Author Topic: Considering Homebrewing as a new hobby  (Read 2171 times)

Offline dunkelben

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Re: Considering Homebrewing as a new hobby
« Reply #15 on: July 18, 2011, 03:57:43 PM »
Responding to Gordonstrong's question about making an extract beer, since I'm still very new at this I'm not sure what exactly that is, but I have read in various dunkel recipes that Munich malt extract is included, so my intention is to use whatever ingredients are required for the desired beer.  in this case, a dunkel.  I only hope that the necessary ingredients are not too difficult to acquire, as I haven't done my research to that degree yet.

Thanks a10t2 about the post about a swamp cooler.  I'll certainly look into that.  Anything I can do to be economical would certainly be nice, and my unfinished basement floor from the beginning was where I planned to have the fermenter, and which may very well provide a cool enough environment. 

That brings up another question, and please pardon my ignorance if this is a stupid question, but is there a way to read the tempurature of the liquid inside the fermenter (carboy, correct?)?  If so, I could do one or two test batches to see what tempurature the beer ferments at simply sitting on the concrete floor.

Offline scooter2374

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Re: Considering Homebrewing as a new hobby
« Reply #16 on: July 18, 2011, 04:09:45 PM »
They make cheap stick on thermometer stickers to slap on the side of your fermenter that do the trick
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Offline oscarvan

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Re: Considering Homebrewing as a new hobby
« Reply #17 on: July 18, 2011, 07:26:03 PM »

That brings up another question, and please pardon my ignorance if this is a stupid question, but is there a way to read the tempurature of the liquid inside the fermenter (carboy, correct?)?  If so, I could do one or two test batches to see what tempurature the beer ferments at simply sitting on the concrete floor.

Don't need a carboy..... the 6 gallon brewing buckets they sell at your local home brew supply are easier to work with (clean specifically) . Yes a stick on thermometer is perfect.

Personally, if I were you..... I'd make a few Kolsch's or German Ales...... get the hang of it and then see if you can pull off a lager...(the Dunkel....) Don't worry, you will NEVER regret anything you brew, as your own brew tastes better than anything you can buy in a store....
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Offline dunkelben

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Re: Considering Homebrewing as a new hobby
« Reply #18 on: July 19, 2011, 03:55:19 AM »
Quote
Don't need a carboy..... the 6 gallon brewing buckets they sell at your local home brew supply are easier to work with (clean specifically) . Yes a stick on thermometer is perfect.

The kit i'm buying comes with both a bucket and a carboy, so I'll probably at least try the carboy first.  I had completely forgotten about those stick on thermometers.  i used to use those on fish tanks when I was a kid.  excellent!

Offline dons

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Re: Considering Homebrewing as a new hobby
« Reply #19 on: July 19, 2011, 05:59:54 AM »
Dunkel, I really want to +1 what some people mentioned or implied earlier.  As was said, making beer is easy - like golf is easy.  It's just that to do it well takes a significant amount of effort.  It's much better (for your long-term brewing) if you start out walking rather than worry about running right out of the blocks.  Practice is needed.  If you do not do that, you are destined to be very disappointed, imho.  Learn the basics first - learn about sanitizing equipment, learn what part water plays, how to encourage yeast to do what you want them to do, temperature controls during particular times in the process, etc.  I would venture to guess that a majority of people on this site - and most brewers, home and commercial - started off with something akin to a Mr. Beer kit, extract brewing and "learning by mistake".  I know that I did anyway.  I have been brewing for 5 years and still do not feel like I'm ready to make some of my favorite styles - like saison and barleywine.  Learning as you go is much more fun and much more satisfying and better for the future than jumping in with both feet first.  I'm having a blast.
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Offline denny

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Re: Considering Homebrewing as a new hobby
« Reply #20 on: July 19, 2011, 08:20:14 AM »
Quote
Don't need a carboy..... the 6 gallon brewing buckets they sell at your local home brew supply are easier to work with (clean specifically) . Yes a stick on thermometer is perfect.

The kit i'm buying comes with both a bucket and a carboy, so I'll probably at least try the carboy first.  I had completely forgotten about those stick on thermometers.  i used to use those on fish tanks when I was a kid.  excellent!


The idea of having both of those in a kit is to use the bucket as your primary fermenter, then eventually move the beer to the carboy for conditioning.
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Offline Slowbrew

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Re: Considering Homebrewing as a new hobby
« Reply #21 on: July 19, 2011, 09:29:13 AM »
Quote
Don't need a carboy..... the 6 gallon brewing buckets they sell at your local home brew supply are easier to work with (clean specifically) . Yes a stick on thermometer is perfect.

The kit i'm buying comes with both a bucket and a carboy, so I'll probably at least try the carboy first.  I had completely forgotten about those stick on thermometers.  i used to use those on fish tanks when I was a kid.  excellent!


The idea of having both of those in a kit is to use the bucket as your primary fermenter, then eventually move the beer to the carboy for conditioning.

The bucket is usually 6.5 to 7.5 gallons and the carboy is 5 gallons.  If you try to ferment 5 gallons of beer in a 5 gallon container it will push all the foam that forms on top of the beer (krausen) out of the bottle and make a huge mess. 

Primary fermentation is normally very active and needs a good amount of head space above the wort.  After the primary fermentation is finished, things calm down and most of the foam falls back into the beer.  At that point you can rack the beer into the carboy (i.e. the secondary fermenter) to finish and clear.  The carboy could also be called a bright tank in some circles as it is usually used to clear a beer.  You will find a good level of debate on this board and others about the need to use a secondary fermenter.

I hope that helps.

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Offline richardt

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Re: Considering Homebrewing as a new hobby
« Reply #22 on: July 19, 2011, 09:33:09 AM »
I also highly recommend the use of FermCap-S for yeast starters, and in the boil kettle (to prevent boilovers).  It also allows you to not have to worry as much about blow outs or blow offs since the high krausen only goes about an inch (if that) above the beer during fermentation.  The result is less mess during your brew day (your spouse will thank you) and less beer loss in the tub or fridge.

Offline dunkelben

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Re: Considering Homebrewing as a new hobby
« Reply #23 on: July 19, 2011, 03:00:57 PM »
Quote
It's much better (for your long-term brewing) if you start out walking rather than worry about running right out of the blocks.
Actually, I completely agree with you and have no delusions that I'm going to be regular brewmaster right away.  My expectation is to start "easy" and do some batches that will hopefully improve my understanding of the process, validate my interest in the hobby, and give me the courage to attempt more complicated recipes.  The way you're making it sound, perhaps a dunkel is pretty ambitious for a newby like myself, and I half expected that.  I was hoping a dunkel was simply using different ingredients, but have since learned that there is more to it, such as the lower tempurature fermentation necessary for lagers.  If there are any more details about dunkels that I don't know about, well, that's part of the learning process and I'll get to that point hopefully sooner than later in this hobby I'm about to under take.

Quote
The bucket is usually 6.5 to 7.5 gallons and the carboy is 5 gallons.  If you try to ferment 5 gallons of beer in a 5 gallon container it will push all the foam that forms on top of the beer (krausen) out of the bottle and make a huge mess.
I understand what you mean now, I thought the primary fermenter was the carboy.  Yes, I do understand how the large bucket is quite necessary during the active fermenting phase.

I want to reiterate to everyone that I appreciate your comments, you've all been a tremendous help and very friendly.

Ben


Offline Will's Swill

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Re: Considering Homebrewing as a new hobby
« Reply #24 on: July 19, 2011, 04:09:31 PM »
Realizing, of course, that you can use a blow-off tube and still ferment 5 gallons of beer in a 5 gallon carboy.  In saying this, I'm not trying to suggest that fermenting in a bucket is a bad idea.  I've done both successfully (fermenting in buckets and carboys with blow-off tubes) many times.
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Offline euge

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Re: Considering Homebrewing as a new hobby
« Reply #25 on: July 19, 2011, 07:59:46 PM »
Welcome to the forum Dunkelben.

There will be questions. Lots more questions. Besides the importance of fermentation temperature control, let the gravity of the beer tell you when it is ready- not some time range stated by a recipe.
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Offline a10t2

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Re: Considering Homebrewing as a new hobby
« Reply #26 on: July 19, 2011, 08:58:35 PM »
Besides the importance of fermentation temperature control, let the gravity of the beer tell you when it is ready- not some time range stated by a recipe.

That's excellent advice. Most brewers, their first time (or first few times) out, fall into what I call the "newbie trifecta":
1. Not pitching enough yeast.
2. Pitching and fermenting too warm.
3. Removing the beer from the yeast too early.

Just remember that yeast make the beer and you'll do fine. That's the great thing about starting with extracts, actually - most of the other work has been done for you, and you can focus entirely on keeping the yeast happy.
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Offline cfleisher

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Re: Considering Homebrewing as a new hobby
« Reply #27 on: July 25, 2011, 10:51:42 AM »
I agree with most of what's already been said. It's not any more complicated to brew than other beers, but requires additional equipment (and patience.) If you don't have a spare fridge, try doing an ale version with a clean fermenting yeast (US-05) and put the bucket in the coolest part of your home. It'll be tasty enough to enjoy.
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