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Old 03-06-2011, 08:30 PM   #1
cwbys4evr
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Default Hello from Norfolk VA

Hi, I just found this forum today. I've been seriously considered brewing my own for a long time. My friend from a past submarine is bottling his own ale, and I wanted to make a belgian white or hefeweizen type beer (my favorite beers til now have been Blue Moon and Shock Top). I really hate a hoppy bitter tasting beer like Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (among others). I love the smooth taste of a wheat ale and I hear that usually home brew is better than what you get in the store. Hopefully my first batch will not be a disaster but soon I intend to buy the stuff I need to start out. I have just a couple of questions.
1. How do you keep the temperature constant during fermentation? Do I have to buy a separate refrigerator?
2. Would it come out bad if I just put the stuff in my basement? I think it would ruin it, but if it won't then that would save me the expense of buying a separate fridge.

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Old 03-06-2011, 08:31 PM   #2
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Also, which is the best home brew supplier that you can recommend? I saw several on the home brew supply page but I'd like to get some sort of majority opinion.

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Old 03-06-2011, 08:52 PM   #3
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Hello as well from Norfolk, VA. I just started brewing myself.

Hm. I suppose I can provide my noob opinion.

1. I let my beer ferment at room temperature in a closet. The temperature in the house hovered around 63-69 so I didn't have a problem. I just racked to the secondary and it seems to be going well. I'm pretty sure you'll only need a fridge if you plan on making lagers...
2. I can't imagine any reason the beer would come out bad by being placed in the basement because no matter where you put your fermenter it should be sealed with an airlock from the outside... As long as there is no serious light penetration and a constant >70F temp you should be fine.

Do you know where the JANAF is? There is a brew store there called HomeBrew USA (their sign is tiny compared to everyone else's). My cello teacher indicated them to me and they are awesome. They'll sell you everything you need and more to get started.

Good luck. And Cheers.

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Old 03-07-2011, 01:29 AM   #4
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What's up. I live in the Hampton Roads area of VA as well and have been homebrewing for over 2 years. Homebrew USA in Norfolk can provide everything you need locally. The people that work there are very knowledgeable and helpful from my experience. As far as online homebrew suppliers, I usually order from Northern Brewer in Minnesota. I've had nothing but positive experiences with Northern Brewer and they get a lot of good reviews from brewers on this forum.

As far as your questions about fermenting temperatures, your temps will depend on whether you're brewing ales or lagers. Ales ferment at room temp (between 63-75 degrees F). Just move your fermenter to a warmer or cooler spot in your house as needed to maintain a constant temperature. I've picked up great advice on this forum about methods for controlling temps during the most extreme times of the year. Just run a search and see what you can find.

Lagers ferment between 45-58 degrees F, so you would probably need a spare refrigerator. I don't have a basement, so I don't know what the temperature range would be in our area of VA throughout the year. Maybe some other brewers on this forum can give you more information about their experiences with fermenting in basements. Good luck...

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Old 03-07-2011, 10:09 PM   #5
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Thanks for your replies =) My friend also recommended Homebrew USA, which I didn't know was in Janaf. I've probaby passed it a hundred times without knowing it. Have you guys been to the Wine and Cake Hobby store off Tidewster? They advertise home brewing supplies and they're closer to me, but it sounds like Homebrew USA would provide much better service, so I will try that one. I'm wanting to brew wheat ale ala Blue Moon, etc so it doesn't sound like I should worry about temp too much.

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Old 03-09-2011, 07:30 AM   #6
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Welcome to the addiction,

To answer your first question, there are several ways to keep your beer cool, first is to put it in a large tub of water with a few frozen water bottles. Getting a cheap fridge or freezer and external thermostat is a good idea (thats what I use). You can build a fermentation chamber (plans on this website) or you can put it somewhere cool where the temp does not flucuate too much. (Remember fermentation generates heat so ideally you want somewhere that will remain on the low side of 60-65) that basement sounds perfect.

As far as homebrew shops, Homebrew USA is the best by far, Tidewater wine and cake is more expensive and all the malts are canned. Some are very old so you have to watch out for expired product.
Welcome,
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Old 03-09-2011, 09:29 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwbys4evr View Post
My friend from a past submarine . . .
What boat are/were you on? My son spent time on the Scranton. He's in DC now, but will be returning to subs when his shore duty is over. I did a three night tiger cruise with him. Damn, I give you guys a lot of credit. That's a tough job.

Welcome to HBT and brewing!
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Old 03-11-2011, 09:48 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by AnOldUR View Post
What boat are/were you on? My son spent time on the Scranton. He's in DC now, but will be returning to subs when his shore duty is over. I did a three night tiger cruise with him. Damn, I give you guys a lot of credit. That's a tough job.

Welcome to HBT and brewing!
Over my 23 yrs I've been on the Baltimore, Atlanta, Newport News, Norfolk, and Toledo. I also did the final patrol of the Daniel Webster.
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Old 03-14-2011, 06:51 PM   #9
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I also use Homebrew USA They have recipes on the wall there. I just did a Wheat recipe they had and it turned out excellent. I have recruited two friends recently and they bought kits from HBUSA. I strongly recomend trying them out.

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