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Old 02-28-2010, 11:39 PM   #1
Certainteed
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I found a recipe for George Washingtons small beer. Since it included lots of grocery-store goodies I thought I'd try it. The only deviation I made was to replace the hops with rosemary (the herb) and add a fistful of oats. And I scaled the recipe down to make a half-gallon batch.

I've never brewed anything and have no expectation of having a drinkable brew. I wanted to step through the process of brewing without investing a lot of money into a failure. I bought 1 stopper, 1 bubbler-ma-jig, and a hydrometer. I spent $10.43 on these items.

I had a half-gallon glass jug.
I bought a 12 oz bottle of robust molasses.
Spices on hand: ground ginger, ground clove, and dried rosemary.

I started with a half-gallong of boiling water and added a tablespoon of dried rosemary. After a few minutes I added 7 ounces of molasses and boiled for about an hour. At 45 minutes I added a pinch of ground clove and ground giner and a small handfull of oats.

I let it cool to 140 F and put 1/4 cup into a jar and place that into the fridge. I put the rest in the half-gallon jug, adding about two cups of water. This went into the sink and I filled the sink with cool water. I took SG at 105 F and found 1.057 corrected.

At 78 F I pitched in a package of fast acting bread yeast. I put the bubbler-ma-bob on and sat it on the coffee table. Within 30 minutes I got my first bubble. Its been bubbling for about 30 hours and is showing signs of slowing down. There is nothing floating on it. It smells the same as it did when it was brewing.

It smells like cookies, by the way.

I suspect this will be disgusting but the experience has been fun, and I'm ready to invest into more gear and a better recipe.

Thoughts?



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Old 02-28-2010, 11:52 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Certainteed View Post
...I suspect this will be disgusting but the experience has been fun, and I'm ready to invest into more gear and a better recipe.

Thoughts?

I, too, suspect it will be disgusting, but pats on the back for courage and expression. Welcome to HBT.

Peruse the forums, the recipe area, and get some proper equipment / ingredients. If you found this exercise exciting, just wait until you make real beer!


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Old 03-01-2010, 06:03 PM   #3
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Thanks for the welcome

I'm considering 5-6 1 gal jugs instead of 1 5-6 gal jug. I think I'd rather have several different recipes going at once and it'll save me the hassle of upgrading to a larger pot etc etc.

Any advice? Am I likely to get fed up with small batches?

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Old 03-02-2010, 09:01 PM   #4
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just wanted to post a few observations...

bread yeast likes warm temperatures. below 70 and the bubbles get few and far between.

small batches have no thermal stability. i can force the yeast to work by putting both hands on the bottle. within minutes the bubble rate will increase noticeably.

it still smells like a batch of cookies. not quite as strongly, but the smell is certainly sweet and appealing.

its cloudy. looks like a jug of mud. i'm thinking about pulling it off the yeast and adding gelatin. then maybe cool it down in the fridge for a few days to see if it clears. i dont think i'm going to try carbonating this mess. i'd like to but i have nothing to put it in.

small batches suck because taking a sg reading nearly empties the bottle. 1 gallon would be ideal but i don't like jugs. buckets are better because of the opening while they suck because they are opaque. i saw a 2 gallon cookie jar at walmart that seems ideal except its too short to leave the hydrometer floating in it. and there is the question of sealing the lid... or not. mom says her mother made beer in a crock with a wooden lid and people loved her beer.

well i'm having fun and i haven't spent 20 bux yet. movies don't offer this kind of entertainment value.

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Old 03-02-2010, 09:17 PM   #5
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I hear you about small batches. Not only does it take the same amount of time to make a small batch as it does a large batch, but you cringe every time you have to remove some for sampling. I just did my first five gallon batch and even after a few samples I still bottled 49.5 bottles when all was said and done.

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Old 03-02-2010, 10:11 PM   #6
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sour sour sour sour sour.

a year ago i was at the thirsty monk in asheville nc sampling things i couldn't pronounce. i got a taste of some really sour stuff and loved it. but i don't recall what it was.

this stuff comes close. if it weren't for the herbs and the terrible color i'd drink it. in the recipe above i forgot to mention the juice of one lemon and some zest. maybe i'll just use the juice next time. i think the yeast had a tough go in that much acid.

i pulled it off the yeast. added the quarter cup of original wart and a packet of gelatin. i dont have a lot of hope for it clearing but i do have some great ideas about what to do next batch...

less lemon.
no oats!
more molasses
way less herb. like maybe hold the clove next to the boiling pot for 23 seconds and then separate the two.

i saved some yeast and am going to use it in the next batch. i figure the yeast will eventually become a better strain.

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Old 03-07-2010, 03:43 PM   #7
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More for the chronicle..

So evidently that old recipe is missing some punctuation and the person who perpetuates the current recipe does not mention using BRAN.

Soooo.... I grabbed some from the supermarket. I've yet to buy any hops. Maybe payday. For now, I'm trying to wrap my head around the process.

So I toasted a cup of oats on the stove and a cup of bran in the oven. It seems to me that the molasses are exceptionally strong so the bran/oat combo need a lot of flavor.

These went into boiling water and boiled away for an hour. Then I added 4 ounces of molasses and boiled for 30 more minutes. The mixture is tasty.

I understand now that I should not be boiling the grains. Ok live and learn.

My thermometer died on me so I didn't bother reading the SG. This step appears to be a waste of time for a zero-budget brew. As long as there are sugars, the yeast will throw a party.

So I cooled it and put half a packet of bread yeast in. Put on the bubbler-ma-bob and tossed it into the closet.

For the two cups of oats/bran, I added two cups of flour and the other half-packet of yeast. It rose a little so I tossed it into the oven. 35 minutes later I had a very non-offensive-yet-boring loaf of bread. The flavor livens up with a bit of salted butter but overall it needs help. Next weekend I'll try another batch and with the dough I'll add raisins, an egg, and use the yeast from this weeks beer.

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Old 03-07-2010, 03:48 PM   #8
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This sounds like a terribly fun experiment. From my perspective, I was taught to brew, so wouldn't try a lot of the stuff you are. Be sure to post anything that works please!

Sour beers you tried were probably lambics?

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Old 03-07-2010, 04:14 PM   #9
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One note regarding the oats - unless you are mashing them, you will not gain any fermentable sugars. Boiling them will gelatinize and dissolve some starches, but this will only serve as a food source for whatever wild yeast or bacteria end up in the fermenter. Saccharomyces Cerviseae will not be able to process it. In order to break down the starches from the oats into fermentable sugars, they have to be mashed with malt, which possesses the amylase enzymes necessary to break them down into simple sugars.

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Old 03-07-2010, 04:33 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Certainteed View Post
Thanks for the welcome

I'm considering 5-6 1 gal jugs instead of 1 5-6 gal jug. I think I'd rather have several different recipes going at once and it'll save me the hassle of upgrading to a larger pot etc etc.

Any advice? Am I likely to get fed up with small batches?
The issue isn't in getting fed up, it is when you hit one that is GREAT....you only have one gallon of it. I had that with two wines I made and it SUCKS!


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