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Author Topic: How do you brew with only online access?  (Read 2735 times)

Offline Richard

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Re: How do you brew with only online access?
« Reply #15 on: July 18, 2023, 06:35:14 am »
If you plan several brews ahead and purchase enough to get free shipping, then buying online is fine for everything except liquid yeast. You need to be very careful with that, avoiding long travel times in hot weather. Even if they ship it in ice packs you can end up with dead yeast if it takes more than a couple of days to get to you in the summer.
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Offline Megary

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Re: How do you brew with only online access?
« Reply #16 on: July 18, 2023, 07:13:44 am »
Closest homebrew store to me is a 90-minute round trip.  Maybe I get there once every two years. 

90% of my Malt comes from Deer Creek Malthouse in PA.  The malt is fantastic and I can also get some great small-batch craft beer and baking ingredients from them if I want.  Very convenient.  I usually get my order 2-3 days after I order it.

90% of my hops comes from Yakima Valley.  Ships quickly, but since I'm on the east coast it usually takes about 3-4 days to get to me.

Everything else - from yeast to Maris Otter to cleaning chemicals to miscellany - comes from Keystone Homebrew.  They ship next day and I'm all stocked up before More Beer even processes my order.

Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: How do you brew with only online access?
« Reply #17 on: July 18, 2023, 10:38:51 am »
A lot of good options for buying online. A mill, some storage space and some freezer space will make buying online a lot easier and probably cheaper (which may help your wife accept the lost storage space).

A mill is not essential if you buy your grain online but IMO it's a good investment if you end up trying different shops that may have their mills set differently. A good two roller mill can be picked up new for under $150 but if you look around local homebrew groups or craigslist I bet you can find one used in the Seattle area for under $100. The corona style mills are a little cheaper but a well made one these days runs the same or more than you'll find a used two roller mill. I have both and wish I had just bit the bullet and bought a roller mill from the start. Way more consistent crush and better lautering.

If you tend to use one or two base malts for most of your recipes, consider buying those by the sack if you can. That will often significantly reduce the cost of grain. Places like MoreBeer sell in 10lb increments which is also cheaper than per pound. If you're brewing every two weeks, you're probably going through a fair amount of grain unless you brew small batches.

If you have some freezer space, consider buying hops in bulk as well. A pound of hops is usually the same price as buying a few ounces individually. Lots of great options out there for bulk hop purchases and that can save a ton of money, especially if you brew a lot of IPAs.

Buying what makes sense in bulk will also help reduce your shipping costs over time versus buying a recipe or two at a time and paying shipping every month.
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Offline Kevin

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Re: How do you brew with only online access?
« Reply #18 on: July 18, 2023, 11:26:53 am »
Seeing as how a mill is probably one of the top 3 improvements you can make to your brewing I wouldn't go cheap on one. You don't have to buy the most expensive one out there but expect to pay $160+ for something like a Barley Crusher. I've had one of those for over a  dozen years and it still works like a champ.

I wouldn't go hog wild buying a bunch of malt in bulk either. I did that early on and ended up with a lot of unused and old grain sitting around. Now I buy one... maybe two base malts and store them in Vittles Vaults. The rest of the ingredients I need I buy on an as-needed basis.

Look for a homebrew club nearby and see if they do bulk buys. You may be able to have them toss a full sack or two of whatever it is you're looking for. If there is a craft brewery nearby you can ask them if you can buy a bag.

With base malts in hand I would then plan my brews for the next month or two in advance and buy the specialty grains, yeast etc in one buy. With that comes the conundrum of having yeast shipped in the heat of summer. You can always plan to over-build your starters so you have enough for a couple of brews and harvest yeast to use from one batch to the other.

I hope you get is sorted out. It sucks not to have that ready supply at hand.
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Offline fredthecat

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Re: How do you brew with only online access?
« Reply #19 on: July 18, 2023, 07:07:27 pm »
Seeing as how a mill is probably one of the top 3 improvements you can make to your brewing I wouldn't go cheap on one. You don't have to buy the most expensive one out there but expect to pay $160+ for something like a Barley Crusher. I've had one of those for over a  dozen years and it still works like a champ.

just curious, since i started or participated (cant remember) in a thread asking on the value of home crushing grain, why is it an improvement?

Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: How do you brew with only online access?
« Reply #20 on: July 18, 2023, 09:39:25 pm »
just curious, since i started or participated (cant remember) in a thread asking on the value of home crushing grain, why is it an improvement?
Not answering for anyone else but you can dial in the proper crush for your system with your own mill.  The crush is very important for efficiency, yield, etc.  Too coarse and you're not getting everything you can from your grist.  Too fine and you're on your way to a stuck runoff.  The mill at the supplier is set .. probably to a "good" middle-of-the-road setting.  But if you had your own mill you could adjust it as you brew batch after batch and get your mill into the kill zone for your specific brewing setup.  I also find it to be an improvement because you don't have to pay the supplier to mill your grain and uncrushed grain should keep better which means you could buy bulk grain and save money that way, save money by crushing it yourself and have your inventory last longer. 
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Offline Kevin

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Re: How do you brew with only online access?
« Reply #21 on: July 19, 2023, 08:58:16 am »
Seeing as how a mill is probably one of the top 3 improvements you can make to your brewing I wouldn't go cheap on one. You don't have to buy the most expensive one out there but expect to pay $160+ for something like a Barley Crusher. I've had one of those for over a  dozen years and it still works like a champ.

just curious, since i started or participated (cant remember) in a thread asking on the value of home crushing grain, why is it an improvement?

The ability to adjust the crush of your malt. Finding the optimum mash for your system can improve your mash efficiency.

If you brew with both a traditional mash tun and a BIAB method you would want a finer crush with the later so having your own mill allows you to change the mill gap on your own.

Similarly if you use smaller grains like wheat or rye they can sometimes slip between the rollers untouched or get onlyt a coarse crush. With your own mill you just adjust the rollers.
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Offline dbeechum

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Re: How do you brew with only online access?
« Reply #22 on: July 19, 2023, 10:35:07 am »
My concern with pre-crushed malt is simply that if a mistake happens on the supplier side (e.g. the Shop's mill settings slip, the order packer forgets to mill the grain) you're SOL.
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Offline BrewBama

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How do you brew with only online access?
« Reply #23 on: July 19, 2023, 10:54:35 am »
I prefer to weigh out and mill my own grain because early on I did have a LHBS-milled Brown Ale come out as a Blonde. The beer was good but not what I expected.  I also have a brewhaus efficiency expectation that I have dialed in on my mill.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2023, 10:57:34 am by BrewBama »

Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: How do you brew with only online access?
« Reply #24 on: July 19, 2023, 12:24:13 pm »
I also seem to remember some brewers suggesting to mill your grain as close to mash time as possible.  Does that hold water with you guys?  If you used pre-milled grain over the course of 3-4 months would the quality of the finished beer suffer from that?  I want to say no but it's been a loooooong time since I used pre-milled grain.  I always mill as my strike water is heating. 
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Offline dbeechum

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Re: How do you brew with only online access?
« Reply #25 on: July 19, 2023, 12:28:25 pm »
As long as the grain is stored properly (cool/dry), pre-milled grain has a marketed lifespan of 12 months from the big suppliers, iirc.
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Offline goose

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Re: How do you brew with only online access?
« Reply #26 on: July 19, 2023, 12:43:35 pm »
I also seem to remember some brewers suggesting to mill your grain as close to mash time as possible.  Does that hold water with you guys?  If you used pre-milled grain over the course of 3-4 months would the quality of the finished beer suffer from that?  I want to say no but it's been a loooooong time since I used pre-milled grain.  I always mill as my strike water is heating.

I almost always mill my grain while the strike water is heating.  The only exception is when we are doing a club brew and I am milling everyone's grain.  In that case I mill it a day or two before the brew and it is fine.  At one of the local breweries they buy their grain pre-milled and use it up within a couple months.  It seems to remain pretty fresh in that amount of time and the bags they get it in are sealed and have a plastic liner.  Plus, the brewery is air conditioned.  Moisture/humidity combines with really warm temperatures is a killer for pre-milled grain.  If you have any doubts about the freshness of your pre-milled grain, take a small amount and chew it.  If it is fresh, it will be crunchy, if it has gone slack it will be pasty. 

The best advice I can offer, IMHO, is if you have pre-milled grain and are going to store it for a while, seal it in some type of airtight container and keep it cool to keep any moisture out
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Offline BrewBama

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Re: How do you brew with only online access?
« Reply #27 on: July 19, 2023, 01:07:36 pm »

I almost always mill my grain while the strike water is heating.  …

+1

Offline denny

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Re: How do you brew with only online access?
« Reply #28 on: July 19, 2023, 01:47:47 pm »

I almost always mill my grain while the strike water is heating.  …

+1

I do mine the day before. I also measure and treat all my water. Then I set the system to heat the next morning so I can just walk in and get the mash going
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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: How do you brew with only online access?
« Reply #29 on: July 19, 2023, 02:47:57 pm »
Setting heat delay for mash strike water is about the only automatic function available on my Anvil Foundry - and I use it regularly to walk out in the morning ready to dough in.  I mill my grain in the winter the night before, just so I can move the bucket of milled grain into the warmth of the house and not have it go from near-freezing temperature grains to mash temps based on an unheated garage.  If I miss low, I don't worry a whole lot, because I have an Anvil Foundry for 5 gallon batches; otherwise I HERMS recirc with 10 gallon batches to hit the right mash temps if my initial attempt is low.  Missing high seems to never occur...
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