Author Topic: Want to get back into brewing after +10 years off  (Read 1721 times)

Offline richm20

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 4
    • View Profile
Want to get back into brewing after +10 years off
« on: November 09, 2014, 09:49:59 PM »
Last time I was brewing beer, forums weren't as popular so this will be my first go at it with a support group. Looking forward to it.
I have some long term and short term goals (long term meaning within the next year or so)
Right away, I would like to get back to where I left off years ago (no equipment left, nothing) When I last brewed I was doing glass primary and secondary, using kits as well as making semi custom beers. One custom I remembered was taking a dark clone kit and adding coffee and lactose to make a coffee beer. I would bottle everything and would usually have 2 beers going at a time, about a week apart.
If im going to buy a new setup, I'm going to also switch to kegging in place of bottling. I believe besides being easier I also have the benefit of force carbonation. 
Okay, lots of words. Looking for ideas for a good home brew setup. Ill need tools, carboys, air locks, racking canes.....You know the deal. I already have pots and burners. Any ideas of places to buy this type of stuff would be great.

Im also looking to set up a kegging setup. This is a bit new to me. I have a co2 tank but that's it. I also have no experience with the smaller kegs and associated taps. So, please offer any ideas, advice and setups I could buy. Im going to start with 1 keg but will expand to 3 or 4 with a refrigerator converted to hold kegs and taps.


Moving forward and considering I already have some beer fermenting. I have my long term goals. I have a 2nd kitchen that we use for nothing. My in-laws are also getting rid of a beautiful 6 burner commercial stove. My plan is to remove the old kitchen, install this large stove (great for boiling) and build a brewery. Would love to hear your ideas as well as tips you may have for making this a nice simple yet effective brewery.


Prost!

Offline Stevie

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 6858
    • View Profile
Re: Want to get back into brewing after +10 years off
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2014, 10:11:04 PM »
If you are wanting to get into kegging, check out adventures in homebrewing. They seem to have the better prices these days on used kegs, though the prices are getting closer and closer to the price of new kegs. Seeing as you are starting fresh, pinlock might be the way to go as they are less expensive. Also check craigslist daily. I scored 6 kegs, very dirty and needing some parts, for $100 last year.

Faucets and shanks are the same as a commercial beer. The main difference is the keg connection. That is where the ball lock or pinlock comes into play. I always recommend opting for flare connections on the disconnects, little more expensive up front, but allows for switching connectors with ease.

If you want to get back into the hobby on the cheap, go with buckets. Buckets labeled as brew buckets are almost as expensive as better bottles, but 7 gallon buckets from us plastics are a little less expensive, and very heavy plastic designed for hot packing.

If you want to move into all-grain. Check out Denny's site for batch sparging tips or look into brew in a bag. http://dennybrew.com/ also check Don O's batch sparge videos on YouTube, I know for me it's easier to understand when I see something being done vs reading about it.

Look around your area for a local club. Online help is great, but being able to look at another brewers gear is extremely helpful.

Offline kramerog

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1855
    • View Profile
    • My LinkedIn page
Re: Want to get back into brewing after +10 years off
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2014, 10:12:12 PM »
I was out of the hobby for five years beginning the early 2000s.  The perceived wisdom had changed a lot plus there a lot more ingredient choices.  Also the hobby is potentially a lot more expensive than it used to be.  Also there are a lot more homebrewers and homebrew clubs.

Be open to relearning your craft.  Get to know your local homebrew store. Buy some of the basics so you can brew from there. Join your local homebrew club or two or three.  Buy some used equipment when others upgrade their equipment.  Join some group buys.  Craigslist is a good idea.  Good luck and have fun.

Offline klickitat jim

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 8604
    • View Profile
Re: Want to get back into brewing after +10 years off
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2014, 10:12:46 PM »
What size batches?  If 5 gallon I really like my 30L spiedel fermenters.


Offline richm20

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 4
    • View Profile
Re: Want to get back into brewing after +10 years off
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2014, 10:32:55 PM »
Thanks for all the quick replies. First off I need the basics. Most "kits" come with a bottle capper and caps....I guess that's not the end of the world, good to have even though I plan on kegging. I want to use glass for my fermentation, I like being able to peak in (keeping it covered from light) and see whats going on, plus its a lot simpler to clean. Not sure who has good prices on "all in" type kits.
Im looking to do 5gal brews at this point, 1 at a time for now. Im very obsessive so this hobby will grow rapidly.
I guess the real help I need at this moment is with the kegging, its all new to me. I will dedicate a fridge to my brewing, maybe Ill pick up a 2nd one (im serious about being obsessive) just in case. If im building a brewery and a bar in my house, i should leave room to expand :-)


Thanks again, your help is greatly appreciated.

Offline Stevie

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 6858
    • View Profile
Re: Want to get back into brewing after +10 years off
« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2014, 10:48:05 PM »
Check locally for a kit that includes the glass carboy. Many online shops charge a surcharge when shipping glass.

Offline HoosierBrew

  • Global Moderator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 13030
  • Indianapolis,IN
    • View Profile
Re: Want to get back into brewing after +10 years off
« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2014, 11:21:14 PM »
richm20 - Welcome back to the hobby !  I started brewing well before brewing forums myself and took a long time to open my eyes to how good this one was. Good advice from all above. A couple things to add - 1/ Back then it was common to recommend every beer get racked to secondary. Not necessary and even can be detrimental, unless you are adding fruit, dry hops, or want to age a completely fermented big beer.  Otherwise, don't bother.
2/  Once you get set up with some brewing equipment, don't hesitate to save $$ and use plastic buckets to ferment in. The old conventional wisdom was that glass was a big advantage to making good beer and that plastic would harbor germs and ruin your beer. BS. Plastic is much cheaper, much safer. I'm making my best beer ever in plastic.
Anything we can do to help, don't hesitate to ask.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2014, 11:51:09 PM by HoosierBrew »
Jon H.

S. cerevisiae

  • Guest
Re: Want to get back into brewing after +10 years off
« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2014, 11:39:48 PM »
The glass versus plastic debate still rages.  For what it is worth, I recently went back to using glass (I also use stainless steel).  I also went back to using bleach as my primary sanitizer.

Offline richm20

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 4
    • View Profile
Re: Want to get back into brewing after +10 years off
« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2014, 12:03:11 AM »
The glass versus plastic debate still rages.  For what it is worth, I recently went back to using glass (I also use stainless steel).  I also went back to using bleach as my primary sanitizer.

Awesome. I was a big fan of water, a splash of bleach and a few hours in the sun!

Offline Stevie

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 6858
    • View Profile
Re: Want to get back into brewing after +10 years off
« Reply #10 on: November 10, 2014, 12:09:44 AM »
Honestly, I love starsan. Fast acting, no drying, no rinsing, and I can save it for months and months. I just finished my six year old 16oz bottle yesterday.

Offline HoosierBrew

  • Global Moderator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 13030
  • Indianapolis,IN
    • View Profile
Re: Want to get back into brewing after +10 years off
« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2014, 12:25:58 AM »
Honestly, I love starsan. Fast acting, no drying, no rinsing, and I can save it for months and months. I just finished my six year old 16oz bottle yesterday.

+1. Mix it with distilled or RO water and it'll stay clear and effective for close to a year. VERY easy to use.
Jon H.

Offline klickitat jim

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 8604
    • View Profile
Re: Want to get back into brewing after +10 years off
« Reply #12 on: November 10, 2014, 01:33:16 AM »
I dont have stock in speidel but I cant imagine glass carboys being easier to clean.

S. cerevisiae

  • Guest
Re: Want to get back into brewing after +10 years off
« Reply #13 on: November 10, 2014, 03:35:22 AM »
Awesome. I was a big fan of water, a splash of bleach and a few hours in the sun!

I switched back to using bleach because all of the beers that I made with Star San alone had a low-level off flavor that I could not eliminate through any other means. 

Offline reverseapachemaster

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3208
    • View Profile
    • Brain Sparging on Brewing
Re: Want to get back into brewing after +10 years off
« Reply #14 on: November 10, 2014, 03:42:47 PM »
If you're willing to drop some decent money on nice equipment then I'd suggest really thinking about the batch sizes and brewing system you plan on using and buy nice stuff once.

I'd think about staying away from one of the all-inclusive starter kits unless you find one on a really good deal. If you know you won't want to bottle (although you may want to bottle the occasional bottle off your kegs) then no reason to pay for bottling equipment. Same goes for a bucket fermentor if you are only going to use glass. I'd also skip on the floating thermometer for a decent digital thermometer.
Heck yeah I blog about homebrewing: Brain Sparging on Brewing