Anyboy brew at home? Anyone recommend it?

What’s a good site for beer?

I used to homebrew. If you are interested in getting into it, I would recommend The Complete Joy of Homebrewing to start off with.

You might also check out the yellow pages and see if there are any homebrew supply shops near you. It’s a lot easier to get started if you have someplace where you can get advice and help in person.

I spent last weekend with my friend brewing a batch from the awesomely-named Beer, Beer, and More Beer. We won’t know for about a month how we did, but so far it looks good (and we thought we screwed it up).

Actually, though, if you practice sterile technique and eliminate chance of contaminating the batch with your filthy hands of tap water, it’s pretty idiot-proof otherwise. The important steps in beer-brewing are, of course, the actual brewing of the wort (the concentrated mash of grain and hops), the proper cooling of the wort so that the yeast can be added properly, and keeping all that as clean as possible. For about a hundred bucks, you can brew five gallons at a time, but it’s a laborious process requiring at least two people and chance of contamination is high due to the simplistic equipment (a kettle, a couple giant buckets, and some other crap, with lots of sloshing in and out of them). For under a grand, you can nab a decent set-up that with a few tries you can refine to make a decent batch. For a couple grand, you can have a digital set-up where your hands never have to risk touching the stuff, thus practically eliminating the chance of contamination (the primary cause of ruined home-brewed beer). Those rigs brew the wort in far more sophisticated, reliable manner than any of the cheaper rigs, which is literally brewing and stirring it in an open pot. Your chance of ruining the batch is quite low this way, provided you buy liquid yeast which is more reliable (another common, though not quite as much anymore, cause of a ruined batch). The more expensive rigs allow you to have a drinkalbe batch while another one (or two) is fermenting, so you aren’t waiting a goddamned month between batches. Also, all those fees are one-time-only; a batch will only cost you around 30 or 40 bucks for the yeast, grain, and hops.

Hidden costs in brewing beer include bottling - clean bottles are expensive, and cleaning used bottles is laborious (and potentially dangerous or at least detrimental, due to contamination). You can’t use screw-tops. You can buy a rig with (or buy as an accessory) a keg, which is the easiest method.

Preparing a batch takes about 2-3 hours (the actual brewing time of the wort is almost always 60 minutes). Fermentation takes about 2 weeks, and then carbonation takes about another 2 weeks. That’s a long time to wait for a ruined batch, so my advice is, if you really want to brew good beer, save up about $2,500 and get a nice three-barrel rig with a keg. Or, practice on a hundred dollar rig a few times, then be painstaking with a 1000-dollar rig. You could squeak by with a cheaper set-up, but sooner or later you’re going to tank a batch and never get the taste of it out of your mouth. If you want to fund your own little brewing operation and make beer my the kegload, you can drop about 12 or 13 grand on a rig that takes up about half your garage and reliably brews absurd quantities of beer.

A good book is How to Brew by John J. Palmer and a good site is (you can buy Palmer’s book off it).

Lastly, nothing smells quite like fresh hops.

I agree w/ both Union and Bill … The Complete Joy of Homebrewing is the bible. Mine is crusty with 10 years of spilled beer on it.

I will re-emphasize one point - - the cleaning is a bitch. Sterilizing 48 bottles, the fermenting carbouys, and the piping is a mind-numbing chore, and I recommend plenty of homebrew in hand while you do it. And you need a cool basement - or at least somewhere out of the summer heat - to let it sit for a month or so after bottling.

So you’re looking at a stainless boiling pot, a couple of glass carbouys for fermenation (don’t use the cheapo plastic pails), air locks, plastic hose, bottle filler, capper - - About $100 in equipment (assuming you already have the boiling pot), including 1 or 2 beginner recipies, is all you really need to see if you like it. A local store is usually happy to put a “beginner’s kit” together. Down the road, you can get into the hairy stuff like making your own malt extract or growing your own hops. But for starters, just buy the canned stuff.

I’ll second the cleaning advice–this is the single most important thing to do. Screwing up the proportions or boil times may make the beer taste a little weird, but you will notice huge improvements in taste if you’re really careful about keeping everything clean. And I’m not suggesting you get a hands-off setup, just that you’re really careful about sterilizing everything. If you can’t boil it, bleach it.

As far sterilizing bottles, I recommend just running them through the dishwasher, which always works for me. Before I had a dishwasher I would let them soak in bucket of water and bleach for a few hours.

A tip on which bottles to use: European. For some reason the labels on American bottle are extremely difficult to get off.

Here’s a good site to get you started:

HopTech is about 20 minutes from where I live. They have great equipment.

Yeah, and you may want invest in a bottle rack which allows then to dry upside down.

Why not go to one of those brew your own beer places?

I think all you do is add the yeast and some other additives, but I but it tastes better then home brew.

  1. Then it wouldn’t be, you know, home brew.


Taste is overratted, in the end, it’s all about how drunk you get.b

Yeah now I remember this thread. It should be fairly close to the other Beer thread.

Damn, I thought this was a thread about me!

Taste goes hand in hand with quality. And quality also contributes to how you feel in the morning after a night of heavy drinking.