Brewing with household remedies?

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kbutcher5

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Okay so here is the deal, I am a student that wants to learn some things about brewing and possibly make my own beer. The only problem is that I know absolutely zilch about brewing and I can't find anything to answer my questions. So here goes:

1a. Is it possible to make beer from household remedies, like bakers yeast, fruit and the like to make cheap beer?
1b. If it is possible, then what would I require. I heard that bakers yeast, sugar and water should be able to make beer?

2a. I hear that one has to sanitise everything thoroughly, what is the reason for this?
2b. I hear that sanitising has to be done, so the beer won't be spoiled, if this is so then what does spoiled mean, no alcohol, bad taste, toxicity or maybe a fourth thing?

3a. I live in a decent size apartment, what are the safety issues if any?
3b. Is it even responsible to brew in your apartment?

4a. What kind of container or "fermenter" I believe it is called should I use, is there any special requirements?
4b. Could I make/build my own container for my beer, and if so, how would I go about doing this?

I hope I am not asking too many stupid questions, and hoping for some good answers, but thanks in advance anyway :)
 
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kbutcher5

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Here...read this...you'll find everything you need to brew real beer not hooch like you described....but everything else..sanitization, fermenter size..is here.

How to Brew - By John Palmer - Introduction
Is hooch the stuff that makes you blind?
My problem is that my budget is rather limited, so I don't have a 3-400$ starters budget.
So I would like to learn some the basics making hooch, before I spend a lot of money making swamp water :p
 

ArcaneXor

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1a. Is it possible to make beer from household remedies, like bakers yeast, fruit and the like to make cheap beer?

You'll want brewer's yeast and proper brewing ingredients.

1b. If it is possible, then what would I require. I heard that bakers yeast, sugar and water should be able to make beer?

No, beer is fermented from sugars extracted from malted barley. Fermenting table sugar water gets you a nasty, headache-inducing rocket fuel.

2a. I hear that one has to sanitise everything thoroughly, what is the reason for this?
2b. I hear that sanitising has to be done, so the beer won't be spoiled, if this is so then what does spoiled mean, no alcohol, bad taste, toxicity or maybe a fourth thing?

Generally bad taste. Sanitation gets rid of the vast majority of the billions of airborne and other bacteria and wild yeast spores that can't wait to get their figurative hands on the wort (raw beer)

3a. I live in a decent size apartment, what are the safety issues if any?
3b. Is it even responsible to brew in your apartment?

As long as you don't use a propane burner indoors, it's fine. The most dangerous part of brewing are exploding bottles which can result from premature bottling, overcarbonation or infections (which goes back to sanitation)

4a. What kind of container or "fermenter" I believe it is called should I use, is there any special requirements?
4b. Could I make/build my own container for my beer, and if so, how would I go about doing this?

Most people here use food-grade buckets, glass carboys or Better Bottles (plastic carboys). I recommend the latter.


Definitely read "How To Brew" like Revvy suggested. Otherwise you'll just give yourself headaches and/or stomachaches.
 

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You won't make beer from household ingredients- beer is made up of malt so it's a specialty item. You'd need malt extract, hops (if using an unhopped extract), and yeast.

You can make wine, cider, etc, out of juice and yeast. Take a look at my Welch's grape juice recipe for a cheap and easy wine. Instead of bread yeast, use a wine yeast available at homebrew stores for as low as $.49 cents. You can use apple juice (100% juice, not the "cocktail" stuff) to make hard cider or wine. I have a recipe for apple juice wine, too.

Sanitizing is crucial, because bacterial contamination will ruin the wine or cider. An airlock is under a dollar, and well worth it. It keeps fruitflies from turning your wine into vinegar, as well as allows co2 out (so you don't get a bottle bomb).

"Hooch" is the stuff that kids want to make in their room for a cheap drunk. Or, I guess it's made in prisons. If you're interested in some quality (but inexpensive) beverages, we can help.

If you're interested in hooch, google "pruno". There's a lot of information on the internet about how to make cheap alcohol.
 

JesseRC

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No help here, just wondering why you are calling it household remedies? I mean it sounds like you're asking how can I brew using household ingredients , but houselhold remedies? I mean you wanna cook with robitussin and windex?:D

On a serious note, I guess there are somethings to brew beer with like Cream of 3 Crops which uses rice as a 3rd ingredient. But its no remedy... maybe beer goggles that's it, oh and lets not forget Apfelweinl, but I wouldnt call it beer.
 

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You don't need an outlya of 3-4 hundred to start out...you can look on craiglist, or hit garage sales or even ebay to find gear really chep..but you don't even need that to make good quality beer...there are several threads on here on cutting costs in buying equipment and ingredients, if you are serious about starting to brew. Search low cost brewing or saving money, or cheap, and you will find many tips to getting workable gear...fermenters, etc.

My initial equipment investment for full 5 gallon sized batches was 150.00 at my LHBS, and that included an ingredient kit. most starter kits online or in homebrewshops are that or less, you can get kits for anywhere between 60-150.00 I don't know where you are getting your prices.

Heck today on woot they were selling mr beer kits...the ingredients are not that great but it is a great 2.5 gallon cheap fermenter, heck with that, a 2 gallon cooler for less that 10 bucks from k-marts, and a $10.00 5 gallon pot from your nearest dollar general store, you can do all grain on a stovetop in your apartment. I posted an all grain tutorial int he Mr Beer sticky at the top of this forum.

So for about 50 bucks or less in equipment you could do small batch allgrain and make really good beer for about 15.00 or less a case.

If you are serious about this hobby, you can do it on a limited budget, and by reading that free book online......and reading stuff here...you will make good beer..

If you are looking for a cheap drunk, you won't get much help here.
 

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+1 on reading Palmer. After you read that and really know how to brew, you'll find yourself walking around, seeing stuff and saying "Hey... I could ferment in that." and "I could boil with that". You really don't need too many fancy pieces of equipment. 20 bucks at a brew shop will get you all the pieces (hydrometer, for example) that you won't find elsewhere unless you find someone at a garage sale or craigslist getting out of the hobby (which you can actually find fairly easily too).

Good dry brewers yeast is maybe a dollar more than baker's yeast and it'll actually make something that'll taste GOOD.

Stop by the bakery section at your local grocery store and ask if they have any buckets they want to get rid of. Many of them will give you good food-grade buckets, with the lids, for free.
 

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Good dry brewers yeast is maybe a dollar more than baker's yeast and it'll actually make something that'll taste GOOD.

Could even be cheaper. Red Star bread yeast costs about $4 here, as I learned with my recent JAOM attempt. A packet of Notty is, what, about a buck-fifty?
 

baru

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Okay so here is the deal, I am a student that wants to learn some things about brewing and possibly make my own beer. The only problem is that I know absolutely zilch about brewing and I can't find anything to answer my questions. So here goes:

1a. Is it possible to make beer from household remedies, like bakers yeast, fruit and the like to make cheap beer?
1b. If it is possible, then what would I require. I heard that bakers yeast, sugar and water should be able to make beer?

2a. I hear that one has to sanitise everything thoroughly, what is the reason for this?
2b. I hear that sanitising has to be done, so the beer won't be spoiled, if this is so then what does spoiled mean, no alcohol, bad taste, toxicity or maybe a fourth thing?

3a. I live in a decent size apartment, what are the safety issues if any?
3b. Is it even responsible to brew in your apartment?

4a. What kind of container or "fermenter" I believe it is called should I use, is there any special requirements?
4b. Could I make/build my own container for my beer, and if so, how would I go about doing this?

I hope I am not asking too many stupid questions, and hoping for some good answers, but thanks in advance anyway :)
If you really want to make cheap beer do a search for Premier hopped malt syrup.
Hops, malt, yeast, and instructions for 5 gallons of beer (about 2 cases). Available in grocery stores for 7 or 8 dollars.
 
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kbutcher5

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My biggest problem is that I live in an ass end of the world European country, and they tax absolutely everything here so in the few brewing shops we do have here a starter kit is at least 3-400$. To compare it, a Chevrolet Estate costs around 150,000-200,000$ here and a cheap toyota is about 100,000$.
So buying from outside the EU also taxates the hell out of anything, if I buy a 100$ fermenter, to get it here with freight and taxes it would be about 250-300$.

Those food buckets might be an idea, though I actually think we have a law against giving stuff like that away :(

A pack of brewers yeast costs around 8-10$ :/

The price of store bought beer here is about 2-3$ per bottle.

Edit:
The biggest difference is that we don't have superstores here, and the stores that we do have, barely has anything.
Like our choice of ketchup is Heinz or Beauvis, and then we can choose regular ketchup or bbq sauce, that is how plain and regular our choices are here :p
So that is why I am trying to find some very basic remedies to make beer and/or wine, because we simply can't get anything else :(
 

jmiracle

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Well you're absolutely going to need malt if you want to make beer, if the malt is prohibitively expensive then I'd look into making wines and ciders I guess.

Where are you getting the "brewer's yeast" price? "Brewer's yeast" is sold as a health food product, that's not what you want I think the yeast is dead in that product. Yeast for making beer and wine is not often sold outside of a beer and winemaking store, so you could be looking at the health food product instead. That could be good or bad news, as it means the yeast you want might not be that expensive, but bad is that it might not be anywhere near you.

If you could get your hands on some sort of food-grade plastic container with a lid, you can probably find someone here who knows how to rig it to ferment in. Good luck!
 

Revvy

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You might find this info from homebrewers in Korea, and how they solve their problems..

We've had people from all around the world come on here, people in Budapest, in Japan, in Poland, looking for info, and solving the problem of doing it with limited ingrediants availability.

Welcome to Homebrew.com

Homebrew Korea

I know some people from here have even mailed a couple yeast packets to people "in the ass end of europe." Once you have a couple of those you can keep harvesting.

So even if beer making yeast costs you 8-10 bucks (like a tube of liquid costs us) you can harvest it, wash it, and re-use it quite a lot.
 

ArcaneXor

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If you're in the EU you shouldn't have any problems getting good ingredients without paying more than VAT and shipping from within the common market. If you harvest and wash your yeast, you can save quite a bit of money.

What country are you in? Maybe we can give you some pointers, since there are several Europeans on these boards.
 

cghinds

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My problem is that my budget is rather limited, so I don't have a 3-400$ starters budget.:p

I just started brewing about 2 months ago I spent a total of $161.25 on the true brew starter kit, 6 gallon carboy and my 1st Ingredient kit(american wheat) The only other thing required was a brew pot Think I payed 5 bucks for my brew pot @ wally world. The only other thing that I had to come up with were the Bottles which me being a beer drinker and my wife being a Bartender I came up with those pretty quickly. And at little to no cost. I'm sure you can go to a local bar and ask if they would save you 6 bottles a night. before you know it you should have all you need to bottle.
 
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kbutcher5

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I know some people from here have even mailed a couple yeast packets to people "in the ass end of europe." Once you have a couple of those you can keep harvesting.

So even if beer making yeast costs you 8-10 bucks (like a tube of liquid costs us) you can harvest it, wash it, and re-use it quite a lot.
What is harvesting, and how is that done?
I thought the alcohol in the beer kills off the yeast?

Where are you getting the "brewer's yeast" price? "Brewer's yeast" is sold as a health food product, that's not what you want I think the yeast is dead in that product. Yeast for making beer and wine is not often sold outside of a beer and winemaking store, so you could be looking at the health food product instead. That could be good or bad news, as it means the yeast you want might not be that expensive, but bad is that it might not be anywhere near you.
Well that is what it costs in my local brewers supply shop.

What country are you in? Maybe we can give you some pointers, since there are several Europeans on these boards.
I am from a tiny piss pot country called Denmark :p

I'm sure you can go to a local bar and ask if they would save you 6 bottles a night. before you know it you should have all you need to bottle.
Every bottle in my country has a loan tax, which you won't get back unless you deliver them back to the distributor, so they unfortunately won't :)
 

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Yeah... read the Jim Palmer "How to Brew" or spend some coin and get the Charlie Papazian book. It is interesting info to know, even if you decide not to brew.

Be careful what "household products" you concoct "brew" with - you might end up with a meth lab. lol jk
 
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kbutcher5

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Yeah... read the Jim Palmer "How to Brew" or spend some coin and get the Charlie Papazian book. It is interesting info to know, even if you decide not to brew.

Be careful what "household products" you concoct "brew" with - you might end up with a meth lab. lol jk
Problem is that I as said don't have a lot of money for this, and books like that can cost up to 100$ in this country.
But I will read that article all the way through, my biggest problem is just that I have a really hard time finding the ingredients at an affordable price.
 

jmiracle

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Well that is what it costs in my local brewers supply shop.


I am from a tiny piss pot country called Denmark :p

Dude well if you have a local shop I'm not sure where the shipping problem comes in, this shop doesn't have fermenters and tubing and such?
 

ArcaneXor

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It shouldn't be that difficult to get homebrewing ingredients in Denmark, especially since Germany is right next door.

A couple of web sites I came across are HaandBryggeriet® and Maltbazaren.dk - I don't know anything about them, nor do I read Danish, but it's worth a look. I am sure there are stores in northern Germany that will ship as well.

For brewing books, try Amazon.co.uk - they seem to have most of them in stock at reasonable prices, and shipping to Denmark isn't too expensive, either.

Use Google and look around.
 

Wiggums

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1a. Is it possible to make beer from household remedies, like bakers yeast, fruit and the like to make cheap beer?
1b. If it is possible, then what would I require. I heard that bakers yeast, sugar and water should be able to make beer?

Does the actually work? I started doing it in my room actually because i read that it works somewhere else. I know i'm not going to get the best taste but does it in fact work?
 

ChshreCat

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Does the actually work? I started doing it in my room actually because i read that it works somewhere else. I know i'm not going to get the best taste but does it in fact work?

It works to make a liquid that has alcohol in it. But it does not make beer, wine or any other product you would actually want to drink under reasonable circumstances.
 

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Does the actually work? I started doing it in my room actually because i read that it works somewhere else. I know i'm not going to get the best taste but does it in fact work?

You're 58 years old, and you starting making hooch in your room? What kind of room is that? A room in a nursing home? :D

There are plenty of ways to make hooch. Google "pruno" and have at it.

As the Cat said, you will most certainly NOT make beer. You may very well make alcohol.

Let's keep on topic, shall we? You can make wine with juices (as in my recipes) and they taste pretty good. Another thought is to make Joe's Ancient Orange Mead- it's a tasty mead that uses bread yeast and household ingredients. Beer is pretty much impossible without some ingredients like barley malt, hops, and yeast.
 

borracho_brewer

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Having been to Denmark, yeah, everything is really expensive, taxes are insanely high, it's socialist, so I think that is pretty much why.

A cheap beer (light domestic) at a restaurant i think was like 4 or 5 dollars when I was there (granted, the Krone-dollar exchange is probably slightly different by now), and a sandwich is like 6 dollars, and that's not a particularly good or large sandwich. A pint of Guinness was like 8 dollars, haha, my friend and I split one because we wanted one but couldn't justify spending that much at that point (eventually we said [email protected]#$ it and started buying beer at 7-11s)

My friends uncle used to bring up German beer and sodas and ciders when he went to Germany on business trips I think (I got kind of wrecked on some berry cider one night hanging with some friends and some Danish girls, made a total ass of myself :rockin:), I'm guessing he neglected to pay any taxes that may have been due on the stuff he brought back, I don't know how that kind of thing works there anyway.

It would seem to me that if you are in Denmark and don't have much money, you are just going to have to be content with not drinking much beer, as the cost of beer is ridiculous (A guy from Stuttgart told me Norway is worse, don't go there if you like to drink beer) and the cost of proper equipment and ingredients is probably just as high.

How much is like a 33 cL can of Carlsberg?
 

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Wow, that was an interesting read. Soooo, if I take some tums, fiberflax and pepto and toss in some red star...

This sounds like a "science project."

Buy a can of hopped extract, a package of Nottingham, an ounce of crystal 40, do a partial boil and steep the grains. Cover, force chill in the freezer, pitch the yeast and enjoy. It won't break the bank and you won't have the meth squad knockin in your door.
 

Wiggums

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You're 58 years old, and you starting making hooch in your room? What kind of room is that? A room in a nursing home? :D

There are plenty of ways to make hooch. Google "pruno" and have at it.

As the Cat said, you will most certainly NOT make beer. You may very well make alcohol.

Let's keep on topic, shall we? You can make wine with juices (as in my recipes) and they taste pretty good. Another thought is to make Joe's Ancient Orange Mead- it's a tasty mead that uses bread yeast and household ingredients. Beer is pretty much impossible without some ingredients like barley malt, hops, and yeast.
Lol, well that's what i meant, it will create some sort of alcohol though correct? How long will it typically take, a week or 2?
 

ArcaneXor

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Lol, well that's what i meant, it will create some sort of alcohol though correct? How long will it typically take, a week or 2?

You do realize that you are asking people who have dedicated much of their time and effort to craft beers rivaling the best commercial brews available for advice on making rocket fuel? Getting hammered at any cost is not what it's about.

Take the advice you have been given, and you'll get good beverages for little money. Or do what you have been doing and deal with the headaches and stomach aches (or worse).
 

Brewpastor

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Sugar, water, turbo yeast.

Lose your head. Wish you were dead. Pass out in bed. Enough said.

I will stick with beer thank you very much.
 

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Well, Denmark might have some high taxes, but that should only make you want to brew your own even more!

See if you can find a bottle of beer that still has the yeast in it. If so, buy it, and save the yeast and make a starter. From that you brew a batch and save the yeast for the next several batches. So on. There are instructions around here somewhere.

You can use plastic soda bottles for putting your beer in. Or, perhaps you could talk the bars into letting you pay them the deposit for the bottles. It would cost a bit, but probably not much compared to buying new bottles. (Although soda bottles don't require a capper, which you will need for glass bottles)

A large pot to boil in, and some siphon hose, and a fermentation bucket is all you need.
As far as ingredients, I have no idea. Malted grain is necessary, as are hops. Where you find the, I don't know, but i find it hard to believe that you can get that stuff somewhere in Denmark, for not too much.
 

jmiracle

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I'm still confused if there is a brewer supply show wouldn't they have buckets and tubes and such so you wouldn't have to have them shipped?

Or are even the local, non-shipped fermenters too much cash?
 
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kbutcher5

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I'm still confused if there is a brewer supply show wouldn't they have buckets and tubes and such so you wouldn't have to have them shipped?

Or are even the local, non-shipped fermenters too much cash?
Yeah they kinda cost an arm and a leg, but the page i was referred to is not so bad with the pricing, but a fermentation bucket is still 30 dollars for a 30L plastic fermentor, and yeast is still 3-4 dollars per bag.
To that, the cheapest boiler for 30L is 200 dollars at least, and remember all of these items is still without shipping, and shipping here is insane aswell, posting a letter costs approx 1,5 dollars.

Having been to Denmark, yeah, everything is really expensive, taxes are insanely high, it's socialist, so I think that is pretty much why.

A cheap beer (light domestic) at a restaurant i think was like 4 or 5 dollars when I was there (granted, the Krone-dollar exchange is probably slightly different by now), and a sandwich is like 6 dollars, and that's not a particularly good or large sandwich. A pint of Guinness was like 8 dollars, haha, my friend and I split one because we wanted one but couldn't justify spending that much at that point (eventually we said [email protected]#$ it and started buying beer at 7-11s)

My friends uncle used to bring up German beer and sodas and ciders when he went to Germany on business trips I think (I got kind of wrecked on some berry cider one night hanging with some friends and some Danish girls, made a total ass of myself :rockin:), I'm guessing he neglected to pay any taxes that may have been due on the stuff he brought back, I don't know how that kind of thing works there anyway.

It would seem to me that if you are in Denmark and don't have much money, you are just going to have to be content with not drinking much beer, as the cost of beer is ridiculous (A guy from Stuttgart told me Norway is worse, don't go there if you like to drink beer) and the cost of proper equipment and ingredients is probably just as high.

How much is like a 33 cL can of Carlsberg?
You are absolutely right, the prices have if anything gone up. A lot of people go to germany to buy soda/beer, simply because you save that much driving those 100 miles. My problem is that i live approx 300 miles from the german border and have to cross a bridge where the toll is 100 dollars, which basically defeats my point :p

A can of carlsberg is approx 3 dollars, in a supermarket, in a bar it can be as much as 10 dollars.
 
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kbutcher5

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Something i have been wondering about is, why do we boil the stuff?
 

Revvy

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Something i have been wondering about is, why do we boil the stuff?

Two resaons...To steralize the wort.

And equally important for hop utilization...

It sounds like you really need to begin reading the free book that several of us have linked for you...It will answer all your basic and even advanced brewing questions.

Once you understand the foundation principles of this stuff, you will easily begin to see other things that you can perhaps find cheap and re-purpose to brewing, such as water jugs as fermenters...
 

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Just boil some sprouted seed bread, set it outside for a week to "cool" and "collect" "wild" "yeast", put it in some "vessel" with a "lid" on it and call it "lambic kvass", seriously, I would try this before paying out all the "cwon" ($) you're talking about. . . . but it's probably illegal anyway, nevermind. Oh yea, first read Palmers book.
 
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kbutcher5

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Two resaons...To steralize the wort.

And equally important for hop utilization...

It sounds like you really need to begin reading the free book that several of us have linked for you...It will answer all your basic and even advanced brewing questions.

Once you understand the foundation principles of this stuff, you will easily begin to see other things that you can perhaps find cheap and re-purpose to brewing, such as water jugs as fermenters...
Oh yea, first read Palmers book.
The problem is, that i read the first few pages of it, and i really understand dink of it.
 
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