How do I homebrew?

Post your own tasty recipes or homebrewing advice here.

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Postby Immotius » Mon Jul 16, 2001 3:29 pm

What kind of equipment should I be looking for to get a homebrew going?

Also, I wanted to use old Grolsh beer bottles so I don't have to cap them. But how do I clean them properly?
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Postby hop_head » Mon Jul 16, 2001 8:57 pm

Home brewing is a very complicated process!!! Therefore, the equipment required varys from very vast to moderate; of course this variance is based upon the type of home brewer you are (kit, extract or all-grain).

Home brewing is not something you just pick up and start tomorrow!!! I suggest reading Charlie Papazian's book The Complete Joy of Home Brewing or The Home Brewer's Companion, a must have for every home brewer, to get acquianted with the process and the equipment.

As for the Grolsch bottles, I would not recommend them. Why? You ask, because they are green! Your beer will go skunky. I also find flip lids a nuisance to remove clean and replace.

Hope this helps.

As Charlie says "sit back relax and have a home brew"
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Postby Cass » Tue Jul 17, 2001 9:34 am

I agree with hop_head, definitely pick up one of Papazian's books to start.

If you want to dive right in, go down to Brew-Your-Own at 168 McCaul downtown. They're probably the best beer homebrew shop in the city (at least what I've been to). They know their stuff and they are very friendly.

They will set you up with a starter's kit that has most of the equipment you need and ingredients for your first brew. When I picked up my equipment there a couple of years ago, they also gave me a "How to Homebrew" booklet that they wrote.

I would suggest start with an extract based brew, and grab some extra hops and malts to throw in for fun. Describe the kind of beer you want to make to the guys at BYO and they'll give you the ingredients you need.
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Uncle Bobby
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Postby Uncle Bobby » Tue Jul 17, 2001 1:20 pm

Unfortunately I am only in limited agreement with your first respondent. I would begin reading that book (and I have read it myself) only if your hugest concern is quality beer -- some people make great homebrew, and I'll bet that the frst respondent is one of those. My primary concerns are saving bucks and getting laced.
If you want to have fun, and fart around, and make some deadhead beer, you can learn all you need from the side of a can of extract. Just don't inflict it on your friends.
As Cass says, get a starter kit from a reputable store like the Brew-Your-Own guys. The Soda Centre or Wine Art are the stores if you live in the East End of Toronto. After that each cheapo batch will run you about $20-$40 per 40-60 bottles.
And yes, you can use the Grolsch bottles. Bottle pick them from Blue Boxes for the truely cheapo effect, or accumulate them through consumption. Get an extra plastic (catering quality) bucket from the supplies store. (The kind that the whole grape juice comes in are ideal.) Fill the bucket with water, add the pink sterilizing powder (ask the guy at the store), leave the bottles for a few days and then rinse thoroughly. Dry upside down with the rubber rings flipped out. (Tip -- watch you don't over-carbonate the glass bottles!)
"It's ma-a-a-a-gic!"
-Uncle Bobby

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Uncle Bobby on 2001-07-17 14:31 ]</font>
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Postby hop_head » Wed Jul 18, 2001 9:22 pm

I agree, go see the guys at brew your own, they are very knowlegeable and helpful. Try starting with an extract brew rather than a kit though, you will be able to have more control of the final product.
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Postby Granger » Tue Sep 03, 2002 8:50 pm

I've had good experience with Grolsch bottles, but you should store them in the dark. There are three pieces of equipment that are useful if you plan to bottle your own: First and foremost, a bottle spray washer. It attaches onto a faucet and directs a powerful spray into the bottle to clean or rinse it after sanitizing. Second, a bottle brush to clean the really hard to remove bits. Third, a bottle sanitizer, which sprays the sanitizer solution up into the bottle and then recovers it.
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Postby PRMason » Wed Sep 04, 2002 3:41 am

If you are going the extract (kit) route, consider buying 2 kits and ommiting the corn sugar(except for priming the bottles.) Corn sugar can give a "cidery" taste to your beer and it also lightens the body. When you decide to go the full-mash route, a definite good thing, make sure your significant other likes the smell of hops and the unavoidable mess (it's worth it.) Besides, how many hobbies let you say "i'm going to sparge my mash" and not get slapped?
Good luck.
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Postby tipsy mcstagger » Thu Jan 23, 2003 9:06 pm

I've encountered success with both the PET bottles that are popular and Grolsch-style bottles. The keys are to keep everything sterile and clean, and to keep the bottles out of stinky bottle syndrome lights (especially flourescent lights!). Keep in mind that smaller bottles will age faster than larger ones and are therefore good to try first, if you're impatient (as most homebrewers are). The advantage of PET bottles is that they are, for the most part, airtight and there's no need to worry about rubber stoppers. They just aren't as sexy as glass bottles.
In defernce to Uncle Bobby, homebrewing can be a cheaper alternative to everyday beer drinking...but cheap does not need to be a bubbly liquid with booze in it. I've made great homebrew, and some rather nasty stuff that I kept to myself. This is the process of trial and error, and of education. I think that the more you learn about GOOD homebrewing, the better your product. I think that most of us aim high - great beer at great prices. If something sinks for some technical reason, we can probably drink the result with sombre tones and will learn from the experience. The key is to not just make booze, but beers that you would proud to serve your pals. It is fun, stinky, labourous, intense, jovial and entrenched in a love of beer. Good luck.

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