I new to this forum as far as posting goes but have been reading and educating myself on the posts here for about a month now. First off, thanks to everyone for all the great infomation posted in this forum. Now, here's my story...
I have been making wine since I can remember. It's something thats been in my family for a long time. I have learned from my father and clearly remember making wine with my grandfather at a very young age. A couple of years ago I made friends with a home brewer. We started exchaning my wines for his beer and even started helping each other in our winemaking / brewing sessions. It's been REALLY fun and I have learned a lot about making beer.
So, a couple of months ago I decided that I wanted to make my own beer from what I have learnred with my friend. I realized that a lot of the equipment I have from winemaking could be used to make beer also. However, the addional equpiment I would need was:
- Star San sanitiser
- Mash Tun Vessel
- Burner / Kettle
- Wort Chiller
Other things such as fermenters, tubing, blow offs I already have from making wine. I quickly realized that the above three things could get expensive and was willing to take the risk of having a lesser quality beer to save me money. Here's what I did:
- Star San sanitiser: A lot of homebrewers seem to swear by this stuff, including my friend. In winemaking I have only used saltwater with iodized salt and have never had an infection or off flavors when properly flushed. I was willing to cut this little expense out and use the regular old saltwater that I have for years. Moreso than the little bit of savings, it was just more convient to buy. problem solved.
- Mash Tun Vessel: There was plenty of infomation on this here. I decided to stick with what I was taught and do batch sparge. I simply followed the many posts here and did the old rectagular cooler / SS braid method
. The whole ordeal came to about 60 dollars. problem solved.
- Burner / Kettle: The burners and kettles sold by homebrew stores are insanely priced. I went to the hardware store and bought a turkey fryer for 60 dollars. It also came with a thermometer. problem solved.
- Wort Chiller: I couldnt find a decent wort chiller for under 60 dollars and didn't want to go through the hassle of making one myself. This put me off for a while. Then, I came across the idea of no-chill brewing from reading the forum here. Seemed brilliant and was exactly what I was looking for. I then bought a used soda keg for 30 dollars and figured I'd no-chill in that. Chilling always seemed to be the least desireable part of the brew day anyhow and why waste all that water. problem solved.
Total cost? I don't have exact recipts, but about $150 bucks. What was the outcome? A very nice basic pale ale. I used the same recipie as my firends pale ale but only with my new simplified setup and the only difference is that mine seems hopier. After a day of no-chilling I siphoned the wort from the keg to one of my glass wine fermenters and all was well. I figured there is probably room for contamination there but then again, my wines sit unfermemted for days with no issues and they arent even boiled. What the hell.
What's my point? Well, first off to again thank the contributers on here for posting good information. Second, to see if anyone can tell me if they forsee any issues with what I'm doing. Also, maybe this could help some newbies like me that feel overwhelmed with all the expenses?
Don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting or saying that all the fancy equiptment out there is unnessasary. I'm just saying that sometimes you have to make do with what you have. This is what I did, this is my story, and this is my first homebrew that happened to turn out very well. Thanks again. Cheers!