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Old 12-01-2012, 08:43 PM   #1
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Default Brewing with limited ingredients (experiment)

My screen name might give it away, but since getting back into homebrewing a few years ago I have a particular objective. I want to learn how to make good or great beer on a boat and be able to do it away from civilization. (Civilization as defined here means within range of a home brew store).

The first part of the project has gone well. I've got my equipment and process minimized to a reasonable level and can brew in my small galley, cool the wort, ferment aboard, bottle etc. During this process I have been using extract with steeping grains because that's what I'm most familiar with.

Now it's time to move on to phase 2. Limiting myself to ingredients that keep. Obviously if I'm near a home brew store, I'll brew with grains hops etc. I do plan to sail for many months/years at at time in places that won't have home brew stores so I must learn to make good (or great) beer with ingredients that keep.

My plan is to use pre-hopped extract kits because hops are hard to keep. I figure that coopers IPA kit will be a good place to start because I doubt any of them have much in the way of hops and the more the better.

I've read all the threads I could find on improving the kits and am open to more suggestions. For my purposes much of the good advice can't be used because it involves using steeping grains or hops.

I was thinking of starting out by using an IPA kit with less than the regular amount of water, even up to 1/2 as much and seeing how that goes as a starting/reference point.

Allowed ingredients for this project include:
1. Any pre-hopped canned extract. (multiple cans per batch are okay)
2. Canned LME or DME. Light, dark, amber etc.
3. Possibly hop oils/extracts if they have a shelf life of >1yr at 70F.
4. Any powdered sugars.
5. Anything else that stores well and keeps >1yr at 70F.

Suggestions?????

BrewOnBoard

PS If I get this to work well the recipes I come up with would be great ingredient kits to store in case of the zombie apocalypse.

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Old 12-01-2012, 08:57 PM   #2
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Interesting... Wondering how fermenting wort would fare while you are under way. No personal experience that directly applies, but from the fermentation, storage and serving side, I would think that kegging might serve you better. Kegs can double as fermenter and storage. They could also store potable water. Also you wouldn't have to deal with empty bottle storage. The engineer in me is wondering how to use a keg on its side...

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Old 12-01-2012, 09:05 PM   #3
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Interesting... Wondering how fermenting wort would fare while you are under way. No personal experience that directly applies, but from the fermentation, storage and serving side, I would think that kegging might serve you better. Kegs can double as fermenter and storage. They could also store potable water. Also you wouldn't have to deal with empty bottle storage. The engineer in me is wondering how to use a keg on its side...
Fermenting while under way went just fine. I figured my boat was just a giant stir-plate.

As for kegging, I've considered that many times and still am. The problem is that in warmer climates I can't cool a keg. I do plan to have a 12v (very small) fridge that I can put some bottles in. I suppose I could bottle a few at a time from the keg and put them in the fridge but I'm not sure I'm gaining anything there.

Currently I'm using the Coopers brown plastic bottles. They hold 22oz and take up barely any more space than a glass 12oz bottle. They're reusable, don't require a capper and don't break.

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Old 12-02-2012, 07:10 PM   #4
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Anyone ever try using hopped DME??? This could be a fun product for my purposes.....

http://www.highgravitybrew.com/produ...lb-69p2833.htm

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Old 12-02-2012, 08:28 PM   #5
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Since LME gets stale over time, you might try using the minimum amount of hopped LME to get the bittering, and use DME as much as possible.

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Old 12-02-2012, 08:32 PM   #6
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Wow, long time no see!!!!! How've you been?

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Old 12-02-2012, 10:15 PM   #7
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Wow, long time no see!!!!! How've you been?
Nice to hear from you too Father Revvy! Life has been good to me. The brew kettle grew some cobwebs over the last couple years as I was working too much for a while and then took a year off drinking alcohol (and brewing of course) in solidarity with my pregnant wife.

Now we've got a 3 month old (who is fun and challenging and awesome and difficult) and I'm back to brewing (and back to drinking beer). In fact, today is brew day and the pack has been smacked and I'm about to get to it!

I've been catching up on some threads and see that you had a "minor" surgery. Glad everything turned out okay with your new piggy valve. I once observed an open heart surgery. Amazing stuff but they do have the process down really well and it seemed quite routine to all of them. Personally I hate doing surgery, I find it's boring and too much like putting model airplanes together, but I'm glad that those cardio-thoracic guys are as good as they are.

ncbrewer,

Good point about LME going bad. If (and it's a pretty big if) the hopped DME product is any good then I could use it in place of a coopers kit once everything else goes stale. I doubt that'll be a problem though since I'm planning to sail mostly in Australia and the coopers kits are in nearly every grocery store there. (yes their country is more awesome than ours ) Still, it might be an interesting adjunct that I could add to spice up a kit and it would have a really long shelf life.

I wonder if they have only bittering hops or if they have any flavor or aroma?

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Old 12-03-2012, 12:43 AM   #8
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Yeah it's been an interesting journey.

I really enjoyed brainstorming with you back then about trying to brew in your unique situation. I've often wondered what became of you.

So you're raising an infant on the boat....WOW..

And congrats!!!!

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Old 12-03-2012, 03:31 AM   #9
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Yeah it's been an interesting journey.

I really enjoyed brainstorming with you back then about trying to brew in your unique situation. I've often wondered what became of you.
Were you worried that I brewed up a batch of something too strong and fell overboard?? No, I've just been busy. Since joining HBT I've finished Physician Assistant school, worked my a$$ off in said new career, got married, had a kid, bought a house and completely renovated it (we found newspapers from 1944 under the carpet).

The new kid is actually being raised in our tiny house (at 900sqft it's 3 times the size of our boat though!). Unfortunately the town I moved to doesn't have protected marinas like Seattle does, and after 2 winters of "living in a washing machine on spin cycle" we bought a small fixer-upper 10 blocks from the boat. I lived aboard for 10 years, nearly to the day, I expect to be back living aboard.

We're still out on the boat a lot and we even took the little one sailing at 3 weeks old. He will end up being raised on the boat though as we're planning our trip to circumnavigate Australia via the South Pacific. Estimated time of departure: 5-6 years.


While it probably doesn't sound like it, life has actually been slowing down a little. I'm only working one job for example and not working 7x14hr shifts in a row anymore. That means I can spend a little more time on this hobby.

Forgive me Father, for I have sinned. I went an entire year without enjoying the holy waters that you have blessed me with the ability to create....

Expect to hear from me in the next few months suffering through some really average beers as I fine tune the Coopers kits + DME recipes, all the while avoiding the fresh ingredients at the LHBS that is within walking distance....

Very happy to hear that your journey has been interesting and that you're still journeying. I'm also happy to hear that they chose, or helped you choose the pig valve. A metal valve would require a lifetime commitment to blood thinning medication (Coumadin) and that doesn't go well with enjoying homebrew.

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Old 12-03-2012, 06:52 PM   #10
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Only thought on DME is its sensitivity to moisture. I prefer DME over liquid, but have also found that any humidity at all will turn a bucket of DME into a brick. It's still usable in the form, though - just a little harder to do.

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