Author Topic: What should I have on hand?  (Read 999 times)

Offline gmac

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2010
  • London, Ontario
    • View Profile
What should I have on hand?
« on: May 04, 2011, 11:58:22 AM »
Any good cook has a pantry or larder stocked with basic essential items that they turn to when they are cooking.  I am starting to think that I need to do the same for homebrewing.  Everytime I look up a recipe that I may want to try, it has a new ingredient that I don't have.  It's a 2 hour drive just to get to the LHBS or a week wait to order on-line.  So I'm asking - What are the essential ingredients that you should have on hand at all times?  I know that there will always be things that I'll need when trying a new recipe but I'm going to make up a big on-line order and I want to stock the shelves with the basics.  For me, ales are more popular than lagers but I would imagine that Pale Malt would be the #1 item for me, Pilsner malt maybe for a lager fan.  
I know I need to get more crystal but do you have a whole bunch of types?  15L to 150L? And then there's all the "Cara" styles...  
What do you keep in stock and never get caught without?

My current inventory:
Pale malt (55 lbs)
Maris Otter (10 lbs)
Vienna malt (5 lbs)
Rye malt (5 lbs)
1 lb each of Carafa ll, chocolate malt, roast barley
Hallertau, Northern Brewer, East Kent Goldings Tettnang, Perle, Fuggle, Amarillo and Cascade hops in varying amounts from 3 to 12 oz.
WLP833 and WLP001 - One vial each plus harvested bohemian lager and London lll yeast.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2011, 12:00:25 PM by gmac »

Offline hokerer

  • I spend way too much time on the AHA forum
  • ********
  • Posts: 2634
  • Manassas, VA
    • View Profile
Re: What should I have on hand?
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2011, 12:04:05 PM »
I keep the biggies on hand (Pale, Marris Otter, etc.) but all the specialty I tend to order in batches.  I try and rough out a plan for the next seven or so brews and get whatever I need in one big order.  Yeasties I ranch and have slants of seven different strains.  Hops, I keep by the pound in the freezer - Magnum for bittering, Mt Hood as a pseudo-noble, Willamette for English/Irish, and Cascade, Centennial, & Amarillo for the 'mericuns.
Joe

Offline hamiltont

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 972
  • Location: Somewhere in the Middle of Nebraska
    • View Profile
Re: What should I have on hand?
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2011, 12:13:48 PM »
Beyond what you posted:

US-05 yeast - Min of 2 packs
34/70 - Min of 2 packs
Yeast Slurries from prior batches

Munich Malt - 55 lb sack
Vienna Malt - 55 lb sack
Pilsner Malt - 55 lb. sack
Wheat Malt - ~20 lbs.
Crystal 20 - ~ 5 lbs.
Crystal 40 - ~ 5 lbs.
Crystal 60 - ~ 5 lbs.
Black Patent - ~ 5 lbs.
Rice Hulls

Magnum Hops - 1 lb.
Mt. Hood Hops - 1 lb.
Chinook Hops - 1 lb.
CTZ Hops - 1 lb.



If Homebrew & BBQ aren't the answer, then you're askin' the wrong questions... Cheers!!!

Offline tschmidlin

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 8130
  • Redmond, WA
    • View Profile
Re: What should I have on hand?
« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2011, 12:29:31 PM »
I mostly stick with sacks of Maris Otter and Pilsner malt, and a few backup packs of US-05 and S-04.  When I need a particular variety of hops I usually order by the pound, so I end up with several varieties in the freezer some older than others.  Same with malt, I order 3-5 lbs of the things I use less commonly, use what I need at the time and have the rest on hand.  I don't have a set list of things to keep in stock, more of a hodge podge I can draw from.

If I brewed the same things all of the time then it would be easier to have a standard reserve, but I change it up a lot.

<edit>This is the same way I filled my spice cabinet.  When I needed something for a recipe I bought more than I needed and stored the rest.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2011, 12:32:08 PM by tschmidlin »
Tom Schmidlin

Offline blatz

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2448
  • Paul Blatz - Jupiter, FL
    • View Profile
Re: What should I have on hand?
« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2011, 12:30:51 PM »
pretty similar to hamiltonT, but bear in mind, almost all I brew these days is German lagers and American ales:

1 sack each:
Maris or 2-row
Vienna
Munich
Pils

3-5lbs each:
C-20L
C-40L
C-60L

a few lbs:
Chocolate
Roasted
Carafa

Hops:
2-3lbs Nobles
lb each minimum:
Mags
Cascade
Chinook
Centennial
Columbus
Mt Hood
Simcoe
Amarillo

US-05 packs and slurries of 001 and 830

I got a bug and bought a full sack of Munich II recently.  Probably a case where my eyes were bigger than my stomach, but I guess some dunkels are in my future.



« Last Edit: May 04, 2011, 12:33:22 PM by blatz »
The happiest people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.

BJCP National: F0281

Offline corkybstewart

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1298
    • View Profile
Re: What should I have on hand?
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2011, 12:52:48 PM »
I buy bulk base malts from a brewpub 300 miles away when I'm in the neighborhood so I tend to overbuy.  I like to keep the following on hand:
2 bags 2 row pale
2 bags maris Otter
2 bag Pilsner
1 bag Muniuch
! bag wheat.
I usually buy specialty malts online in either 5 or 10 pound bags:
Rye
Roast barley
Chocolate malt
Black Patent(a brewer gave me a 25K sack a couple of years ago so I don't ever have to buy it again)
Special B
Crystal 20, 40 and 60
Carapils
I make my own rauchmalts from 2 row pale
I keep a very wide variety of hops, everything from Noble hops to Amarillo-but no Chinook or Simcoe
I have plenty of dry hops on hand and I buy liquid yeasts when I run across a homebrew shop.
I'd really just rather be brewing in sunny Carlsbad New Mexico

Offline jeffy

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2436
  • Tampa, Fl
    • View Profile
Re: What should I have on hand?
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2011, 01:03:03 PM »
I live within a couple miles of my LHBS so I don't keep a lot of specialty malts on hand.  
I almost always buy Pils malt by the bag and sometimes Munich malt as well.  
I have a pretty good selection of free hops from competitions, raffles and judging.  
I acquired a 50 pound bag of rice hulls when it was being thrown out, which is more than a lifetime supply.  
Five or six slurries of yeast from previous brews.
Lots of salts and chemicals.
Usually a couple of packs of dry yeast.
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 hokerer

  • I spend way too much time on the AHA forum
  • ********
  • Posts: 2634
  • Manassas, VA
    • View Profile
Re: What should I have on hand?
« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2011, 01:03:56 PM »
Black Patent(a brewer gave me a 25K sack a couple of years ago so I don't ever have to buy it again)

A few batches like the one in this post http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=5876.msg70954#msg70954 and you won't have that problem any more  :)
Joe

Online morticaixavier

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 5656
  • Davis, CA
    • View Profile
    • The Best Artist in the WORLD!!!!!
Re: What should I have on hand?
« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2011, 01:42:32 PM »
pretty similar to hamiltonT, but bear in mind, almost all I brew these days is German lagers and American ales:


this would be a good name for a honey brown ale
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time" - A. Einstein

Jonathan I Fuller

Offline Will's Swill

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 359
  • Secretly likes wine...
    • View Profile
Re: What should I have on hand?
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2011, 10:26:24 PM »
I stock vodka, tomato juice, beef broth, celery salt, Tabasco, and Worcestershire sauce for Brewing Marys.
Is that a counter-pressure bottle filler in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?

Offline Pinski

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1552
  • Portland, Oregon
    • View Profile
Re: What should I have on hand?
« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2011, 11:13:51 PM »
I stock vodka, tomato juice, beef broth, celery salt, Tabasco, and Worcestershire sauce for Brewing Marys.
breakfast of champions!
Thank you BEER!

Offline euge

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 7208
  • Estilo Casero
    • View Profile
Re: What should I have on hand?
« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2011, 07:08:07 AM »
I brew mostly bitters so keep basics on hand:

#55 Maris Otter or 2-row
Assortment of crystal malts: 10,60 &120
Roasted and chocolate malt
cane sugar
Various high AA hops in bulk- vac sealed and frozen
Dry yeast
Yeast slurry in containers

Brewing salts
campden tabs
whirlflock tabs
anti-foam

And DME for making starters.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline richardt

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1227
    • View Profile
Re: What should I have on hand?
« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2011, 10:06:45 AM »
You will go through the base malts (2-row, pils, pale, marris otter, etc) a lot faster than you think, so buy them by the sack, especially if you have your own grain mill.  It also allows you to be impulsive.  You can brew a lot of styles with Belgian Pale Ale (Castle) and pils malt (Briess).

I went overboard on the crystals--you don't need 5 pounds for each 10 degrees Lovibond.  I'll let others chime in here about flavor differences between the various crystals.  I doubt many can discriminate beyond low, medium, and high crystal ratings, and Special B/special roast.

The highly kilned and roasted grains are used so sparingly, that I don't recommend more than a pound.  I still have a bunch of various dark grains sitting around after I bought them thinking I'd be doing a bunch of dunkels, porters, and stouts.  Then, after recipe formulation, it became apparent that the dark grain contribution for each batch is often in the mere ounces (e.g., 1 or 2 on up to 4 or 8 ounces).

I do recommend aromatic and/or melanoiden malt--I use these in nearly all my batches, when appropriate.  I love the maltiness.

I also second the large quantities of Magnum hops--they're a clean bittering hop with high AA levels.

Don't just get one or two ounces of a hop.  Sometimes you need more than that just for one batch.

Fermcap-S (antifoam)--the best thing for preventing boilovers

I always forget to buy enough DME--they're great for yeast starters.

Offline gmac

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2010
  • London, Ontario
    • View Profile
Re: What should I have on hand?
« Reply #13 on: May 09, 2011, 10:01:50 AM »
I stock vodka, tomato juice, beef broth, celery salt, Tabasco, and Worcestershire sauce for Brewing Marys.
If you run across Mott's Clamato in your travels, sub that for the tomato and beef broth.  It's called a Caesar.  Bloody Mary's are practically unheard of in Canada because of this.  I've had both and I like Caesar's much better.

I picked up a bunch of crystal on the weekend, 45 and 120L.  They also had a 75L and I should have asked before but can I blend the 45/120 to make 75 or 90 or 105 or some other combination or are the characteristics of each such that they are all stand alone products?
I also got 5 lbs of wheat malt, 5 lbs of pilsner malt (because in the O'fest string it was suggested this would be a better choice) and a few lbs of flaked corn.  
Now I don't know what to make.  I'm torn between a CAP or an American IPA style.  Or keep making changes to the ESB recipe I came up with and am trying to fine tune.  Too many choices...
« Last Edit: May 09, 2011, 10:09:15 AM by gmac »

Offline hokerer

  • I spend way too much time on the AHA forum
  • ********
  • Posts: 2634
  • Manassas, VA
    • View Profile
Re: What should I have on hand?
« Reply #14 on: May 09, 2011, 10:28:41 AM »
[I picked up a bunch of crystal on the weekend, 45 and 120L.  They also had a 75L and I should have asked before but can I blend the 45/120 to make 75 or 90 or 105 or some other combination or are the characteristics of each such that they are all stand alone products?

The blending thing doesn't really work as they are different animals so your blend wouldn't be the same as, say, crystal 75L.  But, that said, go ahead and try it as you might like the result anyways.
Joe