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Old 11-18-2007, 11:16 PM   #1
EvilTOJ's Avatar
Dec 2005
Portland, OR, Oregon
Posts: 6,401
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I wanted to give a little bit of prespective when it came to new brewers and if you ever get worried about 'not screwing up'.

I'm currently without my brewing equipment (long story) and while visiting my mom and step-dad, my step-dad invited me to brew a batch of beer with him. I say "yes sir!" and we dig out his equipment and ingredients.

Now, a bit of background; I've been brewing for awhile (see regdate) and he's the one that turned me on to brewing in the first place. He showed me how to make my first batch and go from there. I normally have an all-grain system with keggle, cooler mashtun, immersion chiller, etc. He's used extract for years and never went to all grain. My methods are usually all fancy, using math and promash to get it the best beer it can be. He likes making pale ales and IPAs, so he typically sticks with that style.

I was amazed at his process.

Step 1; Dig out the boiler (he's unsure what size it is, probably 2 gal) and put some hot tap wellwater in it.

Step 2; Let the bag of LME soak in the sink with some hot water to soften it up, then pour it into the hot water.

Step 3; He got a lb of 2 row with this last kit order, he'd normally steep grains in warm water in a grainbag and let it sit on the burner until it was almost boiling, and then removed the grains and tossed em. (I actually did a mash with it myself)

Step 4; Throw a handful of mystery homegrown hops and 1/2 oz of Centennial into the boiling pot for an hour.

Step 5; After about an hour or so, then throw another small handful of mystery homegrown hops into the boil for a few minutes, then take it off the burner to cool. He tops up the boiler with cold water right from the tap, runs some cold water into the 5 gallon carboy, then siphons the wort into the fermenter. It's still a little warm, so he adds more top up water until it hits 5 gallons, then pitches the yeast right on top of it.

No recipe, no measurements, just throws it all together, and his beers always taste great. And as he brought the carboy up from the basement, he said "sanitation is for wussies!" I think he was kidding though. I HOPE he was kidding! He doesn't know what size his carboy is but I checked later, it's 5 gallons. He jams a 1" tube into the neck of the carboy, and puts the other end straight into the kitchen sink, no small vessel of water for it to go into. He actually makes 4.5 gallon batches, and no one's ever complained that there's way too much alcohol in the beer, that's for sure.

My point in all this is to show that you don't have to get all fancy and get high end equipment to make good beer if you don't want to. It was also a nice change to get 'back to basics' as it were, knowing I don't *have* to make this hobby all complicated if I don't want it to be complicated.
There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."

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Old 11-18-2007, 11:42 PM   #2
Baldy_Beer_Brewery's Avatar
Oct 2007
Behind You
Posts: 993
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I was nervous as a whore in church my first batch. Yet I know that my wife's grandmother brewed way back when and didn't have any of the toys we have at our disposal.

Any time I feel like I may have messed something up as far as sanitation or whatnot, I think back to everyone who ever had to brew without airlocks, fancy yeast strains, modified malts and sanitizers.

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Old 11-19-2007, 04:04 AM   #3
May 2007
South Daytona, FL
Posts: 65

That is so very true, while "fancy equipment" can produce excellent beers when you know what you are doing, bare bones can still get you a darn good beer. My very first brew was a no boil kit. I stuck a 4 cup pyrex measuring cup full of water in the microwave to boil it. In the meantime I grabbed the two cans of LME (one was pre hopped) opened them up and poured into the sanitzed fermenter/bottling bucket. Then poured in the hot water, filled the measuring cup back up and stuck it back in the microwave and started stiring the water/LME to dissolve. Added the second 4 cups when it was boiling and stirred some more. Once all the LME was dissolved I just started adding filtered tap water to get to the 5gal mark, stirring and splashing as I filled to aerate. When done I tossed in a packet of dry yeast and threw the lid and airlock on the bucket.
You know what? It turned out to be a pretty darn good beer. The next two batches were done the same way. By then the brewing bug had taken a firm hold and I have been buying equipment and making more complicated beers. And while most have been better than those early no boil kits, I have had some that weren't. On those occasions I wonder why I spend all the extra time and effort on a beer that tastes no better than the ones that took 15 minutes to make.

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Old 11-19-2007, 02:14 PM   #4
Nov 2007
Posts: 20
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My Dad still makes dump-and-stir beer, straight from the "instructions" on the side of the can of LME. It tastes awful, but his taste in beer can be described as prohibitionesque.

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