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Old 06-07-2007, 06:32 AM   #1
tahleel
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Default First home brew- Cheapest, easiest, and fastest beer- Tips & Tricks welcome- O2 CO2

Hi:
I've been lurking around, and reading information on this site, as well as watching home brew videos on youtube. I'm in college ( ) and want to create the cheapest, easiest and fastest brewing beer possible. I know this is blasphemy for you guys, because you guys know how to make and drink the best. I, on the other hand, classify Busch as good beer, Bud as better, and Newcastle as top level.

With that being said, I propose the question of what would be the cheapest, easiest and fastest beer to produce? I've read about beers that have a turn-around time and ready to drink in a week, and some months. I'd greatly sacrifice taste, for a fast turn around, as long as I don't have a mouth full of yeast. I'm looking for something that would be completely done in a week or so. Is that possible?

I've seen the price for malt extract, and it costs as much as just buying a dirty-30 of Busch. Is there a place where I can get the malt extract for cheap? Is there any place where I can buy malt extract so the beer would taste similar to commercially sold beer (i.e. Bud). Any recipes for commercial-like beer?

I might also try oxygen injection, just because I am able to get the equipment. On that note, how much faster would it be if I were to use oxygen injection, versus not using it.

The following are the most important questions:
I will be kegging this, and NOT bottling this. I found a small cheap kegerator, and figured I'd rather have it on tap, instead of 100 bottles. Can someone please explain the procedure on kegging? From what I've gathered, after you are done fermenting, you siphon the keg, add sugar, and then seal it. How do you seal a keg? What tools/equipment would I need? I plan on using a Cornelius (Cornie) keg.

As far as the definition of sealing, what does that mean?
**Does it mean to completely seal it off, as in its air-tight, and nothing can go in and out?
**Or just putting a cap (?) over the outlet, but having a hole in the cap for the liquid to come out of?

As far as forced-carbonation, this is just forcing CO2 into the keg at a certain pressure, depending on the temperature, correct? When would you do this? After you sealed (see above question) the keg? What is the time differential with forced-carbonation vs non-forced carbonation? If I force-carbonate it, would I need to add the sugar in the keg (as asked above)?

Thanks a lot. And I'm sorry for the n00b questions, just trying to clarify things so I don't buy/waste more than I have to.

-Tahleel

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Old 06-07-2007, 10:57 AM   #2
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In my opinion if you want 'cheap, easy and fast' go to the store and buy another case of busch. Homebrewing, for me anyway, is foremost about making a good beer. There is great satisfaction in having a beer that tastes as good as (or better than) the premium beers and high-end microbrews. Buying good ingredients, having the right equipment and being patient are all factors in getting a good beer. The fact that it costs about the price of Bud or Miller is a bonus - for me that's not a huge factor but it may be for others, and yes I do remember being a broke college student.

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Old 06-07-2007, 11:42 AM   #3
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I don't know about you guys but this first 5 ga. of brew has cost me about $400. I can by a lot of store beer for that price.

To me, homebrewing is not about saving money, it's about making something myself that I enjoy. No mater the cost.

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Old 06-07-2007, 12:29 PM   #4
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Making any of the lagers you mentioned, Busch or Bud clones would cost more than buying (if you try using extracts) and since they are lagers, would have to sit in a temp controlled environment for a couple months. Lagers are very tough beers to make and they're not for beginner brewers.

It sounds like you're really psyched about brewing your own, and that great as long as your enthusiasm is NOT about making Bud on the cheap... AB already has the monopoly on that one. Home brewing is actually about making beers you can't buy (or buy easily).

Timelines for brews to be drinkable (minimums and certainly debatable):
Wheats - 4 weeks
Light Ales 6 weeks
Heavy Ales 8 weeks
Lagers 12 weeks

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Old 06-07-2007, 01:02 PM   #5
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Well, you could probably drink a wheat in 3 weeks (actually I usually do), but as others have mentioned, the quickest, easiest way to get some brew is to go to the store and buy some. Especially is you are trying to make beer that tastes like Busch. Eventually, you can save money on homebrew...however, the initial expense is quite a lot...several hundred dollars. And the ONLY way you are going to save money is all grain. I dont see how it would be possible to save money using extract..that stuff is expensive.

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Old 06-07-2007, 04:35 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cubbies
And the ONLY way you are going to save money is all grain. I dont see how it would be possible to save money using extract..that stuff is expensive.
Expensive is a relative term. I can brew a very good all extract ale for $30-35. This will yield around 2 cases of beer. The premium beers run in excess of $20 a case, so I consider this to be a savings.
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Old 06-07-2007, 05:00 PM   #7
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agreed. i can make some quality beer and end up paying less than i would buying six packs of craft brew.

if you're just trying to make beer to save money and you don't care if it tastes like busch...i'd say you've come to the wrong place. as for all your other questions, you may want to search the forums a little more...all the information is here.

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Old 06-07-2007, 05:04 PM   #8
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Thanks a lot guys for the positive feedback! I was expecting a lot of bashing, but I didn't get it. I thought there might've been a cheaper way to go, but it seems like I have to brew a more premium style beer, which I still wouldn't mind.

Buying all the equipment is not a problem. My dad has a restaurant and he already has the majority of the stuff, and from what I see, the only things I need would be a syphon, carboy, and hydrometer.

Now, can someone answer those questions about O2 injection, force-carbing, and especially kegging?

Thanks again guys, and rock on.

-Tahleel

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Old 06-07-2007, 05:27 PM   #9
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there is a reson that the first beer taste different than the last beer. time is eveything. the labor, the cost, the drunk are all 2nd. being in college eveything is fast the women, the cars, the money spent. look more in to it, dont rush. TIME IS EVETHING. enjoy

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Old 06-07-2007, 05:32 PM   #10
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Brewing beer fast and cheap isn't really going to be better than buying the "dirty 30." Do yourself a favor and get some patience...just a little...like a month's worth of it.

Oxygen injection as a means of aeration is certainly a viable means of improving yeast performance, but it's not going to make your beer "faster" by more than a few hours. The idea of aerating cooled wort is to provide the required oxygen for the yeast's initial reproduction phase. The more oxygen that's available, the easier the yeast will reproduce, and the better it will perform (less off flavors associated with poor yeast health). It doesn't appreciably speed up the time it takes to get good beer.

Kegging is simple - get yourself a 5 gallon cornelius keg. Clean and sanitize it. Remove the lid, siphon the beer in (avoiding any splashing/aeration this time), and put the lid back on.

Force carbonation can be done any of several ways. All of them include applying CO2 pressure to a chilled keg. The easiest method is to simply put the keg in the kegerator, hook it up to CO2 at serving pressure (8-12 psi), and wait a week.

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