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Author Topic: How do you brew with only online access?  (Read 2891 times)

Offline Chris C

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How do you brew with only online access?
« on: July 17, 2023, 11:09:53 am »
Homebrew shops here in North Seattle are all gone now.  One of the two closed during Covid, and the owner of the other one is retiring at the end of the month, so the store has basically nothing left.

So here I am turning to online only brewing!  I do all grain, so I know I need to at least invest in a mill at this point (any recommendations for a cheap/decent one?)

How do you do this?  Am I now stuck to the pre-made kits? They are cheap and easy, but don't allow for much creativity for recipe. 

Do I buy in bulk and annoy my wife with even MORE things in storage for my brewing?  I usually brew a batch every couple weeks, so it'd be a lot of stuff.....

HELP!

Offline neuse

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Re: How do you brew with only online access?
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2023, 11:19:49 am »
RiteBrew (ritebrew.com) sells grain by the pound and by the ounce - lets you work up recipes easily. They will also mill the grains. I think there are several other on-line suppliers that are similar. I don't think you'll have any problem getting what you need.

As far as a mill, I bought a Corona style mill - I forget the supplier. Quality control was non-existent. I had to do a lot of work on it (shimming, etc.) to get it to run true. But I did get it to work well. I've read many similar stories on the forums. There are some other styles that are probably better quality, but I can't comment on them because I haven't tried them. Good luck.

Offline erockrph

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Re: How do you brew with only online access?
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2023, 11:34:51 am »
Most homebrew shops sell milled grain, and while uncrushed grain does store better in the long term, milled grain wil store for months or longer if stored dry and sealed well. That said, buying a grain mill is certainly a worthwhile investment for getting a consistent crush. But it isn't a necessity to shop online.

I've never had a LHBS per se. There was a local hardware store that sold some brewing supplies (dry yeast, pre-milled grain in small packages, some cleaning/sanitizing supplies, etc.), but I've always used online stores predominantly. I do typically buy hops and grain in bulk. I can't always schedule my brewdays in advance, so having ingredients on hand allows me to brew on short notice.

My only big challenge is when I want to use liquid yeast, because it is fairly perishible, so I try to use dry yeast whenever possible. If it's something where I just have to use a particular liquid yeast, then I try to schedule those brewdays in sooner rather than later once I get my order.
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Offline Bob357

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Re: How do you brew with only online access?
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2023, 11:49:10 am »
I've been using MoreBeer and William's Brewing as my primary suppliers for quite a number of years and have gotten great service out of both. MoreBeer has a greater variety but William's is smaller and adds a nice personal touch. Both will mill your grains and both have flat rate shipping and free shipping if your order exceeds a set dollar amount. There are times when neither will have a specific product you might be looking for but there are enough online sources that can be used in emergencies. RiteBrew, Northern Brewer, Great Fermentations and Yakima Valley Hops are ones I've used in the past with good results. You're not stuck with kits either so you're free to exercise creativity.



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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: How do you brew with only online access?
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2023, 12:17:52 pm »
Morebeer.com has free shipping if you spend I think more than $60, which is easy to do.

I buy enough grains for the next ~3 batches, takes up a few cubic feet of storage space, not too bad.

Also yes you'll need a grain mill, it's necessary, takes a little space but again nothing you can't handle.  You can purchase the malt pre-crushed... but I don't recommend it.  Uncrushed takes longer to go stale and results in more consistent efficiency.

Yeast and hops hang out in the door of my refrigerator.  The rest of my bottles, buckets, kegs, BEER... yeah that all takes space.  Too bad.

These are all necessities.  Don't be afraid about annoying your wife... that will happen regardless of any efforts on your part.  Anyway, after all... I'm sure there is absolutely nothing about her that annoys you.  As I get older, I realize more that marriage isn't about love at all... it's more about your capacity to put up with each other's crap.  My wife and I have put up with each other's crap for 20 years now.  It's the same old crap, but... somehow we remain together.  If it was meant to be, you'll do the same.  ;)
« Last Edit: July 17, 2023, 12:24:40 pm by dmtaylor »
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Offline redrocker652002

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Re: How do you brew with only online access?
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2023, 01:46:17 pm »
I will add a plus for Morebeer.  There is an actual Morebeer store about 30 mins from me if I need something quick.  If I have time, and I usually do, I order online.  I will order the grain and hops I need for 2 or 3 brews.  They usually package in airtight seals, so stale is not a problem.  I put in a closet in the house after I moved my heater for the house into the attic and use that as my beer fermenting chamber and storage for stuff.  Not having a local HB shop should not be such a huge issue in my opinion.  Good luck. 

Offline HopDen

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Re: How do you brew with only online access?
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2023, 01:59:16 pm »
I will add a plus for Morebeer.  There is an actual Morebeer store about 30 mins from me if I need something quick.  If I have time, and I usually do, I order online.  I will order the grain and hops I need for 2 or 3 brews.  They usually package in airtight seals, so stale is not a problem.  I put in a closet in the house after I moved my heater for the house into the attic and use that as my beer fermenting chamber and storage for stuff.  Not having a local HB shop should not be such a huge issue in my opinion.  Good luck.

I also use MoreBeer and occasionally AIH and Northern Brewer. I am also fortunate to be able to piggyback on orders from a local brewery. They are friends so I suggest making friends with the local craft breweries. There are a few farmers locally that grow barley and a craft maltster that sells to both craft breweries and the home-brew community. I would suggest looking for those options. Good Luck! 

Offline goose

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Re: How do you brew with only online access?
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2023, 03:55:00 pm »
I will add a plus for Morebeer.  There is an actual Morebeer store about 30 mins from me if I need something quick.  If I have time, and I usually do, I order online.  I will order the grain and hops I need for 2 or 3 brews.  They usually package in airtight seals, so stale is not a problem.  I put in a closet in the house after I moved my heater for the house into the attic and use that as my beer fermenting chamber and storage for stuff.  Not having a local HB shop should not be such a huge issue in my opinion.  Good luck.

I also use MoreBeer and occasionally AIH and Northern Brewer. I am also fortunate to be able to piggyback on orders from a local brewery. They are friends so I suggest making friends with the local craft breweries. There are a few farmers locally that grow barley and a craft maltster that sells to both craft breweries and the home-brew community. I would suggest looking for those options. Good Luck!

Unfortunately, I heard at Homebrew Con that AIH has closed its doors.
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Offline majorvices

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Re: How do you brew with only online access?
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2023, 03:58:29 pm »
I've been brewing since 1996 and in all that time I have never had a good, reliable, quality homebrew shop.

Edit: That's not entirely true, there was one here for about 4-5 months that got shut down because homebrewing wasn't legal at the time.

Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: How do you brew with only online access?
« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2023, 04:07:35 pm »
I love Ritebrew for various grains that you might want by the pound, yeast and also very fast processing and shipping.  I really, really like them.  Label Peelers seems to have the best prices on full sacks of grain.  I just got a 55lb sack of Avangard pils and the price was slightly higher than usual (because everything is) and the shipping was steeper than usual too .. like $34 with FedEx from Ohio to Chicago.  The things we do for beer.

EDIT:  Btw, the only things I typically use my local supplier for is CO2 refills.  It's easier for me to get everything else online.  I know we're all supposed to help keep our local shops open but sometimes it's not in our best interest and sometimes they're going to close without any consideration for you anyway.  I don't mean to be anti-shop but I have driven to mine before and the hours are shown on the door and I'm there when they should be open .. and they're closed.  Or they're out of a number of things that I need.  You can get everything you need online and often the selection is much better than it might be in a local shop.  I have also had full sacks shipped to me (grain + shipping) for less than it would cost in one of my local shops which is also about an hour round-trip.  Many local shops won't sell grain by the full sack anyway. 
« Last Edit: July 17, 2023, 04:10:45 pm by Village Taphouse »
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: How do you brew with only online access?
« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2023, 05:57:11 pm »
I will add a plus for Morebeer.  There is an actual Morebeer store about 30 mins from me if I need something quick.  If I have time, and I usually do, I order online.  I will order the grain and hops I need for 2 or 3 brews.  They usually package in airtight seals, so stale is not a problem.  I put in a closet in the house after I moved my heater for the house into the attic and use that as my beer fermenting chamber and storage for stuff.  Not having a local HB shop should not be such a huge issue in my opinion.  Good luck.

I also use MoreBeer and occasionally AIH and Northern Brewer. I am also fortunate to be able to piggyback on orders from a local brewery. They are friends so I suggest making friends with the local craft breweries. There are a few farmers locally that grow barley and a craft maltster that sells to both craft breweries and the home-brew community. I would suggest looking for those options. Good Luck!

Unfortunately, I heard at Homebrew Con that AIH has closed its doors.

It is online, the owners decided to retire. It was bought by the VC firm that owns Nortern Brewer and Midwest Supplies. AiH had bought Austin Homebrew Supply, and that is now only online too. All of those have online pages, but there is one warehouse in Minnesota that it all comes from.
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Offline BrewBama

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Re: How do you brew with only online access?
« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2023, 06:24:13 pm »
I've been brewing since 1996 and in all that time I have never had a good, reliable, quality homebrew shop.

Edit: That's not entirely true, there was one here for about 4-5 months that got shut down because homebrewing wasn't legal at the time.
+1. I use MoreBeer, Great Fermentation, Atlantic Brew Supply, William’s, Label Peeler’s, Rite Brew, Northern Brewer, etc.

Offline Homebrew_kev

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Re: How do you brew with only online access?
« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2023, 06:28:33 pm »
http://www.greatfermentations.com

They will let you order grain by the ounce, and hops by the tenth of an ounce if you want. They also have wyeast, white labs, omega, imperial, and most of the dry yeasts available.

Offline fredthecat

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Re: How do you brew with only online access?
« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2023, 09:16:13 pm »
in canada, but yeah i just order from an online HBS and the shipping costs between $17 to $23 dollars. my LHBS closed but i stopped using them years ago simply because the selection and prices of my online store were so much better. honestly, theyve even been friendlier and more generous to me than my LHBS ever was. LHBS have certain limitations, like having a store front needed that takes up potential storage space for a warehouse, but mine here made zero effort to keep up with the times. they had no liquid yeast and the same 5 fermentis dry yeasts theyve had since i first started brewing. basic malt and hops selection. i dont feel bad for them. there are still a ton of UBREW places here that explicitly say when asked they dont sell homebrew supplies. lame.

Offline 4dogbrewer

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Re: How do you brew with only online access?
« Reply #14 on: July 18, 2023, 05:36:14 am »
I have never lived near a HB shop. I have always shopped online for everything. Years ago shipping was cheap. Not anymore. I have to buy in bulk and buy a lot at once to save on shipping costs. A while back a huge HB store in Toronto closed down and elsewhere too. I guess selling ingredients doesn't pay the bills anymore. Lately I am finding I can drive to buy ingredients cheaper than they can ship it.