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Home brewing

Prickly007

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My special project is on hold, owing to the border closure. On the upside, the lock down was kind to my bank account; consequently, the project budget has actually increased. Sadly, so have my ambitions/designs.

I am now considering getting into home brewing and was wondering what people here do*: extract kits, partial mash or all grain? As for equipment, have you kept it basic or graduated to a more elaborate BIAB, RIMS or HERMS system? Bottles or kegs?


* I know there are home brewers here, just can't remember who.
 

danmitch1

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Junior home brewer here, I started with an extract kit and graduated to grain. Its like baking home made bread, there is nothing like a fresh home brew and therein lies the problem lol.. I have a hard time having a fridge full of home brew and not constantly drinking them..

I was doing 5 gallon batches and quickly realized that all the work that goes into it, doing 10 gallons doesnt take much more effort and in reality doesnt cost too much more.

I started with bottle and cap method, switched to the grolsch type bottles ( side story, I contacted grolsch to ask where I could buy the gaskets used on their bottles, the guy sent me 200 free gaskets! ) .

Then I got tired of the near impossible task of reinstalling the gaskets back on the bottles after sanitizing so I switched back to bottle and cap.. then I got tired of cleaning and sanitizing 50+ bottles each bottling day.. So I accumulated a bunch of 1 liter bottles, that cut my bottling time significantly! But.. Id love to get a keg system going, convert my mini fridge into a kegerator.

Now my brewing has stopped, my apartment doesnt have a kitchen fan (range hood) and boiling a 10 gallon mash was turning my kitchen into a steam bath... water was condensing and dripping off my ceiling.. Im now looking into geting a turkey fryer type system (propane burner) to boil my mash outside..
 

Prickly007

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I was doing 5 gallon batches....
Batch size is probably the biggest issue I am wrestling with, currently leaning towards less than 5 gallons and buying a 2.5 gallon keg(s) that could be stored in the second fridge.

Grolsch type bottles was my first thought, but I really don't want to wash endless bottles.
 

danmitch1

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Batch size is probably the biggest issue I am wrestling with, currently leaning towards less than 5 gallons and buying a 2.5 gallon keg(s) that could be stored in the second fridge.

Grolsch type bottles was my first thought, but I really don't want to wash endless bottles.
Most people who actually get serious about home brewing, ditch bottles completely and go the keg route. It also speeds up the process as you do not need to do a secondary fermentation to carb up your brew. Makes for a cleaner more crisp brew and avoids the bottle bomb and possibly contaminating your batch if your not careful with your sanitation process.

In my opinion, dont go with a smaller batch. Not worth it unless its just for fun/learning etc..
 

Prickly007

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The idea of small batches came from homebrewtalk.com, people were discussing what they would do differently if starting from scratch. Small batches mean failures cost less, cheaper kegs and, perhaps most importantly, more variety in beers brewed.
 

danmitch1

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Oh definitely, but the extra energy taken to boil 10 gallons vs 5 gallons is negligible.
Also, the process of brewing is time consuming, it takes roughly the same amount of time to double your brew (not counting the bottling obviously). Never had one failed batch yet!

If you are really thorough with your sanitation and keep your brew area and equipment clean you can nearly eliminate the chance of a failed batch.

That is another side to keep in mind, each time you brew you have to sanitize all your equipment which if you do it right, takes forever. If you brew 500ml or 50 gallons that process takes the same amount of time.
 

Sagath

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I've homebrewed for about 7 years now, even have a few medals from National Competitions.

Dont bother with FULL Extract kits, if you're actually serious you'll quickly want better quality from your beers. I went straight to all grain after watching friends brew and learning the in's and outs. BIAB has its place, especially for smaller stove-top batches, I do test batches with base extract & BIAB stove top 1 gallon runs sometimes.

There is 'hybrid' style "All grain" almost-brew in a bag systems that might pique your interest like the grainfather, robobrew and their ilk; its more expensive than DIY custom builds, but they're easy to clean and take up a WAY smaller footprint than a custom kit. If you're going to make your own system from scratch I highly suggest keeping it simple and easy to clean. The more complex things are, and the harder it is to clean, the less you're going to want to brew.

Kegging is a high $ entry, but TOTALLY worth it imo. Cleaning is the worst part of the hobby, and cleaning 40+ bottles just plain isnt fun. Cleaning kegs & lines is way faster, and you get WAY more consistant carbonation results compared to bottling. Do yourself a favour and skip bottling, trust me. Pick up a used mini-fridge off kijiji, mod it in to a Kegerator (you can probably find my build on here actually, I think I posted it), pick up a keg kit + tower, and for <$300 you're laughing.

One last thing I can say; Dont get caught up in the dogma within this hobby. Its absolutely infuriating to hear the old guys preach that there is only one way to do things "because thats the way its done". Brulosophy has proved many of these things (reasonably) verifiably false a lot of times. For example, I personally ferment lagers at 16c and they've won gold multiple times.

HMU if you have any questions.
 
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Prickly007

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If you are really thorough with your sanitation... you can nearly eliminate the chance of a failed batch.
Failure can also included using the wrong grain bill and producing something that tastes horrible.

Thanks Sagath. :) Beer making would actually be a secondary use of the equipment. :sneaky:
 

danmitch1

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I guess if you are playing around with new flavors, developing your own personal brew.. otherwise, its pretty easy to follow tried and tested recipes.

It all depends on what your intentions are.. I for one, brew for freshness and to save money...

I have to ask, what is the primary use of your equipment?
 
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