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Old 06-24-2009, 03:58 PM   #1
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Default A few questions before I buy anything

Hey guys, I wanted to ask a few questions before I bought anything to brew my own beer.

I have read a few books on the subject, but surprisingly I have not found any information on how much of an odor brewing beer makes. Does it make too much of a smell that I wouldn't want to brew in my basement? I was considering building a small room in my barn/shed outside, but that would require buying a fridge and a stove. If I just brew in my basement there is already a stove and fridge there.

Also, a friend of mine told me that boiling hops will leave stains on the ceiling, is this true?

Finally, my local brew shop only has plastic brewing supplies and said that the glass ones are for wine. I read that glass is better and if I start out with plastic I'll be upgrading to glass after a few brews anyway. Should I just start out with glass?

Thanks for everyone's time!



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Old 06-24-2009, 04:06 PM   #2
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There isn't much of an odor from fermenting usually. I have fermenters in my home office, and aside from some blurping noises once in a while, you don't even know they are there.

I ferment most of my beers in plastic, for at least the first couple of weeks. There isn't anything special about glass, except that it has a smaller opening which creates a smaller headspace. That's ideal for wine, and for beers that are going to be aged for a long time. I use the plastic "ale pail" 99% of the time.

I don't have any stains on my ceiling! I guess you could get some steam, just like with cooking, but I've never had a problem. I've made all of my beers (except for one yesterday I did outside) on my kitchen stove. I'm a clean freak, and the worst that I can say is that if you have a boil over, it'll make a big mess on the stove. Or, if you spill some fresh wort, the floor can be sticky due to the sugars in it.

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Old 06-24-2009, 04:08 PM   #3
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I don't know about Hops on the ceiling but SWMBO would be unimpressed if I brewed indoors. She does not like the smell of boiling wort. I don't mind it. Good ventilation would be nice to have though...

As to plastic vs. glass: This Vs That

I used a bucket for my first two brews because it was cheap and now have a glass carboy because it was free. I still use the bucket a lot so it's not wasted money.

Welcome, RDWHAHB, read all you can and ask plenty of questions when reading/searching doesn't cover it.

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Old 06-24-2009, 04:11 PM   #4
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Plastic brewing supplies are fine and suit the beginner well.

Don't worry about the hops staining. I have no idea where that came from.

As for the smell, that's more of a personal thing. It doesn't bother my wife and my kids really like the smell. It really bothers my wife when my 12 year old son walks by and says, "Mmmm, I love the smell of beer brewing. Can I have one?"

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Old 06-24-2009, 04:12 PM   #5
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Brewing does have some odor to it. If you have every been to a brewpub or any brewery, you will recognize it. I think that it smells great, grains, malt, hops. I'm not too sure about the stains on the ceiling, I don't think that is true but my ceiling is fairly tall.
Plastic is just fine to ferment in, many people do it. I think that it is a great way to start off and get your feet wet. As you start brewing more often, you will need to purchase another fermenter (primary), my second primary was a better bottle which looks like the glass that you are referring to above, but it is plastic.
I like the better bottle as I can see what is going on inside, it is light to carry and I don't have to worry too much about dropping it.
Glass can be used for wine or beer or cider or many other uses.

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Old 06-24-2009, 04:13 PM   #6
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I always get into arguments with the SWMBO about whether a boiling kettle of wort smells good or bad. Since it bothers her a bit I often will bake a fresh loaf of bread. I don't know anyone who dislikes that smell.

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Old 06-24-2009, 04:15 PM   #7
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1) Yes there is a smell. I think it's actually a very pleasant smell. My cream stout smells like baking brownies, my wife and I both thought so. Whether you like the smell or not, I cannot say. Most of the smell comes from the boil. Next would be bottling. I'd say the fermentation is last. Some people do the boil outside using a turkey fryer with a propane burner. This would seem much cheaper then building a shed with a stove.

2) I haven't noticed hop stains on the ceiling. I'm not saying that it can't happen though with enough years of brewing.

3) Glass or plastic. It's really up to you. I don't think it affects the quality of the beer. Glass is more expensive and creates the risk of breaking. I just suggest that if your going to ferment in a glass carboy, make sure it's big enough. Fermentation creates a lot of foam, so you need extra room to accommodate this. I'd say you want a minimum of 6.5 gal container for a 5 gal batch.

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Old 06-24-2009, 04:16 PM   #8
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My wife HATES the smell of beer boiling. She can handle it until the hops go in, then she has to go somewhere else. But she's graciously tolerant of my hobby and is happy my daughter and I have something we enjoy doing together.

Glass is great, but the risk of breakage and injury keeps me using plastic. I use buckets for primaries and a Better Bottle for secondary and they work great.

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Old 06-24-2009, 04:21 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ziggy13 View Post
Hey guys, I wanted to ask a few questions before I bought anything to brew my own beer.

I have read a few books on the subject, but surprisingly I have not found any information on how much of an odor brewing beer makes. Does it make too much of a smell that I wouldn't want to brew in my basement? I was considering building a small room in my barn/shed outside, but that would require buying a fridge and a stove. If I just brew in my basement there is already a stove and fridge there.

Also, a friend of mine told me that boiling hops will leave stains on the ceiling, is this true?

Finally, my local brew shop only has plastic brewing supplies and said that the glass ones are for wine. I read that glass is better and if I start out with plastic I'll be upgrading to glass after a few brews anyway. Should I just start out with glass?

Thanks for everyone's time!
1. I brew in the kitchen with no major problems, just watch your boil. Your basement sounds fine. I'd start out there before investing in equipment you may decide you don't need/want eventually. My wife doesn't mind the smell much at all. There's nothing like the smell of malted barley wafting through the house.

2. Hops? Boiling? Stains? News to me. Don't tell my wife. But honestly: there are many things that by boiling them can result in stains on the ceiling, more from the heat than anything.

3. Your local brewing supply store said that about glassware? Maybe the glassware they have IS specifically for wine making but they've got to know about glass carboys. I would suggest ordering them if need be. I started out with a 5 gallon and a 6 and a half gallon and eventually bought another 5 gallon. Glass doesn't scratch like plastic will (leads to bacterias and possible infections) but it's also up to the brewer's preference.

Good luck!
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Old 06-24-2009, 04:22 PM   #10
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My wife loves all the smells of brewing.

Inside brewing is just fine.



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