Author Topic: Nacho's (mis)adventures in brewing  (Read 29074 times)

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Offline nacho

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Nacho's (mis)adventures in brewing
« on: January 04, 2011, 10:50:43 AM »
I'll start a new thread for my trip reports and all that...leave the Homebrewing thread for generic news and discussion. This way, I can fag the thread up with pictures of me covered in mold and yeast and going blind.

Looks like this month will be more about all the equipment slowly making it's way to my front door.

So far, a five gallon brewpot and the maestro beer kit featuring overpriced food buckets you could have gotten on ebay for a dollar has come to a total of $100.

There are some more odds and ends, suggested by Palmer's How to Brew guide,  which shouldn't cost more than $20. Plus I'm going to go ahead and buy the ingredients for the sample recipe in Palmer's book (probably another $20).

By the way... How to Brew is going to be my bible through this:

How to Brew: Everything You Need To Know To Brew Beer Right The First Time

It's an incredibly well put together guidebook.  An older version (1999) is free online: http://www.howtobrew.com/intro.html

The print version (2006) has been updated to reflect the resurgence of homebrewing, and the easier availability of equipment and ingredients.

My first problem has been finding a place in my apartment for the fermentor. We have communist heating so, during the winter, my apartment is a steady 85 degrees.  Over the last couple days, I've been staking out closets. The only ones that are below 75 are in my bedroom and in the hallway. My bedroom is easier to control as it has windows and a window unit air conditioner, so that'll be the spot for bubbling buckets of goo.

The first beer will be whatever generic shit comes with the kit.  Generic Ale! I mainly intend it to be a (not quite so) dry run, of sorts. Just go through all the steps and get the hang of things.  Since I expect to fuck it up, and since ingredients included with a beer kit are always sub-par, I expect most of Generic Ale to go down the drain.

Sadly, it'll tie up my fermentor for a couple weeks... But I'm going to be ready on bottling day with the first real beer run -- the "Cincinnati Pale Ale" that is the example recipe Palmer used in How to Brew.

Overall, it'll be March before I have anything palatable. UPS says most of the major equipment I need for Generic Ale will be here by the weekend, so I'll plan on the Generic Ale brew day on the 14th (though activity will start on Tuesday the 11th). It'll be in the fermenting bucket till the 28th, then bottled.  Cincinnati Pale Ale brew day will be on the 30th.

Generic Ale should be ready for pouring down the drain (or drinking, if I'm lucky) on February 11th, and the Cincinnati on the 27th of February.

If I get the hang of this (and enjoy it), then my plan is to get a second fermenting bucket and airlock (which should only run me about 20 bucks) and have two batches going at once. That way I can keep the lagers and ales flowing and also mess around with more complicated and/or experimental stuff.

Long term questions: What am I going to do with all this beer?


Offline nacho

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Re: Nacho's (mis)adventures in brewing
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2011, 02:04:15 PM »
Okay.... Ordered the ingredients for five gallons of "Cincinnati Pale Ale." Total cost: $40 (including shipping).

So that's about 75 cents per bottle of beer. It'll be less if I start driving up to get my ingredients in Columbia.

And I could just ferment my urine and make Tecate for zero dollars a bottle!

I like this hobby already!
« Last Edit: January 05, 2011, 08:26:48 PM by nacho »

Offline nacho

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Re: Nacho's (mis)adventures in brewing
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2011, 09:07:38 PM »
Equipment arrived! It didn't come with ingredients, so...we'll start with the Cincinnati. It's actually a very posh kit... I don't need any extra equipment.

So, waiting on ingredients... Hopefully they'll be here before Tuesday so I can start on the yeast. Which also means one night next week will be set aside for freakout cleaning and sterilization.  Then brew day next Friday!

Offline RottingCorpse

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Re: Nacho's (mis)adventures in brewing
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2011, 09:10:53 PM »
So when I read about an apartment complex in your neighborhood blowing up, I should just go about my business? Is that what you're saying?

Offline nacho

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Re: Nacho's (mis)adventures in brewing
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2011, 09:26:23 PM »
Well, that's always been true.

Offline nacho

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Re: Nacho's (mis)adventures in brewing
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2011, 11:01:59 AM »
Still waiting on ingredients (should arrive today) and my five gallon brewpot (somewhere in transit, untrackable). On Sunday, I'm driving across the Potomac Ocean to pick up 12 old style flip-top liter-sized bottles for 20 bucks.  Nice.

Hopefully everything's in hand by next Tuesday and I'll be able to start operations leading into a Friday brew day.

Now, impatient and bored, I've been getting everything ready for a massive cleaning/sterilization freakout.

Offline nacho

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Re: Nacho's (mis)adventures in brewing
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2011, 09:43:05 PM »
Ingredients are here...but no brew pot! Which now has me worried... It's late.

Don't need it till Friday, but I was going to start on the yeast on Tuesday and I don't want to do that without the brew pot on hand. Bah.  But cool to have all the ingredients, at least.

Offline nacho

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Re: Nacho's (mis)adventures in brewing
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2011, 08:51:49 AM »
I'm driving 30 miles to Alexandria for a clandestine Craigslist pickup! A case of old-style flop-top liter-sized bottles. An awesome find at 20 bucks.

Thanks to my natural Maryland fear of Virginia, I scheduled the pick-up for 10am Sunday under the hope that the Beltway will be calm and quiet.

Offline nacho

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Re: Nacho's (mis)adventures in brewing
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2011, 11:58:57 AM »
Okay! Missing only the big brewpot, here's my equipment so far:


Offline nacho

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Re: Nacho's (mis)adventures in brewing
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2011, 05:02:04 PM »
Having a hell of a time finding simple recipes.  I want to keep everything very easy and simple for the first two or three rounds. So Cincinnati Pale Ale is first, then I'm going to do a Kolsch that Maryland Homebrew suggests. Unless I end up with amazing beer the first couple times, I'll just repeat those two recipes till I'm comfortable. Then move into crazier shit. (And get a secondary fermenter so I can have two brews going at once -- standard and experimental.)

Tempted to take off half a day as soon as the brewpot arrives and make that the brew day.

Gosh. I haven't been this anxious about a hobby since I put Lego Town System Airport on my Christmas list in 1985!

Offline Cassander

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Re: Nacho's (mis)adventures in brewing
« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2011, 05:50:25 PM »
i'm going to one-up you and start distilling my own whiskey.  we'll see who's more talented...in 8 to 12 years!
You ain't a has been if you never was.

Offline RottingCorpse

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Re: Nacho's (mis)adventures in brewing
« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2011, 06:53:32 PM »
That picture looks like it will someday be filed under "crime scene evidence."
« Last Edit: January 09, 2011, 09:49:09 PM by RottingCorpse »

Offline nacho

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Re: Nacho's (mis)adventures in brewing
« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2011, 07:00:06 PM »
That picture looks like it will someday be fileed under "crime scene evidence."

I should have included the ingredients for the first brew.  That stuff looks like fertilizer and C4.

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Re: Nacho's (mis)adventures in brewing
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2011, 12:02:38 AM »
"The attacker suggested that 'This Bud's for you..and you, and you!' as he continued to lob improvised incendiary devices into the crowd."
You ain't a has been if you never was.

Offline nacho

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Re: Nacho's (mis)adventures in brewing
« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2011, 08:03:23 PM »
My indignant customer emails sure got a response. With profuse apologies, they shipped the brew pot yesterday two day air.  Tracking number says it'll be here before 10am tomorrow.

I'll be at work... But -- yay! Brew day this week! I'll probably do it Friday in an all night freakout.

So it'll be something like the first week in March before the beer is ready. I'll sample it and, if it's worthy, local folks should plan on a beer party.