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Old 10-04-2005, 04:56 AM   #1
Forrest
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Default Extreme Newbie, never brewed before. Need Advise

Hi, I am currently a student at a Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School. My ultimate goal for my career is to open up a restaurant/brewery. The Resteruante part will not be a problem for me but as you can probably guess, my culinary school doesn't go into brewing. We do have a class where we learn to evaluate wine and learn how too distenguish between regional characheristics of wine and how to cook with it of course. However, I know next to nothing about the process of Brewing Beer. When I was young, my uncle made a huge batch of wine every spring when the muscidine grapes and elder berrys became ripe. I use to help him harvest the grapes and elder berrys and also helped him some with the wine making. He did attempt to make Beer one time. He got the recipe from a Justine Wilson Cookbook I beleave. It didn't turn out very good so he never tried it again. I love wine but my true love is Beer. Being a college student who is going to school and working two jobs just to pay for my rent and outragouse gas prices, I really do not have the extra money to purchase one of these beer brewing kits that is all over the internet right now as I am berely breaking even each month. I was wondering if there was anyway to brew beer with equipement that can be found around my house already? I would also like some advise on a good first time receipe. I prefer Dark Full bodied beers over the golden beers. Any help or advice you can offer will be greatly appreciated.



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Old 10-04-2005, 05:18 AM   #2
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The kit at http://www.homebrewery.com/beer/beer-gs-basic-kit.shtml is pretty reasonable. If that is too much for a poor college student - then...That's a problem...

Anyone out there have any creative ideas for the poorboy?

I know one thing, extract beers aren't really all that cheap to make in the end, if that's what you are going for. They are much better though.

I paid about 50 bucks for my first kit, plus another 20 for my first ingredient kit at the above mentioned store. It had a few things I didn't absolutely need, but for the most part it was all pretty necessary (bucket, hose, racking cane, capper, caps, etc.) It's pretty cheap altogether, especially when you compare it to all the ridiculous charges that most colleges like to throw at you.

Save all your non-twist off bottles too.



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Old 10-04-2005, 05:58 AM   #3
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Guess you can start in any large enough food grade container with a lid that can be cleaned! Keep an eye open at the college kitchens.

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Old 10-04-2005, 06:17 AM   #4
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yes, the cafeteria at your school should be able to produce at least one 6 or 7 gallon bucket with a lid, and that's all you need for a fermenter. Cut a hole in the lid so that CO2 can escape during fermentation.

The air airlock can be made blow-off style; Just run a piece of hose from the hole in your fermenter's lid into a clean milk jug full of boiled water. The gas will push out the hose and bubble up through the water in the milk jug.

If you want to be ultra low cost, you can just siphon your beer into the bottles and not use anything fancy like a bottling bucket or filling wand. Bottling wil lbe messy this way, but CHEAP. You'll have to be careful about sanitation since you will have to suck on the hose to start the siphon. Have some vodka handy to gargle with before sucking.

salvage bottles from recycling and friends.

you'll have to buy a bottle capper and caps, though. That and the hose for transferring the beer into the bottles (maybe a hose clamp since your bottling will be messy.)

Oh, and you need a pot big enough to boil 2 gallons of water (with room to spare above.)

really.. that's all you need equipment wise. Anything beyond this is for convenience, luxury, and sanity.

Simple recipes?

5 to 7 lbs liquid malt extract
1 oz bittering hops (chinook, northern brewer, etc; high alpha acis %)
1 oz aroma/flavor hops (cascade, tettnanger, etc; low alpha acid %)
1 lb specialty grain
dried brewers ale yeast

You should be able to get all of this for about $20 for a 5 gallon batch and you have a HUGE set of combinations of hops and grains.

-walker

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Old 10-04-2005, 11:26 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Forrest
My ultimate goal for my career is to open up a restaurant/brewery.
Wow, you're ahead of the game. Seems most of us waited until half way through our first batch to get the old "Brew Pub/ Microbrew" fantansy going.
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Old 10-04-2005, 01:51 PM   #6
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A great place to start reading up is John Palmer's How To Brew. You can't beat the price; it's free on the Internet.

Just be patient and pick up brewing items a little at a time as your money permits.

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Old 10-04-2005, 02:17 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walker
salvage bottles from recycling and friends.

you'll have to buy a bottle capper and caps, though.
Still thinking about how you can do this for the lowest price possible.

I am pretty sure there are folks here that don't even use glass bottles. Instead, they just clean and re-use 16 oz plastic soda bottles (fill them up screw the caps back on.)

While this will certainly work, I don't think the beer would have a very long shelf-life due to the plastic being gas-permeable (letting in air.)

So, I honestly think you could get the job done as a bare-bones minimalist by only going out and purchasing some nylon hoses (for airlock and siphoning). Seeing as how you are in a culinary school, I'm sure you can find the food-grade plastic w/ lid bucket and boiling pot to use.

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Old 10-04-2005, 02:42 PM   #8
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try this link...it's about as basic as you can get.


http://hbd.org/brewniversity/brewing/firstbatch.html

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Old 10-04-2005, 05:08 PM   #9
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I'll second the recommendation of Palmer's How to Brew.

I don't think you'll like the process or the results if you go ultra cheap with the equipment. Spend $100 on some bottles, an extract w/grain! kit, primary and secondary fermentor (secondary must be glass), a bottling bucket and a wand. Now, if you already have access to buckets then you could easily drill a hole in one and insert a store bought spigot (my local shop sells them).. viola you have a bottling bucket. Any 6 or 7 gallon plastic bucket with an airtight lid will work fine as a primary fermentor.. just drill a small hole in the lid and insert an airlock ($2 or $3 at your local homebrew store). Since you're into cooking you probably have access to some large pots that you can use for the boil (3 gal is bare minimum.. really 5 gal is a must for an extract brewer).

The good news is, dark beers are easier to brew because off flavors can often hide in the bitterness and maltiness. Off flavors tend to stand out like a sore thumb in a light bodied "clean" tasting beer.

Now, if you're expecting to save money.. don't. Extract brewing is cheaper than buying beer (especially decent beer.. as in "not clydesdale piss") BUT you'll soon want to upgrade your operation to all grain (cheaper still but more time consuming and more equipment to buy). Then you'll want a kegging setup.. and a lagering setup and the list continues.

Go give the Palmer book a read.. it really is a great resource. If you've got any other questions the people here are really helpful..

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Old 10-04-2005, 05:12 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lost
Now, if you're expecting to save money.. don't. Extract brewing is cheaper than buying beer (especially decent beer.. as in "not clydesdale piss") BUT you'll soon want to upgrade your operation to all grain (cheaper still but more time consuming and more equipment to buy). Then you'll want a kegging setup.. and a lagering setup and the list continues.
Doomsayer! You're going to scare him away before he even gets started!

-walker


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