Author Topic: How and when did you get started with homebrew  (Read 4160 times)

Offline tcanova

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Re: How and when did you get started with homebrew
« Reply #15 on: November 05, 2014, 03:14:46 AM »
I too spent time in Europe in '89-90 playing music and fell in love with the beer.  When I came back to the states I visited one of my cousins in St. Louis who was into home brewing and he got me started.  Old geezer alert... "Back in my day we only had dry yeast and Cooper's malt extract and we liked it!!"
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Offline Alewyfe

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Re: How and when did you get started with homebrew
« Reply #16 on: November 05, 2014, 04:19:14 AM »
Gramma made beer during prohibition to support the 5 kids after grandpa was permanently injured in a work accident. The local sheriff turned a blind eye because he understood her dilemma and her brew was darn good. So I'm told it's in my blood. A trip to the UK with my Brit husband in '73 found me packing a couple cans of Boots Chemists beer extract. I loved English beers and I wanted some back home. After a lot of false starts and wretched results I gave up. More trips to England, and the availability locally of beer making supplies, got me going again in the late '80's. That was the same time I found the Homebrew Digest, AHA and the Minnesota Home Brewers Assoc. Now I had the info and mentors to make some really good beer. (Gramma was proud) I had to give up brewing from '95 until '07. Then we retired and moved to Oregon and I dusted off the keggles and memories and jumped back in......deep.
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Offline riceral

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Re: How and when did you get started with homebrew
« Reply #17 on: November 05, 2014, 11:39:17 AM »
My wife bought me a homebrew kit for my birthday back in 2000. Brewed extract, then extract with grains, going to all-grain after about 3 years. Had a period of about 6 years where I didn't brew--4 years working on my doctorate, then another 2 years when I took charge of a department needing serious work.

Back to brewing again and finding I still have a lot to learn. And enjoying the hell out of it.
Ralph R.

Offline majorvices

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Re: How and when did you get started with homebrew
« Reply #18 on: November 05, 2014, 12:28:52 PM »
For that you have to get a little back story on why I even live in Alabama. Because it was the main reason I started brewing.

I moved to Alabama from PA in '93 after my dad transferred down here working for the Army. I bounced around in PA several months in my old job at the York Daily Record/York Dispatch scraping by on a 22K/year graphics job and living in a run down apartment when my dad convinced me that there were better paying jobs in Huntsville.

I moved and was struck by the terrible beer selection. Sam Adams was about the most creative beer you could buy. There was a 6% abv cap on beer (which was silly since you could buy 100% grain alcohol and even 17% wine in the grocery stores).

My mom got me a basic extract kit as a Christmas gift in 95 and I was hooked. It was just a can of John Bull and the yeast under the lid. The beer was terrible even though I convinced myself and others it was great.  There was a 10 page booklet that describe "English Ales and Continental Lagers" that I must have read 20 times trying satiate my thirst for knowledge. I soon found Charlie P. and was off to the races.

I was in beer "no-mans land", an outlaw brewer since homebrewing was technically illegal, and knew nothing about the BJCP or anything until about 2004 or so when I discovered the MoreBeer forum and my eyes were suddenly wide open and even though I was making pretty good beer I started making great beer by interacting with all the great folks in the "Brewniverse" (I just coined that term, right now).

I'm very proud to say that I was at the catalyst of brewing change in Alabama and one of the original people who worked to bring down the stupidly restrictive beer laws, and even more so that I am at the vanguard of the craft brewing movement in Alabama as one of the first craft breweries to open in the state (when we formed our LLC there was only 2 breweries in the state of Alabama, now there is probably 30 or more)

Offline Wort-H.O.G.

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Re: How and when did you get started with homebrew
« Reply #19 on: November 05, 2014, 12:40:34 PM »

For that you have to get a little back story on why I even live in Alabama. Because it was the main reason I started brewing.

I moved to Alabama from PA in '93 after my dad transferred down here working for the Army. I bounced around in PA several months in my old job at the York Daily Record/York Dispatch scraping by on a 22K/year graphics job and living in a run down apartment when my dad convinced me that there were better paying jobs in Huntsville.

I moved and was struck by the terrible beer selection. Sam Adams was about the most creative beer you could buy. There was a 6% abv cap on beer (which was silly since you could buy 100% grain alcohol and even 17% wine in the grocery stores).

My mom got me a basic extract kit as a Christmas gift in 95 and I was hooked. It was just a can of John Bull and the yeast under the lid. The beer was terrible even though I convinced myself and others it was great.  There was a 10 page booklet that describe "English Ales and Continental Lagers" that I must have read 20 times trying satiate my thirst for knowledge. I soon found Charlie P. and was off to the races.

I was in beer "no-mans land", an outlaw brewer since homebrewing was technically illegal, and knew nothing about the BJCP or anything until about 2004 or so when I discovered the MoreBeer forum and my eyes were suddenly wide open and even though I was making pretty good beer I started making great beer by interacting with all the great folks in the "Brewniverse" (I just coined that term, right now).

I'm very proud to say that I was at the catalyst of brewing change in Alabama and one of the original people who worked to bring down the stupidly restrictive beer laws, and even more so that I am at the vanguard of the craft brewing movement in Alabama as one of the first craft breweries to open in the state (when we formed our LLC there was only 2 breweries in the state of Alabama, now there is probably 30 or more)

Another great story- keep em coming folks. At the very least it's an opportunity to reflect on why we love what we do.


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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: How and when did you get started with homebrew
« Reply #20 on: November 05, 2014, 12:59:34 PM »
My first kit was Dogbolter Bitter, brought to me by a good friend from London in January, 1990.
It's pretty interesting to look back at the notes I made back then.  Actually pretty good detail.
I had a Dogbolter Bitter at a home brew shop a couple years ago and it triggered a memory of my first brew.

Man, I brewed the Dogbolter a couple times - blast from the past !  My LHBS sold it for awhile back then. I actually remember it (for the time) being pretty good for a hopped LME beer.

EDIT  -  I remember being excited when I bought it because it said on the label that it was concentrated wort form a British brewery.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2014, 01:13:14 PM by HoosierBrew »
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: How and when did you get started with homebrew
« Reply #21 on: November 05, 2014, 01:04:53 PM »
For that you have to get a little back story on why I even live in Alabama. Because it was the main reason I started brewing.

I moved to Alabama from PA in '93 after my dad transferred down here working for the Army. I bounced around in PA several months in my old job at the York Daily Record/York Dispatch scraping by on a 22K/year graphics job and living in a run down apartment when my dad convinced me that there were better paying jobs in Huntsville.

I moved and was struck by the terrible beer selection. Sam Adams was about the most creative beer you could buy. There was a 6% abv cap on beer (which was silly since you could buy 100% grain alcohol and even 17% wine in the grocery stores).

My mom got me a basic extract kit as a Christmas gift in 95 and I was hooked. It was just a can of John Bull and the yeast under the lid. The beer was terrible even though I convinced myself and others it was great.  There was a 10 page booklet that describe "English Ales and Continental Lagers" that I must have read 20 times trying satiate my thirst for knowledge. I soon found Charlie P. and was off to the races.

I was in beer "no-mans land", an outlaw brewer since homebrewing was technically illegal, and knew nothing about the BJCP or anything until about 2004 or so when I discovered the MoreBeer forum and my eyes were suddenly wide open and even though I was making pretty good beer I started making great beer by interacting with all the great folks in the "Brewniverse" (I just coined that term, right now).

I'm very proud to say that I was at the catalyst of brewing change in Alabama and one of the original people who worked to bring down the stupidly restrictive beer laws, and even more so that I am at the vanguard of the craft brewing movement in Alabama as one of the first craft breweries to open in the state (when we formed our LLC there was only 2 breweries in the state of Alabama, now there is probably 30 or more)

Yeah, good story.  Kudos on all the great work down there.
Jon H.

Offline erockrph

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Re: How and when did you get started with homebrew
« Reply #22 on: November 05, 2014, 01:59:31 PM »
A good friend of mine's dad (who was like a father to me) homebrewed back in the 90's, right when I was in college and just getting into craft beer. There was also a local brew-on-premises place in the early 2000's that I went to a few times. So homebrewing was always on my radar, but I never actually picked it up.

A few years back another friend of mine started homebrewing with his wife. That really lit the fire for me. I sat in on a brewday, saw how easy it was, and decided to jump in. It was also right after my son was born, and I was looking for a new hobby that I could do at home, so it was just the right timing (finally). My wife got me a kit for Christmas that year, and I found this forum before I even brewed my first batch.

Even though there were a few other times where I almost picked up the hobby, I'm actually glad it happened a bit later. Homebrewing has really come a long way in recent years. Within a few months I was brewing beers that I was really happy with. Back in my younger years, I don't know if I would have stuck with the hobby that long. Especially if my beers were so-so, while there was a ton of good craft beers that I had easy access to. Right now, it's the perfect hobby for my current situation and I make beer that is just as good (if not better) than a lot of the breweries that are flooding the market right now.
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Offline theDarkSide

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Re: How and when did you get started with homebrew
« Reply #23 on: November 05, 2014, 02:36:45 PM »
I suck with dates but it was sometime after I got married in 1995, my wife and I were at the Vermont Brewer's Festival and the VT Homebrew Supply had a booth. They had 1 homebrew kit left, which my wife bought for me (so it's her fault).  I had been thinking about getting into homebrewing for a few years after I bought a homebrew kit for a friend of mine for his bachelor party.

I found one of the only homebrew shops in NH at the time and got my ingredients for my first recipe, a dry stout.  The beer was horrible...tasted like ass with a little footbath water mixed in.  Discouraged by these results, I took a couple years off from brewing.  I then decided to give it another try and found The Brewing Network online.  This was somewhere around 2006.  A few decent extract batches and in 2008, went all grain and have been doing it every since.

Now my beer has less a$$ and foot character  ;D
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Offline pete b

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Re: How and when did you get started with homebrew
« Reply #24 on: November 05, 2014, 02:42:29 PM »
In 2007 I met my girlfriend. Many of our first "dates" were me doing the heavy lifting to help her make 20-25 gallon batches of mead, which she has been doing since the mid nineties. We got to know each other staying up late doing things like cleaning crates of cranberries and bottling while drinking her great melomels. It didn't hurt that at any given time she had (and we still have) 20-30 carboys of mead in various stages.
After a couple years of making mead and me expressing an interest in making beer, she got me a kit, some books, and put some hops rhizomes on order for Valentine's day 2010 I believe. I think it was my next birthday that she bought me a pre-made mash tun, a cylindrical cooler with false bottom, thermometer, and sparge set up. After a few frustratingly long brew days using the sparge set up I learned about batch sparging. And this year for my birthday she got me my AHA membership. So now I am a homebrewer and a meadmaker's assistant.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: How and when did you get started with homebrew
« Reply #25 on: November 05, 2014, 02:44:55 PM »
I suck with dates but it was sometime after I got married in 1995, my wife and I were at the Vermont Brewer's Festival and the VT Homebrew Supply had a booth. They had 1 homebrew kit left, which my wife bought for me (so it's her fault).  I had been thinking about getting into homebrewing for a few years after I bought a homebrew kit for a friend of mine for his bachelor party.

I found one of the only homebrew shops in NH at the time and got my ingredients for my first recipe, a dry stout.  The beer was horrible...tasted like ass with a little footbath water mixed in.  Discouraged by these results, I took a couple years off from brewing.  I then decided to give it another try and found The Brewing Network online.  This was somewhere around 2006.  A few decent extract batches and in 2008, went all grain and have been doing it every since.

Now my beer has less a$$ and foot character  ;D

:D  Good stuff. 
Jon H.

Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: How and when did you get started with homebrew
« Reply #26 on: November 05, 2014, 03:45:36 PM »
In 2009 I was visiting a married couple who were friends of my wife (then girlfriend) who had moved to Branson, MO from Dallas. He homebrewed and had learned from his father in law. He had done a few batches and his beers were much better than what I expected. Like most people I had the idea that homebrewing kits were a lot like the root beer kit I had tried as a teen in the 90s and it was going to suck. We talked about how easy brewing was, especially extract brewing, and I decided I could do it too. So shortly after we got back home I bought the typical starter kit and a boxed Belgian ale extract kit.

My first brew was on my wife's birthday very late at night. We had been out all day and into the evening doing things for her birthday but I really wanted to brew. She agreed that we could brew and then she fell asleep before I had even started the boil. That began a tradition of her falling asleep any time I brew in the house while she is home. The beer turned out okay for what it was: stale extract in a beer fermented almost too hot for Belgian yeast. Nevertheless, I was hooked and quickly absorbed knowledge and jumped into all grain after a handful of extract recipes.
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Offline denny

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Re: How and when did you get started with homebrew
« Reply #27 on: November 05, 2014, 04:25:30 PM »
My first kit was Dogbolter Bitter, brought to me by a good friend from London in January, 1990.
It's pretty interesting to look back at the notes I made back then.  Actually pretty good detail.
I had a Dogbolter Bitter at a home brew shop a couple years ago and it triggered a memory of my first brew.

Hey, I made a Dogbolter kit, too!  But it wasn't my first.  My first brew was in 1998 from a kit of ingredients and equipment my wife bought at Costco for my birthday.  almost didn't happen.  She had gone there to get the kit and they were out of stock.  Just as she was leaving someone returned one.  She grabbed it and the rest is history....
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Offline epic1856

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Re: How and when did you get started with homebrew
« Reply #28 on: November 05, 2014, 04:39:02 PM »
Watching Alton Brown's Good Eats episode in which he make a beer at home sparked my interest. Circa 2003. I was a broke college kid at the time so I had no money to buy the kit, but I got lucky and a couple weeks after I watched the show I ended up coming in 2nd place at a poker tournament. I walked away with a couple hundred bucks. I took part of this money and bought my beer kit and I have been brewing ever since.

Offline ibru

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Re: How and when did you get started with homebrew
« Reply #29 on: November 05, 2014, 04:51:17 PM »
Another Geezer here.

I got a fairly deluxe kit (for those days) for Christmas in about 1992 and brewed a 4-5 extract batches before my wife kicked me out of the kitchen. I joined the local homebrew club the next year and started brewing all grain and kegging.

Although I enjoy the process, the flexibility making what I want and the end product, one of the reason I love to brew is for therapy. After dealing with the public and employees all week, it's like taking a mini vacation for a few hours.

The best reward is that I've met a lot of great friends through homebrewing and enjoying a craft beer.

Bruce