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Altrez

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Hello All,

Well here I go! Getting ready to start my first home brew operation and did not realize how much thought has to go into brewing beer at home. I have a much greater appreciation for it now that I am trying to get everything ready.

I am starting with 2 Mr. Beer kits a 1 Gallon grain kit form Northern Brewer and a Cider kit from Brooklyn Brew Shop.

Right now I have a temperature data logger in my closet to get a good range of temperatures and it looks to be around 70 to 82 degrees with the AC on 68.

I have purchased a PH meter plus calibrating liquid a PPM meter and a Hydrometer. I also bought a metal pot and spoon, stuff to sanitize everything and two gas cooking stoves so I can brew up stairs in my office.

For temperature readings I have a thermal camera a IR thermometer and also several stick on thermometers. The plan is to use VOSS bottled water for all my brew.

When I first looked into home brew I though I could do it with just a simple kit and tap water. My question is this: Am I over analyzing this? Can good home brew beer be made just throwing wort into a jar and letting it ferment?

Thanks!

:tank:

-Altrez
 

beerfactory

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It is a hobby, some folks enjoy the analytical aspect.

I just finished my 8th batch of beer. My 6th batch is currently being enjoyed and is actually good. Patience, BIAB technique, rudimentary equipment, scrupulous sanitation and trial/error have worked out well.
 

Sammy86

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IMO, yes...it doesn't have to be all that complicated.

I literally have a cooler mash tun with a CPVC manifold that I made. I use my tap water to brew with a wort chiller to cool down after and a cool brew bag for fermentation...I also have an oxo digital thermometer that works fantastically...if my keezer is empty it pulls double duty as fermentation chamber...a lot of people do BIAB, ice bath to cool, throw it in the fermentor and leave it in the closet.

You make the hobby as intense as you want it to be.
 

freisste

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As was said - it's a hobby. I often compare it to fishing. Could you be a fisherman with as little as string, a hook, and bait? Sure. Could you buy a boat for 10's of thousands of dollars and pack it with all the equipment you can think of? Sure. Most find a happy medium between the two, but I'm sure there are those at the ends of the spectrum. Same with beer. You don't NEED more than a clean vessel and hot water plus a kit of hopped extract and a way to serve it. Most people have at least a little more than that, but there are those who spend thousands and countless hours, too.

Another parallel: don't expect to save money on beer by homebrewing any more than you would save money on fish by buying a boat.
 
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Altrez

Altrez

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As was said - it's a hobby. I often compare it to fishing. Could you be a fisherman with as little as string, a hook, and bait? Sure. Could you buy a boat for 10's of thousands of dollars and pack it with all the equipment you can think of? Sure. Most find a happy medium between the two, but I'm sure there are those at the ends of the spectrum. Same with beer. You don't NEED more than a clean vessel and hot water plus a kit of hopped extract and a way to serve it. Most people have at least a little more than that, but there are those who spend thousands and countless hours, too.

Another parallel: don't expect to save money on beer by homebrewing any more than you would save money on fish by buying a boat.
As a proud owner of several $300 plus fishing pole rigs and countless amounts of money in tackle I understand exactly what you are saying.

My time is what I value most and that is why I want to make sure I have everything thing I need to brew my first 5 gallons of beer. Its not to save money, there is a craft beer store down the road that has 16 ever changing craft beers on tap.

I just want to experience it and enjoy something I love "Beer" and make my own version of an IPA or a pale ale etc..

Looking at 4 mini fridges now for fermentation chambers.

:mug:

-Altrez
 

popsicleian

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I'm also someone who gets way into hobbies and tends to overanalyze things. I still a newbie myself, but nothing on your list sounds excessive except for the VOSS water. I think it will make things unnecessarily expensive and won't automatically make your beer any better. You're better off with tap water, especially if you can find a water profile for your city online and adjust accordingly. You can also get filtered water at the grocery store for a fraction of the price and build it up with minerals you need.
 

ChelisHubby

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Your temp is too hot for fermentation. You need a swamp cooler or a ferment ion chamber. 68 degrees ambient can be 75 or more during the peak of fermentation. and that will give you flavors you don't want.:mug:
 
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Altrez

Altrez

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I'm also someone who gets way into hobbies and tends to overanalyze things. I still a newbie myself, but nothing on your list sounds excessive except for the VOSS water. I think it will make things unnecessarily expensive and won't automatically make your beer any better. You're better off with tap water, especially if you can find a water profile for your city online and adjust accordingly. You can also get filtered water at the grocery store for a fraction of the price and build it up with minerals you need.
Hi!

The VOSS is super cheep when you buy it by the case. The bottles are all glass with a nice plastic top. I am thinking about brewing pico brews in them :)

:ban:

-Mojo
 
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Altrez

Altrez

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Your temp is too hot for fermentation. You need a swamp cooler or a ferment ion chamber. 68 degrees ambient can be 75 or more during the peak of fermentation. and that will give you flavors you don't want.:mug:
On lowes.com now looking for cheep mini fridges.

:rockin:

-Altrez
 

popsicleian

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Hi!

The VOSS is super cheep when you buy it by the case. The bottles are all glass with a nice plastic top. I am thinking about brewing pico brews in them :)

:ban:

-Mojo
I just assumed it was expensive because of those fancy-pants bottles. Still, I can get a gallon of reverse osmosis filtered water for like 35 cents at the grocery store. My tap water is pretty good, though, so I just use that with some adjustments.
 
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Altrez

Altrez

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I just assumed it was expensive because of those fancy-pants bottles. Still, I can get a gallon of reverse osmosis filtered water for like 35 cents at the grocery store. My tap water is pretty good, though, so I just use that with some adjustments.
That's cheep! VOSS is like 16 dollars a gallon! Perhaps not VOSS after all lol!

-Mojo
 

PADave

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Hello All,
My question is this: Am I over analyzing this? Can good home brew beer be made just throwing wort into a jar and letting it ferment?

Thanks!

:tank:

-Altrez
IMO yes you are. No need for all that fancy stuff for your first brews. Get a few batches under your belt and see what you actually need and go from there. Don't over complicate things. Learn to crawl before you run.
 

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divrguy

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That's similar to the one I have. Except I paid about half that much at Bulk Reef Supply- I'd definitely shop around.



RO water is great, if your tap water isn't usable but I'd probably start with a $20 analysis of my tap water first.

Yooper, which one did you get? I just looked at bulk reef and the 5 stage is actually more. That Amazon price looks like a great deal.
 

kh54s10

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My answers in red.

Hello All,

Well here I go! Getting ready to start my first home brew operation and did not realize how much thought has to go into brewing beer at home. I have a much greater appreciation for it now that I am trying to get everything ready.

I am starting with 2 Mr. Beer kits a 1 Gallon gain kit form Northern Brewer and a Cider kit from Brooklyn Brew Shop.

Right now I have a temperature data logger in my closet to get a good range of temperatures and it looks to be around 70 to 82 degrees with the AC on 68.

Even 68 degrees ambient might be too high. Fermentation creates heat. Cool the wort to temperature. Mid sixties is best for most ale yeasts. 70 degrees is about the upper limit.

I have purchased a PH meter plus calibrating liquid a PPM meter and a Hydrometer. I also bought a metal pot and spoon, stuff to sanitize everything and two gas cooking stoves so I can brew up stairs in my office.

Put the pH meter away for a while. You will just confuse things until you advance some more.

For temperature readings I have a thermal camera a IR thermometer and also several stick on thermometers. The plan is to use VOSS bottled water for all my brew.

Your thermal camera may be useful for something but it will only give you the surface temperature of the liquid. Get a probe thermometer for brewing. The stick on thermometers will be good for telling you the approximate temperature of the fermentation.

Bottled water is good if you are unsure of the quality of your tap water. After 5 years I still use (charcoal filtered) tap water.

When I first looked into home brew I though I could do it with just a simple kit and tap water. My question is this: Am I over analyzing this? Can good home brew beer be made just throwing wort into a jar and letting it ferment?

Thanks!

:tank:

So yes, IMO you are over analyzing. But you have got a good start going. Brew on! :mug:

-Altrez
 

chickypad

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I am going to buy this i think to filter my tap water. A lot cheaper then using bottled water.
Do you know anything about your tap water? If not I'd get a water report first to make sure you even need to filter. The water straight out of my tap is basically RO water (alkalinity in 15-20 range and all other ions in single digits). I just need to add campden for chloramine. Either way, definitely don't go with ridiculously priced bottled water - it may not even be what you want for brewing as some of that can be high in minerals.

The other thing to remember is most of this water stuff applies to all grain. I assume the MrBeer kits are extract, in which case water doesn't matter so much except maybe to avoid or remove chlorine/chlormaine. Whatever you decide it seems prudent to get a few batches under your belt and make sure you enjoy it before buying hundreds of dollars worth of equipment.
 

grrickar

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I buy spring water for $1 a gal at the dollar store.
I just filled up 20 gallons in my 4 gallon PET plastic jugs at the grocery store kiosk. The water is RO filtered, UV treated, etc etc and it cost me a whopping $7.20.

They have a label to tell you when the filters were changed, so you sort of know what you are getting.

The company is 'Glacier'

My town uses sodium ion exchange to soften the water before it even gets to my tap, and it is lousy for brewing. The only AG batches I have dumped were ones brewed with our tap water.
 
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Altrez

Altrez

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Do you know anything about your tap water? If not I'd get a water report first to make sure you even need to filter. The water straight out of my tap is basically RO water (alkalinity in 15-20 range and all other ions in single digits). I just need to add campden for chloramine. Either way, definitely don't go with ridiculously priced bottled water - it may not even be what you want for brewing as some of that can be high in minerals.

The other thing to remember is most of this water stuff applies to all grain. I assume the MrBeer kits are extract, in which case water doesn't matter so much except maybe to avoid or remove chlorine/chlormaine. Whatever you decide it seems prudent to get a few batches under your belt and make sure you enjoy it before buying hundreds of dollars worth of equipment.
I am looking into the water profile for our subdivision to see what it looks like. I only drink filtered water normally but the tap water does taste good here.

-Altrez
 
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Altrez

Altrez

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Hello,

I was looking at putting this in my closet to bring the temp down to 60 degrees for fermenting as a test.

http://www.lowes.com/pd_577614-71200-CS10XE_1z11qh2__?productId=999901003&pl=1#img

I was going to use sanitized water with a slight bleach solution to help kill bad things in the air as well. The humidity stays below 30% so It should work really well.

Has anyone ever tried this? I also have a mini fridge for the 1 gallon all grain batches I am going to brew but the 4 Mr Beer's need to live in the closet for a few weeks or more until I get a new bigger fermenting chamber.

The other option is this:

http://www.lowes.com/ProductDisplay...logId=10051&productId=50266799&cId=detail#img

Plus this:

http://www.northernbrewer.com/brewi...star-dual-mode-digital-temperature-controller

Any thoughts?

-Altrez
 

grrickar

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If you just need to cool a few degrees more, why not get a garden tub (one of those with rope handles from Wal Mart), partially fill with a few inches of water, put the fermenter in there and dampen a towel to wrap around it? Before I had a house with a basement I would do that with glass carboys to keep them cool. As the water evaporates it cools...
 
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Altrez

Altrez

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If you just need to cool a few degrees more, why not get a garden tub (one of those with rope handles from Wal Mart), partially fill with a few inches of water, put the fermenter in there and dampen a towel to wrap around it? Before I had a house with a basement I would do that with glass carboys to keep them cool. As the water evaporates it cools...
Hi grrickar,

Yeah I could do that but I want a less messy more permanent solution that is cost effective.

-Mojo
 

SleepyCreekBrews

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...8 or so years ago, my first half-dozen (partial extract) batches were brewed on the kitchen stove with a 10 quart pot, and a large spoon, I also had a regular thermometer, and a hydrometer. I chilled the wort in an ice-water bath in kitchen sink, and fermented it in a plastic bucket that was kept in the garage that stays about 65 this time of year. You can definitely make excellent beer with tap water, a kitchen pot, and a plastic bucket, but the most important part is knowledge and experience. Oh, and have fun doing it. :)

PS: you might want to reconsider brewing upstairs in your office as well, in my experience, brewing beer is not exactly a neat and tidy business.
 

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...PS: you might want to reconsider brewing upstairs in your office as well, in my experience, brewing beer is not exactly a neat and tidy business.
Additionally, using the two gas stoves in said office sounds like a recipe for a fire. A Mr. Beer kit can be brewed easily on even a small kitchen stove.
 

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Yooper, which one did you get? I just looked at bulk reef and the 5 stage is actually more. That Amazon price looks like a great deal.
I got a 4 stage (no DI) with float valve and extra filters. It was called a "value" system, and it's worked out great. It's been years, and I still get less than 17 ppm hardness (I have cheap aquarium strips) of total hardness and/or carbonate hardness. I haven't even changed a filter- as they have great customer service and I've called them and asked about it. I paid $109 or so. I don't see that on their website currently, but they could put it together I'm sure. You don't need DI or a 5 stage for brewing water.
 
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Altrez

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Additionally, using the two gas stoves in said office sounds like a recipe for a fire. A Mr. Beer kit can be brewed easily on even a small kitchen stove.
I got home owners insurance its all good :ban:

-Altrez
 
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Altrez

Altrez

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...8 or so years ago, my first half-dozen (partial extract) batches were brewed on the kitchen stove with a 10 quart pot, and a large spoon, I also had a regular thermometer, and a hydrometer. I chilled the wort in an ice-water bath in kitchen sink, and fermented it in a plastic bucket that was kept in the garage that stays about 65 this time of year. You can definitely make excellent beer with tap water, a kitchen pot, and a plastic bucket, but the most important part is knowledge and experience. Oh, and have fun doing it. :)

PS: you might want to reconsider brewing upstairs in your office as well, in my experience, brewing beer is not exactly a neat and tidy business.
Hello SleepyCreekBrews,

I think I would get in more trouble with the wife if I made a mess in her kitchen! The only water source up here is from the bathroom so I would have to get a sink installed but that's cheap enough.

My goal is to get to 10 gallons a week and I am starting off with 6. Its a lot more work then I thought it would be.

-Altrez
 
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Altrez

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I am adding battery backup to my fermentation chamber does anyone have any recommendations?

Thanks!

-Altrez
 
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Altrez

Altrez

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I just keep running across more and more things I need before I feel like I can get started.

Just getting all the things needed for my first brew is crazy! I am up to around $700 in supplies and have not started my first batch!

:confused:

-Altrez
 

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I just keep running across more and more things I need before I feel like I can get started.

Just getting all the things needed for my first brew is crazy! I am up to around $700 in supplies and have not started my first batch!

:confused:

-Altrez
You overthinking it. You can spend that if you want but most start just north of a $150 including the extract kit. Two buckets, airlock, racking can, pot, capper, etc.


I can build a BIAB system for about $200 for 5 gallon batches...maybe...maybe $100 more for fermentation control.
 
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Altrez

Altrez

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You overthinking it. You can spend that if you want but most start just north of a $150 including the extract kit. Two buckets, airlock, racking can, pot, capper, etc.


I can build a BIAB system for about $200 for 5 gallon batches...maybe...maybe $100 more for fermentation control.
That's cheap! I just want to make sure I do everything right. I am a over thinker with OCD so that could be part of it!

-Altrez
 

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That's cheap! I just want to make sure I do everything right. I am a over thinker with OCD so that could be part of it!

-Altrez
What kind of stove do you have?

So no matter what, for fermentation:
http://www.northernbrewer.com/brewi...rmenting-buckets/6-5-gallon-fermenting-bucket
Ad the fermentation lock
For bottling:
http://www.northernbrewer.com/brewi...quipment/racking-canes/24-curved-racking-tube
http://www.northernbrewer.com/3-8-id-siphon-hose Probably 5'
http://www.northernbrewer.com/brewi...fermenting-buckets/6-5-gallon-bottling-bucket
http://www.northernbrewer.com/fermenters-favorite-royal-crown-bottle-capper
http://www.northernbrewer.com/northern-brewer-oxygen-absorbing-crown-caps-120-count
Sanitizing:
http://www.northernbrewer.com/star-san
Plus a stray bottle from Walmart
Boiling:
This is where it gets more complex. For Partial boil extract go to a really low end grocery store and get the 3 gallon SS pot for like $15. For BiaB get this:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000VXHKMC/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20
And then a Wilserbrew bag.

After that, inkbird all in one temperature controller and used fridge...from Craigslist.

Edit: you need a good thermoter and hydrometer as well but though I use a $15 dial thermometer, I calibrate it each brew day against a $10 lab thermometer...most can't be bothered.
 
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Altrez

Altrez

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You average 11 pints per day? God I hope that's hyperbole. If not, your hobby should be AA meetings.
That is a bit judgmental don't you think? Everyone in my family drinks like I do. I also will average a pint of Vodka a night. I am over 40 and have been drinking for about 25 years or more.

My brother drinks a fifth of bourbon a day and a six pack at lunch. Because some people cant handle there alcohol dose not mean people who do should be told to go to AA meetings. I make a nice 6 figure income go to work everyday also enjoy Bloody Mary's for breakfast.

-Altrez
 
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Altrez

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What kind of stove do you have?

So no matter what, for fermentation:
http://www.northernbrewer.com/brewi...rmenting-buckets/6-5-gallon-fermenting-bucket
Ad the fermentation lock
For bottling:
http://www.northernbrewer.com/brewi...quipment/racking-canes/24-curved-racking-tube
http://www.northernbrewer.com/3-8-id-siphon-hose Probably 5'
http://www.northernbrewer.com/brewi...fermenting-buckets/6-5-gallon-bottling-bucket
http://www.northernbrewer.com/fermenters-favorite-royal-crown-bottle-capper
http://www.northernbrewer.com/northern-brewer-oxygen-absorbing-crown-caps-120-count
Sanitizing:
http://www.northernbrewer.com/star-san
Plus a stray bottle from Walmart
Boiling:
This is where it gets more complex. For Partial boil extract go to a really low end grocery store and get the 3 gallon SS pot for like $15. For BiaB get this:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000VXHKMC/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20
And then a Wilserbrew bag.

After that, inkbird all in one temperature controller and used fridge...from Craigslist.

Edit: you need a good thermoter and hydrometer as well but though I use a $15 dial thermometer, I calibrate it each brew day against a $10 lab thermometer...most can't be bothered.
We have just a normal run of the mill stove. I am thinking about getting a propane outdoor stove but have not decided yet.

I have a stove that runs on butane for my office I will post some pics this week.

Thank you so much for all the links its very helpful!!!!!!!

:tank:

-Altrez
 
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Voss water...holy cow that sounds expensive. I bought a drinking water, water hose that has a filter attached to it for like 20 bucks on amazon. I really don't get into all of the water chemistry stuff b/c everyone that drinks my beer including myself likes it so why change it...

When I first started I used the gallon refillable jugs of spring water that someone mentioned and after the first few times It was just a hassle and extra cost I personally didn't want...so I tried using the drinking hose with filter on a brew to test it...and never went back.

www.amazon.c/Camco-40043-TastePURE-...qid=1461036036&sr=8-12&keywords=drinking+hose

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004ME11FS/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20
 
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