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Learning to brew beer

solsovlysolsovly Registered User regular
edited February 2010 in Help / Advice Forum
I wanted to start brewing beer and am having some problems picking out equipment. I have a relatively modest apartment, no basement. Any ideas on what is the better kit for the price?

#1) http://www.midwestsupplies.com/everything-a-carboy-complete-brewing-package-equipment-kit-2.html

$205
Instructional Homebrewing Video or DVD
• 71 page instructional book
• 5 Gallon Glass Carboy
• 6.5 Gallon Plastic Fermenter with Lid
• 6.5 Gallon Bottling Bucket with Spigot
• 8 Oz. of Easy Clean No-Rinse Cleanser
• Drilled Universal Carboy Bung
• Airlock (Keeps air out of the fermenter)
• Hydrometer (Determines alcohol content)
• Bottle Brush
• Carboy Brush
• Twin Lever Red Baron Bottle Capper
• Bottle Caps
• Liquid Crystal Thermometer
• Bottle Filler
• Fermtech AutoSiphon upgrade
• Siphon Tubing
• Shutoff clamp
• A 5-gallon Stainless Steel Brew Kettle
• Your choice (1) of the Irish Red Ale, Irish Stout, or the Autumn Amber Recipe Kit
• And 2 cases of 12 ounce bottles

#2 http://www.learntobrew.com/store/item/1l2h3/-_Equipment_Kits/Superior_Brew_Kit_Plus.html
$220
* 6 Gallon Glass Carboy for Primary Fermentation
* 5 Gallon Glass Carboy for Secondary Fermentation
* Food Grade, Alcohol Filled Thermometer
* Adhesive Fermentation Thermometer
* 3 Disposable Hop Socks
* 1 Large Nylon Mesh Grain Bag
* 7.8 Gallon Bottling Bucket
* Drilled and Grometted Lid with Inner Seal
* Bottling Spigot
* 1 Drilled Rubber Stopper
* Three-Piece Plastic Airlock
* Auto-Siphon Pump
* Racking Cane with Solids Reduction Tip
* Siphon Hose Shut Off Clamp
* 5/16" Food Grade Vinyl Tubing
* 30” Wire and Nylon Carboy Brush
* Triple Scale Hydrometer with Instructions and Plastic Case
* Durable, Double Lever Spring Loaded Bottle Capper with Magnet
* Bottling Filler
* 144 Bottle Caps
* 15” Wire and Nylon Bottle Brush
* True Brew Handbook
* Equipment Cleanser
* 24" Stainless Steel Racking Cane with Reduction Tip
* Carboy Hauler
* Carboy Stand
* Funnel
* 14 1/4" Hydrometer Testing Jar
* Iodophor Sanitizer
* Siphon Tube Holder
* Learn To Brew: More Than Just the Basics DVD

#1 comes with ingredients, roughly a $35 value. Do I want all that extra stuff from #2? Should I even just scale it down and get less?

solsovly on

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    SoggybiscuitSoggybiscuit Tandem Electrostatic Accelerator Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    solsovly wrote: »
    I wanted to start brewing beer and am having some problems picking out equipment. I have a relatively modest apartment, no basement. Any ideas on what is the better kit for the price?

    #1) http://www.midwestsupplies.com/everything-a-carboy-complete-brewing-package-equipment-kit-2.html

    $205
    Instructional Homebrewing Video or DVD
    • 71 page instructional book
    • 5 Gallon Glass Carboy
    • 6.5 Gallon Plastic Fermenter with Lid
    • 6.5 Gallon Bottling Bucket with Spigot
    • 8 Oz. of Easy Clean No-Rinse Cleanser
    • Drilled Universal Carboy Bung
    • Airlock (Keeps air out of the fermenter)
    • Hydrometer (Determines alcohol content)
    • Bottle Brush
    • Carboy Brush
    • Twin Lever Red Baron Bottle Capper
    • Bottle Caps
    • Liquid Crystal Thermometer
    • Bottle Filler
    • Fermtech AutoSiphon upgrade
    • Siphon Tubing
    • Shutoff clamp
    • A 5-gallon Stainless Steel Brew Kettle
    • Your choice (1) of the Irish Red Ale, Irish Stout, or the Autumn Amber Recipe Kit
    • And 2 cases of 12 ounce bottles

    #2 http://www.learntobrew.com/store/item/1l2h3/-_Equipment_Kits/Superior_Brew_Kit_Plus.html
    $220
    * 6 Gallon Glass Carboy for Primary Fermentation
    * 5 Gallon Glass Carboy for Secondary Fermentation
    * Food Grade, Alcohol Filled Thermometer
    * Adhesive Fermentation Thermometer
    * 3 Disposable Hop Socks
    * 1 Large Nylon Mesh Grain Bag
    * 7.8 Gallon Bottling Bucket
    * Drilled and Grometted Lid with Inner Seal
    * Bottling Spigot
    * 1 Drilled Rubber Stopper
    * Three-Piece Plastic Airlock
    * Auto-Siphon Pump
    * Racking Cane with Solids Reduction Tip
    * Siphon Hose Shut Off Clamp
    * 5/16" Food Grade Vinyl Tubing
    * 30” Wire and Nylon Carboy Brush
    * Triple Scale Hydrometer with Instructions and Plastic Case
    * Durable, Double Lever Spring Loaded Bottle Capper with Magnet
    * Bottling Filler
    * 144 Bottle Caps
    * 15” Wire and Nylon Bottle Brush
    * True Brew Handbook
    * Equipment Cleanser
    * 24" Stainless Steel Racking Cane with Reduction Tip
    * Carboy Hauler
    * Carboy Stand
    * Funnel
    * 14 1/4" Hydrometer Testing Jar
    * Iodophor Sanitizer
    * Siphon Tube Holder
    * Learn To Brew: More Than Just the Basics DVD

    #1 comes with ingredients, roughly a $35 value. Do I want all that extra stuff from #2? Should I even just scale it down and get less?

    A couple of questions you need to answer for yourself:

    - What kind of stove do you have? Gas is best, but a good electric will do. It needs to be level and have a decent work area around it.
    - Will a 5 gallon kettle fit on it? They are about the same size as a turkey fryer pot, so this is an important thing to take into accout.
    - Do you have a room that you can isolate completely from light and keep at a constant temperature?

    For a kettle, I see the first kit comes with a 5 gallon. Unless you have a large work area, do not use this. Get a smaller stockpot - a 3 gallon would do nicely.

    Avoid glass fermenters - they will provide the most consistent brew, but they are heavy and break easily. Stick with plastic bucket fermenters until you decide you enjoy homebrewing enough to lay down the cash for a conical fermenter. Order a good no rinse sanitizer to make your life easier with the cleaning. Bleach is not a no rinse sanitizer.

    I recommend you find a local shop to purchase a hydrometer from, as most are glass and tend to break during shipping. Out of the 5 I have ordered in my life only one has made it through UPS/FedEx/USPS intact.

    And dont worry about a recipe kit - buy that separate. Find a beer style you like and order that.

    Also, read this - How To Brew. The guy that wrote this book put it on the web for free so everyone could learn to brew. Good read, has lots of useful information.

    Soggybiscuit on
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    solsovlysolsovly Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Awesome. Stupid as it sounds, I didn't even really think about whether the kettle would fit on the stove. I'll give the guide a read, thanks.

    Edit: I have a gas stove and it can fit a fairly large kettle. I don't have a room but I have some closet space that I could use.

    solsovly on
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    ScalfinScalfin __BANNED USERS regular
    edited February 2010
    You might want to start with cider. The stuff practically ferments itself (in the fridge, before you can even finish the bottle), but it's good practice for keeping out contaminants.

    Scalfin on
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    Shazkar ShadowstormShazkar Shadowstorm Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=


    pheezer edit:
    It is not cool to post entire episodes of TV shows to the forums. It's not really advice to do such but it's also entirely illegal and you can easily order the entire series of Good Eats at a very reasonable price, and all of you should because it's invaluable.

    Shazkar Shadowstorm on
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    Arch Guru XXArch Guru XX Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    I don't see your location so this might not be useful to you. I live in Southern California, and there is a place in Huntington Beach called Brew Bakers, which has all the equipment and ingredients on-site to make batches (full batch = 72 22oz bottles, half batch = 36 22oz bottles) of whatever kind of beer you want. It is super fun and means you don't have to clean up a mess. They have somewhere around 100 different set recipes, and the guys working there are very good at recommending recipes based on your preferences.

    You have to go twice, the first time to actually mix all the ingredients (takes 2-3 hours, depending on your experience and the complexity of the beer) and again 2-3 weeks later to bottle after the fermentation is complete. Also they make delicious fresh bavarian pretzels.

    It's definitely not the same as home brewing, but if you live nearby or there is a similar place near you it's an enjoyable alternative that doesn't require to buy all the equipment.

    Arch Guru XX on
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    DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Seconding the advice from first responder: your workspace is going to be the most vital part of whether you enjoy homebrewing. I absolutely couldn't do it in my kitchen, but I have a buddy who goes half in on everything with me who owns a huge gas stove and has plenty of space. All the boiling and rapid chilling etc. has to be done quickly and can get really messy if you don't have the space to maneuver while you're working.

    Darkewolfe on
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    SlagmireSlagmire Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Having brewed a couple times, I can add in my two cents as well:

    1) Sanitize. Sanitize. Sanitize! - Nothing wrecks a batch a beer more then unsanitized equipment. The last two batches I made before giving it up completely were horrible, and I thought I sanitized everything twice before starting. The last one had a nasty white crust lingering over the beer as it sat in the fermentor.

    2) Carboys vs Plastic Buckets for Fermentation - While you're just starting off, plastic buckets for both primary and secondary fermentation will work just fine; they're cheap, they don't break, and they're easy to clean. If you find yourself really enjoying the hobby though, I would suggest going with glass carboys. Yeah, they can break and they're heavy, but they don't carry over any of the flavors from the previous batches of beer you made. It's not such an issue if you're just making the same stuff over and over, but you will probably want to replace the bucket after several batches. Glass is typically considered better overall; plus, they have harnesses/handles for carboys specific for brewing purposes.

    3) Bottles - this is more of a personal preference, but after capping several cases of beer, you might find yourself wanting to do 22oz bottles, just to save time. I often did a case of 22's and 12's - gave out 12s to friends/family, 22s often for myself. :)

    4) Sanitize.

    5) Lagering - if your apartment has an outdoor patio (hopefully on the 2nd floor or higher), doing lagers might not be out of the question during the winter months. Just have to remember to keep tabs on the temp of the batch in the fermentor. Otherwise, I'd say it sounds like making lagers will be out for you (I wouldn't let that bother you though - there are plenty of great beers to homebrew).

    As for your question, I'd say just go with the first - it sounds like it has the basics for brewing which is all you're going to be looking for anyway. If you find you like brewing, it's easy enough to upgrade the stuff you have as you go. :)

    btw, did I mention sanitizing? I'm sure I did.

    Slagmire on
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    darkmayodarkmayo Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    hmmm this reminds me, I really should make some beer with my dad this summer. My bro did it a couple of years ago and it turned out pretty good (I think it was because he bottled it all in stubbies... and everyone knows that those are awesome, at least if you are Canadian)

    darkmayo on
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    DeathPrawnDeathPrawn Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Out of the two you linked, I'd go with the first. The first is a solid kit of basic materials with a few very worthwhile upgrades (an autosiphon is a life-saver), and is fairly priced given the components (although I'd argue you don't really need to pay for 12-oz bottles - either use larger bottles or just save your empties). The extra things the second has aren't anything necessary.

    Honestly though, unless you're completely set on buying one of these two, I would just go to your local homebrew store and see what they have to offer. The employees at local shops tend to be super-friendly and helpful, and they'll be more than happy to walk you through everything and hook you up with exactly what you need. You'll probably end up with a better first batch, too, since they can guide you to the best ingredient kit instead of just getting a can of mix from some random internet site (and if you want to start out with malt extract + specialty grains instead of a can, you also have that option this way). The starter kit I got from my local store a while back was around $150 and had pretty much everything your first kit had minus the pot ($30 on Amazon), the bottles (saved my own), and the ingredients (bought higher-quality ones while I was there).

    DeathPrawn on
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    SoggybiscuitSoggybiscuit Tandem Electrostatic Accelerator Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Also, you can save a lot of money by saving used beer bottles. Any bottle without a twist top will do fine. I am particularly fond of the Guinness harp bottles (with the widget in them) myself. For sanitation, if you have dishwasher, clean them out with a bottle brush then run they through a wash cycle without soap. When they are done, they will be sanitized, but you will want to wait for them to cool before bottling.

    Soggybiscuit on
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    Sir CarcassSir Carcass I have been shown the end of my world Round Rock, TXRegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    I actually have a couple of questions, as I've been kicking around the idea of trying out brewing.

    1) We drink a decent amount of IBC root beer. Would saving those bottles be a good idea for later using to bottle beer? Or would it be better to get something else?

    2) I read that online book linked (great read, btw), but notice it mentions having yeast settle in the bottom of bottles and to not pour it out when pouring into a glass. Is that just a thing with home brewing, or is there a way to filter that before you bottle? I'd kind of rather pull a couple of bottles out of the fridge and offer to company, instead of messing with glasses.

    Sir Carcass on
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    Forbe!Forbe! Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    I'd like to second Pheezer's suggestion to purchase the good eats DVDs. I own a set of 3 of them and they are invaluable when you need a quick reference to an episode, plus there are tons of extras included with the dvd. I'm sure if you don't want to buy a set, you can pick up the dvd with the episodes you want on the cheap.

    Forbe! on
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    DeathPrawnDeathPrawn Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    I actually have a couple of questions, as I've been kicking around the idea of trying out brewing.

    1) We drink a decent amount of IBC root beer. Would saving those bottles be a good idea for later using to bottle beer? Or would it be better to get something else?

    2) I read that online book linked (great read, btw), but notice it mentions having yeast settle in the bottom of bottles and to not pour it out when pouring into a glass. Is that just a thing with home brewing, or is there a way to filter that before you bottle? I'd kind of rather pull a couple of bottles out of the fridge and offer to company, instead of messing with glasses.

    1) As long as they're brown glass bottles (clear or green = good chance of letting in too much light), they're perfectly fine to use.

    2) Unless you're kegging your beer, having the yeast inside the bottles is necessary for carbonation. You can still drink it out of the bottle just fine, just warn your friends to not drink the last swig or two.

    DeathPrawn on
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    SlagmireSlagmire Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    DeathPrawn wrote: »
    I actually have a couple of questions, as I've been kicking around the idea of trying out brewing.

    1) We drink a decent amount of IBC root beer. Would saving those bottles be a good idea for later using to bottle beer? Or would it be better to get something else?

    2) I read that online book linked (great read, btw), but notice it mentions having yeast settle in the bottom of bottles and to not pour it out when pouring into a glass. Is that just a thing with home brewing, or is there a way to filter that before you bottle? I'd kind of rather pull a couple of bottles out of the fridge and offer to company, instead of messing with glasses.

    1) As long as they're brown glass bottles (clear or green = good chance of letting in too much light), they're perfectly fine to use.

    2) Unless you're kegging your beer, having the yeast inside the bottles is necessary for carbonation. You can still drink it out of the bottle just fine, just warn your friends to not drink the last swig or two.

    Red'd for false. You add cane sugar to the brew and mix it in just before bottling. The yeast gives the beer its alcohol while the sugar gives the carbonation. Typically, it's included as well in most brew kits.

    Slagmire on
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    Forbe!Forbe! Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Yeah, I'm not a big fan of chewing my beers. Lots of homebrews I've had have had giant curds of yeast in them, while harmless, it makes for an unattractive appearance. Sediment is normal, but pea sized yeast gobs are usually avoidable if the beer has been bottled correctly.

    Also: These kits appear to both have stainless pots, which will save you the headache of cleanup. My brother went with an aluminum one to save money, and quickly learned the error of his ways when he spent 2 hours trying to clean his pot.

    Forbe! on
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    DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Slagmire wrote: »
    DeathPrawn wrote: »
    I actually have a couple of questions, as I've been kicking around the idea of trying out brewing.

    1) We drink a decent amount of IBC root beer. Would saving those bottles be a good idea for later using to bottle beer? Or would it be better to get something else?

    2) I read that online book linked (great read, btw), but notice it mentions having yeast settle in the bottom of bottles and to not pour it out when pouring into a glass. Is that just a thing with home brewing, or is there a way to filter that before you bottle? I'd kind of rather pull a couple of bottles out of the fridge and offer to company, instead of messing with glasses.

    1) As long as they're brown glass bottles (clear or green = good chance of letting in too much light), they're perfectly fine to use.

    2) Unless you're kegging your beer, having the yeast inside the bottles is necessary for carbonation. You can still drink it out of the bottle just fine, just warn your friends to not drink the last swig or two.

    Red'd for false. You add cane sugar to the brew and mix it in just before bottling. The yeast gives the beer its alcohol while the sugar gives the carbonation. Typically, it's included as well in most brew kits.

    What?

    You prime with sugar so the yeast have a little something to eat while in the bottle. They eat the sugar and produce a little alcohol, but mainly fart out gas. The gas carbonates the beer.

    If you didn't prime with some sugar then the yeast would have very little to eat (only whatever residual sugars were left over after primary and secondary fermentation), and no fermentation would occur, so no bubbles would be made in the bottle.

    You cannot really separate yeast and sugar. The sugar is there for the yeast to eat, and all yeast can do it eat sugar and produce alcohol and gas as byproducts.

    Yeast is going to be in the beer (it was in the wort after you pitched it and remains in there throughout fermentation). Bottle conditioning to provide carbonation will result in some sediment collecting at the bottom. Just don't drink it (or do, there's nothing wrong with it and it has high nutritional value, it just tastes like [strike]butt[/strike] yeast). Have some chilled glasses that you can pour into, cause your buddies might not remember to leave the last sip in the bottle after they've downed a few.


    If you're getting into home brewing you might want to hook up with local brewing clubs or co-ops. You can score equipment cheap from people upgrading or clearing out unused gear.

    Djeet on
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    SlagmireSlagmire Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Djeet wrote: »
    Slagmire wrote: »
    DeathPrawn wrote: »
    I actually have a couple of questions, as I've been kicking around the idea of trying out brewing.

    1) We drink a decent amount of IBC root beer. Would saving those bottles be a good idea for later using to bottle beer? Or would it be better to get something else?

    2) I read that online book linked (great read, btw), but notice it mentions having yeast settle in the bottom of bottles and to not pour it out when pouring into a glass. Is that just a thing with home brewing, or is there a way to filter that before you bottle? I'd kind of rather pull a couple of bottles out of the fridge and offer to company, instead of messing with glasses.

    1) As long as they're brown glass bottles (clear or green = good chance of letting in too much light), they're perfectly fine to use.

    2) Unless you're kegging your beer, having the yeast inside the bottles is necessary for carbonation. You can still drink it out of the bottle just fine, just warn your friends to not drink the last swig or two.

    Red'd for false. You add cane sugar to the brew and mix it in just before bottling. The yeast gives the beer its alcohol while the sugar gives the carbonation. Typically, it's included as well in most brew kits.

    What?

    You prime with sugar so the yeast have a little something to eat while in the bottle. They eat the sugar and produce a little alcohol, but mainly fart out gas. The gas carbonates the beer.

    If you didn't prime with some sugar then the yeast would have very little to eat (only whatever residual sugars were left over after primary and secondary fermentation), and no fermentation would occur, so no bubbles would be made in the bottle.

    You cannot really separate yeast and sugar. The sugar is there for the yeast to eat, and all yeast can do it eat sugar and produce alcohol and gas as byproducts.

    Yeast is going to be in the beer (it was in the wort after you pitched it and remains in there throughout fermentation). Bottle conditioning to provide carbonation will result in some sediment collecting at the bottom. Just don't drink it (or do, there's nothing wrong with it and it has high nutritional value, it just tastes like [strike]butt[/strike] yeast). Have some chilled glasses that you can pour into, cause your buddies might not remember to leave the last sip in the bottle after they've downed a few.


    If you're getting into home brewing you might want to hook up with local brewing clubs or co-ops. You can score equipment cheap from people upgrading or clearing out unused gear.

    From what I remember when dealing with the brew kits I got from my local brew supply shop, there are two separate bags of sugar - one large for the actual fermentation with the yeast, but after the secondary before you transferred the beer to bottles, the second, smaller bag of sugar was added and stirred around before it was poured into the bottles to provide the carbonation effect.

    It has been a while though - a brewer co-worker/friend of mine is in tomorrow. I'll confirm with him, but I'm almost positive that it was the case.

    Slagmire on
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    DeathPrawnDeathPrawn Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Slagmire wrote: »
    Djeet wrote: »
    Slagmire wrote: »
    DeathPrawn wrote: »
    I actually have a couple of questions, as I've been kicking around the idea of trying out brewing.

    1) We drink a decent amount of IBC root beer. Would saving those bottles be a good idea for later using to bottle beer? Or would it be better to get something else?

    2) I read that online book linked (great read, btw), but notice it mentions having yeast settle in the bottom of bottles and to not pour it out when pouring into a glass. Is that just a thing with home brewing, or is there a way to filter that before you bottle? I'd kind of rather pull a couple of bottles out of the fridge and offer to company, instead of messing with glasses.

    1) As long as they're brown glass bottles (clear or green = good chance of letting in too much light), they're perfectly fine to use.

    2) Unless you're kegging your beer, having the yeast inside the bottles is necessary for carbonation. You can still drink it out of the bottle just fine, just warn your friends to not drink the last swig or two.

    Red'd for false. You add cane sugar to the brew and mix it in just before bottling. The yeast gives the beer its alcohol while the sugar gives the carbonation. Typically, it's included as well in most brew kits.

    What?

    You prime with sugar so the yeast have a little something to eat while in the bottle. They eat the sugar and produce a little alcohol, but mainly fart out gas. The gas carbonates the beer.

    If you didn't prime with some sugar then the yeast would have very little to eat (only whatever residual sugars were left over after primary and secondary fermentation), and no fermentation would occur, so no bubbles would be made in the bottle.

    You cannot really separate yeast and sugar. The sugar is there for the yeast to eat, and all yeast can do it eat sugar and produce alcohol and gas as byproducts.

    Yeast is going to be in the beer (it was in the wort after you pitched it and remains in there throughout fermentation). Bottle conditioning to provide carbonation will result in some sediment collecting at the bottom. Just don't drink it (or do, there's nothing wrong with it and it has high nutritional value, it just tastes like [strike]butt[/strike] yeast). Have some chilled glasses that you can pour into, cause your buddies might not remember to leave the last sip in the bottle after they've downed a few.


    If you're getting into home brewing you might want to hook up with local brewing clubs or co-ops. You can score equipment cheap from people upgrading or clearing out unused gear.

    From what I remember when dealing with the brew kits I got from my local brew supply shop, there are two separate bags of sugar - one large for the actual fermentation with the yeast, but after the secondary before you transferred the beer to bottles, the second, smaller bag of sugar was added and stirred around before it was poured into the bottles to provide the carbonation effect.

    It has been a while though - a brewer co-worker/friend of mine is in tomorrow. I'll confirm with him, but I'm almost positive that it was the case.

    What you're saying and what Djeet is saying are basically the same thing.

    Yeast eats up sugar and spits out CO2 and alcohol. While in the fermentation stage, the yeast spits out lots of alcohol, and all of the CO2 leaves your fermenting vessel via a CO2 airlock.

    Carbonation is CO2 bubbles. So the easiest way to carbonate beer is to get the yeast to produce more CO2 in a setting that doesn't have an airlock (i.e. a bottle). In order for the yeast to produce CO2, though, it needs sugar to eat, and it already used up most of the sugar during fermentation. So when you bottle your beer you mix it (live yeast still intact) with some form of fermentable sugar and put it in airtight bottles.

    If you were to filter out the yeast from your beer and then add sugar, you'll just have a bunch of very flat, very sweet beer (i.e. uncarbonated beer with sugar added). Without the sugar, you'll just have an uncarbonated beer with yeast in it. Long story short, both the fermentation AND the carbonation rely on BOTH yeast and sugars (although 'sugar' in a chemical sense, since that includes sugars found in grains).

    DeathPrawn on
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    Sir CarcassSir Carcass I have been shown the end of my world Round Rock, TXRegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    So how do commercial beers not have leftover yeast in them?

    Sir Carcass on
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    DeathPrawnDeathPrawn Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Most commercial beers don't carbonate using yeast. They force carbonate, which is to say they strain all of the yeast out of the beer and then use a machine to force CO2 into the bottle before capping it. You can do that yourself, but I wouldn't recommend it - the equipment is relatively expensive, and unless you're a very experienced brewer your beer won't have as good character depth (part of the advantage of bottle conditioning is that the yeast continues to add to the beer's flavor profile as it ages).

    What's also worth noting is that a lot of commercial beers DO have leftover yeast in them - there are certain styles that are traditionally bottle-conditioned, and there are lots of pubs that serve beer on cask (basically the same idea as bottle conditioning, except in a big old cask).

    DeathPrawn on
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    vonPoonBurGervonPoonBurGer Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    So how do commercial beers not have leftover yeast in them?
    They're usually filtered.

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    musanmanmusanman Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    I've made several batches of home brew wine, and if you're willing to start off with this it's trivially easy, low maintenance, fun, and produces about 30 bottles of wine each batch (for about $75 a kit).

    I've never had a home brew beer that was particularly great, but pretty much everybody loves my wine kits.

    musanman on
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    SoggybiscuitSoggybiscuit Tandem Electrostatic Accelerator Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    I actually have a couple of questions, as I've been kicking around the idea of trying out brewing.

    1) We drink a decent amount of IBC root beer. Would saving those bottles be a good idea for later using to bottle beer? Or would it be better to get something else?

    2) I read that online book linked (great read, btw), but notice it mentions having yeast settle in the bottom of bottles and to not pour it out when pouring into a glass. Is that just a thing with home brewing, or is there a way to filter that before you bottle? I'd kind of rather pull a couple of bottles out of the fridge and offer to company, instead of messing with glasses.

    If I am not mistaken, IBC bottles are twist top. You can use twist tops, but you risk poor seals and bottle breakage. The twist tops were never meant to be resealed.

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    ScalfinScalfin __BANNED USERS regular
    edited February 2010
    Is there any way to reseal those Japanese soda bottles with the marble? Those are fun.

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    Sir CarcassSir Carcass I have been shown the end of my world Round Rock, TXRegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    I actually have a couple of questions, as I've been kicking around the idea of trying out brewing.

    1) We drink a decent amount of IBC root beer. Would saving those bottles be a good idea for later using to bottle beer? Or would it be better to get something else?

    2) I read that online book linked (great read, btw), but notice it mentions having yeast settle in the bottom of bottles and to not pour it out when pouring into a glass. Is that just a thing with home brewing, or is there a way to filter that before you bottle? I'd kind of rather pull a couple of bottles out of the fridge and offer to company, instead of messing with glasses.

    If I am not mistaken, IBC bottles are twist top. You can use twist tops, but you risk poor seals and bottle breakage. The twist tops were never meant to be resealed.

    Well, the plan was to get a machine for crimping new caps or whatever onto the bottles. Is that feasible?

    Sir Carcass on
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    DeadfallDeadfall I don't think you realize just how rich he is. In fact, I should put on a monocle.Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    I, too, am venturing into the hobby of homebrewing (Colorado is very supportive and friendly to homebrewers) and this thread has been helpful to me as well. Cheers.

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    DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    I actually have a couple of questions, as I've been kicking around the idea of trying out brewing.

    1) We drink a decent amount of IBC root beer. Would saving those bottles be a good idea for later using to bottle beer? Or would it be better to get something else?

    2) I read that online book linked (great read, btw), but notice it mentions having yeast settle in the bottom of bottles and to not pour it out when pouring into a glass. Is that just a thing with home brewing, or is there a way to filter that before you bottle? I'd kind of rather pull a couple of bottles out of the fridge and offer to company, instead of messing with glasses.

    If I am not mistaken, IBC bottles are twist top. You can use twist tops, but you risk poor seals and bottle breakage. The twist tops were never meant to be resealed.

    Well, the plan was to get a machine for crimping new caps or whatever onto the bottles. Is that feasible?

    You might be able to cap a twist-off bottle and provide a seal, though I think you're more likely to break the lip given the lip construction differences between pry-off and twist-off bottles. Probably best to just collect/buy pry-off bottles rather then being stuck ready to bottle a prepped wort into twist-offs only to find you cannot cap them properly. Or you can avoid capping entirely and buy swing tops. Or avoid bottles entirely and keg and used forced carbonation.

    These options do get progressively more expensive though. If you want to collect pry-offs a lot of "fancy" beers (imports and microbrews) use pry-offs.

    You may want to drop by Austin Homebrew Supply on Burnet if you have the time. They really know their stuff and can talk you through the procedures.

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    Sir CarcassSir Carcass I have been shown the end of my world Round Rock, TXRegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Djeet wrote: »
    You may want to drop by Austin Homebrew Supply on Burnet if you have the time. They really know their stuff and can talk you through the procedures.

    Awesome, thanks.

    Sir Carcass on
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