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Homebrewing

Vices Posted by glen 1 year, 1 month ago

Anybody here done/doing any homebrewing? I was brewing quite a bit about 5 years ago, and I've decided to get back into it a bit. I've only ever done kits, and they've turned out surprisingly good each time. I'm thinking about trying Amber Ale.

When my first daughter was born, I brewed this oatmeal stout for friends who came by to visit the baby after we brought her home. I still have people reminding me about that beer. My daughter is now starting kindergarten tomorrow, and it brought up some nostalgia and has prompted me to get back into the game. What can I say... I'm a nostalgic brewer! :)

Anyway, just thought I'd throw that out there and see if there were any others interested in homebrewing around here.

34 replies

  • brian

    I got pretty heavy into brewing myself about 8 years ago. I really have only done kits too. Actually I got into brewing thanks to an end cap sale on a contraption called 'Mr. Beer' at target. Soon, I was making Vienna style lagers and Irish Stouts at home. I vividly remember filling up a two liter coke bottle with the concoction that had been fermenting in my beloved plastic barrel over the refrigerator in my apartment. Now, the results? It basically tasted like crap. But! It was drinkable, sort of. And I brewed it myself...sort of.

    Reply

  • elancaster65

    Picked up a Brew Kit from bespokepost.com a few months back. Back surgery put the brew on hold. Looks like I'll dip my toe into the home brew thing come October.

    Reply

    • glen

      Sorry to hear about the back, but I'm glad you're on the mend. Let me know how the brew goes.

      Reply

      • elancaster65

        Thanks! Will do. I've been looking forward to doing this for some time. The whole process intrigues me.

        Reply

  • I'm thinking you should feature one of your home brews as a drink of the week. Maybe you can simply put it in a used can of Martin City beer and slap a sticker over the label.

    Reply

    • glen

      That's a fantastic idea! I think in order to keep pure objectivity to the ratings, I would have to excuse myself from the room while Brian rates the beer. It's only fair.

      Reply

      • Razorback

        Or you could just send one to all of us and let the Gentlemint nation rate it for you.

        Admittedly, I only offered that idea so I could get free beer.

        Reply

        • glen

          Hrm... this is actually a great idea. I don't think the Postmaster General would appreciate it very much, but I'll put my best people on this.

          Also, if you're in Lawrence, we can bypass this pesky shipping business.

          Reply

          • Filadog

            I found out a colleague of mine is big into craft brews and is actually thinking of purchasing a small brewery. I recommended the GM podcast to him. Hope you don't mind me pointing a Kansas City native your way, haha.

            Reply

  • elancaster65

    So the first batch was not so great. If you're on FB, here's the link to the page and video of the first taste.

    https://www.facebook.com/BigEBrewingCo/

    It was, and I quote myself here: "First bottle. Not so great. Very carbonated. A little acidic. Citrusy with a nice afterburn. The taste of warm Molson."

    It's in the fridge right now. I'll give it another week to condition. Next Sunday I'll try another taste but the inaugural batch of Dishwater Blonde was...dishwater.

    But failure is merely the opportunity to try again. And so I shall. An Amber Ale is up next. Tentatively labeled, Amber Waves Goodbye.

    Reply

    • glen

      That video was great! Keep that upbeat attitude.

      I finished an oatmeal stout, and it also wasn't very good. Very sweet, with a weird, long aftertaste. (Brian reviewed it in episode 100 of the podcast. His reaction is priceless too.) I suspect my problem is that the yeast didn't get to munch on the bottling sugars effectively. I stored this beer in my basement, which may have dipped under the recommended 65-72 degrees, which would certainly affect the yeast.

      Anyway, to test my theory I brewed my wife's IPA and am letting the bottles condition upstairs in my office. If THAT batch also punks out, then I'll keep working backwards in the process to figure out where it went wrong. Sadly, there are a lot of variables when it comes to brewing.

      I like that quote about failure. I've had many opportunities... ;)

      Reply

      • elancaster65

        I hear ya. Temps here in North Texas went from Summer to Fall back to Summer. The room I had it in was mostly in the 65-72 range but who knows. I do think my boil was a little hotter than it should have been. Had a hard time regulating the temp as I was on an electric stove. Hate electric stoves. Gas is more efficient.

        It's a process that is both fun and frustrating. Which is probably why I'm attracted to it. Getting all the ducks to line up is a great test of patience, perseverance and sometimes dumb luck!

        Good luck on the IPA. After the Amber I'm thinking a stout and an IPA will be my next tries. The stout for me and the IPA for my hop-headed friends.

        Reply

        • glen

          Hrm... I also had my boil on an electric stove, which I didn't feel got hot enough. Interesting.

          Regardless, you're right. Part of the allure is the game of getting everything right. It's a lot like grilling or smoking meats. There's certainly a learning curve, but it pays dividends in the end.

          Reply

  • elancaster65

    Okay kids...it's up. Latest taste test video from Big E's Brewing.

    On the FB: https://www.facebook.com/BigEBrewingCo/

    On Tumblr: https://www.tumblr.com/blog/bigebrewingco

    We try. We really do.

    (And that would be the royal "we" as it's really just me...)

    Eric

    Reply

    • glen

      My last was like this... good not great. That said, I let it sit 2-3 weeks longer in the bottle and it become much better. I typically find that when they say "bottle conditioned after 2 weeks" they really mean 3-4. Just my experience though.

      I'm looking forward to seeing your efforts on the bourbon porter. I've not been brave enough to try anything that exotic. I tip my cap.

      Cheers!

      Reply

      • elancaster65

        This was the minimum 3 week bottle condition. I knew it'd be a bit watery as I had to top off the fermenter with quite a bit of water this time. A whole lot more than last time. I'll let them sit for another week or so and give it another taste.

        Pending on work schedule the bourbon porter may not come about until March-ish.

        The bourbon porter seems pretty easy. They gave me the vanilla stick and I have the bourbon so....

        Reply

        • glen

          Ah, I've never topped off the fermenter before. I just roll with whatever's in there.

          This isn't a tip or advice, merely my ignorance :)

          Reply

          • elancaster65

            It was in the instructions. If the mash didn't fill the fermenter then add water to the fill line. shrug I'm just as ignorant! All a fun learning process.

            Reply

            • glen

              Interesting! Maybe I missed it in my instructions... that would explain a lot.

              I agree with you: while I'm failing a lot, I feel like I'm learning a lot. And my friends get to make fun of me in the process. Win/win/win!

              Reply