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Old 01-09-2012, 07:41 PM   #1
fivepoundpossum
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Default Brewing for a big event-Advice?

I'm getting married at the end of May and I thought it'd be fun to brew most of the beer for the festivities. As I'm now less than six months out, I thought it'd be good to get started planning. And what better way to start than consulting the sages of HBT?!

Here's what I'm thinking. I'm a primarily grains and extract ale brewer (though I've done a bunch of meads and ciders) and I'd like to make a range from light-ish and easily quaffable (for those who aren't used to getting hop-smacked) to more seriously hoppy and/or darker beers. I'm planning on making six or seven 5.5g batches, including a semi-dry cider.

Has any of you done anything like this? I'd love any advice about timing, planning, etc. Thanks!

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Old 01-09-2012, 08:18 PM   #2
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I filled a sanke with dunkelweizen for my buddy's wedding. He also got 2 commercial kegs.

Mine was gone in an hour and a half. Others were hardly touched untill mine cashed out.

I actually naturally carbed the keg to keep from taking up space in the fridge. Not sure if I recommend it, but it worked out for us.

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Old 01-09-2012, 09:11 PM   #3
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My experience is that most beer improve with time, at least a month in keg and two is better, not worse. This even seems to apply to beers that are good fresh like hefeweizen.

Also, you probably want to fine and give it plenty of time to clear before transferring to keg since you'll be moving the kegs and won't have time for the yeast to resettle.

Good luck and congrats.

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Old 01-10-2012, 03:50 AM   #4
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Get started now! Make a list of the styles you would like to serve and begin with the beers that will need more time to age out (ie strong ales or lagers or whatever) then move to the brews with lower gravities that will need less conditioning time. If you plan on having some IPA I would suggest you consider the fact that hop aroma and flavor will fade considerably with time. Congratulations, I wish you the best of luck!

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Old 01-10-2012, 04:51 AM   #5
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Mike McDole's Janet's Brown Ale should be on tap for every occasion.

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Old 01-10-2012, 07:35 AM   #6
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I brew 100 liters or so for a May Day party every year. And I've found myself surprised that everyone here (Croatia) also likes the hoppier beers. By hoppier, I do NOT mean IPAs or DIPAs or anything, mean more like regular APAs and such.

What I generally do is I brew 4 batches, around 25-26 liters of each. 1 batch is a wheat. German Hefeweizen is easy and popular and requires very little aging time. I usually make that one last, about 4 weeks ahead of time, keg it after 3 weeks and it's good to go.

I generally also make an APA, an American Amber and something like a Christmas Ale (not spiced, more like a Pacific Northwest version of the style). In my recipes, you can see "Smola Amber" and the "Gajnicko Christmas Ale", which are similar to the amber and Christmas ales I bring.

I can only tap 2 kegs at a time with my system and tap the wheat beer and Amber first. And every time, both kegs blow within a few minutes of each other. So, even though I suspected the wheat would blow first, the Amber has always been right there with it. I then tap the Christmas Ale and APA and they also blow right around the same time.

Anyway, tastes here aren't the same as there. BUT, here, it's the land of crappy industrial lager way more than in the States, so I didn't expect such openness to more regular American craft beer kind of recipes.

Point being, don't limit yourself to making too bland beer to satisfy people. Make something like Sierra Nevada as well, or whatever you think they might like. And let us know how this goes for you.

As for timing, like I said, wheat beers can be made last. BUT, if you use the Wyeast/White Labs version of the Hoegaarden yeast (I forget the number, maybe WLP400), be aware that THAT yeast is very slow. I made a Wit four weeks ahead of time and it worked out okay, but I was getting worried when it was still fermenting at about 12 days in. It worked out okay, but be aware if you use that yeast.

If you make any stronger beers, do those first. You can also use some more flocculent British yeast like Wyeast 1187 Ringwood/WLP005 for beers that are closer to the drinking time. They'll drop bright faster than regular yeast and give you a nice beer a little faster as well.

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Old 01-10-2012, 08:56 PM   #7
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Honestly, I think it would be a giant pain unless you had someone who knows what they are doing at the wedding monitoring the kegs/co2. As the bride/groom, you really don't want to have to worry about stuff like that.

Plus, you have to worry about transportation kicking up sediment, having adequate co2, making sure the beers are cold and stored properly, swapping out kegs, etc. With all the other stuff that goes into planning a wedding, that is something that I would NOT want to deal with.

For my wedding, I gave bottles as wedding favors. Made nice labels, had special caps. However, there was commercial beer served at the wedding...these were just favors to take home.

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Old 01-14-2012, 01:55 AM   #8
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i was thinking the same thing doing all for my wedding, but i have the luxury of not being able to get married in the next year. so i was hoping to do a few beers, some cider, wine, and make my own cheese. if you end up doing this i would love hear some tips from you to limit stress during the wedding day and how it all worked out for you. Congrats and good luck to you.

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Old 01-14-2012, 03:40 AM   #9
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The only advice I would give you is try to brew multiple batches in a single brew day. It will save on clean up time. Maybe you can get your groomsman over to help you.....

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Old 01-14-2012, 06:35 AM   #10
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I did 10 gallons of a Belgian Golden Strong for my wedding May 27 2011 and it was great. Unless your wedding is totally filled with peeps that have awesome pallets, stick to something that won't turn the average joe off.

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