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1989Harley

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I've considered homebrewing for several years now. It sounds like a fun little hobby, and theoretically should save some money after a couple batches.
Then yesterday, I took too many puffs off of my medical Marijuana vaporizer. I ended up at my homebrew store drinking mead with the shopkeeper at 1pm.

I will move eventually to using grains, but mashing the grain is a while process in itself. I decided to start with extract.

I spent $115 yesterday. I already know I will need bottles, so $25 more. I got the Brewer's Best basic equipment kit, and American Cream Ale kit. Unfortunately between school and work, I probably won't get around to brewday until next week.

I'm also lacking friends, so if there's anyone here from the south side of Dayton, perhaps we could be brew buddies.
 

lumpher

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Welcome. Feel free to ask questions. There are a lot of knowledgeable people here who are happy to answer, advise, and comment.
 
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1989Harley

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Thank you. As of now, I have it all together. But that's because I don't know enough yet to know what I don't know. I'm sure I'll have plenty of questions when it is time to start doing it.

Although it seems like I started with a pretty simple kit. Add everything to hot water, pitch yeast (I'll definitely have questions about that) and let it sit. It even says to add the priming sugar in bulk when it's time.
 
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pitch yeast (I'll definitely have questions about that) and let it sit
Instructions show "1 Sachet" which suggests a dry yeast. The instructions state "Sprinkle the contents of the yeast sachet over top of the entire wort surface ([...]) and stir well with sanitized spoon or paddle" - which is reasonable. With dry yeast, there are a number of alternative approaches that are reasonable.

As I said said earlier, these kit instructions look good. Assuming the LME is fresh, you are off to a good start with this kit.
 
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1989Harley

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Thanks for the input. I guess you're right, I should just follow the instructions. I intend to culture the yeast. Eventually. On petri dishes like a mushroom. But I should save that for later.

Idk about the malt, I didn't check. The box says it was packed last month. I didn't think before about the lme freshness
 
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Murph4231

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Welcome to the madness we call a hobby. You apparently got too close to the edge and are now slipping down the rabbit hole of homebrewing. Lol, but yes it is a fun, long lasting and an educational hobby. There is so much to learn as your journey proceeds and you have found a great resource for everything you need to know to advance your skills and equipment.

Happy brewing. Enjoy your new found passion.
 

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Howdy from The San Francisco area. I was in your position about 6 months or so ago. I bought a starter kit from Northern Brewer and followed the instructions that came with the beer kit. It was fun, and it turned out pretty good. My advice? Take it slow and enjoy it. Don't be afraid to make mistakes, as you will for sure, and enjoy the process. I got my brother into it, so now brew days are spent with him and a few of the beers we made from the prior brew day. Either way, enjoy the process and be patient (something I am not very good at, but I am learning) LOL.

Ask questions, this place has been a great source of info tor me.

RR
 
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1989Harley

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If you took a small (0.10 gram) amount from the package to do this, no one would notice.
Is it really that easy? I guess it shouldn't be complicated, I don't know why I'm trying to make it hard. I guess just because I'm not sure what growing yeast will look like.
Surely I will have much more perspective in a few weeks.

Welcome to the madness we call a hobby. You apparently got too close to the edge and are now slipping down the rabbit hole of homebrewing. Lol, but yes it is a fun, long lasting and an educational hobby. There is so much to learn as your journey proceeds and you have found a great resource for everything you need to know to advance your skills and equipment.

Happy brewing. Enjoy your new found passion.

Thank you. It may or may not last long. Depends on how well my 2nd batch tastes. The first batch I accept will likely be sacrificial, I've cooked enough to know that.
Howdy from The San Francisco area. I was in your position about 6 months or so ago. I bought a starter kit from Northern Brewer and followed the instructions that came with the beer kit. It was fun, and it turned out pretty good. My advice? Take it slow and enjoy it. Don't be afraid to make mistakes, as you will for sure, and enjoy the process. I got my brother into it, so now brew days are spent with him and a few of the beers we made from the prior brew day. Either way, enjoy the process and be patient (something I am not very good at, but I am learning) LOL.

Ask questions, this place has been a great source of info tor me.

RR
Patience is my strongest virtue here. I'll be so busy I won't even think about it fermenting away until it's time to start checking on it. Thank you.
 
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1989Harley

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Instructions show "1 Sachet" which suggests a dry yeast. The instructions state "Sprinkle the contents of the yeast sachet over top of the entire wort surface ([...]) and stir well with sanitized spoon or paddle" - which is reasonable. With dry yeast, there are a number of alternative approaches that are reasonable.

As I said said earlier, these kit instructions look good. Assuming the LME is fresh, you are off to a good start with this kit.
Went and checked the package, it says best by July 2023 on the lme. I assume that is good?
I Also noticed that the boxes say the company is located just a couple hours northeast from me. Cool. Accidentally local.
 
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1989Harley

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I still haven't got started yet. I went to bust it out last night and the instruction says I need a 4 gallon pot. Well my pot is only 7 qts. I thought it was more. I have a 22 qt, but it's Teflon lined and only used for canning. I now don't know what to do. I could buy a bigger stockpot, but I intend to go all grain eventually- hopefully soon, and plan on getting an one of those grainfather things, so it won't be in use long.

What's the smallest amount of water you guys would recommend for the boil? It's basically just to extract the hops right? Since it's an extract... then to dissolve the sugar. But I know it's a debate, so any input is appreciated
 

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I also don't have a big enough pot to do my whole boil at once. I have a 2gal and a 3gal and I divide the batch for my boil. I only hop one of my pots, so only one pot boils for 60 minutes, the other I just bring to a sanitizing boil and then it immediately goes to cool. It's not convenient but it does the job and as a bonus they are easier to lift and clean. The extract might not need the sanitizing boil, but your water might?
 
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1989Harley

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That sounds reasonable. As far as water goes, it's gonna be from jugs. My municipal water supply tests ~400ppm. I think it was 450. Off the scales hard water around here. Do it in stages; sounds good. Thanks
 
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I also don't have a big enough pot to do my whole boil at once. I have a 2gal and a 3gal and I divide the batch for my boil. I only hop one of my pots, so only one pot boils for 60 minutes, the other I just bring to a sanitizing boil and then it immediately goes to cool.

That sounds reasonable.

One thing to be aware of in this approach (which is similar to the "partial boil with late additions" process) is that there is a limit to the number of IBUs in a volume of water. The number mentioned is typically 100.

With 7 qt pot and a 20 IBU recipe kit, the approach has a reasonable chance of making a reasonable beer. Because the pot is very small relative to the "late additions", recipes above about 25 IBUs may not work with this approach.

The common "partial boil with late additions" approach uses a larger pot. Half of the water/wort up is added up front and half at the end. This approach works with "normal strength" ABV styles up to around 50 IBUs.



eta: keep in mind that a full volume boil is known to produce the best result.
 
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TwistedGray

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In terms of bottling (yeah, you're getting ahead of yourself) I found as a beginner it was easier to add the sugar to each bottle. I've been doing this now for 5-6 years, and it's still easiest, in my opinion. Here's a post that I made on (simple to follow instructions) - Individual Bottle Priming Instructions with Cane Sugar

Regarding yeast culturing - yeast is cheap, worry about everything else and then come back to that (in my opinion).

Regarding all-in-one units - there are cheaper alternatives to the Grainfather, but if you are a "spare no expense" guy, go for it ;)

Regarding pot size - I've used one of those "big" blue canning stock pot looking things for brewing early batches (worked fine)
 

wildtower

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One thing to be aware of in this approach (which is similar to the "partial boil with late additions" process) is that there is a limit to the number of IBUs in a volume of water. The number mentioned is typically 100.

With 7 qt pot and a 20 IBU recipe kit, the approach has a reasonable chance of making a reasonable beer. Because the pot is very small relative to the "late additions", recipes above about 25 IBUs may not work with this approach.

The common "partial boil with late additions" approach uses a larger pot. Half of the water/wort up is added up front and half at the end. This approach works with "normal strength" ABV styles up to around 50 IBUs.



eta: keep in mind that a full volume boil is known to produce the best result.
I've been brewing wheat beers so a reduced volume hop boil has worked for me, but I'm planning to try an IPA, so thanks for this heads-up.
 
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1989Harley

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Good to know. Glad I don't have an ipa in mind.
In terms of bottling (yeah, you're getting ahead of yourself) I found as a beginner it was easier to add the sugar to each bottle. I've been doing this now for 5-6 years, and it's still easiest, in my opinion. Here's a post that I made on (simple to follow instructions) - Individual Bottle Priming Instructions with Cane Sugar

Regarding yeast culturing - yeast is cheap, worry about everything else and then come back to that (in my opinion).

Regarding all-in-one units - there are cheaper alternatives to the Grainfather, but if you are a "spare no expense" guy, go for it ;)

Regarding pot size - I've used one of those "big" blue canning stock pot looking things for brewing early batches (worked fine)
I hadn't given much thought to the bottling actually. I noticed it called for batch priming but that's about it.


Yeah, not the grainfather. I looked and that's $900. That's just the brand with the catchiest name. I'm definitely not a spare no expense kind of guy, I'm a cheapest way (realistically) possible kind of guy. I actually already did my math and based off my current beer price, the kit like I bought is cheaper by 50 dollars. That leaves me about 600 a year in equipment money to play with. 2 batches to break even on my initial investment, I saw what looks like a nice electric unit for $300. I'm sure all grain batches will be cheaper than extract as well. I'll have to factor that into my cost to upgrade amortization.
Yeah, but I forgot my original point by now. Thanks for the input.
 

TwistedGray

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Good to know. Glad I don't have an ipa in mind.

I hadn't given much thought to the bottling actually. I noticed it called for batch priming but that's about it.


Yeah, not the grainfather. I looked and that's $900. That's just the brand with the catchiest name. I'm definitely not a spare no expense kind of guy, I'm a cheapest way (realistically) possible kind of guy. I actually already did my math and based off my current beer price, the kit like I bought is cheaper by 50 dollars. That leaves me about 600 a year in equipment money to play with. 2 batches to break even on my initial investment, I saw what looks like a nice electric unit for $300. I'm sure all grain batches will be cheaper than extract as well. I'll have to factor that into my cost to upgrade amortization.
Yeah, but I forgot my original point by now. Thanks for the input.

All kits call for batch priming ;) that's the common way to prime in a bottle, but there are better ways.

Look into the Mash&Boil without the recirculating pump - pretty inexpensive rig (been using mine for a few years now without issue).
 
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I've been brewing wheat beers so a reduced volume hop boil has worked for me
Willing to share the recipe / process? I've brewed a couple of 'slightly' reduced volume boil American Amber Ales but no where near to a 1.5 gal boil for a 5.5 gal recipe.

There's also evidence [BBR Nov 1, 2018] to suspect the upper limit may be a little higher [maybe150-ish IBUs in some cases].
 
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1989Harley

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Willing to share the recipe / process? I've brewed a couple of reduced volume boil American Amber Ales but no where near to a 1.5 gal boil for a 5.5 gal recipe.

There's also evidence [BBR Nov 1, 2018] to suspect the upper limit may be a little higher [maybe150-ish IBUs in some cases].
I've seen a couple beers at around 110 IBU. I don't really know what that implies. But there must be a way to pass 100
 
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background: With regard to the "100 IBU limit', there is a dose of unmeasured forum wisdom in that number. Well written anecdotal stories, with evidence to the contrary, may be of interest here ...

I've seen a couple beers at around 110 IBU. I don't really know what that implies.
Where the IBUs software estimated or lab measured? At what point in the process where was the measurement taken?

But there must be a way to pass 100
Could be an interesting research project.

speculation said:
It may be that the origin of '100" is based on whole hops (not pellet hops). In the early 2020s, there are a number of new hop oil products.

A couple of years ago, services for measuring beer characteristics (IBUs, ABV, ...) were available for a reasonable fee.

Something as simple as boiling hops in water (e.g. Brewing Engineering [2014]) and measuring the result (lab, taste) might be an easy starting point.
 
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1989Harley

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background: With regard to the "100 IBU limit', there is a dose of unmeasured forum wisdom in that number. Well written anecdotal stories, with evidence to the contrary, may be of interest here ...


Where the IBUs software estimated or lab measured? At what point in the process where was the measurement taken?


Could be an interesting research project.
No idea how they arrived at the number. They were commercial products and that's what the can said.
 

mashpaddled

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If you look around craigslist or look for local facebook homebrewing groups, you can probably find bottles for free or cheaper than buying new bottles from the homebrew shop.
 

IslandLizard

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I have a 22 qt, but it's Teflon lined and only used for canning.
22 qts = 5.4 gallons. Perfect for the job!
You could use that for brewing your first batch. Chances are it will help you decide where to go from there.
Since it's teflon coated, only use a long plastic "brew spoon" or a wooden paddle to stir. You won't scratch the coating that way.

What is your heating source? Kitchen stove, electric, gas, etc.?
 
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1989Harley

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22 qts = 5.4 gallons. Perfect for the job!
You could use that for brewing your first batch. Chances are it will help you decide where to go from there.
Since it's teflon coated, only use a long plastic "brew spoon" or a wooden paddle to stir. You won't scratch the coating that way.

What is your heating source? Kitchen stove, electric, gas, etc.?
It's an electric stove. And I know I could use it, but it's Teflon coated and I don't allow Teflon to contact my food. Idon't want to debate about it, it's a personal choice. It's used for food that is inside glass jars, and honestly not very often even at that. I need a new one.
 

IslandLizard

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I don't allow Teflon to contact my food
Fair enough...

You have the 7 quart kettle/pot, that's definitely useful for boiling (simmering rather) up to 6 quarts of wort. You need to leave some headspace, a good inch and a half.

What are the next large size pots you have? Spreading the boil over 2 (or even 3) pots at the same time will get you the extra needed volume.
The other thing is keep a (smaller) pot with water near boiling to keep the other one or two pots topped off.

Alternatively, brew twice, half the batch each. Although I think you can do it in a single session, with some keen tweaking of the recipe instructions to land with the right IBUs in the end.

Electric stove is good!
Just prevent boil overs, they're messy. Keep a spray bottle with water handy to squelch any sudden uprising in the pots.

What sanitizer will you be using?
 
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1989Harley

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I think I'll be getting starsan. But the equipment kit (Brewers Best) came with a "no- rinse cleaner" I think may be the same thing. It doesn't say anything about sanitizing and I haven't checked yet what exactly it is made of. So, I'm considering that as just a cleaner and planning on getting the starsan.
 

IslandLizard

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I think I'll be getting starsan.
I can recommend using that.
It needs to be diluted, 6 ml per gallon of water.
Or perhaps easier to measure: 1 teaspoon (5 ml) per 3.3 quarts.
No need to make big buckets full of it, a gallon (or a little less) is plenty for most purposes.

A quart of Starsan concentrate can last you several years of brewing. It doesn't go bad.
Now the lids are crap, they'll crack and leak... So store the "jug" upright on a shelf, somewhere safe.

And use a dedicated (small) wash cloth with it, to mop the Starsan on the various surfaces. I get those small, bright white, thin-ish terry cloth "washcloths" from the Dollar Tree, a bundle of 20 of them for $1.25. Each cloth lasts several months, even when kept under Starsan in a (small) bucket.

the equipment kit (Brewers Best) came with a "no- rinse cleaner" I think may be the same thing. It doesn't say anything about sanitizing and I haven't checked yet what exactly it is made of. So, I'm considering that as just a cleaner and planning on getting the starsan.
Good thinking, it's probably Oxiclean (Sodium Percarbonate). A cleaner, not a sanitizer.
 
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1989Harley

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Good info. Yeah, the stuff I have is a powder not liquid. Idk if that means anything or not.

As for the bottles- I already checked on Craigslist and there's nothing related at the moment. I found 1 homebrew club I'm gonna check out but they won't meet for another month
 

Nate R

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. I already know I will need bottles, so $25 more

As for the bottles- I already checked on Craigslist and there's nothing related at the moment.

Alternately, you could buy 2 cheap cases of beer in bottles (make sure you get long neck pry-off- no twist off!). Think budweiser or Pacifico.
Drink the beer and keep the bottles. Might be a little more than plain, but at least you get beer!!! Costco has super cheap cases!

Or- tip a bartender $5 and explain you need like 30 bottles. I am sure you could carry 'em out for free.
Gonna take a little elbow grease to clean, but saves $.

Or maybe swipe 'em from the next party you go to. Noobody wants EMPTY beer bottles.... except home brewers!!

Cheers, and welcome to hobby-session!
 
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