Author Topic: Let's discuss the early days of the home brewing movement  (Read 894 times)

Offline ttash

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 133
Re: Let's discuss the early days of the home brewing movement
« Reply #15 on: November 22, 2021, 10:13:00 am »
My first batch was May of '92. Pale dme, Hallertau pellets, Edme dry yeast, from a homebrew store in Boise (now defunct).
It turned out pretty well I thought, but that was a long time ago and it was my first batch of homebrew so who knows? I do remember thinking it tasted a lot like beer ...

Cans of Alexander pale lme were easy to come by, as were relatively fresh Cascade and Willamette pellets, and the Wyeast Propagator packs. That's pretty much what I used for the first couple of years until I went all grain.

I could see where it might be overwhelming for someone just starting out today, with the dizzying array of ingredient and equipment choices available. When I started out there were far less ingredient choices and if you needed a piece of equipment that wasn't available you just had to make it yourself.

Offline Visor

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 725
Re: Let's discuss the early days of the home brewing movement
« Reply #16 on: November 22, 2021, 10:49:07 am »
  I first started brewing in '84 and boy was it ever primitive then. No internet of course, went to the local bookstore [the only one in town] looking for anything I could find to learn how to brew. The store owner recalled seeing a book about brewing in one of his catalogs, turned out there were 2, "Better beer and how to brew it" by someone named M.R. Reese, and Dave Line's "Big book of brewing", which I guess was sort of a bible, at least to some British brewers. I didn't hear about Papazian until years later.
  Finding a source of supplies was the next hurdle cuz there were no brewing magazines available here and of course no brew shops, I somehow found a place in MA called The Village store, from whom I was able to mail order equipment and supplies. And by mail order I mean you mail them your order with your check, once they receive the order & the check clears their bank they mail the stuff to you, with a turnaround time of 2 to 3 weeks. Muntun & Fison and John Bull LME, yeast was Muntuns , Red Star or some generic stuff in plain white packages labeled "beer yeast", and unbranded DME.
  At the time I was still drinking Adolph's Rky Mtn bladder wash and thought that was what I wanted to replicate, I'm sure most of you can guess how well that turned out with crappy yeast and no temperature control. We did make a couple batches of stout that were okay, and one amber lager that fermented in a cold back room during winter that was awesome enough to keep me interested. Most of the rest of the dozen or so batches we made before moving to a much smaller house forced us to give up on brewing were yeasty junk that tasted like the lousy homebrew they were. The boil kettle was an 8 gallon porcelain water bath canner, FVs were ~7G buckets with lids that were supposed to be airtight but of course weren't. The last few batches I did all or mostly grain, the mill was a Corona hand crank, and for the life of me I can't remember how I did the mash & lauter.
   Fast forward to 2016 when life circumstances finally allowed me to resume brewing and it was like being reborn into a magical new homebrewing universe, un-freaking believable all the ways the "hobby" has improved, and the improvement in the beer I make now is commensurate. Sometimes, some aspects of "progress" really are progress.
I spent most of my money on beer, tools and guns, the rest I foolishly squandered on stupid stuff!

Offline BrewBama

  • Official Poobah of No Life. (I Got Ban Hammered by Drew)
  • *********
  • Posts: 4958
Re: Let's discuss the early days of the home brewing movement
« Reply #17 on: November 22, 2021, 01:02:30 pm »
My first brew was in ‘92. An extract kit from William’s that I boiled on the stove in an enameled steel canning pot and fermented in plastic buckets in the storage shed in Georgia (no temp control) bottled in Grolsh-style ‘flippies’. Brewed beer like that for a while then I took several years break while stationed in Europe and picked back up in ‘13 when AL made homebrewing legal.



Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

Offline denny

  • Administrator
  • Retired with too much time on my hands
  • *****
  • Posts: 24950
  • Noti OR [1991.4, 287.6deg] AR
    • Dennybrew
Re: Let's discuss the early days of the home brewing movement
« Reply #18 on: November 22, 2021, 01:20:15 pm »
Geez, I'm a newbie compared to you guys
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." - Bertrand Russell

Offline Saccharomyces

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1130
  • Deus ex machina
Re: Let's discuss the early days of the home brewing movement
« Reply #19 on: November 22, 2021, 01:27:19 pm »
Who remembers the original WYeast packaging? I think they called it the “propagator”. I don’t think it had a smack pack but it’s been awhile.

To the best of my knowledge, Wyeast has always offered the smack pack.  That was their competitive edge.  However, the early smack packs had a tiny amount of yeast compared to an Activator pack.  When White Labs showed up in '95, their claim to fame was that they were direct pitch.  I guess direct pitch is relative. :)

Offline MDL

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 39
Re: Let's discuss the early days of the home brewing movement
« Reply #20 on: November 22, 2021, 01:32:39 pm »
I too had an 8 gallon enameled canning pot for my first all grain setup.

“Zapap” latter tun from Papazian. Basically a five gallon bucket, with a bunch of holes drilled in the bottom, set inside the bottling bucket.


Corona grain mill which could easily turn your grain to flour if you weren’t careful.


I remember buying a set of “Listermann” counterflow chiller fittings and making my first counterflow chiller with copper and a garden hose.


Anyone remember listermann whirly gig sparge arm?

Offline MDL

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 39
Re: Let's discuss the early days of the home brewing movement
« Reply #21 on: November 22, 2021, 01:37:58 pm »
Who remembers the original WYeast packaging? I think they called it the “propagator”. I don’t think it had a smack pack but it’s been awhile.

To the best of my knowledge, Wyeast has always offered the smack pack.  That was their competitive edge.  However, the early smack packs had a tiny amount of yeast compared to an Activator pack.  When White Labs showed up in '95, their claim to fame was that they were direct pitch.  I guess direct pitch is relative. :)

Right. It’s the “propagator” pack I was thinking of. Something like 15 billion cells per pack.

Offline chumley

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1092
Re: Let's discuss the early days of the home brewing movement
« Reply #22 on: November 22, 2021, 03:04:46 pm »
My wife bought me a homebrewing set up in 1990 for my birthday. Basically a couple of plastic fermenters and a kit. Kit made a lager, a can of liquid malt extract, a couple of pounds of dry malt extract, a couple ounces of Hallertauer hops, and "Red Star Lager Yeast". It actually came out pretty good.

I live in Montana, and the first place where I bought supplies was a mail order business near Bozeman. Pre-internet days. The internet certainly led to an explosion in available brewing knowledge. I recall finding the Homebrew Digest in the late 1990s, followed by Brews and Views shortly thereafter. Those were great times.


Offline jeffy

  • Official Poobah of No Life. (I Got Ban Hammered by Drew)
  • *********
  • Posts: 3982
  • Tampa, Fl
Re: Let's discuss the early days of the home brewing movement
« Reply #23 on: November 22, 2021, 03:33:45 pm »
I too had an 8 gallon enameled canning pot for my first all grain setup.

“Zapap” latter tun from Papazian. Basically a five gallon bucket, with a bunch of holes drilled in the bottom, set inside the bottling bucket.


Corona grain mill which could easily turn your grain to flour if you weren’t careful.


I remember buying a set of “Listermann” counterflow chiller fittings and making my first counterflow chiller with copper and a garden hose.


Anyone remember listermann whirly gig sparge arm?
Yes, I think I still have it.  I may still have the Phil's Phalse Bottom for a mash bucket as well.  It was one step up from the Zapap.
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
Homebrewing since 1990
AHA member since 1991, now a lifetime member
BJCP judge since 1995

Offline ttash

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 133
Re: Let's discuss the early days of the home brewing movement
« Reply #24 on: November 22, 2021, 04:25:02 pm »
I too had an 8 gallon enameled canning pot for my first all grain setup.

“Zapap” latter tun from Papazian. Basically a five gallon bucket, with a bunch of holes drilled in the bottom, set inside the bottling bucket.


Corona grain mill which could easily turn your grain to flour if you weren’t careful.


I remember buying a set of “Listermann” counterflow chiller fittings and making my first counterflow chiller with copper and a garden hose.


Anyone remember listermann whirly gig sparge arm?
Yes, I think I still have it.  I may still have the Phil's Phalse Bottom for a mash bucket as well.  It was one step up from the Zapap.

I still have the sparge arm and the Phil's Phalse Bottom as well. They're on display in my Homebrew Junk museum. 🍺

Offline Saccharomyces

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1130
  • Deus ex machina
Re: Let's discuss the early days of the home brewing movement
« Reply #25 on: November 22, 2021, 04:39:26 pm »
I still have the sparge arm and the Phil's Phalse Bottom as well. They're on display in my Homebrew Junk museum. 🍺

I used both in the early days. To be honest, I prefer the polycarbonate Phil's Phalse botton over a perforated stainless false bottom.  The sparge arm was little more of an engineering gimmick.  Continuous sparging at this level is trivial.  We do not need to sprinkle our lauter tuns.

Offline Visor

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 725
Re: Let's discuss the early days of the home brewing movement
« Reply #26 on: November 22, 2021, 05:35:04 pm »
What's early? Didn't Sierra Nevada start as a homebrew shop back in the 70s? When I started extract+steeping grains was a big thing for beginners but I hardly hear anyone talk about that now.

I'm more interested in the next few years. Morebeer bought homebrew supply.com and I see more consolidation on the way. Seems like it could be ok, good retailers seem to be expanding. I'm wondering if craft malt is going to bring the next big wave of craft. I'm thinking it might not be the next IPA, but maybe the next sour if that makes sense. More malt forward beers that showcase local craft malt. Lots of headlines, not as much sales, but it sticks around at low levels.
 
    That would explain why I was unable to access the Homebrew Supply website the other day. Is MB going to be the next "Big Guy" swallowing up all it's competition or was this just a smart move to better serve the geographic center of the country?
Sent from my Pixel 4a using Tapatalk
I spent most of my money on beer, tools and guns, the rest I foolishly squandered on stupid stuff!

Offline Wilbur

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 813
Re: Let's discuss the early days of the home brewing movement
« Reply #27 on: November 22, 2021, 07:06:34 pm »
What's early? Didn't Sierra Nevada start as a homebrew shop back in the 70s? When I started extract+steeping grains was a big thing for beginners but I hardly hear anyone talk about that now.

I'm more interested in the next few years. Morebeer bought homebrew supply.com and I see more consolidation on the way. Seems like it could be ok, good retailers seem to be expanding. I'm wondering if craft malt is going to bring the next big wave of craft. I'm thinking it might not be the next IPA, but maybe the next sour if that makes sense. More malt forward beers that showcase local craft malt. Lots of headlines, not as much sales, but it sticks around at low levels.
 
    That would explain why I was unable to access the Homebrew Supply website the other day. Is MB going to be the next "Big Guy" swallowing up all it's competition or was this just a smart move to better serve the geographic center of the country?
Sent from my Pixel 4a using Tapatalk
They had a podcast about it and sent out an email. Something about homebrew supply moving towards other aspects of beer business, the homebrew side was a small part of the business.

Went on a club trip a few years ago and stopped at the Blue Cat brew pub, which was supposed to be the oldest brew pub in Illinois. Tasted like they still brewed using brown bricks of hops and dusty extract.

Sent from my Pixel 4a using Tapatalk


Offline hopfenundmalz

  • Global Moderator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 10314
  • Milford, MI
Re: Let's discuss the early days of the home brewing movement
« Reply #28 on: November 22, 2021, 08:58:06 pm »
I too had an 8 gallon enameled canning pot for my first all grain setup.

“Zapap” latter tun from Papazian. Basically a five gallon bucket, with a bunch of holes drilled in the bottom, set inside the bottling bucket.


Corona grain mill which could easily turn your grain to flour if you weren’t careful.


I remember buying a set of “Listermann” counterflow chiller fittings and making my first counterflow chiller with copper and a garden hose.


Anyone remember listermann whirly gig sparge arm?
Yes, I think I still have it.  I may still have the Phil's Phalse Bottom for a mash bucket as well.  It was one step up from the Zapap.

I still have the sparge arm and the Phil's Phalse Bottom as well. They're on display in my Homebrew Junk museum. 🍺

I have a similar museum.
Jeff Rankert
AHA Lifetime Member
BJCP National
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline 4dogbrewer

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 47
Re: Let's discuss the early days of the home brewing movement
« Reply #29 on: November 23, 2021, 05:25:52 am »
Started homebrewing in 1979. We bought a house ( $38,000.00 ), and it took everything we had to pay the mortgage. Saw a can of malt extract in a grocery store and bought it. Canada Brew. Corn sugar plus city water and a 5 gallon glass carboy. Yeast was like 5 grams under the cap. I drank it though, kind of forgot how it tasted. I do remember in the summer the temp must of been close to 80 F. Bought Charlie's book in the early 80's and started partial mash brewing on the stove. Loved it. Built his Zapzap with a couple of buckets and was well on my way to brewing all grain. I still couldn't find a big enough pot to boil a 5 gallon batch, so using corn sugar was still in my recipes. Did kits until the late 90's until I bought a 13 gallon keg to use as a boiler. Still have it, it is my sparge tank now converted to electric. Those were the days. I was always on the look out for brewing equipment as Canada had pretty well nothing to offer in homebrew equipment so we had to make our own stuff. Ordering equipment from the US was way cheaper than it is now though. I still have my Zapzap bucket along with a mash jacket I ordered from the US. I also still have all of my brewing books I bought back in the day. One thing though, I gathered all of my old Brew Your Own magazines in a box, I think there were around 100 and put them on our local marketplace on facebbook. For free!!! Not one taker, I guess the new brewers know it all.