The **Official** Homebrew Beer Thread

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  • BanjoMan 26 Aug 2008 15:20:06 13,730 posts
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    I've just started a batch of bitter, from a kit. I used to do it about 15 years ago, and a friend convinced me to get back into it.

    I used a Burton Bridge extra strong bitter can (makes about 30 pints), a kilo of maize sugar, a small tin of golden syrup and a load of Sheffield's finest water... oh, and the yeast that came with the kit.

    I've been reading a few sites, and it seems that malt extract in place of sugar is the way forward. So I'm going to prime it with malt crystals after fermentation, for bottling. But it's going into plastic barrels this time. Next time I'll try using a tin of malt extract instead of sugar, and I'll buy a specialised ale yeast. Bumps the price up but it maximises the taste.

    I'm also a bit worried about oxidisation, seeing as the wort splashed about a bit when I was adding the cold water to the bin. Most of the time these kits are fool-proof though. If it goes well I might try mashing my own wort from grains... if the wife'll allow it. In fact I'd better get cleaning the kitchen down before she gets back.

    Anyone got any tips, or success stories? If not, feel free to just post 'get a blog' or whatever.

    Update: I actually got a blog. How's that for irony?

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  • TheSaint 26 Aug 2008 15:21:16 14,315 posts
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    Go to the supermarket.
  • BanjoMan 26 Aug 2008 15:24:00 13,730 posts
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    TheSaint wrote:
    Go to the supermarket.
    But this works out at less than 50p a pint... and it makes Kestrel look like, well, Kestrel.

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  • JuanKerr 26 Aug 2008 15:31:57 36,241 posts
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    I've only ever tried one homebrew and it was fucking disgusting, but I still really want to have a go at doing this.
  • LeoliansBro 26 Aug 2008 15:33:47 43,825 posts
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    +1 Juan - very tempted to give this a go some day. Had some in Durham once - tasted vile but I reckon there's a knack to it.

    LB, you really are a massive geek.

  • THFourteen 26 Aug 2008 15:33:57 33,247 posts
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    Homebrew should be banned, it encourages all kinds of piracy.
  • JuanKerr 26 Aug 2008 15:35:26 36,241 posts
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    Leolian'sBro wrote:
    +1 Juan - very tempted to give this a go some day. Had some in Durham once - tasted vile but I reckon there's a knack to it.

    After tasting (and getting drunk on) your Sloe Gin, I reckon you've definitely got the knack ;)
  • smoothpete 26 Aug 2008 15:36:18 31,501 posts
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    I wouldn't do beer myself, I'd rather have a crack at cider or dandelion and burdock champagne like the River Cottage bloke made. That looked really nice
  • LeoliansBro 26 Aug 2008 15:37:55 43,825 posts
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    Sloe gin > almost everything :)

    LB, you really are a massive geek.

  • THFourteen 26 Aug 2008 15:38:28 33,247 posts
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    Bill Door wrote:
    IF(PUN=FUNNY,"LET_THFOURTEEN_CONTINUE","KILL"), to bring another idea from another thread here :)

    hehehehe

    /slinks away from thread
  • JuanKerr 26 Aug 2008 15:38:36 36,241 posts
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    Leolian'sBro wrote:
    Sloe gin > cough medicine :)
  • BanjoMan 26 Aug 2008 15:39:07 13,730 posts
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    Leolian'sBro wrote:
    +1 Juan - very tempted to give this a go some day. Had some in Durham once - tasted vile but I reckon there's a knack to it.
    There's a lot of things that can go wrong along the way. A lot of people make the mistake of syphoning it into bottles by using their mouth - that's a sure way of infecting the beer, and ruining the whole batch.

    Also, sugar gives the beer that cidery-vinegary taste, whereas malt extract gives the beer alcohol content and a richer flavour.

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  • heyyo 26 Aug 2008 15:39:29 14,373 posts
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    Bill Door wrote:
    When my shed is finished, I'm going to start homebrewing in it. My mate Miles has been doing it for a few years to good effect. Theres something satisfying about getting pissed on something you've had a hand in making IMHO.

    Now, I just need some more space away from the house to set up a still ;)

    This has reminded me of a really stupid prank we played on a friend. We was drinking shots of Green Aftershock, we told him we made it ourselves from a mixture of booze + food colouring, but we gave him a mixture of Listerine mouthwash, and food colouring a few shots later he die..ended up in A&E getting his stomach pumped.

    Clever!

  • LeoliansBro 26 Aug 2008 15:39:50 43,825 posts
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    What does yeast extract do then? ;)

    LB, you really are a massive geek.

  • BanjoMan 26 Aug 2008 15:41:25 13,730 posts
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    smoothpete wrote:
    I wouldn't do beer myself, I'd rather have a crack at cider or dandelion and burdock champagne like the River Cottage bloke made. That looked really nice
    The cider kits are a piece of cake, and always turn out ok. You can use apple juice in place of some of the water to make it stupidly strong.

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  • BanjoMan 26 Aug 2008 15:42:00 13,730 posts
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    Leolian'sBro wrote:
    What does yeast extract do then? ;)
    Makes cheese toasties nice.

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  • Khanivor 26 Aug 2008 19:09:31 40,554 posts
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    Using a malt extract is a good idea. Make sure you get a good recipe and stick fairly close to it, especially the times you put in the boiling, flavour and finishing hops. A specialised yeast is also the only way to go - each kind of beer works best with a particular kind of yeast; much of this is determined by the temp you will be fermenting the beer at.

    Do your research first :)

    If you want to use a plastic container to ferment it you can do yourself a massive favour and stuff the inside with a plastic binliner. Makes cleaning one fuck of a load easier. Getting an airlock valve is also a must so you don't get any oxidisation.

    Getting pissed on beer you've brewed yourself is only beaten by getting pissed on beer others have brewed for themselves in your place of work :)
  • Dougs 26 Aug 2008 19:13:11 67,264 posts
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    My old man used to do this back in the 80s. When we moved house he brought a load with him and stuck it down the side of the house. In a desperate moment a few years later I waded through the lot. It was ace. If a little full of sediment. Must've been about 8 years old at a guess.
  • BanjoMan 26 Aug 2008 19:27:41 13,730 posts
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    Khanivor wrote:
    Using a malt extract is a good idea. Make sure you get a good recipe and stick fairly close to it, especially the times you put in the boiling, flavour and finishing hops. A specialised yeast is also the only way to go - each kind of beer works best with a particular kind of yeast; much of this is determined by the temp you will be fermenting the beer at.

    Do your research first :)

    If you want to use a plastic container to ferment it you can do yourself a massive favour and stuff the inside with a plastic binliner. Makes cleaning one fuck of a load easier. Getting an airlock valve is also a must so you don't get any oxidisation.

    Getting pissed on beer you've brewed yourself is only beaten by getting pissed on beer others have brewed for themselves in your place of work :)
    Cheers Khani. I won't be rushing into mashing my own wort yet, but next batch I'm gonna use malt and a special yeast. And I'll defo get an airlock.

    PSN: BanjoFett
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  • Khanivor 26 Aug 2008 19:57:29 40,554 posts
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    I can't recommend the binliner idea enough. Rather than have to clean and sterilise your container after fermenting you just pull the bag out. You can even then reuse the slurry in the bottom, as it's full of yeast. You can reuse this yeast 2-3 times.
  • BanjoMan 27 Aug 2008 11:52:08 13,730 posts
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    Khanivor wrote:
    I can't recommend the binliner idea enough. Rather than have to clean and sterilise your container after fermenting you just pull the bag out. You can even then reuse the slurry in the bottom, as it's full of yeast. You can reuse this yeast 2-3 times.
    What's your opinion on primary fermentation? Most kits say it takes about 4-7 days, but I've been reading that if you leave it longer (past the stage where bubbles stop rising) it improves the clarity and flavour.

    The site I was reading advocated leaving it for up to two weeks as a matter of course, then priming and racking it, and leaving it for another two weeks (which is normal).

    I'm thinking about priming this batch with malt extract instead of sugar, any experience of this?

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  • consignia 27 Aug 2008 12:07:30 1,433 posts
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    I'm personally a kit brewer myself, so for the last couple of years I have been brewing those kit beer packs. I use the premium 3kg sets too, so I don't have to add any sugar, and they've always come out extremely well.

    A good idea I've found as well is to store your beer in Tesco Value Sparkling Water bottles. These cost about 12p each, and they pressurised and sterlised already, so you can cheaply store in bottles rather buying expensive glass bottles.

    I'm thinking about priming this batch with malt extract instead of sugar, any experience of this?

    I've just switched to this method, from just using sugar. If anything it'll remove the sharp sweet bite that I've noticed you can sometimes get.
  • BanjoMan 27 Aug 2008 12:08:54 13,730 posts
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    How do you do it? I'm thinking of using malt crystals, boiled in some water, mixing that into the vat at priming stage, then racking it into casks.

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  • JuanKerr 27 Aug 2008 12:12:21 36,241 posts
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    I look forward to seeing 'BanjoMan's Bitter' on the shelves in Waitrose.
  • BanjoMan 27 Aug 2008 12:32:33 13,730 posts
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    It'll only be available on the internauts.

    Ill be posting some pictures once it gets interesting. At the minute it's just a big sealed tub of brown stuff in my cupboard.

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  • JuanKerr 27 Aug 2008 12:38:41 36,241 posts
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    If you want some funky bottles for your brew, check this out.

    You can get this beer in Waitrose. Good stuff it is too.

  • BanjoMan 27 Aug 2008 12:41:56 13,730 posts
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    Niiiiice - will try. I think this batch is going into plastic pressure barrels, but next batch will be half bottles, half barrels.

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  • consignia 27 Aug 2008 12:45:09 1,433 posts
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    BanjoMan wrote:
    How do you do it? I'm thinking of using malt crystals, boiled in some water, mixing that into the vat at priming stage, then racking it into casks.

    Yeah, I'm doing it pretty similar to that. Although, I'm mixing it into the pressure barrel rather than the fermentation bucket, so as to get as little yeast into the barrel as possible.
  • BanjoMan 27 Aug 2008 12:51:08 13,730 posts
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    Right, makes sense.

    Will have to look into this some more, I prefer a malty ale.

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  • wobbler147 27 Aug 2008 13:00:08 5,138 posts
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    /Rex Banner

    Are you the beer baron?
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