Salanis
Salanis SuperDork
4/20/10 11:32 p.m.

So I'm getting started in home brewing and wondering who all here home brews and what sort of setups you use. I got the carboy, bottling bucket, airlock, and other such equipment.

Right now, I'm figuring out what I want to do about a pot for boiling my wort. I'm also putting together an immersion wort cooler.

I'm in an apartment with an electric range, and to boil enough water for a 5-gallon batch, I'm guessing my range will be insufficient to do a good job. Thinking that getting a turkey gas powered turkey fryer with a large pot is probably the correct choice.

Copper tubing coil, plastic hose, and faucet fixtures should be easy to combine for my wort chiller.

Josh
Josh Dork
4/20/10 11:54 p.m.

You can always do a partial boil of 2-3 gallons. That also mitigates the need for a wort chiller, because adding the rest of the water helps speed the cooling.

Salanis
Salanis SuperDork
4/21/10 12:00 a.m.

Yeah, splitting the brew across several pots seems like a decent plan.

For a partial mash brew, do you just split the extract and hops across multiple pots? I've heard that a full boil gets much better hops extraction.

Or do you just heat your extract and hops in one 2-3 gallon pot, mash grains in another, then add cool water to fill when you transfer to the fermenter. What do you do about sterilizing the water being added to make up the difference/cool the wort?

zomby woof
zomby woof HalfDork
4/21/10 7:42 a.m.

I did it at home for a long time, and never sterilized anything. Dish soap and water cleans everything up fine. I never had a problem. If you want to boil everything together, then the turkey fryer is a great idea. Otherwise, boil a concentrate in the biggest pot you have, then add cool water to the concentrate in the bucket. I used to ferment mine right away in a carboy, but a bucket is fine. After the first transfer, I'd rack it again, after a week, then add a flocculant, and rack it again in a week. It took a week extra, but I had virtually no sediment.

Now I make it in a place with big kettles. It costs more, but they do all the clean up, filtering, and carbonation. I just brew it. I made 250 liters last time. Should last me a while

http://www.byobreweries.com/

DaveEstey
DaveEstey New Reader
4/21/10 8:05 a.m.

I used to do DIY Co2 injection for my fishtanks that followed many of the procedures of homebrewing. Sterilization isn't that hard and certainly isn't as involved as some would have you think.

Still haven't bitten the bullet and killed two birds with one stone. That being Co2 AND getting inebriated.

alfadriver
alfadriver Dork
4/21/10 8:30 a.m.

One thing I liked about wine making- never had to boil anything. But it's been a decade since I've fermented anything...

But I'm trying to "restore" my grapes, and make an attempt at it next fall.

Dr. Hess
Dr. Hess SuperDork
4/21/10 9:05 a.m.

Wort chiller: not needed. Put a big funnel in the carboy mouth, fill with ice cubes, pour or siphon wort over the ice cubes. There, it's chilled. Electric range: Works fine. Big stainless pot from the Indian Food supply store works great and is dirt cheap. Make as much as you can without spilling in the pot. Siphon into carboy over ice, top off with tap water to bring the level up to where you want it. Ideal level will take a few times to determine, but should be about at where the bottle starts to form a neck. Too much: Big mess. Sprinkle yeast over the top. Put air lock on. Wait 5 days.

Sterilization: Big pot, not needed. Carboy: Rinse out well, put a little bleach in, rinse out really, really well until it doesn't smell like bleach. Bottles: Put 50 in the dishwasher, pour a little bleach in the bottom, add dishwashing powder, run. Siphone hose: These are getting hard to come by as the meth labs buy them up from the hardware stores. They are always out of stock around here. Flush with water really well, pour a little bleach in, flush through with water, flush with water really well. And, yeah, the bleach is probably overkill and dishwashing soap is probably plenty good. They didn't use bleach for 25K years (that we know of) and somehow the beer turned out OK.

zomby woof
zomby woof HalfDork
4/21/10 10:15 a.m.
DaveEstey wrote: I used to do DIY Co2 injection for my fishtanks that followed many of the procedures of homebrewing.

What can you tell me about this?

My wife drinks a pile of soda water, and I'm tired of paying for it.

fromeast2west
fromeast2west New Reader
4/21/10 10:53 a.m.

Some of the finer details will change depending on what type of beer you want to brew.

Doing a partial boil, then bringing the volume up to the full 5 gallons with ice (bought at the store because, it's a cheap, easy way to get a lot of ice that doesn't have freezer smell), will solve both your limited boiling capacity, and chill the wort quickly.

I used to be able to pitch a batch as soon as it was in the carboy.

Keep your equipment clean, but don't worry too much about keeping it sterile.

Don't underestimate the importance of aerating the wort, especially if you're planning on higher ABV brews. Swirl the wort in the carboy vigorously (so that it pulls in a lot of air) until your arm feels like it's going to fall off (a couple of minutes is probably OK too). I've seen a lot of stuck brews on bocks and meads that have started up as soon as they were aerated.

For specific advice, the guys at the northernbrewer.com forums (not a canoe, not affiliated, have never purchased from them) are a great source of info and recipes.

Dr. Hess
Dr. Hess SuperDork
4/21/10 10:58 a.m.

zomby, the carbonation is added by just pumping CO2 into a closed containter with the rest of the soda. You can buy a CO2 tank and regulator and a 5 gallon soda container. That's what some home brewers do instead of doing a secondary fermentation at bottling time to add the CO2 from the yeast pigging out on more sugar. Are you going to save money? I kinda doubt it. You can buy a whole lot of store brand soda for what the setup will cost you. And a good quality store brand soda, such as is sold at WalMart, is not that much. Especially if you buy it in the 2 or 3 liter bottles. I think you can get 3 liters for a buck or less.

EvanB
EvanB HalfDork
4/21/10 11:43 a.m.

I brew on my electric range in my apartment. The way I do it is boil 2.5 gallons of water then set aside in the fermenter to cool, boil 2.5 gal of wort then stick the pot in the kitchen sink filled with ice water to cool. Add cooled wort to the water in the fermenter and pitch the yeast.

Schmidlap
Schmidlap Reader
4/21/10 10:12 p.m.

Ditching bottles and going to kegs brought the biggest jump in my enjoyment of homebrewing. I found cleaning and sterilizing bottles to be a huge pain but cleaning and steilizing one keg is no big deal. I didn't really mind the actual bottling/capping, just the cleaning. The downside is that you need another refrigerator to keep the keg in. If you want to take beer to a party and not drag your whole keg/CO2 bottle with you, you can get accessories to put your beer in a 2 litre pepsi bottle and keep its carbonation.

Bob

DaveEstey
DaveEstey New Reader
4/21/10 11:21 p.m.
zomby woof wrote:
DaveEstey wrote: I used to do DIY Co2 injection for my fishtanks that followed many of the procedures of homebrewing.
What can you tell me about this? My wife drinks a pile of soda water, and I'm tired of paying for it.

Oh you don't want to drink this.

zomby woof
zomby woof HalfDork
4/22/10 8:07 a.m.
Schmidlap wrote: Ditching bottles and going to kegs brought the biggest jump in my enjoyment of homebrewing. I found cleaning and sterilizing bottles to be a huge pain but cleaning and steilizing one keg is no big deal. I didn't really mind the actual bottling/capping, just the cleaning. The downside is that you need another refrigerator to keep the keg in. If you want to take beer to a party and not drag your whole keg/CO2 bottle with you, you can get accessories to put your beer in a 2 litre pepsi bottle and keep its carbonation. Bob

That's what I've done for the last 5 or so years.

Now that my kids are out of the house, a keg seems to last a reasonable amount of time.

Regarding soda water, the big bottles are no good unless you drink it all right away. It goes flat in a hurry, so she buys cans.

I saw this yesterday

http://www.sodastream.ca/

I didn't think there was any black magic to carbonation, and I already have a CO2 bottle (or converted nitrous bottles), and regulator for the kegs, so some experimentation is in order.

Salanis
Salanis SuperDork
4/22/10 9:03 a.m.
racinginc215 wrote: I brew all grain. I've won a few regional competitions. run to the local mega mart buy a 5 gallon carboy of water. boil half the water. add your extract and hops at the intervals suggested by your kit. cool your wort and add to the plastic carboy of water. pitch your yeast. add a stopper and blow off tube. ferment rack to secondary carboy ferment. bottle enjoy. then stop buying extract and go full grain you won't regret it.

Sounds like a simple idea. And one that doesn't require any more components than I already have. You're not suggesting buying a new carboy everytime, right? Just filling my carboy with their water?

The process is pretty much the same for full grain then? I don't need a full 9 gallon pot for that?

Edit: Oh! I get it. Because the water is nicely filtered, that's how you know it's not going to be contaminated.

fromeast2west
fromeast2west New Reader
4/22/10 2:31 p.m.

To get good results with a full grain mash you need to control and track time and temperature move than with a a partial grain recipe. With a full grain recipe you're actually using the enzymes in the grain to convert starches to sugars that can be used by the yeast.

With a partial grain recipe you still get some of that happening, but the bulk of the fermentable sugars comes from the extract. The grain is mostly there to provide flavors, so temp and time are less important, and have more to do with the flavors you're getting from the hops.

Grtechguy
Grtechguy SuperDork
4/22/10 2:43 p.m.

While not a brewer, I'm an excellent taste-tester / sampler (hint, hint)

SupraWes
SupraWes Dork
4/22/10 5:19 p.m.

I am in a small apartment also. I have only brewed once, I only boiled about 3 gallons on the stove and added 2 gallons of bottled water later. It wasn't that bad and actually helped cool down the wort rather nicely. Just make sure you sterilize everything that touches your beer, very important!

DaveEstey
DaveEstey New Reader
4/23/10 10:57 a.m.
That's what I've done for the last 5 or so years. Now that my kids are out of the house, a keg seems to last a reasonable amount of time. Regarding soda water, the big bottles are no good unless you drink it all right away. It goes flat in a hurry, so she buys cans. I saw this yesterday http://www.sodastream.ca/ I didn't think there was any black magic to carbonation, and I already have a CO2 bottle (or converted nitrous bottles), and regulator for the kegs, so some experimentation is in order.

Friend has one of those. Works well but the refill tanks are expensive. The fitting is common though so a larger tank could be attached with some hose if someone were willing to do it.

Our Preferred Partners
odEmchbRueDM2CxjUz6yYWjnwxlyVBF8Y3e15TlONFvtUbgBL3Z6MqdgU8kL4lDd