The **Official** Homebrew Beer Thread Page 3

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  • BanjoMan 27 Oct 2008 14:39:22 13,730 posts
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    If you have a look at my blog, you'll see that I've got one of Charlie Papazian's books. Not getting on with it as well as Dave Miller's, but he has a lot of recipes.

    I've been using spraymalt instead of sugar. I'm guessing by 'don't use the yeast', you mean don't use both sachets that you'll end up with. The jellybean thing sounds a bit far out for me. Interesting though.

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  • Razz 27 Oct 2008 14:39:40 61,429 posts
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    Hebrew beer? o_O

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  • BanjoMan 27 Oct 2008 14:41:04 13,730 posts
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    Shalom, Razz, drink up.

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  • Razz 27 Oct 2008 14:45:49 61,429 posts
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    Mazal tov! *hic*

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  • JuanKerr 19 Dec 2008 08:49:00 36,375 posts
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    BanjoMan - finally got round to having a go at my first homebrew kit last night \o/

    My girlfriend's brother and I decided to use a branded kit that we picked up last weekend. I know you said it might be a bit complex for a beginner, but my girlfriend's bro has done homebrewing before and we thought we'd have a bash at it.

    I've got incredibly low expectations, but it would be great if it turned out okay.

    Any advice on adding sugar? I know that white sugar is a no-no, but what effect do other types to sugar actually have? When should we add it - the guidelines say 4-6 days. Also, do you recommend adding sugar to the fermenting bin or to each bottle separately?
  • DaM 19 Dec 2008 10:44:01 13,362 posts
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    JuanKerr wrote:
    BanjoMan - finally got round to having a go at my first homebrew kit last night \o/

    My girlfriend's brother and I decided to use a branded kit that we picked up last weekend. I know you said it might be a bit complex for a beginner, but my girlfriend's bro has done homebrewing before and we thought we'd have a bash at it.

    I've got incredibly low expectations, but it would be great if it turned out okay.

    Any advice on adding sugar? I know that white sugar is a no-no, but what effect do other types to sugar actually have? When should we add it - the guidelines say 4-6 days. Also, do you recommend adding sugar to the fermenting bin or to each bottle separately?

    So desperate to jump in and offer advice, before realising I have forgotten all this stuff :(

    If you are bottling a beer, you can add some sugar to each bottle to aid the final fermentation IIRC. But I could be wrong..... I used to have a pressurised keg type thing.

    I made some real ginger beer once, and gave one of the bottles (empty Irn Bru glass ones!) to my then gf's parents, who put it in a warm cupboard and forgot about it till it exploded 6 months later......

    Let us know how it turns out!
  • BanjoMan 19 Dec 2008 13:10:05 13,730 posts
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    JuanKerr wrote:
    BanjoMan - finally got round to having a go at my first homebrew kit last night \o/

    My girlfriend's brother and I decided to use a branded kit that we picked up last weekend. I know you said it might be a bit complex for a beginner, but my girlfriend's bro has done homebrewing before and we thought we'd have a bash at it.

    I've got incredibly low expectations, but it would be great if it turned out okay.

    Any advice on adding sugar? I know that white sugar is a no-no, but what effect do other types to sugar actually have? When should we add it - the guidelines say 4-6 days. Also, do you recommend adding sugar to the fermenting bin or to each bottle separately?
    Ok, you need to add either spray malt (crystal malt) or brewing sugar (corn/maize sugar) to the wort when you first make it. Unless you've got a really expensive premium kit which is pure malt.

    You want to leave it to ferment, sealed, with an airlock, for about two weeks. Forget the instructions that say 4-6 days - you want to let the wort clear, and around 10-14 days will give you a more refined end result. Your environment needs to be about 18-21 degrees celsius.

    Once you're bottling, you need 3/4 cup of brewing sugar (corn sugar), diluted in a pint of water. Boil that on the stove, then tip it into your tub. Give it a very gentle stir for a minute, being careful not to disturb the sediment on the bottom. Re-cover the tub, leave it for about an hour to settle and integrate, then rack your beer into bottles/barrels.

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  • JuanKerr 19 Dec 2008 14:11:55 36,375 posts
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    Cheers for that BanjoMan.

    We used an all malt beer kit, so fermenting sugar wasn't necessary. With that in mind, do you reckon that the 4-6 day guide is okay for the addition of sugar?

    The storage environment is perfect, so that's not a problem, and as for the sugar, I'm sure you mentioned something about using brown sugar in one of your emails. How much impact does the type of sugar actually have on the final taste of the beer?

    We've got a barrel and bottles, but we're not sure which to use yet. I like the idea of using bottles myself (due to convenience more than anything as the beer is currently in my girlfriend's parents' house).
  • BanjoMan 19 Dec 2008 19:20:39 13,730 posts
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    I'd still wait two weeks.

    Yeah, you can use a bit of brown sugar (muscovado) for a brown ale, but not for bottling. For priming and bottling you really need to use corn sugar.

    Bottles are better for transportability, and for giving away the odd bottle. Barrels are good for parties and staying in the kitchen for weeks. But they do lose pressure slowly.

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  • JuanKerr 3 Jan 2009 23:46:57 36,375 posts
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    Time for an update.

    BanjoMan - we took your advice and waited a longer for the wort to clear (think it was 10 days in the end). To be honest, it wasn't as clear as I'd hoped, but we decided to press on regardless because it looked okay.

    Went for bottles in the end: made sure they were all clean and sterilised of course and added a small amount of brown sugar to each bottle (just to see what happens more than anything - we'll go for you diluted corn sugar idea with the next batch which we'll be doing soon).

    Bottling went pretty smoothly - the brew smelled a lot better than I thought it would and I'm hoping that it will be a tad clearer after a couple of weeks. We ended up with 30 bottles (two were smashed in the sealing process) and they are now resting in a cool place.

    Intend to crack one open in a couple of weeks and I'll report back here with the verdict. Hopefully, I won't be blind.
  • TheRealBadabing 4 Jan 2009 00:01:34 1,330 posts
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    Just a small tip: the reason you put the extra sugar into the bottles is for secondary fermentation. This gases the beer in the bottle but it still requires fermenting temperatures to do this. So keep the bottles in a warm room for a few days/week before moving them to the cool area for conditioning.

    Good thing about bottles as opposed to kegs is that they normally clear a lot earlier. You can have a good drink after a couple of weeks conditioning but as always, the longer you leave it the better.
  • JuanKerr 4 Jan 2009 00:09:18 36,375 posts
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    Cheers for that - we kept the bottles in a warm room for two or three days before they were moved to a cool area anyway (as per the instructions on the beer kit), so it should be fine.

    Looking forward to tasting the brew in a couple of weeks. I'm expecting it to taste like shit, so if it's anything approaching drinkable, I'll be well happy :)
  • DaM 4 Jan 2009 08:15:20 13,362 posts
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    This thread is making me so jealous :(
    Longing for my bachelor days....bugger a Porsche, when the kids leave home and I have my mid-life crisis, I'll be getting brewing again!
  • JuanKerr 5 Jan 2009 14:57:27 36,375 posts
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    Man up and assert your authority as head of the house by making some homebrew. It makes you feel like a real man ;)
  • BanjoMan 5 Jan 2009 15:06:21 13,730 posts
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    Wow, you're experimenting already... I've no idea how brown sugar's going to carbonate, but good luck willing it'll work. Next time, add your brown sugar during the boiling stage.

    For tatsing, two weeks is your minimum secondary ferment time really, so anything after that is going to help it improve.

    For more clarity, the best option is to buy a glass carboy (used for wine-making) and move the wort to that after a few days in the tub. By racking it off the dead sediment this early you end up with a clearer, cleaner brew. Not got round to it yet myself but David Miller and Charlie Papazian both bang on about it in their books.

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  • JuanKerr 5 Jan 2009 15:15:30 36,375 posts
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    Yeah, I like a bit of experimentation me :)

    Next time, we will add the sugar at the boiling stage and probably try corn sugar like you suggested. Really interested to see how this batch turns out - my expectations are low, but I'm still excited.

    I'm happy to leave it more than two weeks, although I might just try one bottle after a couple of weeks just to see what it's like ...

    Glass carboy you say? Interesting. Any idea how much these things are likely to cost? I'm going to have to pick up that David Miller book before we crack on with the next batch.
  • BanjoMan 5 Jan 2009 15:32:09 13,730 posts
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    Not sure, probably 20 or so. Worth it in the long run, like all brew kit.

    Add the brown sugar (muscovado) and some spraymalt at the boiling stage, and use corn sugar for priming/bottling. It yields much more carbon dioxide, which is all your after at that stage.

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  • JuanKerr 5 Jan 2009 15:47:29 36,375 posts
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    Okay, nice one, I'll do just that for the next batch.

    Are you working on a batch at the moment?
  • BanjoMan 5 Jan 2009 15:52:25 13,730 posts
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    I'm holding out for the weather to mellow a bit - my flat is bloody cold right now. I want to try another IPA though, and make it fuck-strong. Yep, that's my aim - make a beer that tastes ok but puts grown men out of the game for days at a time.

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  • JuanKerr 5 Jan 2009 15:57:50 36,375 posts
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    I like your thinking.

    Before the Winter is over, I want to make a dark, heavy Winter ale. If it tastes even a tiny, tiny bit like this I'll be a very happy man.
  • BanjoMan 5 Jan 2009 16:06:17 13,730 posts
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    Finishing hops are a good way to emulate your favourites, along with using spraymalts - a kilo or so of dark malt will help you emulate the ruby tones of that St Peter's ale. As for the strength - bump it up with some muscovado. But it's always going to be tricky to get a 6.5% homebrew from kits that doesn't make your mouth pucker up and your eyes cross...

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  • JuanKerr 5 Jan 2009 16:09:19 36,375 posts
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    Damn, you know your stuff don't you? I'm not that bothered about the strength - at this early stage, I just want something that I can drink without being physically sick.
  • BanjoMan 5 Jan 2009 16:16:23 13,730 posts
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    A noble aim for the novice homebrewer.

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  • JuanKerr 5 Jan 2009 16:17:20 36,375 posts
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    I like to aim high.
  • BanjoMan 5 Jan 2009 16:20:51 13,730 posts
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    I really fancy trying a porter too - but a really heavy, chocolatey one, with toasted coffee aromas. But doing it purely from a kit just doesn't feel right - I think some kind of grain would have to be involved.

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  • JuanKerr 5 Jan 2009 16:23:13 36,375 posts
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    I'd love to have a go at making a porter, but for some reason I just assume that it will be really tricky and will almost certainly turn out tasting like shit.

    Tried St Peter's Honey Porter for the first time over Christmas - it has the most distinctive smell I've ever experienced. Smells almost identical to honey on toast. Amazing drink.
  • BanjoMan 5 Jan 2009 16:27:16 13,730 posts
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    Slurp.

    Had a nice porter in Edinburgh last week - was really strong too. Kind of what made me start thinking of trying a batch. Can't remember its name now but it was a CAMRA award winner 2000-2001.

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  • JuanKerr 5 Jan 2009 16:31:35 36,375 posts
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    Nice one, sounds good. Fuller's London Porter is probably my favourite (if you ever go to London, try a pint from a proper Fuller's pub - awesome) but there are plenty of good ones knocking around. St Peter's do good ones too, of course.
  • BanjoMan 30 Jan 2009 12:27:25 13,730 posts
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    Just got your email JK. I think you may have a slightly infected batch, maybe from some slightly under-sterilised kit. Did you rinse everything well after sterilising?

    I may be wrong though, it could be something else so I'll look in Dave Miller's book tonight. But, the rule is: if you can drink it, it won't do you any harm - so don't worry about doing yourself any damage.

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  • roywheels 30 Jan 2009 13:00:21 22 posts
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    I can heartily recommend the kits from www.brewferm.be.

    I've now made four batches of the Tripel and it's a very tasty brew. The only problem is the length of time it takes to condition once it's in bottles. The instructions reckon it's drinkable at 6 weeks but after brewing it a few times I'd say at least 8 weeks is best.

    If you do make a bottle conditioned beer make sure you only use tough bottles which also had a conditioned brew in them and not just a standard becks/grosch/guiness bottle. The weaker bottles will explode! I like to use Duvel bottles as the squat shape is easy to fill.

    +1 for using spray malt instead or as well as sugar. It deepens the flavour and makes for an even tastier beer.

    Hmmmmm, beer.

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