Author Topic: Any Home Brewers Here ?  (Read 7713 times)

Offline oakville smoker

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Any Home Brewers Here ?
« on: December 25, 2012, 09:39:26 am »
I was "out and about' on Sunday, ( OK I was driving to a ski skiing ) and had a news station on the radio. I am a news junkie. Anyways what i will call an infomercial comes on where they interview the guy who owns a company called 'Mr Beer". They make home brewing kits. I started poking around their web site and now kind of have an itch I am thinking of scratching. The cost seems very reasonable, less than the taxed out product we buy at the "in - out" store.

Anybody here doing any home brewing and care to share your experiences? The process seems simple enough and the main ingredient seems to be patience, its a 7 week process to get finished product. This could become a project by the end of the week
All I wanted to do was slow smoke some ribs.  Another addiction created thanks to the Bradley that requires regular servicing...  But what an addiction to have.  Even better to share here with some of the best people on the planet.

Would you like smoke with that sir ?

Offline Keymaster

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Re: Any Home Brewers Here ?
« Reply #1 on: December 25, 2012, 10:01:06 am »
I actually got myself a mr.beer for christmas. I am going to put some sort of heating device in my igloo cooler and control the fermenting temperature with my auber pid as the temp in my garage is far to cold. Seems a little more expensive to make beer if you want the alcohol content higher than 3% , but still a fun hobby. I purchased mine at Target for $34 for the bottom line kit which has no bottles. Theres a place on my way to work called " Beer Essentials" that I will get bottles from when the time comes. Good luck with your beer making.
« Last Edit: December 25, 2012, 10:02:47 am by Keymaster »

Offline Skishy

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Re: Any Home Brewers Here ?
« Reply #2 on: December 25, 2012, 11:38:57 am »
I got a Mr. Beer kit for my birthday this past year. I just did one round of the brew that came with the kit. Its not too bad. However for some reason if I had more than one I would wake up the next morning with a pretty bad hang over. However I did get a variety pack from ShopKo that I haven't tried making anymore flavors.

I got a hint from my buddy who has a friend that does Mr. Beer brewing that you can up the alcohol content by adding honey to the mix. Just a tip for ya.

Also a lot of people don't really refer to Mr Beer as beer brewing in the true form that is just more of beer fermenting and bottling. Which is not a bad way to wet the appetite to see if you want to go spend the money on a home brew kit.
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Offline oakville smoker

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Re: Any Home Brewers Here ?
« Reply #3 on: December 25, 2012, 01:29:02 pm »
Interesting

No misconceptions about being a brewnaster....   LOL   The beer I buy is 40 bucks a square, Sleeman Cream Ale
Its getting expensive and this sounded like a random insteresting alternative

I was making wine for a while, well if you call laying down your credit card and going back to the store 8 weeks later and
putting it in a bottle making wine.  The experience was pretty good and so was the product.  But I could never keep it in the
house long enough to mature.  More my girlfriend, not me so I just stopped.  She doesnt drink beer so I think I am safe with this

Have towait for some more input.  Sterilization is key from what I understand and not something to be taken lightly.  Same was true
with wine.  This is starting to get my attention or maybe the red I am drinking right now is changing my perspective
All I wanted to do was slow smoke some ribs.  Another addiction created thanks to the Bradley that requires regular servicing...  But what an addiction to have.  Even better to share here with some of the best people on the planet.

Would you like smoke with that sir ?

Offline Salmonsmoker

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Re: Any Home Brewers Here ?
« Reply #4 on: December 25, 2012, 01:41:36 pm »
Oakville smoker,

A Mr. Beer kit would allow you to experience the process and find out if it's something you're going to enjoy doing before jumping in with both feet. Or, if it's something you're sure you want to do, head off to your local homebrew shop and get a basic home brewery. They're set up for 5 gal.(US) batches and have the basic equipment for brewing, up to a complete brewing system for added $$. Google online homebrew shops and you'll get an idea of the equip. They also have pre-assembled beer kits in many different styles. Malt comes 3 ways- LME(liquid malt extract), DME(dry malt extract),malted grains. Quality is in the same order from lowest to highest. Main 3 ingredients are sanitation, sanitation, and sanitation(a lotta patience also on that first batch)Proper fementation temp.  7 weeks is an awful long time for a standard gravity ale of 5%. That's about a 3 week turn-around.  Mr. Beer doesn't have any 3% kits. $20 is a lot of $$ for a 2 gal. recipe. If you do step up to all-grain brewing a standard beer costs about 50 cents/bottle. Of course then there's all the equipment needed and your home brewery's never finished. Hmmm....just like this smoking hobby ;D John Palmer's "How To Brew" is available online at no cost if you want to learn more. It's a great book. I gotta warn you....it's like getting into the smoking meats and sausage making world. Once entered there's no going back. I'm sure there's a thriving homebrew club near you. A great place to learn and make new friends. I'm a long time homebrewer and BJCP certified beer judge. If you have questions drop me a line.

Cheers!
Jim

Skishy, Honey is an awful expensive sugar source to increase the gravity. Your better off $$wise using LME or DME. It also will leave a honey taste if it's a strong tasting honey and you use a lot. Increased gravity will also change the gravity/hop bitterness ratio, and if not adjusted will throw the balance out of whack. Two things I can think of about your hangover.....over-imbibing :o :o or it was fermented too warm. High temp. fermenting(excluding Belgian yeasts) produces high(hot) alcohols, fusel alcohols, that the liver can't process well, hence the hangover.
Hoisting a cold one as I type! 
« Last Edit: December 26, 2012, 08:40:48 am by Salmonsmoker »
Give a man a beer and he'll waste a day.
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Offline Tiny Tim

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Re: Any Home Brewers Here ?
« Reply #5 on: December 25, 2012, 01:44:33 pm »
I made a few batches several years ago with a different setup, but used a pre-made malt & hop mixture.  That can, plus 5 gallons of water, and about 5 pounds of dextrose, along with a little time, made some decent beer.  The mixture I used was made by Cooper's, and most of my equipment came from a place in Minnesota, called Semplex...don't know if they are still around or not.

Offline HSC5690

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Re: Any Home Brewers Here ?
« Reply #6 on: December 25, 2012, 09:14:03 pm »
My husband and I make about 50 to 60 gallons of wine and about 20 gallons of beer a year.  I am not sure what you have available to you where you live but if you have access to a local home brewery store you can get excellent help from them.  I have used the malt kits that includes everything except the water to having the brewery store crush the grain for me.  As far as the wine you can get excellent wine kits that include everything except the water in them also.

Offline cathouse willy

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Re: Any Home Brewers Here ?
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2012, 03:54:07 pm »
As a long time home brewer I can tell you Mr Beer kits are not going to taste anything like Sleemans. Most of the alcohol in the kit beers is derived from the added corn sugar [dextrose] which ferments right out leaving a thin and lemony tasting beer.If you're interested in brewing they will start you on the road to the many really good beers you can make at home . If you're just looking to save money you'll be disappointed.A couple of books I find helpful are Charlie Papazian's Home brewers companion and especially Dave Lines The big book of brewing.

Offline Skishy

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Re: Any Home Brewers Here ?
« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2012, 05:36:55 pm »
Hey Salmon thanks for the heads up about the honey. I have only brewed one batch of Mr. Beer. I only heard about the honey thing about a friend with a coworker who did Mr. Beer and honey thing. I am stil up in the air if home brewing is my thing or not.
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Offline Salmonsmoker

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Re: Any Home Brewers Here ?
« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2012, 12:59:53 pm »
Hey Salmon thanks for the heads up about the honey. I have only brewed one batch of Mr. Beer. I only heard about the honey thing about a friend with a coworker who did Mr. Beer and honey thing. I am stil up in the air if home brewing is my thing or not.

Skishy, cathouse willy may be right about the Mr. Beer kits as far as quality of beer, I've never done their kits or tasted the product. I do know that if their recipes are tradition based, only those beer styles that traditionally use adjuncts would have dextrose(corn sugar) in them. ie: American ale and lagers, English Bitters. Dextrose has 70% of the sugar content of cane sugar and 70% fermentable, the rest is dextrins( non fermentable sugars) that add body and mouthfeel to the beer. Cane sugar on the other hand is 100% fermentable, increasing the alcohol content and lightening the body of the beer. I started doing extract with specialty grain brews through a local HBS (home brew shop) and progressed from there to all-grain brewing. There is a homebrew club in Spokane that you might check out if so inclined. It's named IBU(Inland Brewers Unite) and they meet at the Steam Plant Grill @ 159 S. Lincoln the first Wednesday of the month typically. There is an amazing amount of science etc. in brewing and also a lot of artistry and creativity. I suspect a lot of homebrewers(I know a whole bunch) are in this other hobby...er ah obsession of meat curing/smoking, BBQ, sausage making etc. because it peaks that same interest, facination and passion. Check out www.wahomebrewers.org for more info in your area, including homebrew shops, HB competions, state wide HB clubs etc. I'm one of the founding members. It was set up to provide a whole clearing house of homebrew related info for Wa. St.

Cheers!
Give a man a beer and he'll waste a day.
Teach him how to brew and he'll waste a lifetime.

Offline ocarolina

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Re: Any Home Brewers Here ?
« Reply #10 on: December 31, 2012, 06:13:33 pm »
We have brewed beer (and fermented wine too) many times, using ingredients from Brew and Grow http://www.brewandgrow.com/brew/.  Once you buy the brew kettle (stainless)carboys, the fermentation locks, temp gauges, wort chiller, hydrometer etc - then you have to buy the brew ingredients - it gets very costly.  The initial investment is high, but then you become addicted to buying bigger fermenters and a keg fridge, and wanting to control more of the process by using the grains - it just keeps sucking more money.  We have stopped brewing for awhile because of the costs, but still have all the equipment.  It is much easier to buy a ready made keg of beer LOL.

Offline Salmonsmoker

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Re: Any Home Brewers Here ?
« Reply #11 on: January 01, 2013, 08:25:26 am »
We have brewed beer (and fermented wine too) many times, using ingredients from Brew and Grow http://www.brewandgrow.com/brew/.  Once you buy the brew kettle (stainless)carboys, the fermentation locks, temp gauges, wort chiller, hydrometer etc - then you have to buy the brew ingredients - it gets very costly.  The initial investment is high, but then you become addicted to buying bigger fermenters and a keg fridge, and wanting to control more of the process by using the grains - it just keeps sucking more money.  We have stopped brewing for awhile because of the costs, but still have all the equipment.  It is much easier to buy a ready made keg of beer LOL.

ocarolina,
 A 5 gal. cornie keg of craft beer is approx. $65 locally. That's $1.25/12 oz. bottle.  A 55# sack of two row @ your local HBS is $45. At 75% efficiency, that would give you 27 gals. of a 1.056 gravity beer. Add another $10 for 5 oz. of hops and $7 for one smackpack of yeast(if you grow your own starters)and your in @ $62.   27 gals. equals approx. 280  12oz. bottles of beer. $62/280= $.22 per bottle. Obviously, most homebrewers don't buy specialty malts by bulk sack, so the cost would be a little higher, but even if you bought all your grains by the pound@ $2/lb the cost  is $.45/bottle. That's $23.40 for a 5 gal. batch of homebrew vs. $65 for 5 gals. of craft beer. That extra $41/5gals. you're paying for craft beer buys a s**tload of equip., especially if you're a frequent brewer. At some point we all get fully equipped with gear and it sounds like you're already there. Every time you brew after that, your total investment costs per bottle decrease.  Most homebrewers are scroungers and we re-task a lot of pre-used materials and build our own equipment, which is a big part of the fun and keeps the costs down. And then there's that other thing that doesn't have anything to do with $$. The creativity, gaining of brewing science(there's amazing stuff here), the sense of accomplishment and pride that you're capable of producing a product that's as good and/or better than the craft brewers(most started as homebrewers), the camaraderie of the homebrew crowd(fun people), the passion.
Obsessed?   Nah.......really, I'm not! ::)  Well, not any more than with this curing, smoking, sausage making obs.....er hobby. :o :o :-X
Give a man a beer and he'll waste a day.
Teach him how to brew and he'll waste a lifetime.

Offline ocarolina

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Re: Any Home Brewers Here ?
« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2013, 11:33:58 am »
Considering I don't even drink beer, I was not really into it.  My hubby was doing it, and he did make his own wort chiller out of copper tubing. We did not do the grains (he used malt syrup) and he did grow his own hops in our backyard.  It  was just hit or miss, and he is very stubborn - did not like recipes.  I on the other hand, am a trained chef, and it was killing me to not step in and take over. He got frustrated, and just went back to buying the beer already made.  If I liked drinking craft beers, I would do it all myself.  I am more into roasting coffee, growing herbs, and cooking food.  Maybe some warmer weather in the spring will reignite his desire to brew again.  I make him use the turkey cooker setup outside because it smells up the house LOL

Offline oakville smoker

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Re: Any Home Brewers Here ?
« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2013, 09:14:59 am »
Great feedback.  I think I am going to put something on my itch to make it go away and see if I am still interested in doing
this in another couple of months.  I can see this beer thing quickly becoming like my meat smoking / curing thing obsession.  I bought a smoker so I could have some decent ribs.  Now I own meat slicers and sausage stuffers and grinders and controls....  all that stuff.  I could see beer becoming the  same thing for me and I dont know if that is a good thing. 

The other thing I wonder about is if I would drink more if it was there and cheaper.  I do have half decent self control but I could
see me relinquishing some of that with too much beer around.  Never mind the  pressure of having to drink it because it was going to go bad.  LOL  Some of my buddies tell me that could be a real problem

Thanks again for the  feedback
All I wanted to do was slow smoke some ribs.  Another addiction created thanks to the Bradley that requires regular servicing...  But what an addiction to have.  Even better to share here with some of the best people on the planet.

Would you like smoke with that sir ?

Offline Smoker John

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Re: Any Home Brewers Here ?
« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2013, 12:18:25 pm »
Just to add to the above, you can buy a Coopers DIY beer kit that includes everything you need to make 5 gallons of beer and is a good start to trying it out.
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