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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Odd questions, haven't brewed anything yet
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Old 01-10-2013, 05:01 AM   #1
Katt
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Default Odd questions, haven't brewed anything yet

I've never brewed anything but root beer... but I have all the kit to do so, I'm just unclear on a recipe. The kit itself is delux, with a wort chiller... the ingredients will not be.

(Note: Five gallons would be the output of all the recipes I looked over.)

1) The simplest recipe I could find... was for a 'beer' made with barley malt syrup... catch... the amount of syrup varries by recipe... anywhere from 6 to 15 lbs. What is the difference in taste?

2) To this I am to add an undetermined amount of either corn syrup, cane sugar, or beet sugar... depending on the prefrence of the author of said recipe... ok, how do I calculate the amount to add... and what is the difference between the sugars and final product?

3) Hops... I have a lovely hop flower/lemon grass tea... can that be boiled and added to the wort?

4) Yeast... I'm confused... yeast eats sugar and makes both alcohol and carbonation... do I really need special yeast? I have centuries old cookbooks which instruct me to take scrapings from the bottom of the beer barrel, to make bread... the reverse doesn't work? MMM... not that you could scrape bread for yeast... but I have an entire bottle of bread yeast.

5) The prefered method of carbonating the bottle... the sugar is added to either the 'beer' or to each bottle... some use caster sugar, some use simple syrup... is there a preferred method? Oh, and I've seen something called carbonation drops... which are probably suspect in some way.

Please don't tell me to get a kit... I have a bet with my father, that I can make an acceptable beer... with items only found in the grocery/health food store.

TIA

OH, and I have rose water, orange water, and violet syrup... would a bit of one of them give the beer a unique flavor? Presuming this will even work.

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Old 01-10-2013, 09:31 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katt View Post
I've never brewed anything but root beer... but I have all the kit to do so, I'm just unclear on a recipe. The kit itself is delux, with a wort chiller... the ingredients will not be.

(Note: Five gallons would be the output of all the recipes I looked over.)
In order to get five gallons, brewing for 5 1/2 works nice since you will have loss for things like trub

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1) The simplest recipe I could find... was for a 'beer' made with barley malt syrup... catch... the amount of syrup varries by recipe... anywhere from 6 to 15 lbs. What is the difference in taste?
If these are all syrup recipes, the actual composition of the syrup may be different. In general, if you use DME or LME, the more of the malt you use the higher the alcohol content will be. A more malty flavor can be a result also. Depends on a few things.


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2) To this I am to add an undetermined amount of either corn syrup, cane sugar, or beet sugar... depending on the prefrence of the author of said recipe... ok, how do I calculate the amount to add... and what is the difference between the sugars and final product?
This sounds a little odd to me. If this is a kit, it should come with it or give you an option list of sugar preference. It might just be trying to get the alcohol volume up without paying for malt extract so that it's cheaper. Sugar will not add flavor though. Malt extract will.

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3) Hops... I have a lovely hop flower/lemon grass tea... can that be boiled and added to the wort?
The short answer is you can add most anything to beer, the longer version starts with tell us about these beers you are making. What's it composed of? Are you just trying to dress up a nice beer.
What makes you think that tea is going to improve it? Lemon grass flavors for beer?

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4) Yeast... I'm confused... yeast eats sugar and makes both alcohol and carbonation... do I really need special yeast? I have centuries old cookbooks which instruct me to take scrapings from the bottom of the beer barrel, to make bread... the reverse doesn't work? MMM... not that you could scrape bread for yeast... but I have an entire bottle of bread yeast.
Yeast choice has a huge impact on beer making. They can cause quite a bit of flavor difference, and it's cheap.
Yeast strains also have alcohol tolerance differences.
Bread yeast is great at making bread. Spend a couple bucks and get the right yeast for what you are trying to make.


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5) The prefered method of carbonating the bottle... the sugar is added to either the 'beer' or to each bottle... some use caster sugar, some use simple syrup... is there a preferred method? Oh, and I've seen something called carbonation drops... which are probably suspect in some way.
Any fermentable sugar will work. Some DME will work nice also.
I wouldn't add to each bottle. That's a lot of measuring precise and a lot of trouble instead of putting it in the bottling bucket.
I believe the carbonation drops work fine. They look like little candies or maybe a cough drop.
It's cheaper to prime with DME though and less hassle.
[/QUOTE]


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Please don't tell me to get a kit... I have a bet with my father, that I can make an acceptable beer... with items only found in the grocery/health food store.
You don't want to hear this, but get a kit.
Why on earth would you try and make a beer without beer ingredients when you have never made beer at all before?
Stuff from a grocery store or health food store will be things like whole grains.

Grain is sprouted, then properly dried. Often roasted. Then you have to mill the grain properly. Next it's mashing it. It doesn't sound like you want to do all that!
If you don't want to do all that you need to buy some DME or LME for the malt. You also need hops and I've never seen them at the grocery store. There are substitutes for hops. You can read up if you want and see if there is something you can harvest near you. Again, you are making it very difficult for a first attempt at making beer.

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OH, and I have rose water, orange water, and violet syrup... would a bit of one of them give the beer a unique flavor? Presuming this will even work.
These may very well give it a unique flavor. I'm not sure it it's a beer flavor or even a drinkable flavor, but unique. Sort of like adding a urinal cake to the punch at a party.

If you want to prove a point to your dad, start by ordering a kit and brewing a beer or two. Then start to experiment.
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Old 01-10-2013, 01:24 PM   #3
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I'd also recommend picking up a copy of How To Brew by John Palmer. It covers all the basics.

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Old 01-10-2013, 02:09 PM   #4
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I like the bet you have! Here's my suggestion. Stores like Whole Foods should have sorghum syrup and possibly barley malt syrup. Look in the aisle with sugar. That's the base of your "malt bill." You could toast some oats as well, but I don't think the starch will convert to sugar without some enzymatic help.

Honey and molasses are also fermentable and in the same aisle. Maple syrup too.

Bread yeast will work *for this bet.*

So... 1 gallon recipe...

1 pound sorghum or barley malt syrup
.5 pound honey
1.25 gal water

Boil that for 15 min, them add a couple of those hop tea bags you mentioned. Boil another 15-30 ( knowing zip about how the tea will work).

Cool it down to 80 degrees and strain it into a gallon glass jug, leaving a few inches head space. Add yeast - 1/4 tsp of dry active??

Put a lid on it. Shake. And then some more. Again.

Then you need a blowoff and airlock system. That will require research but can be made from hardware store parts. Is that fair for the bet?

I would let it ferment for 3-4 weeks to settle and clear. Bottle in old pop bottles with a tsp or two or more ?? Sugar. Refrigerate after a couple of days, when the bottles are hard.

Should be ghetto fabulous brew! Probably tastes like crap, but you win the bet.

Conceptually, all of that should work. Anyone?

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Old 01-10-2013, 02:57 PM   #5
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Sounds like you need to find the thread here on making beer from cereal. Its a huge thread. Good luck.

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Old 01-10-2013, 06:10 PM   #6
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I like the ovaltine IPA recipe.

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Old 01-10-2013, 08:45 PM   #7
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Aiptasia, are you really making the Black Table pruno recipe?

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Old 01-10-2013, 08:50 PM   #8
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Another possible fermentable addition is juice, as long as it is 100% juice with no preservatives.

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Old 01-10-2013, 09:02 PM   #9
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Assuming that hop/lemongrass tea has actual hops in it, boiling it would theoretically work but I'd think trying to get the right bitterness would be a nightmare, and who knows what the flavor is going to be like. If there's no actual hops, your not going to get the bitterness you need. As above, there's other ingredients that will work (heather, gale, and mugwort are the first ones to come to mind) and were used centuries ago before hops became standard. But then I'd have to call it a gruit, not a beer.

Bread yeast will work. But it's far, far, FAR from ideal. Bread yeast is designed to do it's thing extremely rapidly ie making bread rise. It'll ferment wort into beer, but the flavor is going to suffer.

Let me put it this way, the way you're going about it, you could make something that is technically beer. If that's enough to pass as "acceptable" then by all means. But if you're looking to brew something that tastes good, you're going to need some proper ingredients.

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Old 01-10-2013, 09:11 PM   #10
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Let me put it this way, the way you're going about it, you could make something that is technically beer. If that's enough to pass as "acceptable" then by all means. But if you're looking to brew something that tastes good, you're going to need some proper ingredients.
Kinda like soaking a Chicken McNugget in a cup of water and saying you made chicken soup.

Its an interesting bet though. Good luck!
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