Home brewing courses in the South East

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ashbyp

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Hi -

Does anyone know of any firms that run home brewing courses in the South of England? I've just been googling but I was surprised to find none.

I want to start home brewing and thought that would be a good way to start, rather than randomly choosing a starter kit. However, if I can't find a course, could anyone recommend a starter kit (I have no equipment currently). I'd probably start with brewing some ale...

Thanks.
 

mrk305

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Your best bet would be to find an experienced brewer here on HBT. We had been discussing a mentor type program where you could find a local brewer in your area to learn with. I learned at my local home brew supply store, and learned most of it wrong. Fortunatly I found HomeBrewTalk, and learned much more here online. I responded to your post to put South England and mentor in the tittle of your post. I am in the south east USA. I bet we have someone closer. (bring beer)
 
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ashbyp

ashbyp

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ah - just to clarify. South East England, UK !
 

Danek

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I'm sure there was someone on here recently posting about a group of homebrewers in Kent. Maybe do a search and send him a PM? Alternatively, do what loads of people on here did, and get a copy of How To Brew by John Palmer. That's all you really need to get going.

Which kit you should brew depends on what beer you want to drink. I've heard good things about Woodforde's Wherry, but TBH I prefer using recipes. Which bit of the south east are you? I know there's a home brew shop in Chessington (SE London) which might be worth checking out if it's near you, but failing that, www.hopandgrape.co.uk do home delivery, and they're awesome.
 

Danek

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That kit would do, I think, but it might be better to go a little more bespoke - it seems a little pricey to me for what you get. BTW, do you know if you'd rather bottle your beer or serve it from a barrel? That kit comes with a plastic barrel for serving the beer - I've not used one, but I know of a couple of people who weren't happy and switched to bottling instead (the downside of that is you need to acquire 40 empty bottles). Also, one other thing I'd flag up is that whilst the sanitiser that comes with most starter beer kits is kind of OK, you'd be much, much better off buying some Star San - it's a no-rinse sanitiser, so you just dunk stuff in it with no need to worry about rinsing. It makes every step of the brewing process easier, and one six-quid bottle lasts for ages.

Again, the first thing I'd recommend would be getting the John Palmer book as that'd take you through all that you'd need (or read the first edition of his book free online at www.howtobrew.com ). But off the top of my head, in terms of equipment I think all you'd need would be:

1. A fermenter (a big plastic bucket) - £9
2. A hydrometer - £3
3. Sanitiser - £6
4. A thermometer - £3
5. A siphon - £3 (though an autosiphon is much easier - £10)
6. If you're bottling - a bottle-capper (£10-£20)and caps (£2), and bottling bucket (another big plastic bucket - £9)

plus a beer kit of your choice - £20 or less. I think the Chessington shop offers subsidised starter kits if you buy your beer ingredients from them. They're at http://www.art-of-brewing.co.uk , though I've never used them so I can't vouch an opinion one way or another.
 
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ashbyp

ashbyp

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:ban:
Danek said:
That kit would do, I think, but it might be better to go a little more bespoke - it seems a little pricey to me for what you get. BTW, do you know if you'd rather bottle your beer or serve it from a barrel? That kit comes with a plastic barrel for serving the beer - I've not used one, but I know of a couple of peopl:tank: e who weren't happy and switched to bottling instead (the downside of that is you need to acquire 40 empty bottles). Also, one other thing I'd flag up is that whilst the sanitiser that comes with most starter beer kits is kind of OK, you'd be much, much better off buying some Star San - it's a no-rinse sanitiser, so you just dunk stuff in it with no need to worry about rinsing. It makes every step of the brewing process easier, and one six-quid bottle lasts for ages.

Again, the first thing I'd recommend would be getting the John Palmer book as that'd take you through all that you'd need (or read the first edition of his book free online at www.howtobrew.com ). But off the top of my head, in terms of equipment I think all you'd need would be:

1. A fermenter (a big plastic bucket) - £9
2. A hydrometer - £3
3. Sanitiser - £6
4. A thermometer - £3
5. A siphon - £3 (though an autosiphon is much easier - £10)
6. If you're bottling - a bottle-capper (£10-£20)and caps (£2), and bottling bucket (another big plastic bucket - £9)

plus a beer kit of your choice - £20 or less. I think the Chessington shop offers subsidised starter kits if you buy your beer ingredients from them. They're at http://www.art-of-brewing.co.uk , though I've never used them so I can't vouch an opinion one way or another.
Thanks! that is very useful info. I plan to start with a lager (no doubt a big faux pas mentioning lager on here :), so I think the bottle idea is a good one because I was wondering how I was going to manage chilling the lager in a barrel.

Cheers...
 
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ashbyp

ashbyp

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although having just read some comments on howtobrew.com about lager being more difficult than beer - maybe i'll stick to beer for the first batch.
 

Danek

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Yeah - the reason that lager is difficult is that it needs to ferment at a fairly low temperature for quite a while, or else it tastes of ass. Ale is a bit more forgiving, and is a very good choice for a first brew.

I forgot to mention that you'd need an airlock (£3) and if you were feeling really rich, a bottling wand (£4), which is a plastic tube with a pressure valve on the bottom, that fits on the end of your siphon. It makes filling bottles dead easy - to stop the flow, you just lift it off the bottom of the bottle.
 
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