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worlddivides

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Hi guys. I first joined this forum about 10 years ago, several months after I started homebrewing. I started doing extract and also did partial mashes (what you might call "mostly grain" as opposed to "all grain"). I brewed about once a month. Made beers, ciders, mead, liqueurs (limoncello, for example), and so on, but 90% beers. Made my own recipes with my favorites being one of my Berliner Weisse recipes (3.1% ABV, 8 IBUs, nice tart creamy tang), a caffe latte stout (6.3% ABV, 20 IBUs, with cold brewed Kona coffee, lactose, and a very pleasantly malty character), and a couple tropical APAs and IPAs (using some of my favorite hops: Mosaic, Galaxy, Cascade, Citra, etc.), and tons of sours. My favorite sour I made was a 7.5% ABV lambic-esque sour with demerara sugar, golden raisins, toasted French oak cubes (soaked in red wine before adding), that was in primary and secondary for about 9-10 months before I bottled it. Back then I used to read beer books pretty often too, almost all of them about sour beers (such as American Sour Beer, Wild Brews, and some books about Belgian sour styles).

I ended up giving away all my brewing equipment and supplies because I was moving to a relatively small apartment and I didn't think it was practical to try brewing there (though I did start homebrewing in a two-bedroom apartment). It's been several years since I last brewed, but I'm moving back into a house starting in early July and I'm thinking of buying a Brewzilla (the 35L would fit better for the batch size I'm thinking of doing, but the 65L is tempting just to have the option). Mainly thinking of doing lower ABV stouts, brown ales, NEIPAs, APAs, and so on instead of the higher ABV and more experimental stuff I made before. In other words, no triple IPAs, imperial stouts, or crazy experiments to see how things taste this time. Even thinking of trying to do some 2.5% ABV hazy IPAs or a 3.6% ABV uber malty stout.

The one thing that does give me pause is that I'd be doing all grain in a kitchen. Although I'm moving to a pretty big house, it does not have a garage or a basement and the neighborhood is such that brewing outside wouldn't really be an option. When I used to brew, I always did it in my kitchen, but videos I've seen of full-on all grain brews tend to look pretty messy with people spilling wort all over. I thought maybe I could just buy a really large towel and put the Brewzilla on top of that (since my new kitchen has wooden flooring that might absorb the wort).

Mainly just looking for some advice.
 
Welcome back to brewing, and HBT!

I've been brewing all-grain in the kitchen since 2008. Since I "own" the kitchen, doing most of the cooking, cleaning, and such, I don't get much flack from my wife.

I spread a few large (and old) towels on the (hardwood strip) floor to catch drips and small spills. Just keep an eye on things, and clamps on hoses.

One of the best pieces of equipment I bought is a 3500W countertop induction plate (Avantco IC3500), and installed a matching 240V outlet. It's wonderful and used for more than brewing!

A Brewzilla or similar 110V (1500W) brewing "urns" will work fine, just taking more time to reach higher temps. You can add a heat stick or bucket heater to speed that up.
There are 220/240W brewing urns too.
 
Welcome back to brewing, and HBT!

I've been brewing all-grain in the kitchen since 2008. Since I "own" the kitchen, doing most of the cooking, cleaning, and such, I don't get much flack from my wife.

I spread a few large (and old) towels on the (hardwood strip) floor to catch drips and small spills. Just keep an eye on things, and clamps on hoses.

One of the best pieces of equipment I bought is a 3500W countertop induction plate (Avantco IC3500), and installed a matching 240V outlet. It's wonderful and used for more than brewing!

A Brewzilla or similar 110V (1500W) brewing "urns" will work fine, just taking more time to reach higher temps. You can add a heat stick or bucket heater to speed that up.
There are 220/240W brewing urns too.

Thanks. That's definitely reassuring to hear since it sounds like a very similar situation to where I'll find myself with a kitchen with hardwood flooring (although I'll be renting as opposed to owning). I actually regret throwing away some old towels a few months ago since I could have used them here. Towels are cheap, though, so it's not a big deal.

I had briefly considered making some of the equipment myself like a lot of the online guides describe, but while I've always been good at cooking and stuff like that, I've never really been a fix-it handyman kind of guy, so drilling holes, soldering, and all that is out of the question as far as I'm concerned. If it wasn't, I'd be planning on making my own kegerator.

A countertop induction plate does sound extremely fast and convenient, but I've been wanting an all-in-one system like the Grainfather or Brewzilla for a while now just by how convenient and contained they are. You can basically do everything except the fermenting or bottling/kegging in one.
 
I can't speak to the Brewzilla, but as someone that has been allergic to the notion of home ownership for decades, you can certainly brew cleanly and with very minimal clean up in a small kitchen. I've been doing it for decades, brewing 6gal fly sparged AG batches in a small apartment kitchen.

Here are some rules that I've learned over the years:

1) Absolutely no drinking until the yeast is pitched and the fermenter is in the fridge. To brew disaster-free requires a clear head. You'll also find that your brewdays go way quicker...and not just because you're motivated to pour a pint. Not saying the motivation isn't there, though.

2) Make a habit of saying out loud "Check your valves" prior to making any liquid transfer. This will prompt you to actually check your valves, averting many boneheaded mistakes.

3) Buy a quality metal rolling cart with large caster wheels and lots of storage space--I'm currently on my second plastic cart, don't be like me. The bulk of what you need should be on that cart. It takes a lot of the " Oh ##(%*% where is my!!!" out of brewing. It's there and you know where it is, making the day much quicker and recovery from stupidity much easier and quicker.

4) Remove the useless aerator from your kitchen faucet and replace it with a garden hose adaptor. This will allow you to roll your brewing cart over to the sink and run a CIP program and allow you to attach corny ball lock adapters to your sink's faucet. Game changer.

5) Use valves. They allow you to say "Check your valves" and affirm that everything is as it should be prior to starting a transfer.

6) Use a pump. We live in an amazing world in which brewing pumps are cheap and ubiquitous. Pumps can be more easily shut off than gravity.

7) Use your smart phone as a timer. Your phone keeps you from overfilling/running dry vessels and causing a mess, use it.

8) Use brewing software to its full potential. Take copious notes so that you can learn from those notes! At first this may seem like a drag, but as you learn your new system, you'll find that your notes become shorter and shorter over the years. One of the key points of note-taking is to train yourself to optimize your system. The more you learn your system, the more laconic your notes will become. Notes are ab investment in yourself and your rig. Do it.

9) This'll get me in all kinds of trouble... QDs are a leaky waste of money. I've brewed for decades without them and I've never had a hose pop off a barb. Just make certain that your hoses and barbs are compatible sizes and properly seated. Having seen QDs in action in agriculture and industry, I don't want to introduce that kinda mess into my kitchen, thanks. Nekkid barbs are clean, cheap, and easy to use. Hate me!

10) Go to the home improvement store of your choice, buy a 5-gal bucket and a sack of microfiber rags. Empty the rags into your 5-gal bucket and keep this bucket in your kitchen on brew day. Way cheaper than paper towels and you have an army of absorption with its own containment vessel standing by if you do happen to become intimate with the pooch.

11) At kegging time, this thing is really good. Having optimized the cleanliness of my brewday, this thing fixed the messiest part of my process, closed transfer kegging.

12) Get a cheap bathroom scale to monitor the progress of a keg fill and note its full weight in your notes at the end of the transfer. This will allow you to avert any overfills on kegging day.

That's all the stuff that I can think of right now. I'm sure there's room for improvement. I hope you've found this useful and I hope you soon have full kegs! :bigmug:

...and a spotless kitchen.
 
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7) Use your smart phone as a timer. Your phone keeps you from overfilling/running dry vessels and causing a mess, use it.

8) Use brewing software to its full potential. Take copious notes so that you can learn from those notes! At first this may seem like a drag, but as you learn your new system, you'll find that your notes become shorter and shorter over the years. One of the key points of note-taking is to train yourself to optimize your system. The more you learn your system, the more laconic your notes will become. Notes are ab investment in yourself and your rig. Do it.

10) Go to the home improvement store of your choice, buy a 5-gal bucket and a sack of microfiber rags. Empty the rags into your 5-gal bucket and keep this bucket in your kitchen on brew day. Way cheaper than paper towels and you have an army of absorption with its own containment vessel standing by if you do happen to become intimate with the pooch.

11) At kegging time, this thing is really good. Having optimized the cleanliness of my brewday, this thing fixed the messiest part of my process, closed transfer kegging.

12) Get a cheap bathroom scale to monitor the progress of a keg fill and note its full weight in your notes at the end of the transfer. This will allow you to avert any overfills on kegging day.

That's all the stuff that I can think of right now. I'm sure there's room for improvement. I hope you've found this useful and I hope you soon have full kegs! :bigmug:

...and a spotless kitchen.

Appreciate all the advice. I actually noted down your comments to make sure I go back over them again once I'm ready. The ones more useful to me are where things will differ from how I used to do things.

For some of the things I already do... Such as drinking. Personally, I've never drank any alcohol while brewing for the same reason I don't drink while working. I need as clear a head as possible. I also still have all the recipes I made back when I used to brew and actually also have a few recipes that I made but never brewed. I look at it a lot like cooking where you keep polishing the recipe and learning for further improvement (and I actually went through about 3 variants until I got my Berliner Weisse recipe right where I wanted it). The software I used to use was Brewer's Friend. Has anything new and better come out in the years since I last brewed?

For using the smartphone timer, I've done that since I got my first smartphone and all the years I used to brew I always used my smartphone as a timer, but the really annoying thing is how somewhat recently iOS/iPhone changed so that the timer no longer appears on the wait screen. I looked online to see if there's any way to get it to display again, and have had no luck. It'd really suck if, instead of just tapping the screen, I need to unlock the phone and go to the timer screen each time I need to see how long I've been mashing or when the next hop addition is. It's actually made me consider getting a stand-alone timer just for brewing since iOS made such an idiotic change.

As much as I want to keg, I'm not sure whether I will or not, though.

The microfiber rags and 5 gallon bucket idea is a really good one I've never heard before.

Appreciate all the advice. Really useful stuff.
 
The software I used to use was Brewer's Friend. Has anything new and better come out in the years since I last brewed?
Boy golly, you're going to get all kinds of answers to that question. In the olden days of yore I started on ProMash, then switched over to BeerSmith. I like BeerSmith because it's very detailed and I can push the software to do exactly (given a carpenter's concept of "exactly") what I want it to. I flirted a bit with Brewer's Friend, but never gave it an honest try. It didn't seem very deep to me, but that was years ago, when it first released. I'm sure it's much improved. The key thing is taking scrupulous, detailed notes. If you can do that in BF, that's the main thing you need.
It's actually made me consider getting a stand-alone timer just for brewing since iOS made such an idiotic change.
I got a new phone last month and my pics in the What Are You Drinking Now? thread are complete garbage. I feel your pain! I'm so old that I still have a digital double timer. I'm not sure why I bought the double timer, but I remember it being a killer upgrade that I was really happy about.
As much as I want to keg, I'm not sure whether I will or not, though.
I've coached many beginning brewers and not a single one of them has ever regretted making the jump to kegging. It's so much easier. Your beer becomes better, there's less hassle, there's less cleaning, and there's more brewing because of it. It's one of the biggest game changers in homebrewing. When I finally made the jump I was furious at myself that I had waited ~15 years. It's a night and day difference. Everything suddenly becomes better and easier.
Appreciate all the advice. Really useful stuff.
Very kind of you, I wish you the best!
 
I think getting a dedicated (digital) timer is no luxury. I sometimes use an old but very useful laptop, placed in the far corner of the "dry" counter.

BeerSmith (BS)... I consider it a step up in recipe design compared to Brewer's Friend, but both work fine.

BeerSmith has mostly become a subscription model with cloud storage. But since I have no need to ever whip out a recipe on demand, I just bought the latest v3, without subscription, cloud storage, or updates. I never felt I'm missing something. YMMV.

Other people like BrewFather, 100% subscription based.

What is your tap water like, mineral wise?
 
Also, buy a case of 100ml beakers. These things are incredibly useful. They're great for capturing pH measurements, weighing brewing salts, and hops.

They also help you to organize your boil additions. While your mash is doing its thing, break out your scale and beakers and weigh your hops and boil additions. As you do so, line them up left to right, 60, 20, 15, 10/yeast nutrient/whirfloc, 5, and knockout. It makes the boil a lot easier. Just set your timer and dump the next beaker in line into the boil.

They're also really useful as catch cans when you break a connection between a hose and a barb. Just pull the hose off and thumb it closed while holding the 100ml beaker underneath the valve. The liquor trapped in the valve will drain into the 100ml beaker, not onto your floor. Then, when you're ready, you can point the hose at the beaker, lift your thumb, and evacuate the hose into your beaker.

It's the closest method that I've found to zero-dribble home brewing.
 
Boy golly, you're going to get all kinds of answers to that question. In the olden days of yore I started on ProMash, then switched over to BeerSmith. I like BeerSmith because it's very detailed and I can push the software to do exactly (given a carpenter's concept of "exactly") what I want it to. I flirted a bit with Brewer's Friend, but never gave it an honest try. It didn't seem very deep to me, but that was years ago, when it first released. I'm sure it's much improved. The key thing is taking scrupulous, detailed notes. If you can do that in BF, that's the main thing you need.

I got a new phone last month and my pics in the What Are You Drinking Now? thread are complete garbage. I feel your pain! I'm so old that I still have a digital double timer. I'm not sure why I bought the double timer, but I remember it being a killer upgrade that I was really happy about.

I've coached many beginning brewers and not a single one of them has ever regretted making the jump to kegging. It's so much easier. Your beer becomes better, there's less hassle, there's less cleaning, and there's more brewing because of it. It's one of the biggest game changers in homebrewing. When I finally made the jump I was furious at myself that I had waited ~15 years. It's a night and day difference. Everything suddenly becomes better and easier.

Very kind of you, I wish you the best!

I remember that I did have the downloaded BeerSmith software, and it was far more in depth than Brewer's Friend, but I liked that I could just use Brewer's Friend on their website for free. BrewFather is one I've heard a lot of good things about but have never used. I'm guessing it's a much newer one since I didn't hear about it until recently looking around.

The main thing that's tripping me up about kegging is refrigeration. I want a kegerator, but I have zero confidence in being able to make one myself, nor do I really have any desire to get the tools necessary to make one and do it myself. I considered buying one, but all the ones online (I'm no longer in the US) are over $1,000 (many WAY over a thousand dollars, such as around 3 or 4 thousand dollars).

Frankly, bottling is the most tedious part of brewing in my opinion, so kegging would be so much better. But how do you solve the refrigerating issue without spending an absurd amount of money or doing it yourself? (Because yes, simply buying a cheap fridge and a "kegerator kit" and doing it yourself could be done within just a couple hundred dollars)
 
What is your tap water like, mineral wise?

I'm not sure, but I'm thinking of just using either reverse osmosis water and modifying that. In the past, I've done both tap water and reverse osmosis, and I feel like reverse osmosis might be the best option, or at the very least some kind of relatively neutral commercial water.
 
I remember that I did have the downloaded BeerSmith software, and it was far more in depth than Brewer's Friend, but I liked that I could just use Brewer's Friend on their website for free. BrewFather is one I've heard a lot of good things about but have never used. I'm guessing it's a much newer one since I didn't hear about it until recently looking around.
Wish I could offer more help, but I can't. Others will.
I want a kegerator, but I have zero confidence in being able to make one myself.
You don't need to build a fancy kegerator. You just need a fridge, a CO2 tank, a regulator, and some cobra/picnic taps. A bog standard single-door-with-the-freezer-on-top fridge will hold two 6-gal and two 5-gal kegs with a 5lb CO2 tank nestled in the middle. You simply open the door to your fridge, select the tap you wish to drink from and pour a pint. You occasionally move your CO2 to the keg that needs a squirt. No drilling, no tools required. It's that easy.

Works for me.
Frankly, bottling is the most tedious part of brewing in my opinion,
It sure is.
But how do you solve the refrigerating issue without spending an absurd amount of money?
I pulled the shelves out of the fridge and stuck four kegs in there, with the CO2 tank in the middle. It's not fancy and that's okay. What's in the kegs is what matters.

I will happily talk to you about mind-numbing minutia regarding the most boring parts of brewing, but I can't be bothered to give much thought to fancy keggerators. So long as the beer pours correctly, the only thing that matters is what's in the keg. You can pour a nice beer out of a picnic tap in a fridge, so I'd worry about what's in the keg.
 
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You don't need to build a fancy kegerator. You just need a fridge, a CO2 tank, a regulator, and some cobra/picnic taps. A bog standard single-door-with-the-freezer-on-top fridge will hold two 6-gal and two 5-gal kegs with a 5lb CO2 tank nestled in the middle. You simply open the door to your fridge, select the tap you wish to drink from and pour a pint. You occasionally move your CO2 to the keg that needs a squirt. No drilling, no tools required. It's that easy.

Works for me.

I will happily talk to you about mind-numbing minutia regarding the most boring parts of brewing, but I can't be bothered to give much thought to fancy keggerators. So long as the beer pours correctly, the only thing that matters is what's in the keg. You can pour a nice beer out of a picnic tap in a fridge, so I'd worry about what's in the keg.

You know, I had considered that in the past, but to be honest, recently I had just completely let a lot of that slip my mind. I mean, that's obviously the simplest solution and by far the cheapest, but I hadn't even really considered it (for whatever reason). Technically speaking, I wouldn't even need to buy a fridge. My girlfriend and I are moving in together and she had considered selling her fridge since I have a much larger one, but I told her we have enough space and could use the extra fridge room, so let's just use both fridges. Might as well use her fridge for a keg or two.
 
You know, I had considered that in the past, but to be honest, recently I had just completely let a lot of that slip my mind. I mean, that's obviously the simplest solution and by far the cheapest, but I hadn't even really considered it (for whatever reason). Technically speaking, I wouldn't even need to buy a fridge. My girlfriend and I are moving in together and she had considered selling her fridge since I have a much larger one, but I told her we have enough space and could use the extra fridge room, so let's just use both fridges. Might as well use her fridge for a keg or two.
Bingo! See? You're already half-way there! A good homebrewer never, ever gets rid of a perfectly good fridge!

You got this, my man! :bigmug:
 
Bingo! See? You're already half-way there! A good homebrewer never, ever gets rid of a perfectly good fridge!

You got this, my man! :bigmug:

I appreciate you and IslandLizard's reassurance and encouragement about all-grain brewing in a kitchen, but the most useful info I've gotten in this thread is about this very simple kegging that should have been painfully obvious but I'd just completely forgotten about it. Kegging is just so much more convenient than bottling that I'm really glad we had this back and forth. I'm set to buy a keg, CO2 tank, regulator, and a picnic tap (or something similar - I think that's all I'd need) after I get myself set up and then just slowly build from there.
 
I appreciate you and IslandLizard's reassurance and encouragement about all-grain brewing in a kitchen, but the most useful info I've gotten in this thread is about this very simple kegging that should have been painfully obvious but I'd just completely forgotten about it. Kegging is just so much more convenient than bottling that I'm really glad we had this back and forth. I'm set to buy a keg, CO2 tank, regulator, and a picnic tap (or something similar - I think that's all I'd need) after I get myself set up and then just slowly build from there.
Pleased to hear it!

Your last remark, "...and slowly build from there." That is the core of homebrewing.

It's all about gaining the courage to actually do it and slowly building from there.

I also enjoyed our chat and I wish you the best.

Edit: Also, talk to Lizard about your water. You're in LA, you're going to want to talk to Lizard about your water, he's smart and your water likely isn't. Remember, it's about what's in the kegs...and most of that is water.
 
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Pleased to hear it!

Your last remark, "...and slowly build from there." That is the core of homebrewing.

It's all about gaining the courage to actually do it and slowly building from there.

I also enjoyed our chat and I wish you the best.

Edit: Also, talk to Lizard about your water. You're in LA, you're going to want to talk to Lizard about your water, he's smart and your water likely isn't. Remember, it's about what's in the kegs...and most of that is water.

In a way, it's a shame that I gave away all of the gear I had amassed over quite a few years. I really liked my Speidel fermenter and would like another one.

I'm not actually in LA anymore (or in the US for that matter), which is one of the issues with why it's so difficult for me to get ahold of a lot of brewing supplies and ingredients. When I lived in San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles, and back where I'm originally from in Michigan, I loved how homebrewers had access to almost everything that craft breweries have access to. Yeasts, bacteria, hops, grains, equipment. And for a very reasonable price at that. It's much much more limited where I am now (largely because homebrewing is technically illegal but police pretty much just look the other way and there are businesses that have sold homebrewing supplied for several decades, though they have warnings on the site that say stuff like "It's illegal to brew anything that's more than 1% ABV" and the calculator on their "How to Brew Beer" section hilariously has values input into their calculator that would result in a 0.9% ABV beer).

For water, I used tap water in the San Francisco Bay Area, but I used reverse osmosis water everywhere else I lived (though I did use supermarket "mineral water" in between tap water and reverse osmosis). I remember when I was in Michigan, the water bill was ironically much higher than in California, despite California being in a drought and Michigan having the Great Lakes. I did find the water profile from the local water department, but it wasn't particularly good for any kind of beer, so I didn't use it.
 
I'm originally from in Michigan
Michigan, the UP is my home state. I just happen to live in Wisconsin.

Welcome back to brewing and the forum!

I brew in the basement, all grain so not much help, but you got lots of solid advice already that should help give you some ideas for your brewing.
 
I used to brew on our small porch. Using a modern all-in-one in a small footprint outdoors should be no problem.
 

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if this has already been mentioned, forgive me.

I have been home brewing for 30-ish years, and sad to say I only recently discovered Fermcap foam inhibitor. for the last many years I've done the boil on my deck, so boilovers there aren't an issue. however, I recently bought a 4-gal Gigawort electric "kettle" from Northern brewer so I can do the boil on the screen porch when it's raining. I read about Fermcap and decided to give it a try. it really works! I would strongly recommend it for doing the boil on the kitchen stove.
 
if this has already been mentioned, forgive me.

I have been home brewing for 30-ish years, and sad to say I only recently discovered Fermcap foam inhibitor. for the last many years I've done the boil on my deck, so boilovers there aren't an issue. however, I recently bought a 4-gal Gigawort electric "kettle" from Northern brewer so I can do the boil on the screen porch when it's raining. I read about Fermcap and decided to give it a try. it really works! I would strongly recommend it for doing the boil on the kitchen stove.

With my first few brews I always had boilovers, so I ended up getting really conscious of avoiding them. At first, I tried stuff like the water spray or just turning off the heat temporarily (since boilovers usually were somewhat temporary). But I eventually tried Fermcap and I 100% agree that it really worked. I can't remember whether I found out about Fermcap on this forum or if it was a homebrewer coworker of mine who suggested it.

That said, this time, I'm planning on getting the Brewzilla 35L (which is 9.2 gallons) or the 65L (which is 17.1 gallons), but still making batches around 5 gallons on them. If I do go the pot-on-the-stove route, I found a 30 liter (8 gallon) pot with lid on Amazon that would be a lot safer feeling than the 5.5 gallon pots I used to use.
 
Mainly just looking for some advice.
I often brew 2.5 gallon batches in my kitchen (BIAB on my stove) and I also have wooden floors in my kitchen. I have a few floor mats that I put out. I am not sure they are water proof enough for a massive spill, but they are good enough for drips and damp items. I find that I often need a spot to set down a damp item (bucket, fermenter, etc.) or I will drip a bit (say when pulling an item out of the sanitizer bucket). I also keep a few old bath towels around to clean up the occasional drip on the floor. In my case, I move my kettle to my sink when I remove the grain bag as I always drip some wort in the process and I don't want that on my stove, counter, or floor.

It is really handy having the kitchen sink nearby. That way I can easily clean up items as I go.

Good luck!
 
You may already know this, but if the water where you are is questionable in content, see if you can filter it through a carbon filter for chlorine at least. For Chloramine or if the filter isn't available, use Campden to help treat the water. Then you can build beers around the water profile you have. Some of the best beers in the world are region-specific.
 
I often brew 2.5 gallon batches in my kitchen (BIAB on my stove) and I also have wooden floors in my kitchen. I have a few floor mats that I put out. I am not sure they are water proof enough for a massive spill, but they are good enough for drips and damp items. I find that I often need a spot to set down a damp item (bucket, fermenter, etc.) or I will drip a bit (say when pulling an item out of the sanitizer bucket). I also keep a few old bath towels around to clean up the occasional drip on the floor. In my case, I move my kettle to my sink when I remove the grain bag as I always drip some wort in the process and I don't want that on my stove, counter, or floor.

It is really handy having the kitchen sink nearby. That way I can easily clean up items as I go.

Good luck!

Floor mats are a great idea too. I'll definitely keep that in mind. Thanks.
 
Second on the floor mats. You can get those brightly-colored foam squares that lock together. After you're done, take them apart, rinse with the hose and put away.

I brew indoors in colder months, which is half the year in MN. I do full, 5-gallon BIAB in an 8 gallon Megapot on the electric stove, with a 1500W heat stick to help (otherwise, the stove top alone doesn't provide enough heat to bring to a boil). Once the boil gets going, I remove the heat stick and the stove takes it from there. I usually have to set aside a couple gallons of water, as a full volume with grains won't fit in an 8 gallon BK. After the grains are removed, I just dump the extra couple gallons into the kettle and bring to a boil.
 
I'm not actually in LA anymore (or in the US for that matter), which is one of the issues with why it's so difficult for me to get ahold of a lot of brewing supplies and ingredients.
Where are you now?
"Los Angeles" still shows in your member profile (and thus in the sidebar).
If I do go the pot-on-the-stove route, I found a 30 liter (8 gallon) pot with lid on Amazon
Keep in mind, many (most) kitchen stoves can not adequately boil 6 gallons of wort, with some exceptions. Using a heat stick as @MaxStout mentioned (in the post above) can alleviate that.
 
Where are you now?
"Los Angeles" still shows in your member profile (and thus in the sidebar).

Keep in mind, many (most) kitchen stoves can not adequately boil 6 gallons of wort, with some exceptions. Using a heat stick as @MaxStout mentioned (in the post above) can alleviate that.

Tokyo. I just updated it, but like I mentioned earlier in the thread, homebrewing is technically illegal here (though there are homebrewing websites that sell grains, yeast, hops, and brewing equipment, but they always do a wink wink "don't brew anything over 1% ABV because that's illegal). I'm unaware of anyone ever being prosecuted for homebrewing (though they definitely would if they tried to sell it), though there was a case of a rather famous guy about 40 years ago who made his own sake who did get prosecuted and taken to the top of the Supreme Court and was forced to pay a penalty of something like $5,000 with the silly reasoning being that he was taking money away from sake breweries by making his own. But I just updated my location.

And yes, the larger the pot (and the more the water), the slower the heating speed. Up until now, I've never needed something as strong as an induction plate or turkey fryer, but if I don't go the all-in-one-system route, I'll either get one of those or a heat stick. I'm less familiar with the heat sticks than the others.
 
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If you feel safer to hide it from public view, there's no need to list your actual location. You can leave it blank or cook up your own. ;)

I was just curious where you are.
I'm probably just overthinking things. I've had multiple friends here who homebrew and there are quite a few Japanese craft breweries started by people who homebrewed (one I met said that she was a member of her university's brewing club and that's where she started). So I could kind of compare it to things in the US that are technically illegal but decriminalized so a police officer isn't going to actively search anyone out for it and even if they see someone doing it, they aren't going to do anything. I've heard of some homebrewers in more rural areas say that they even had police taste their brews. And the reason for the law mainly seems to be because of the power of the macrobreweries, and they really really fought hard against the loosening of the laws for getting a brewing license. Up until 1994, the laws were so strict that you couldn't open a brewery unless you made more than 2 million liters (528,000 gallons) of beer a year, which prohibited most microbreweries and craft breweries from being able to start. In 1994, this was lowered to 60,000 liters (15,850 gallons) a year for beer and 6,000 liters (1,585 gallons) a year for "happoshu" (low-malt beer, which includes things like lambics, honey beers, spiced beers, and stuff like that). I know one guy here who runs a craft brewery by himself and specifically adds honey and other expensive adjuncts to his beers specifically so he could get the "happoshu" (low-malt beer) license since he could manage more than 6,000 liters a year but couldn't manage more than 60,000 liters a year.

Anyway, it's a complicated subject, but an interesting one.
 
What is your tap water like, mineral wise?
Although I had been planning on just using RO water or maybe even mineral water instead of tap water, I've always been aware that Japanese water is pretty soft compared to almost anywhere I've lived in the US, but I wasn't sure about chlorine. I looked online and the average chlorine levels in tap water in Tokyo is around 0.4mg/liter, but can be as low as 0.1mg/liter or as high as 1.0mg/liter.

I didn't expect to be able to find water profile data like I was easily able to in the US, but I did. And for the exact several block neighborhood I'll be moving to from 3 separate periods in 2023.

The basic mineral data:
Residual chlorine: 0.3mg/l (April to June), 0.4mg/l (July to September), 0.3mg/l (October to December)
Sodium: 10mg/l (April to June), 18mg/l (July to September), 19mg/l (October to December)
Calcium hardness level: 34mg/l (April to June), 55.6mg/l (July to September), 57.9mg/l (October to December)
Magnesium hardness level: 10.7mg/l (April to June), 19.6mg/l (July to September), 21.3mg/l (October to December)
Potassium: 2.4mg/l (April to June), 3.2mg/l (July to September), 3.2mg/l (October to December)
Trichloramine: Less than 0.02mg/l
pH: 7.5

The data is 3 pages long, so if there's anything else I should know about, I could find it in there, but I thought that was the most relevant to brewing.
 
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Do you live with anyone?

I brewed in the kitchen one time while my wife was sleeping. Helles recipe had very light pilsner malt and long boil (lots of DMS). She complained about the smell despite being across the house.

I moved outside for the time being (I use a 35L brewzilla) and that solved it. I actually love brewing outside.

But another fix would be a steam condenser, which requires a distilling lid and a water line. The parts cost 2/3 what the brewzilla did, plus a bunch of water per batch, but it would also spare your ceilings from tons of steam.

What volume do you want to brew? Sticking with pale malt and darker? I brewed ales on the kitchen stove in an 8 gallon pot for years with no complaints.

PS it's becoming SOP to not heat your sparge water if it's convenient. Makes stovetop that much easier!
 
The lower readings of combined Calcium and Magnesium hardness are still considered "soft" water (lower than 60-75 ppm total), and very suitable for most brewing, except the lightest beers perhaps.

When the higher levels prevail you will need to add a little acid to keep the mash pH around 5.4 with lighter color grists. And especially the pH below 5.4 during sparging.

Strange that the data for January through March is missing, but we can interpolate that. ;)

Depending on the cost of RO water you can use it any time instead of tap water, and add some minerals if needed.

I'd probably stay away from "mineral water" for most brewing unless you have the associated mineral data. It's probably just RO water with minerals added back into it for a better taste, which likely makes it less suitable for brewing (and sparging).

Bru'n Water is a site with a downloadable spreadsheet that contains information and calculators for brewing water:
https://www.brunwater.com/
The free edition is fine and does everything.
There are others...

Chlorine (and Chloramines) can be removed with a "good pinch" of Sodium (or Potassium) Meta Bisulfite powder, also called "meta."
1/16 of a teaspoon (1/4 of a 1/4-teaspoon) of "meta" is plenty to treat 5 gallons (19 liters) of water. Just add and give it a good stir.
Meta also comes in the form of Campden tablets, but they are usually hard to dissolve, so crushing and powdering it before adding would be advised. 1/4 tablet treats 5 gallons (19 liters) of water.
 
Do you live with anyone?

I brewed in the kitchen one time while my wife was sleeping. Helles recipe had very light pilsner malt and long boil (lots of DMS). She complained about the smell despite being across the house.

I moved outside for the time being (I use a 35L brewzilla) and that solved it. I actually love brewing outside.

But another fix would be a steam condenser, which requires a distilling lid and a water line. The parts cost 2/3 what the brewzilla did, plus a bunch of water per batch, but it would also spare your ceilings from tons of steam.

What volume do you want to brew? Sticking with pale malt and darker? I brewed ales on the kitchen stove in an 8 gallon pot for years with no complaints.

PS it's becoming SOP to not heat your sparge water if it's convenient. Makes stovetop that much easier!
Brewing outside isn't an option. Other than the legality issues, I don't have a backyard or a frontyard in my new house (also don't have a garage or a driveway). Behind my new house, there's an apartment building maybe 5 feet from the back of my house. And to the left of my new house, the next house is maybe 2-3 feet from the edge of my house. My new place has 3 floors, but I can just imagine the smell going all the way from the kitchen on the first floor to the third floor. I actually expect it to smell just as strong as when I brewed out of a two-bedroom apartment. And for that matter, when I used to live in a two-story house, when I brewed in the kitchen, the second floor smelled just as strong. So yeah, the smell is something I've considered a potential issue.

Oh, and yes, I'll be living with my girlfriend. She likes beer and all, but I'm 99% sure she's never smelled mashing, sparging, wort boiling, or any of that kind of thing before.

Planning on sticking to 5 gallon (20 liter) batches. I was considered maybe trying a few 2.5 to 3 gallon batches too, but I'll probably stick to the 5 gallon. Don't see any reason to go more than that.

I'm not sure what you mean by "Sticking with pale malt and darker?" I plan to use unmalted grains too, some adjuncts, and so on. I already made 4 recipes of beers to make once I get back to brewing, one of which uses 300 grams of dark brown sugar along with Maris Otter, roasted barley, crystal 120, flaked barley, chocolate malt, and Carafa Special Type III (just to mention the fermentables).

It's becoming SOP to not heat your sparge water? That's the first I've heard of it, though admittedly I've been out of homebrewing for a while.
 
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The lower readings of combined Calcium and Magnesium hardness are still considered "soft" water (lower than 60-75 ppm total), and very suitable for most brewing, except the lightest beers perhaps.

When the higher levels prevail you will need to add a little acid to keep the mash pH around 5.4 with lighter color grists. And especially the pH below 5.4 during sparging.

Strange that the data for January through March is missing, but we can interpolate that. ;)

Depending on the cost of RO water you can use it any time instead of tap water, and add some minerals if needed.

I'd probably stay away from "mineral water" for most brewing unless you have the associated mineral data. It's probably just RO water with minerals added back into it for a better taste, which likely makes it less suitable for brewing (and sparging).

Bru'n Water is a site with a downloadable spreadsheet that contains information and calculators for brewing water:
https://www.brunwater.com/
The free edition is fine and does everything.
There are others...

Chlorine (and Chloramines) can be removed with a "good pinch" of Sodium (or Potassium) Meta Bisulfite powder, also called "meta."
1/16 of a teaspoon (1/4 of a 1/4-teaspoon) of "meta" is plenty to treat 5 gallons (19 liters) of water. Just add and give it a good stir.
Meta also comes in the form of Campden tablets, but they are usually hard to dissolve, so crushing and powdering it before adding would be advised. 1/4 tablet treats 5 gallons (19 liters) of water.

Appreciate the detailed info. I still have a very old version of Bru'n Water. I downloaded it maybe in 2016 (and only used the free version). I only used it on maybe 4 or 5 batches, so water treatment and profiles is arguably the part of homebrewing I have the least experience in. When I did extract, I just used tap water, but once I started doing things like BIAB, I started caring about the water profile. I'm pretty sure I didn't care as much about the water profile as most people, but the beers tasted good in the end (with the exception of stuff that didn't have anything to do with the water profile such as a contamination in my first kettle sour causing butyric acid and having to dump the whole thing. My next try at the same recipe ended up great, though).

After looking at that data, I also thought that I could probably get away with just Campden tablets and some cheap mineral additions, but I didn't know about "meta." That's an option I'll also keep in mind.

At the end of my homebrewing, I mainly used RO water (with some minerals according to what Bru'n Water gave me). The end-result beer tasted good, but I was severely lacking on the testing side and a lot of it was guesswork based on Bru'n Water and brewing software.
 
Thank you for giving us your more detailed brewing history. It helps to know experience level.
I'm pretty sure I didn't care as much about the water profile as most people
My emphasis^
You may be surprised to know you're in the small 1% (est.) of homebrewers who are aware of that and actually care. :D

but the beers tasted good in the end
That's the important part!
Then at some point you may start to think: Can they taste better, and if so, how do I get there?

(with the exception of stuff that didn't have anything to do with the water profile such as a contamination in my first kettle sour causing butyric acid
Ouch! (Unintended) infections can bring out the worst. And occasionally the best.
Butyric acid, at least to me, is among the most putrid scents a beer can throw at one. Perhaps on par with Isovaleric acid.
I can't drink through "sulphur" wafts (Hydrogen Sulfide) either. It always takes me back to that embarrassing moment where some homebrewer wanted me to taste his cider...

After looking at that data, I also thought that I could probably get away with just Campden tablets and some cheap mineral additions
Yeah, I'd say so. Since you're already familiar with Bru'n Water, enter those hardness values and you'll see, adding a little acid goes a long way during the "heavier" mineral seasons.
Aside from cost, it's quite inconvenient to have to go out to buy and schlepp water.

If you brew often enough, buying a TDS meter will keep you quickly informed what the status of your water is at any time. They're fairly cheap, and don't require much (or any) maintenance.

I didn't know about "meta."
I just offered the option, as many brewers don't seem to be aware "Meta" is the active ingredient in "Campden." And in many ways much easier to apply (use) as it dissolves instantly.

The best thing is, as long as you add at least the minimum amount necessary of either "Campden" or "Meta," it will do its job. When adding a little more, for all security (even at twice or quadruple the standard amount of 1/16 teaspoon per 5 gallons) I doubt anyone would even notice (taste).
 
I'm not sure what you mean by "Sticking with pale malt and darker?"
I mean pilsner malt will generate a lot more DMS than pale. That's what caused issues in my house re smell.
It's becoming SOP to not heat your sparge water? That's the first I've heard of it, though admittedly I've been out of homebrewing for a while.
That's why I mentioned it! A bunch of people on the forum that don't have 3V setups are not heating sparge water. I've yet to hear anyone say it didn't work out. (It doesn't seem to cause stuck sparges, lower efficiency, etc.)
 
My emphasis^
You may be surprised to know you're in the small 1% (est.) of homebrewers who are aware of that and actually care. :D

That's the important part!
Then at some point you may start to think: Can they taste better, and if so, how do I get there?


Ouch! (Unintended) infections can bring out the worst. And occasionally the best.
Butyric acid, at least to me, is among the most putrid scents a beer can throw at one. Perhaps on par with Isovaleric acid.
I can't drink through "sulphur" wafts (Hydrogen Sulfide) either. It always takes me back to that embarrassing moment where some homebrewer wanted me to taste his cider...


Yeah, I'd say so. Since you're already familiar with Bru'n Water, enter those hardness values and you'll see, adding a little acid goes a long way during the "heavier" mineral seasons.
Aside from cost, it's quite inconvenient to have to go out to buy and schlepp water.

If you brew often enough, buying a TDS meter will keep you quickly informed what the status of your water is at any time. They're fairly cheap, and don't require much (or any) maintenance.


I just offered the option, as many brewers don't seem to be aware "Meta" is the active ingredient in "Campden." And in many ways much easier to apply (use) as it dissolves instantly.

The best thing is, as long as you add at least the minimum amount necessary of either "Campden" or "Meta," it will do its job. When adding a little more, for all security (even at twice or quadruple the standard amount of 1/16 teaspoon per 5 gallons) I doubt anyone would even notice (taste).
Thanks. Improvement is definitely a very important thing to have.

I also agree. Out of all the scents I've created in brewing, I honestly think that butyric acid is THE WORST I have ever smelled (or tasted for that matter). What blew my mind a couple years later was when I tried a kettle-soured Berliner Weisse from a really small local brewery and it had a very slight but noticeable butyric acid smell and flavor to it. It wasn't as bad as the one time I got the infection, but it made me wonder how they could justify selling it. The first beer I ever made, I fermented too warm and got isoamyl acetate in my beer. And I've never liked that character in commercial beers. It's one of the reasons I've never liked hefeweizen as a style. But I drank the entire batch to teach myself a lesson. With the butyric acid infection, though, I dumped the entire batch relatively quickly.

I was surprised at how cheap TDS meters are. Supposedly they're only around $5 or so. If they're that cheap, I might as well pick one up.

Good to know about "meta" since I've always thought it was interesting that you don't even need a full Campden tablet. Just 1/4th of one for 5+ gallons.
 
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