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Nismo2016

Homebrewing Tips, Tricks, and Shared Secrets

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Good Morning Homebrewing Dads!

 

I little conversation of on Discord this weekend has help to rekindle the homebrew spirit within. (oh be sure to check out Discord...good fun all day going on over there).  I was a pretty regular homebrewer up life severally got in the way. Finally after a 2 year hiatus I'm diving back in. So I wanted to share some of my knowledge that I've gathered through the years, various books, articles and online communities.

 

For those interested in starting out - read Charlie Papazan's the Joy of Homebrewing..but read it with a grain of salt...it does get pretty technical and that can be over whelming. Honestly you could skip the book and just read the interwebs for days...that's the great thing about brewing in this day and age.

 

Also check out Homebrewtalk.com...its a brewing dedicated forum I used to be active in, but now I just lurk and search when I need some tidbits of information. Another good thing to do is find a local homebrew shop (LHBS) and just go talk to the staff/owner. "Most" are really great people always willing to help. If you find ones that a jack-wagon, then go somewhere else.

 

Now I'm going to assume most understand the basics of the beer making process. If not go to youtube...call it your first homework assignment.

 

Okay so you want to take the plunge, here is what you'll need or consider needing.  Believe it or not you may have some stuff siting around the house. Some brewing equipment can be $$$ and $$$ is something we don't have to put towards hobbies on the regular. So I DIY A LOT of my stuff. More on that later. 

 

The choice - Extract or All-Grain (again you tube the processes)... it is recommended to begin with Extract Brewing - basically the boxed cake mix version of home brewing. It saves time, cost les in equipment, but a little more in ingredients. Basically you skip the mash part of the process and jump right to boiling and adding hops. I've done both with mixed result (my local water gives me fits with hoppy beers).

 

Now for some things I did starting out I'll try to post some pictures over the course of the week since I plan on brewing a "whatever I have left test run" or "Kitchen Sink beer" this coming weekend

 

Starting Small:  I could not boil 5-6 gallons on my stove nor did I have the fundage for a propane burner when I started. So I started small with a $20 cheaply made 4g stainless pot for a discount department store. I turned this into a mash tun for all grain. Most Kits and recipes are standardized a 5 gallons of finished product, however Beer brewing scales up and down in the simplest way. It's the easiest math in the whole process. While I have upgraded, I still use this in the winter to make small batches in the kitchen.

 

E-bay/Craiglist: The bottle cappers that come with most started kits are a pain in the arse to use...Do you self a favor and look for a vintage bench capper. they can be had for 20-30 bucks. New BCs run close to $50 and the butterfly cappers are accident prone.

 

Bottles - save your craft beer pry off cap bottle. No screw tops and no large brewery as their glass tends to be thinner.

 

Buckets - if you are going to start small you can snag plastic bucks from Lowes/HD?or any big box store. Just make sure the are stamp with the #2 HDPE  this is food grade plastic. I have confirmed that the Encore brand sold at Lowe's are food grade. If you are going to go right to 5g batches just get the 7g from your LHBS or online...its worth it.   Oh and only ever use something soft to clean your buckets.  and scratch can harbor bacteria and that will ruin you beer.

 

Sanitation - Don't get overly paranoid about sanitation. That's right I said sanitation no sterilization...some people get overly OCD about it and for me it ruins it...Beer is pretty for giving.. if you clean and sanitize with a recommend product you'll be fine.

 

Patience - this is not a brew today and drink tomorrow hobby...on average it will take about 6 weeks from brew day to popping that first one. This sucks in the beginning. Your patience will be rewarded.

 

 

I thinks that's a good start. I'm not trying to right  book.  I'll keep up with this post and will gladly answer any questions and keep this train rolling.

 

 

 

 

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John Palmer's How to Brew is where I started.

http://howtobrew.com/book/introduction

 

NorthernBrewerTV has some great videos as well

 

I used to buy all my stuff through Northern Brewer but have quit since they are now owned by InBev. I go to the brick and mortar stores for ingredients now.

 

Folks getting started now can look at doing 1-2gal batches on the stovetop as well as any of the "Brew in a Bag" BIAB kits. Saves time and money as you are learning.

 

Also a good resource: https://homebrew.stackexchange.com/

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Sweet info man thanks so much. I was looking at getting a propane burner to deep fry large amounts of chicken wings ( I can eat a few pounds myself when drinking beer and for deep frying turkeys and chickens.) so its a "need" piece of equipment anyway I just figure brewing would be a bonus. lol I will check around locally for stuff to brew but I do know for a fact the closest LHBS is in Pittsburgh or headed east. I planned to start with 5g batches and make a weekly brew day. start with extract brewing and work my way up after a few months. The hard part for me is going to be the waiting lol but so long as it give me some time to save up for a few good cigars and some chicken wings to hang out in the back yard eat drink and smoke myself nearly to death it sounds fun lol. Just hoping I don't make to many local friends that think they can come drink all my home made beer and not do any work lol. I plan to sell off some stuff from other hobbies to start the new one we will see how that goes.

 

Thanks again.

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 I was looking at getting a propane burner to deep fry large amounts of chicken wings ( I can eat a few pounds myself when drinking beer and for deep frying turkeys and chickens.) so its a "need" piece of equipment anyway I just figure brewing would be a bonus.

 

Just don't use the same pot to fry chicken wings...get a second fryer pot or hell an old keg if you can find one solely for a boil kettle. Oil residue will have a negative effect.

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Just don't use the same pot to fry chicken wings...get a second fryer pot or hell an old keg if you can find one solely for a boil kettle. Oil residue will have a negative effect.

I plan to have a pot for chicken a pot for beer and an extra one.

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After watching this I have come to the revelation that I could build this very thing for far less than it is sold for. I have found suppliers for all the parts and already being a TIG welder I know how to weld sanitary stainless steel to be able to do it. Thanks Flyingfish for the conversation on Discord reminding me that I don't need to buy a kit when I can build 99.9% of the stuff needed to brew small to large batches of beer. I will be sure to make build log posts for each item I build as this goes on. I can see this getting way out of hand very quickly....

 

Thanks for all the help from all the dads out there that have talked with me about this topic and to Nismo2006 for starting this post.

 

After all is said and done I might even be willing to build a few things for other dads on here that home brew and at a lower cost than most of the stuff I have found online.

 

Now I just need to get a sheet roller to bend sheets of stainless steel....

 

FYI My future wife is going to kill me....

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So here is my DIY list:

 

I use a 10g Gatorade cooler mash tun with a SS braid and ball valve spigot.  Even added a digital thermometer thru the side (its not accurate but close).

Turkey Fryer kit with a ball valve spigot

Copper immersion chiller from I think its totals about 40ft in coil.

Antique Bench Capper from (ebay $20)

Corona Style Mill (ebay $15)

Other odds and ends jewelry scale (ebay) for hops and mineral additions, Mail scale ($20 ebay) for grain Buckets and hoses from Lowes, and a few other knick-nacks

 

I sue a 4ft folding table as well.

 

I'll throw up a picture of my kegerator later.

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GjkTu0W.jpg

 

Converted a 4.1 cu ft mini fridge. Gutted, added the table top and tower extension.The door is chalk board paint and the side are six pack sides mod-podged on with a clear coat covering. It hold 2 - 5g corny keg and CO2 tank.  The old brass spigots give it a English pub feel.

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So here is my DIY list:

 

I use a 10g Gatorade cooler mash tun with a SS braid and ball valve spigot.  Even added a digital thermometer thru the side (its not accurate but close).

Turkey Fryer kit with a ball valve spigot

Copper immersion chiller from I think its totals about 40ft in coil.

Antique Bench Capper from (ebay $20)

Corona Style Mill (ebay $15)

Other odds and ends jewelry scale (ebay) for hops and mineral additions, Mail scale ($20 ebay) for grain Buckets and hoses from Lowes, and a few other knick-nacks

 

I sue a 4ft folding table as well.

 

I'll throw up a picture of my kegerator later.

I have figured out through talking with Flyingfish on discord that my grand plans need to wait a bit and I should get started with a more basic setup for the time being. So I will post up a plan and my brewing adventure in the future.

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I have figured out through talking with Flyingfish on discord that my grand plans need to wait a bit and I should get started with a more basic setup for the time being. So I will post up a plan and my brewing adventure in the future.

Enjoy. A solid month or more of reading and researching will help a lot.

 

 My list is a from over several years of adapting...the latest being the mill...couldn't justify a monster mill or like model...

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