could replace some of the dextrous with a concentrated fruit nectar - like mango, peach or strawberry. Probably on 1 part nectar to 3 parts sugar, I reckon. They do something like that at the Five Islands Brewery round the corner, and it tastes alright once you get over the initial shock of having a slightly strawberry flavoured beer! If you were going to try that, use a Blonde kit as a base first.

Alco Engineer
30-08-2005, 02:59
A guy at work does similar fruity varieties with Guava etc. I think I'll stick to my traditional (aka "manly") beers.

He Who Laughs
30-08-2005, 03:10
Sorry, I forgot - real men don't drink things with unfermented fruit in it - I shall now go and drink two longnecks of my homebrew blonde as pennance ;)

This is an awesome thread by the way Alco. An idea for you SA heating problems - go out and buy a heat pad. They set you back about AUS$70 - but by jingos do they work! They'll even speed up the fermentation a little, so the initial one stops after less than a week. Though it won't let you use the excuse that you're warming the keg up at night - I know what you're like Alco, you're not really here for the hunting are you... ;)

Just remember to unplug it and store it away when you're not using it - I had an interesting situation happen when a ex-flatmate of mine (in an effort to be helpful) switched off all of my electrical items in my room during an electrical storm, whilst I was out of town. When the storm passed, he got the switches mixed up - left my bar fridge off, but turned the heat mat on, which was currently sitting underneath a pile of papers.... I got home before anything serious happened, just some slightly browned uni notes...

Alco Engineer
30-08-2005, 03:19
LOL. That's classic. I was thinking about getting a heating blanket for it. (I have a feeling the Homebrew shop in PMQ sells both blankets and mats for AU$50 a pop).

Unfermented fruit turns your beer into the equivilent of a cruiser or such as drinking straight vodka is fine but with strawberries?? that's a girls drink. (Might help get Erin into Beer though....)

Also I've been wondering if it would be possible to ferment Tomato Juice and make tomato wine (I know I'm supposed to be the expert on such thing but I have to learn everything from somewhere.) Is there any international drinks that are alcoholic and use tomatoes as the base? I was thinking about it this morning when I was having my juice. (NB. I have heard of a bloody mary but I'm after a tomato wine/spirit product)

McMullet
30-08-2005, 09:34
LOL. That's classic. I was thinking about getting a heating blanket for it. (I have a feeling the Homebrew shop in PMQ sells both blankets and mats for AU$50 a pop).

Unfermented fruit turns your beer into the equivilent of a cruiser or such as drinking straight vodka is fine but with strawberries?? that's a girls drink. (Might help get Erin into Beer though....)

Also I've been wondering if it would be possible to ferment Tomato Juice and make tomato wine (I know I'm supposed to be the expert on such thing but I have to learn everything from somewhere.) Is there any international drinks that are alcoholic and use tomatoes as the base? I was thinking about it this morning when I was having my juice. (NB. I have heard of a bloody mary but I'm after a tomato wine/spirit product)
http://www.foodreference.com/html/wine-tomato-wine-recipe.html
http://scorpius.spaceports.com/~goodwine/tomatowine.htm
Google rocks.

Wiseman
30-08-2005, 13:34
great work he who laughs, you werent laughing then though were you

Alco Engineer
30-08-2005, 22:52
Cheers McMullet. I hadn't seen the second page yet so that was good. Looks like a lot of effort (racking over and over for a year.) Now that I know it CAN be done, I don't think I can be stuffed to put in the effort to see what it like.