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Old 02-02-2015, 11:06 AM   #21
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If you are serious about doing it, then I'd recommend going straight to all-grain, skip the extract kits.

I've been doing it for about 8 months now. It's a lot of fun and drinking is always a good time.

Had one batch that turned out not that great, but we've have 3-4 that I'd say were as good as any commercial craft brew.
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Old 02-02-2015, 11:56 AM   #22
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I think the Festa kits come out to about $.80/bottle. If you use coupons to get it on sale you can probably get it down to $.60/bottle.

Great hobby, IMO. Some many different things to try if you're a beer fan.

Also, the people that make assumptions that homebrew is terrible because they tried their buddies and it wasn't that great are just as annoying as those people that annoy everyone about how great their homebrew is.

I have a friend that has been making it for years and his beer is very good. A bit like Rickards Red, but not as bitter. He says his cost is down to about $.20/bottle. Exceptional taste for an exceptional price.

He does tend to have some not as great batches.

I paid $130 for a starter kit and one batch of Festa stuff from Brewers Direct. Then I had to buy 50 bottles to put it in. The Grolsh bottles that you can recap work okay, but it is probably cheaper in the long run to just take 50 beer bottles, clean and sanitize them, and then buy a bottle capper for $20, and 1000 caps for $20.

In the end I probably paid $200 bucks to make 50 bottles. Next time will only cost me $20 if I buy a kit, or $50 if I use the Festa Brew again. Still haven't decided.

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Old 02-02-2015, 12:02 PM   #23
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Also question, is it a problem if I use table sugar after fermentation, or do you have to use dextrose?
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Old 02-02-2015, 01:25 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canehdianman View Post
If you are serious about doing it, then I'd recommend going straight to all-grain, skip the extract kits.

I've been doing it for about 8 months now. It's a lot of fun and drinking is always a good time.

Had one batch that turned out not that great, but we've have 3-4 that I'd say were as good as any commercial craft brew.
As my user name may suggest I have a great love of beer and I brewed for a year as a job. and if you can understand baking it is easy to produce great inexpensive beers from all grain. As stated above, if you want to try at least a few batches invest in all grain.
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Old 02-02-2015, 01:32 PM   #25
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Also question, is it a problem if I use table sugar after fermentation, or do you have to use dextrose?
You could use table sugar, but corn sugar is pretty cheap. There is no reason to not get a 1lb bag of corn sugar and use that.
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Old 02-03-2015, 06:10 AM   #26
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You can still make very good beers with liquid malt extract. Just avoid the all in one kits that have the LME and the hops and the yeast. Buy all that separately using one of the thousands of different extract recipes you can find online.

I would caution against going all grain first, make some solid LME brews and then if you like it go for broke.
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Old 02-03-2015, 09:33 AM   #27
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You could use table sugar, but corn sugar is pretty cheap. There is no reason to not get a 1lb bag of corn sugar and use that.
Having used Corn Sugar and table sugar, I didn't really notice much of a difference.

latest batch I used table sugar and it turned out pretty decent.
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Old 02-03-2015, 09:59 AM   #28
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The Vineyard by Chinook has beer kits
http://www.thevineyard.ca/beermaking

They can also help you out if/when you want to make the jump to all grain brewing.

I went straight to all grain brewing and have never tried a kit. All my brew friends tell me there is no comparison between all grain vs kit - all grain results are vastly superior.
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Old 02-03-2015, 10:00 AM   #29
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I tried the all grain way once. While it was fun, and it was rewarding, I'm too lazy to do it all the time. Also get rid of the bottles, and go to C02 in corny kegs. It saves almost a month of carbonation time, as well as time spent sanitizing bottles. Well worth it for around $200.

I found I can make an EXCELLENT beer using a homebrew kit, supplementing the wort (not making the entire wort from scratch, but making an addition), and changing out the garbage coopers yeast that those kits come with.

There are a few recipes here http://grapestoglass.com/beer-kits/t...pes-and-hacks/

Google "Homebrew Hacks", there is a ton of info on it, some of which are award winning brews that rate higher than all grain.
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Old 02-03-2015, 10:15 AM   #30
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I'll second that keg carbing is the way to go. We switched about 4 months ago and it's great.

Plus it gave me an excuse to build a keezer in my basement. Ice cold draft beer anytime I want!
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Old 02-03-2015, 10:22 AM   #31
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The biggest problem with having kegs around 24/7 is your calorie intake related to beer. It's far too easy and convenient to have a few every night, and next thing you know 10lbs appears on your waistline.

It's like having a fast food restaurant in your garage.....
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Old 02-03-2015, 10:40 AM   #32
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I found I can make an EXCELLENT beer using a homebrew kit, supplementing the wort (not making the entire wort from scratch, but making an addition), and changing out the garbage coopers yeast that those kits come with.

There are a few recipes here http://grapestoglass.com/beer-kits/t...pes-and-hacks/

I can vouch for the English Style Bitter recipe in that link - DAMN good!
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Old 02-06-2015, 04:52 PM   #33
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I got a "beer machine" as a gift, pretty much idiot proof and the final product was good. Check it out: http://beermachine.com/
Finished in ten days too.
Those are terrible.letting all of yeast in there produces many off flavors.

I got 2 as gifts when I first started. Tried it there way. Half way through the batch started tasting nothing but yeast. I dumped the batch and went out got a couple of Carboys and a couple of cans of Coopers. Let the Coopers hot ferment for 5 days then let it sit for two weeks , siphoned it in to a second carboy. Let sit for another 2 weeks then into the Mr.beer for a week (added suger to prime carb) then into the fridge for 3 days with force carb.

Eventually I just started to mash and get a keg setup. It cost so much to keep buying food grade C02 . I would avoid Mr .Beer .
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Old 02-06-2015, 04:57 PM   #34
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Double Post

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Old 02-06-2015, 04:58 PM   #35
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Also question, is it a problem if I use table sugar after fermentation, or do you have to use dextrose?
Yeast metabolize dextrose easier. Its less complex for them to digest . They spend less energy on the simple sugar and live longer.The longer they stay alive the less dead yeast sits in your brew that can produce off flavors. You could use table sugar, a little water and a little citric acid in a pan and simmer lightly to make a thin caramel. The citric acid during carmelizing the suger will break down a more complex sugar to a simple sugar like corn dextrose.

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Old 03-10-2015, 07:19 PM   #36
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I'll use dextrose instead. Cheap enough to buy.

Finished my Festa Brew Red Ale and it is currently sitting in the bottles. 3 weeks at room temp, and now have some in the fridge and the rest sitting at room temp. Want to give it as long as possible.

Next batch on the go is Coopers Australian Pale Ale. Misread the instructions so I never had any brew enhancer on hand so I had to use 1kg of dextrose instead. Might do some dry hopping to see how it turns out. 4th day fermenting at this point. Has a nice color at least.

I tried the Festa brew a few weeks ago, and it was okay, but had a bit of a yeasty after taste? Not sure exactly how to explain it. So I'm gonna leave it in the bottles a while longer and see if it gets better. Had a pretty good taste though outside of that!
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Old 03-10-2015, 07:57 PM   #37
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I'll use dextrose instead. Cheap enough to buy.

Finished my Festa Brew Red Ale and it is currently sitting in the bottles. 3 weeks at room temp, and now have some in the fridge and the rest sitting at room temp. Want to give it as long as possible.

Next batch on the go is Coopers Australian Pale Ale. Misread the instructions so I never had any brew enhancer on hand so I had to use 1kg of dextrose instead. Might do some dry hopping to see how it turns out. 4th day fermenting at this point. Has a nice color at least.

I tried the Festa brew a few weeks ago, and it was okay, but had a bit of a yeasty after taste? Not sure exactly how to explain it. So I'm gonna leave it in the bottles a while longer and see if it gets better. Had a pretty good taste though outside of that!
Yeasty taste means just that a ton of yeast. Could be many reasons. You tasted before it was dine fermenting, you used to much yeast, you let it sit in one carboy to long or you had your Siphon hose touching the bottem of the Carboy.


My money is on you had siphoned the yeast from the bottem. Did you add a straw to the bottem of the hose to prevent this? Basically a half in or so at the bottem of the carboy is a toss out/ starter for the same type of brew.

To make sure anan excess of yeast is not bottled have another carboy on hand . after 2 weeks tranfer the first Carboy to the empty one by siphoning. MAKE SURE NOT TO INTRODUCE AIR BY SPLASHING!!! Then add a little more suger to the carboy. This will provide more for the yeast that has made the transfer some food to produce a little more C02 to push out the air from the Carboy. After 2 to 3 weeks begin bottling process ( remember to prime your bottles). Filter if need be.
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Old 03-11-2015, 10:11 AM   #38
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I found the Baron's kits from The Home Vitner to make really good beer. Very easy to do as well. One of the things I like is instead of bottle priming, you just mix the dextrose with some boiled water and pour into the wort. Stir it while bottling to ensure even distribution. Way easier than trying to get sugar in every bottle.

As a side note, a few years after making beer, I found out I have Celiac disease. Fortunately I've had a few years of tweaking recipes so if anyone else is in the same boat, I make really really good gluten free beer now. Better than the stuff you can buy, and its not to much extra work.
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Old 03-11-2015, 10:46 AM   #39
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Yeasty taste means just that a ton of yeast. Could be many reasons. You tasted before it was dine fermenting, you used to much yeast, you let it sit in one carboy to long or you had your Siphon hose touching the bottem of the Carboy.


My money is on you had siphoned the yeast from the bottem. Did you add a straw to the bottem of the hose to prevent this? Basically a half in or so at the bottem of the carboy is a toss out/ starter for the same type of brew.

To make sure anan excess of yeast is not bottled have another carboy on hand . after 2 weeks tranfer the first Carboy to the empty one by siphoning. MAKE SURE NOT TO INTRODUCE AIR BY SPLASHING!!! Then add a little more suger to the carboy. This will provide more for the yeast that has made the transfer some food to produce a little more C02 to push out the air from the Carboy. After 2 to 3 weeks begin bottling process ( remember to prime your bottles). Filter if need be.
I think most of this advice is really good, but I stopped putting my beer in a secondary after realizing that it didn't do anything to help my brew (and introduces another possible source of infection/oxidization). I think the majority of homebrewers now skip the secondary stage.

So long as you ensure that you don't collect any of the trub (either by transferring to a bottling bucket immediately before bottling, or ensuring your auto-siphon is high enough off the bottom of the carboy to avoid picking up any trub), then you should be avoiding the collection of too much yeast in the beer.

I will also add that if you are tasting a lot of yeast in your brews, the most likely cause is that you are stirring up the yeast immediately before pouring it. You need to be careful when pouring a bottle conditioned beer (I assume that's what you are doing). Once the bottle is tipped, you have to pour out the entire thing (leaving 1/4-1/2" at the bottom with the sediment in it).

Other than that, good luck with brewing! It's a really fun hobby that quickly spirals out of control as you want to brew (and drink) more, better, faster. I've already build a keezer.

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Next up, I'm hoping to teach myself to weld soon so I can build a brew stand. Something like this.

Spoiler!
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Old 03-11-2015, 10:48 AM   #40
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I found the Baron's kits from The Home Vitner to make really good beer. Very easy to do as well. One of the things I like is instead of bottle priming, you just mix the dextrose with some boiled water and pour into the wort. Stir it while bottling to ensure even distribution. Way easier than trying to get sugar in every bottle.

As a side note, a few years after making beer, I found out I have Celiac disease. Fortunately I've had a few years of tweaking recipes so if anyone else is in the same boat, I make really really good gluten free beer now. Better than the stuff you can buy, and its not to much extra work.
Have you tried making beer with Clarity Ferm in it? We are experimenting with it right now.

My SIL is gluten sensitive and can now drink our beers without issue.

A few different brewers have experimented with it, here's one - http://beerandwinejournal.com/clarity-ferm-i/

It is very promising for GF brewing!
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