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 Post subject: beer and homebrewing
PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2014 7:50 am 
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Seagull of the PPK
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I know there are others out there (moooo? Kara kara? and many more).
After years of threatening, I am finally going to brew beer this week. It's been a long time coming and I am psyched, if a bit trepidatious. I bought a big setup last year off a friend who left Brazil but just haven't had time. But a few weeks ago I went to the new brewery supply and bought myself a kit for a Belgian dubbel that a friend had made and it was fiiiiiine.

I was sanitizing everything last weekend when I realized I didn't have a mash tun or anything to drain (his kit was for brewing extract beer, I guess)-- screeching halt! So today's project is to create something I can use. I have an old cooler but it's made of styrofoam, not hard plastic, and I'm not sure it's going to be able to handle 71C hot water and mash without melting. I have a bucket for racking that I think I could probably rig up somehow with a screen at the bottom. Of course the recipe also calls for fly sparging and I think the best thing I can do is stand there with a watering can, I don't have the wherewithal right now to make a watering arm and all that.

PPK brewers, hold me. And tell me about what you are making!

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 Post subject: Re: beer and homebrewing
PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2014 9:34 am 
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Saggy Butt
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We recently got a braumeister but before that we used a pot with a huge muslin sack for a mash tun and then a water cooler with a false bottom of sorts (one like this). It got the job done but the hot liquid sitting in plastic for so long was kind of iffy.
There's currently a keg of oktoberfest and a keg of IPA in the basement, so I doubt we'll be brewing again anytime soon.

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 Post subject: Re: beer and homebrewing
PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2014 10:01 am 
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Seagull of the PPK
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that cooler is exactly the kind of thing I was thinking of rigging up (using a stainless steel hose hooked into the spigot). but now i am thinking why the hell not use a muslin sack in the pot!!

also, I just realized -- the kit I bought (the brewery supply makes up these whole grain kits), the grain hasn't been crushed or rolled or anything. it's totally natural. I emailed my friend who made his beer from the same kit asking what he had used and his response: "what do you mean you have to crush the grain?" Sometimes I feel like I'm living in a surreal world. I have a grain mill and a pasta roller, I think I will use the roller. It would be bad to not do anything, right?

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 Post subject: Re: beer and homebrewing
PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2014 11:42 am 
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my husband brews his own beer. he's been doing it for several years. he likes really hoppy IPAs.
i dont like beer and i hate the smell of it brewing so i guess i dont have anything good to add but if you ever have any questions feel free to ask and i can ask him.

we also have a few hop vines and soemtimes he adds in some homegrown hops. we dont get enough sunlight in our yard to grow enough to be of consequence but he gets some each year.

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 Post subject: Re: beer and homebrewing
PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2014 7:25 pm 
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I can tell you this. We've brewed two batches of beer and I named them both after my cats.


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 Post subject: Re: beer and homebrewing
PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2014 7:47 am 
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Seagull of the PPK
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HA! we have already decided that if the beer comes out great, it will be named after our dog (Nacho Libre Dubbel). If it kills us or gives us food poisoning or tastes like bananas, it will be named after the cockatiel (Tiki Hates Everybody).
Today I go hardware hunting. I also realized I have to go get another 1000000000 liters of water. (the beer water, as well as the water we drink in our home, comes from a spring about 40 min from my house). I already have 3 big plastic containers, so now i guess i will be filling the glass carboys with water too. oooooh boy this ought to be fun, they only weigh about a hundred pounds empty.

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 Post subject: Re: beer and homebrewing
PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2014 12:57 pm 
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do you have a contraption to pick up the carboys? i've seen handles that go around the neck, and some that go around the body. i don't know which is better, but my friends lost a whole batch dropping their glass carboy, which sucks, but at least their feet didn't get slashed to bits by the glass.

i don't know how much help i can be as i've done one batch using extracts - i bought some equipment to make 1 gallon experimental batches from grain, but have no means to get to the beer supply store so that's on the back burner for now.


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 Post subject: Re: beer and homebrewing
PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2014 9:19 pm 
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Isn't carboy like the funniest word ever?

I love your potential brew names. Can't wait to find out which one it ends up being!


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 Post subject: Re: beer and homebrewing
PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2014 8:01 am 
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Seagull of the PPK
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i'm afraid i'm cursing myself by naming the beer before i make it!

i bought galvanized screen to put in the bottom of the racking bucket to do the sparging-- i figure at least i know it's food safe.

postnothing, that is a brilliant idea, thank you! I have no idea how big my carboys are, but like a water cooler bottle, and i just found some cool webbing strap things online that look easy enough to replicate. we really don't have brewing supplies here (we have a brewery that sells kits to make its beers, which is a 100% improvement over what there used to be, which was nothing) so i never would have even seen/thought of that.

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 Post subject: Re: beer and homebrewing
PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2014 8:09 am 
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How much are you making? Depending on quantity you might be frustrating yourself without a mashtun. If anything you could put it in a grain sock but like I said this will depend on quantity.

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 Post subject: Re: beer and homebrewing
PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2014 8:36 am 
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Seagull of the PPK
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I was hoping you would put in an appearance!

I am making 40L- 5kg of grain- too much for a sock, i think. I was thinking muslin-lined pot but i think the screen-bottom will be a better alternative. Assuming I can rig it so it doesn't all fall down the sides.

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 Post subject: Re: beer and homebrewing
PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2014 11:22 am 
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OK, you could do the bucket in a bucket thing. Here is a picture of the bottom of one of my mashtuns. This bucket with holes drilled into it goes into your racking bucket (assuming you have a spigot). I think you blocking things off with mesh may be suitable but beware of a stuck sparge. If you can do the bucket in a bucket thing you could I suppose cut slots in the bottom instead of drilling a million holes then put mesh on the bottom:

Image

Image

There are so many things you can do regarding a mashtun and sparging depending on resources on hand and how soon you want to be making beer. How quickly do you need this up and running?

Regarding your crush you just want to crack your grains into a grist, you don't want flour. If you have a mill it should be able to do a coarse crush, the pasta roller I think would be quite a challenge.

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 Post subject: Re: beer and homebrewing
PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 10:13 am 
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Seagull of the PPK
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If I keep making beer I am going to have muscles like Vin Diesel. Between drilling out the mashtun, grinding the malt, and hefting all this crepe around, oh MAN my arms!

I had brew day yesterday and it went well. I decided to divide it in half and only do 20L, because 40L is a ridiculous amount and I had no idea what I was getting into when I bought the kit. your bucket was my inspiration, craiger, and it was PERFECT. the grind was a bit finer than i wanted but the sparge was perfect. It was miraculous, actually.
it is now bubbling away in the carboy (looks like it's a rolling boil, actually) and smells GREAT. i was sort of surprised that the boil really reduced it to much less than 20L; I sparged with 21L and had already had 6L in the pot, and it looks like it came to maybe 13L. there was some spillage, and i dumped at least half a liter trying to avoid sludge.
I was, however, a fool to start brew day at 3 or 4pm. It was a LONG day.

i also just discovered i have about 5 pounds of malt extract in the cabinet, so i might try something like a dandelion extract beer next. not sure why i started with a 100% grain- the old type A "why do it the easy way" personality strikes again, I suppose.

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 Post subject: Re: beer and homebrewing
PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 10:59 pm 
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Do you guys use a kit or assemble your own brewing supplies? I like the idea of getting all my own stuff at the best price, but I'm also lazy.

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 Post subject: Re: beer and homebrewing
PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 11:35 am 
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couroupita wrote:
Do you guys use a kit or assemble your own brewing supplies? I like the idea of getting all my own stuff at the best price, but I'm also lazy.


As far as equipment goes I have made and bought it over the years. As far as ingredients go I buy the individual ingredients. But you can do anything in between and everything included approach and complete DIY. As a matter of fact I wouldn't hesitate to recommend starting with an all included kit just so you can see the basics come together right up to the point of great beer. Then make up your mind how far into it you want to go from there.

To many more advanced brewers I am primitive and inefficient but I don't care, I am at a happy place in my hobby.

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 Post subject: Re: beer and homebrewing
PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 12:14 pm 
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Seagull of the PPK
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i am already planning batches 2 and 3, and kind of excited. I don't think i will buy a kit again, since the place i buy from only has the most insanely involved kits (or kits for beers i'm not interested in). Also, the kits are more expensive than ready made beer. Ouch!
i am much more interested in brewing the way i cook (improv, fun) and less interested in the Zymurgist Technician aspect that I see in most of the brewing sites online. I am not too snooty about beer (or wine, or anything really) so I would much rather enjoy brewing than have panic attacks over the fact that I screwed something up because the recipe called for belgian candi sugar and all i had was table sugar and the beer won't live up to the exacting standards of some snob. on the other hand, composing my own recipes is a little bit daunting.

i just found two packets of spice labeled "hoegarden 45m and 50m". it looks like orange peel and coriander. i wonder if that would go well in the dandelion beer.

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 Post subject: Re: beer and homebrewing
PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 1:45 pm 
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I have not made dandelion beer before but I have drank it. It makes a nice farmhouse style so you might want some wheat in your base malt which both coriander and orange peel pair well with. I'd use a mild hop like Saaz, Willamette, Northern Brewer or Hallertau. Goldings can run mild but might add to the citrus element giving the perception of too much orange peel. None the less I think you are on a good path. I have never looked into making dandelion beer so keep me posted.

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 Post subject: Re: beer and homebrewing
PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 7:54 pm 
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Seagull of the PPK
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wheat, huh? It looks like I have space for about a pound and a half of grain, so wheat fits in well with that (brew bag this time, since it's only a bit of grain and mostly extract). Amazingly, my stash (gotten from the guy i bought the equip from) has a Hallertau! I have a few packs of yeast that are all past expiration but think i may try them just in case- I have an English and American ale as well the number 58 that seems to get called for in everything. I also have a wheat beer yeast pack, not sure if it really makes much of a difference; I may just use whatever still has some energy in it.
The dandelion beer idea came from, of all places, Sandor Katz's Wild Fermentation, which led me to some weird herby blogs. That, and I had a great English bitter a few weeks ago that a new friend of mine is starting to cook up, alongside some rather unconventional beers (passionfruit and banana flavored beers, which are not my style, but i do love me a bitter.).

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 Post subject: Re: beer and homebrewing
PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2014 9:34 am 
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Seagull of the PPK
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i made batch #2 yesterday! we are having a large group come stay with us in about a month so i thought it might be good (and this should be ready in much less time, and i can't stand the 5 week wait on my first batch). i used up the leftover extracts, and learned the hard way that the grain sock needs to be BIG. mine was too small. but i added some extra malt to make up for it.

it is BITTER. like really bitter (which I like, but nobody else will drink it, I don't think). i was concerned when i put it in the carboy that it didn't taste nearly as nice as the dubbel did- it just tasted kind of watery and bitter. but now that it's actively fermenting (yeast was fine) it smells really good.

and now the game of find-the-fridge-space begins. the dubbel needs 7 to 10 days in the fridge. i am going to put it into 2L plastic soda bottles and put it in the fridge in the shop to age. don't have the space or the $$ for another fridge right now.

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 Post subject: Re: beer and homebrewing
PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2014 8:17 pm 
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OH frubtious day! Calloo! Callay! The dandelion beer is FINE! I just primed and racked it today and I can't believe how good it is. Even my husband, who doesn't really like beer that isn't pilsen, is drinking it-- we're drinking it FLAT, it tastes that good.
The bitter just kind of went away. I don't know where. It is a bit watery now, I suppose, but without carbonation I am not sure how accurate my beer judgment is. I could not taste the hoegaarden spices on brew day or today- not sure how much you are supposed to be able to detect, but I'm usually good at that kind of thing and i got nothing.

Now, to think of a name.... gotta have the word pissenlit in it somewhere. two weeks before I can drink the rest!

(the dubbel is in the fridge.... 13L takes up a lot of space. So far nobody's stolen any.

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