I've recently decided I want to try my hand at brewing. I'm really new to this however, and though I've read a bit here, and there about it, I still have some questions I'd like to ask before investing in anything.
A little preinformation. I want to try and brew hard lemonade, rather then traditional beer. I've read a little about this (Although the info is kinda hard to find heh.) I have found one set of instructions that looks like it might work:
Chester's Big Red Gundog Hard Lemonade
In most states and under BATF rules it is OK to make 200 gals. of Beer and Wine at home for personal use if two adults live in the house (1 adult only gets 100 gals.)
Hard Lemonade is all the rage and the first batch of this I made was a big hit at TeedyBearBBQ.com's first birthday party on Saturday. Just ask John he was enjoying it
It is very easy to make with sanitation being the biggest thing to watch. Your local bear and wine shop will have most of what you need although a good restaurant supply will work and will probably be cheaper for some things.
You will need a 6 or 7 gal. Container with a tight fitting lid or bung which can be fitted with an airlock. Bungs and air locks run around $1 each at beer and wine making shops. If using a large food grade bucket with lid you can use a hole saw to make a hole for a bung.
In a big stainless pot (12 quarts is the smallest that will work) bring 2 pounds each of "Cane" sugar and honey and 1 1/5 gallons of water to a boil. Slowly add 2 pounds extra light or light dry malt extract (it tastes like a malted milk ball raw) and stir. The DME will froth up at first. Boil for ten minutes and let cool.
Sanitize your fermenter after cleaning you can in a pinch use bleach but be very sure to rinse until no bleach odor is left. You will be better off buying some Iodophor which is an iodine based product used in hospitals it kills bugs on contact unlike bleach which needs time to work and at worst it leaves a light brown stain not a bleached spot. I prefer it to bleach and it works great at removing odors from coolers.
Pour you cooled mixture into your fermenter and add water to make 5 gallons. With the mixture at 60f to 80f Sprinkle two 5 gram packets of ale yeast such as Nottingham or one 15 gram packet of Coopers yeast on top of the liquid (one 5 gram packet is not enough and bread yeast won�t work). Do not stir at this point. Stir after 12 to 24 hours. Add the airlock filled with water and wait 1 to 2 weeks until it stops bubbling. Add 8 cans room tempreture frozen real lemonade concentrate and two cans limeade. The kind that makes 64 fl. oz. when you add water. Stir. Replace airlock. Wait until a week or longer if the bubbling is vigorous. Siphon into a sanitized 6 gallon buck leaving the dead yeast and other sediment in the fermenter. Stir in 3/4 cup of cane sugar and bottle. In 9 to 14 days it will be carbonated from secondary fermentation. Refrigerate until consumed which should not be long
Biggest area for failure is not making sure everything is sanitized at every step including the bottles you use.
For more info do a search on google groups.
Konrad "Teddy Bear" Haskins Experiment that's my advice!
What do you think of this recipe?
Is there anything you would change, or add?
I had a few questions about the recipe elements as well:
What exactly is DME? I know its a malt extract, but when I'm browsing online brewery stores there are a lot of options, some saying DME, others not. I want to make sure I get the right product for this.
Also it says to use "Cane" sugar, but I've seen "corn" sugar for sale on brewing sites, and wonder if one is better then the other?
The next question is about yeast. It says "Sprinkle two 5 gram packets of ale yeast such as Nottingham or one 15 gram packet of Coopers yeast on top of the liquid"
. I knowing nothing about yeast wonder what the difference is betwen the two suggestions, and of course if you would recomend another?
Of course anything you can add would also be appreciated.
I'm also wondering what equipment you would recomend. It seems this recipe is for a single fermentor method, but I've read that you make better product in a duel fermentation system when making beer. I assum the same would be true here as well.
To that end I've been looking around, and have found quite a few starter kits avialable for purchase in both single, and duel fermentor varieties.
This site seems to have the best prices for what you get. But cheaper doesn't always mean better, so I thought I'd ask what you think. I'm thinking of getting the "Brewing Intermediate Kit w/Glass Carboys".
Link might not work, so:
Just click "Equipment Kits" on the column along the left side. (First box, pink)
Is this a good kit? Would you suggest a different one, from this company, or another?
Is there anything else I should consider getting? (Besides the kettle and bottles I'll need to order seperatly?)
I'd like the finished product to be carbinated. Is there anything special I'd need to make the drink carbinated?
Anything anyone can add about the recipe, equipment, or anything else regarding this would be really appreciated.
I definatley want to get into brewing, but I don't want to waste time, and money buying the wrong equipment, or ingrediates if it can be helped. Of course its a learning process but I'd like to limit the earlly mistakes as much as possible.
Oh yea, and purley to rest a freind of mines mind at ease. What risk is there of everything exploding on me? From what I read its minimal as long as you have the right equipment and allow time to take its course, not rushing anything, but I figured I'd ask.
Anyway, thanks in advance for any help. I really appreciate it.