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Brewing Beer, Cider, and Other Alcoholic Beverages


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In another thread, Logan asked if we had a topic that dealt with home brewing and I looked for one, but it appears that we don't. I had meant to post this a long time back actually.

 

I've been home brewing beer for a few years now, although I stopped around the time of my open heart surgery for a while.

 

I have made many batches of beer, cider, and I just put in a batch of mead (first time). I like having control of the taste and the percentage of alcohol.

 

For those who are interested in brewing, here is a short synopsis:

 

Brewing can be extremely simple or you can make it more complex and traditional depending on your preference. I have gone the simple route for most of my batches and they have tasted wonderful. When brewing beer, I use canned malt. With canned malt all you have to do is sterilize everything, mix your canned malt with water and yeast (you can add many other ingredients if you choose, I added blueberry juice for my very first batch), and then put the fermentor in a dark place for two weeks. Basically the yeast eat the sugars and produce alcohol and carbon dioxide (you need a fermentor to let the gas out, but not let things in). Then, you bottle your batch and add a little sugar to the bottles, which causes the yeast to eat a little more and carbonate your drink.

 

The first batch that I brewed with a friend in Colorado was traditional, with all malted grain and various other ingredients. My buddy and I made a 5 gallon batch, which is the size that many home brewer batches are typically.

 

I have been using the Mr. Beer fermentor which is a two gallon container shaped like a beer keg instead of the more traditional 5 gallon container. I just find that it more manageable. When I first saw the Mr. Beer kit I thought that it was some pansy ass gimmick, but it works well for me.

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They only have the two gallon size, but you could buy this one with an airlock and it would probably work pretty well. Making mead or cider is even easier than beer. I can walk you through the process if you would like.

 

Oh, and I use a closet for my two gallon batches (I did in my apartment and now that I have a house I still use one). Jax uses a closet too. He is actually the guy who got me to use the Mr. Beer fermenter.

Edited by The Vagrant
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Jax! Input! Immediately!

 

See, these little hints and tips (like the swing tip bottles) are exactly the shit I'm looking for.

 

I recently discovered I don't much care for cider, I do like a good mead though.

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My friend served home brewed mead at his wedding last year. It was a bit too sweet, but that didn't stop me from getting tore up on the stuff. Jax was in to this as well for a while. What did he call it, Chateau Edwardium or something? It was goodness.

Edited by Mr. Hakujin
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i liked the cider i had on my trip, never had it domestically though.

 

and jax was pretty good about keeping/cleaning those bottles, they really helped out too. might wanna PM him if he don't see this non-politics/pixar/avatar thread.

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Was my name spoken three times? I'm Beetlejuice all over this thread!

 

Yeah, I haven't down this in a while, but I was actually planning on doing it again this week. The first batch I ever made was an apple beer (not apple cider, because it still had the barley and hops of beer as well as the apple), and it was honestly one of the best beers I've ever had, and I like buying and ordering microbrews and craft beers, it's not like I've only ever had Coors Light, Miller High Life and Bud Lime. Unfortunately, I've never been able to replicate the pure awesomeness of that first batch. My attempt at blackberry beer ended up tasting more like a wine cooler. I've made some good ones, just none like that first batch.

 

As for bottles, 3 four-packs of Grolsch swing tops are cheaper than buying the 12 pack of empty bottles from Mr Beer by a few bucks ($7.99 times 3 is $23.97, vs $29.95 plus shipping), so even if you hate Grolsch and would rather pour it down the drain that drink it, it still is cheaper, though Mr Beer sells brown bottles, which are generally better than the green Grolsch. Other places like this website sell bottles cheaper than Mr Beer, but after shipping it still might be cheaper to just buy Grolsch or a more expensive craft beer so you get some beer to drink.

 

The most important tip though is: Be THOROUGH in your sanitizing! Contamination will not make your beer poisonous (that's almost impossible, the whole reason people started brewing beer and wine was because it turned their grains and grapes into a non-perishable food stuff that was virtually completely safe from giving you a food-born illness...the inebriation was just a happy fringe benefit), but it will fuck up the flavor of your beer and make finishing off your batch a chore, which is something that should be a pleasure. The same way that farmers spent centuries domesticating many wild varieties of plants into highly delicious and nutritious food for human, brewers spent centuries domesticating wild yeast to the strands that make the most delicious beers and wines possible, so you want that beer yeast you buy to be the only microbes in there.

 

Happy brewing!

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Was my name spoken three times? I'm Beetlejuice all over this thread!

 

Yeah, I haven't down this in a while, but I was actually planning on doing it again this week. The first batch I ever made was an apple beer (not apple cider, because it still had the barley and hops of beer as well as the apple), and it was honestly one of the best beers I've ever had. I've made some good ones, just none like that first batch.

 

 

Heh. That apple beer was mighty tasty.

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You drank a good amount of the stuff at my house during the last poker game, maybe a little too much?

 

ahaha, yes i did! my memories of that fond evening are of course filled with my meager winnings, and the "lil kim" cover, but i stand corrected - meant to say i havent had it commercially/at a bar, so ive never had a bad one.

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Good times.

 

Speaking of lil Kim, if you are on twitter you should check out KimJongNumberUn. Here are a couple of recent tweets:

 

"My position on immigration is simple: just try and escape."

 

"URGENT DUDE WHO THREW BOTTLE AT CHRIS BROWN NEEDED TO RUN MY MISSILE PROGRAM CONTACT ME ON MYSPACE KTHXBYE"

 

"Yo, Scott Walker, congrats! I'm always stoked when a leader who deprives children of food stays in power."

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My friend served home brewed mead at his wedding last year. It was a bit too sweet, but that didn't stop me from getting tore up on the stuff.

 

I am making a braggot, which is a type of mead where some malt and hops are added. It should be around 12-13% abv. It won't be sweet though due to the kind of yeast I am using. To make sweet mead you use a yeast that dies before it can eat all the sugar. Basically it is killed when the alcohol content hits 11-12%, sometimes lower. I am using champagne yeast and it has a very high tolerance for alcohol.

 

If you want to sweeten it, you can do what is referred to as back sweetening, which is essentially adding sweetners when you are going to drink it.

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Back sweetening? WTF is adding Splenda to their alcohol? Not cool.

 

And to continue the Lil' Kim digression, I saw her tour bus on the interstate the other day. I tried to snap a pick w/ my phone, but couldn't get it. The whole back was that decades old Queen Bee pic. Nice, but false advertisement at this point.

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  • 1 year later...

That's funny, I was just talking to MetalHeart's sister's fiancee (say that five times fast) about barley wine and he told me about this very man and how he had analyzed the residue on some drinking vessels from Crete which had led them to produce a brew called the Midas touch which is not quite a beer and not quite a wine but all kinds of awesome.

 

I think it's pretty cool.

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  • 1 year later...

As jax says Sanitisation is key - whether kegs or bottles,

Nothing worse than drain pouring a 5 gallon batch cos you're beer is infected (unintentionally)

Have been really enjoying sour beers, and lambics lately - which have bacteria intentionally added or wild yeast. Yum.

And am going to belgium in AUgust! Woot!

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