1. Post #1
    Gold Member
    Kondor58's Avatar
    April 2006
    14,096 Posts
    In this thread I will show you how to prepare your own beer for fermentation and I will also be following my own attempt at brewing 2 batches (45L / 80 pints) of beer, shown further down the page. Whilst brewing it never occurred to me that I might make a thread about this so I do not have any pictures of the kit at first, so I'll just be using stock images for the setup and I'll post photos as the process continues.

    If you have ever wanted an interesting and satisfying hobby, are possibly interested in chemistry (or not), want some super cheap booze or you just want the satisfaction of drinking something that you have made yourself, then this could be a hobby you should consider! Brewing beer is easier than you would probably think and can actually result in a beer that tastes better than commercial brands (they like to take shortcuts like injecting CO2 to carbonate it, you can too if you want). Before you buy your kit to brew your beer all you need is a room that will constantly be at 18-25 degrees celsius and a bathtub makes this easier (although it is still easily possible to do this in small houses like student flats which may not have a bathtub). In this thread I will be using two kits, a lager and a bitter, each one makes 22.5L or 40 pints.

    Equipment



    First off, here is the kit you need (for simplicity you can buy from the same brand):
    Sterilizing powder
    Siphoning hoses
    25L fermentation bin (I use 33L in my pictures)
    Plastic long handle spoon
    Airlock
    Beer kit (obviously)
    1 kg brewing / cane sugar
    Yeast (This should be included with the beer kit)

    Optional:
    Stick on thermometer
    Hydrometer
    Bottles
    Bottle caps (buy these, don't reuse them)
    Long handled scrubbing brush
    Keg

    It is important that you buy kit suitable for brewing, if you buy it from a brewing shop or shop section then you can be sure that it is food grade plastic, hygiene is VERY important when brewing, especially for winemaking.

    Preparing the equipment

    First thing you need to do once you have all your equipment is to sterilise it all very thoroughly. Put your bin in the bathtub if you have one (to prevent spillages), and following the instructions on your sterilising agent package, sterilise the bin, throw in your spoon as well to sterilise that, as well as your scrubbing brush (use it too). Rinse with cold water repeatedly (5-10 times should do it), make sure you slosh the water around too. If this is the first time you are using your kit it should be pretty clean and will not need scrubbing.

    Preparing the brew

    Now you need to add your beer kit into the sterilised and rinsed bin, from now on I will be using the instructions given by the kit I am using (I am using a bigger kit, makes 40 pints)

    Add 1kg of sugar to the mix and 4 pints of boiled water, using the water to rinse out remaining mix in the can. Allow to cool so you don't melt plastic into it when you stir the mixture with your sterile plastic spoon, stirring until it is no longer thick and the sugar is all dissolved. Top up to 23L with cold water, you can use the can to bail water into the bin which will also rinse out remaining mix. The mix should be 18-25 degrees celsius, if it is above this temperature, allow it to cool slightly, and if it is below then allow it to warm up in a warm room (put the lid on though, no point in sterilising it for nothing, block up the hole in the lid with a paper towel to stop things getting in). Add the yeast and stir, the froth might dissipate a bit. Now half fill the airlock with water, stick it on top and sit back (or make another batch like I did).

    Now that I have shown you what to do, the rest of the thread will be about my progress, this is my first time brewing so I hope it will be a success!

    Day 1: Preparation and fermenting

    All kit has been sterilised, the mix, sugar, water and yeast have all been added and it is currently fermenting, this process should take at least a week, depending on how warm your room is (do not be tempted to warm it up or you will kill the yeast). I have put an airlock on the top of each bin, this prevents air entering the bins and allows the CO2 to escape to prevent pressure building up (if you do not have a hole in your lid you can just routinely loosen the lid to allow gas to escape). I have also labelled each one with the current date. My brother is making wine hence the jug wrapped in a cloth to protect it from sunlight. Beer is manly stuff and can take a bit of light but do not store it in direct sunlight.

    The prepared batches (bitter left, lager right, wine bottom (the wine will not be discussed, it is my brother's))


    An airlock, it can look very different but they all do the same thing, gas pushes past the water and escapes, the water acts as a barrier to stop air getting in (the top is not sealed, it is a loose cap to prevent things falling into the airlock)


    What it looks like right now, just a watery brown liquid. Refrain from removing the lid to check this, the idea of the airlock is to not get outside air inside the bin


    Stay tuned for updates, the next one should be in a week or so (basically when gas stops coming out) and the carbonation process will begin, where the beer will be 'primed' with sugar which will produce CO2, the lid will be completely sealed to allow pressure to build up and the CO2 to dissolve into the beer so it becomes fizzy.

    Post Links
    Day 1: Preperation and fermenting
    Day 4: Fermenting
    Day 12: Clearing
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  2. Post #2
    Propane Nightmares
    Acezorz's Avatar
    May 2007
    8,693 Posts
    I'd really like to try this out, would be cheaper than buying pints at the pubs here in London (3.60 a pint).

  3. Post #3
    Gold Member
    Kondor58's Avatar
    April 2006
    14,096 Posts
    The kit I am using costs 11.25, resulting in 28p per pint

  4. Post #4
    bye
    Gold Member
    bye's Avatar
    August 2006
    3,081 Posts
    I make cider 3L of cider for about 2 bucks

    http://www.oztops.com.au/

    I think the general idea behind the product is to make sparkling wines, but cider works out so nicely on its own

    1. Put yeast from kit in 3L of Apple juice
    2. Put on weird cap thing
    3. ????
    4. Drink on the 4th or 5th day, or later for varying flavours




  5. Post #5
    Gold Member
    jaredop's Avatar
    September 2005
    2,450 Posts
    I make cider 3L of cider for about 2 bucks

    http://www.oztops.com.au/

    I think the general idea behind the product is to make sparkling wines, but cider works out so nicely on its own

    1. Put yeast from kit in 3L of Apple juice
    2. Put on weird cap thing
    3. ????
    4. Drink on the 4th or 5th day, or later for varying flavours



    I've always wanted to try something simple like this, I have just never gotten around to buying yeast.
    I have heard you can just use a balloon with a pinhole in it for the cap

  6. Post #6
    bye
    Gold Member
    bye's Avatar
    August 2006
    3,081 Posts
    I'm sure there's lots of different ways to do it, but have fun with your gassy cider

    The caps are worth the little money they cost
    the yeast cost is so negligible it's not funny, I guess you just need to get down to your local brewing supplier

  7. Post #7
    ☂☂☂☂ ☂☂☂ ☂☂ _☂_
    Cuel's Avatar
    January 2005
    22,424 Posts
    i've been looking a lot at home distilling (liquor), the plastic one that doesn't smell.


    $80 for the stuff and after that it's like $2-3 per litre. cheap as fuck

  8. Post #8
    Gold Member
    Kondor58's Avatar
    April 2006
    14,096 Posts
    It always depends on how well you can make it, if you aren't experienced I'd recommend beer or cider because it's not really as much a refined process as others, but wine and liquor has to be made very well to taste right

  9. Post #9
    ☂☂☂☂ ☂☂☂ ☂☂ _☂_
    Cuel's Avatar
    January 2005
    22,424 Posts
    i've got a 26 page .pdf (in swedish) that explains everything and it's actually easy.

    1. you must have something to distill, a mash*, which is a simple wine without taste (fruit) which is created using yeast, sugar and water
    2. distill the mash in your device and get liquor that tastes meh~
    3. purifiy the spirit with active carbon and get a fine spirit in same class as the best vodka
    *idk if mash is the correct word, google translate said it was

    the only "problem" i could identify was getting an immersion heater that works out of the box (42-52 celsius)
    seems like the ones you can buy in sweden (for aquariums) are 30W and they usually do not produce heat over 32 celsius, unless i tamper with them

    but i think that can be solved.

    Edited:

    of course there's a little more to it than that if you want really good tasting liqour, but that's the basic 3 steps

    Edited:

    forgot to mention that i usually just drink beer, so i guess that's the real reason why i'm not doing this.

    how would you say your beer tasted, compared to "real" beer?

  10. Post #10
    Gold Member
    UberWarri0r's Avatar
    May 2007
    5,143 Posts
    I would at least love to look into this more, seems pretty awesome.

  11. Post #11
    Asm
    Gold Member
    Asm's Avatar
    June 2009
    2,234 Posts
    I might have to do this in summer, when my flat isnt as cold

  12. Post #12
    Gold Member
    Kondor58's Avatar
    April 2006
    14,096 Posts
    Day 3 and right now it looks like sewage on top, there is a thick frothy layer with what looks like watery shit smothered on top. This is a good sign and it means the yeast is active and multiplying

  13. Post #13
    ☂☂☂☂ ☂☂☂ ☂☂ _☂_
    Cuel's Avatar
    January 2005
    22,424 Posts
    pics

  14. Post #14
    Gold Member
    Kondor58's Avatar
    April 2006
    14,096 Posts
    Day 4: Fermenting

    This is the beer in the middle of fermentation, the froth has died down a bit, the bitter is still quite frothy with yeast on top but the lager has very little froth and no yeast lying on the surface (most of the yeast in both bins will be suspended in the liquid). I'm a bit worried about the lager because it never actually frothed up like the bitter (reaching 3 inches in depth) so I may add a bit more yeast and stir it, although the smell is changing every day so right now I think it's fermenting just fine. The bitter smells strong and slightly eggy from the amount of yeast that has been created. The lager smells pretty much exactly like lager. It's been a very warm week so fermentation may happen very quickly. The wine smells like an alcoholic fart and looks like sewage.

    Bitter, note the disgusting looking yeasty layer of froth (this was 3 inches deep on the second day), smells strong and not entirely pleasant



    Lager, fizzing away slightly, smells lovely, not much yeast is visible



    Also I removed the airlocks and put a cloth over them, they weren't working too well (they look different from the wine airlock)

  15. Post #15
    BAZ
    Dav0r, buy me a custom title. I'm far too poor ;_;
    BAZ's Avatar
    July 2005
    12,602 Posts
    Brewed 40 pints of a pale ale, it came out quite nice. Had a bit of a homebrewy taste to it but overall it was very nice.

    I made some turbo cider, but it's quite sharp at the moment, hoping it'll get better in the bottle but I think I need to rethink my method.

    Heres some pics of us bottling the ale :)





  16. Post #16
    Gold Member
    Kondor58's Avatar
    April 2006
    14,096 Posts
    forgot to mention that i usually just drink beer, so i guess that's the real reason why i'm not doing this.

    how would you say your beer tasted, compared to "real" beer?
    I haven't made beer before but I will tell you how it turns out

    Edited:

    Thanks BAZ, I saw that post ages ago and it made me want to brew my own

  17. Post #17
    BAZ
    Dav0r, buy me a custom title. I'm far too poor ;_;
    BAZ's Avatar
    July 2005
    12,602 Posts
    The pale ale has carbonated since then, it has a very sweet almost like vanilla taste which is really strange. It's very nice just to have just a relaxing pint or two, but any more and it gets quite sickly.

  18. Post #18
    Gold Member
    Kondor58's Avatar
    April 2006
    14,096 Posts
    I'm guessing all the sugar wasn't used up during fermentation because I think I remember you said some of the bottles burst really early, which is a sign of fermentation not being complete, which is probably why it doesn't taste right and is quite sweet

    Edited:

    A hydrometer is really useful for knowing for sure it's finished

  19. Post #19
    BAZ
    Dav0r, buy me a custom title. I'm far too poor ;_;
    BAZ's Avatar
    July 2005
    12,602 Posts
    Someone managed to break my hydrometer so I just had to play it by timings when it came down to it.

    We found a local brewing shop, it was really awesome. The people there knew alot.

  20. Post #20
    analrapist's Avatar
    August 2010
    1,836 Posts
    Does anybody else here keg their homebrew?

    I started a couple months ago, and it's awesome. Get to skip the whole annoying bottling step.
    BUT it is hard to wait until the beer has aged properly before drinking it.

  21. Post #21
    ☂☂☂☂ ☂☂☂ ☂☂ _☂_
    Cuel's Avatar
    January 2005
    22,424 Posts
    how long would that be?

  22. Post #22
    analrapist's Avatar
    August 2010
    1,836 Posts
    Well, so far I keep the beer in primary fermentation for 7-9 days, siphon it into another container for secondary fermentation for another 7-9 days, and then put it in a keg and stick the keg in my mini-fridge and hook it up to my CO2 tank.

    Once it's hooked up to the tank it's carbonated enough to drink within 3-4 days, but it takes about 2 weeks of settling in the keg for it to taste right.

    I did a pale ale a month or two ago that tasted pretty bad for about a week or two, and then suddenly turned MAGICALLY DELICIOUS after aging a bit and turned out to be the best beer I've ever made.

    Right now I have an oatmeal stout in a keg that's been chilling in the fridge for about 3 days and tastes like aluminum and soy sauce. I'm hoping it gets better over time, but I kind of fucked it up while I was brewing. I was already really drunk when I started the boil so I didn't keep the temperature steady and it kept going between over-boiling and simmering. Oops!

    I really need to learn to only brew when I'm sober.

  23. Post #23
    Gold Member
    Kondor58's Avatar
    April 2006
    14,096 Posts
    Day 12: Clearing

    Nothing interesting today, the beer has stopped fermenting an I added 'beer finings' which help to clear the beer up, the beer will stand for a couple more days and then I'll prime the beer. No pictures because it just looks pretty much the same except without yeast or foam on top

  24. Post #24
    analrapist's Avatar
    August 2010
    1,836 Posts
    What's in the "beer finings"? I don't think I've ever used anything like that?

    I mail ordered a big propane burner because boiling water for beer on my stove was taking too long (2+ hours), I'm going to brew a couple batches of beer this weekend and take pics to share.

    Where are you guys ordering your beer ingredients? I've been getting all mine at http://www.morebeer.com so far, just 'cause they offer free shipping.

  25. Post #25
    Gold Member
    Kondor58's Avatar
    April 2006
    14,096 Posts
    What's in the "beer finings"? I don't think I've ever used anything like that?

    I mail ordered a big propane burner because boiling water for beer on my stove was taking too long (2+ hours), I'm going to brew a couple batches of beer this weekend and take pics to share.

    Where are you guys ordering your beer ingredients? I've been getting all mine at http://www.morebeer.com so far, just 'cause they offer free shipping.
    I don't actually know, I got my dad to buy them. I don't really know what's in beer finings but I'm guessing it coagulates the floating pieces of stuff

  26. Post #26
    Gold Member
    DaveP's Avatar
    May 2005
    3,899 Posts
    What's in the "beer finings"? I don't think I've ever used anything like that?
    The standard is Isinglass, collagen from dried fish swim bladders, although I believe there are now alternatives for vegetarians/vegans. It causes the small impurities in the beer to collect and fall to the bottom of the bottle, although really you don't actually need to use them, if you intend on leaving your beer for quite a while then it all settles and sets on the bottom anyway (and doesn't taste as bad as some would suggest as well)



    Where are you guys ordering your beer ingredients? I've been getting all mine at http://www.morebeer.com so far, just 'cause they offer free shipping
    Up my way we have a brick and mortar store that we go to, very nice people and you get loads of useful tips, if you ever find one try and support 'em


    Been doing this for quite a while now, we've found our best results are off a 'Peroni-alike' recipe we found in a book; Got a brilliant few bottles left from '09 that we save for Christmas each year and a similarly good batch from mid '10 -My dad drinks the homebrew beer as his 'main' beer, barely buys any (recently its become more 'his' thing as I've been too busy with work and got more into bread baking)


    Most interesting result we've had was attempts to make a Bock that ended up having very strong caramel notes and cola colouring: sickly sweet but the most uhh 'non beer tasting' beer I've ever had

  27. Post #27
    analrapist's Avatar
    August 2010
    1,836 Posts
    OH! I guess maybe I know the "beer finings" as Whirlfloc tablets. Little sort of flat pill things that are thrown in the beer in the last 5-10 minutes of the boil.

    Here are a couple photos of the propane burner I was talking about.
    My friend and I tested it out with two 5-gallon batches of an American-style IPA.
    It worked very well, got up to boiling in about half the time of using my kitchen stove.





    The only downside is that because it boiled so quickly it didn't have as much evaporation during the time it takes to get up to a boil, so we need to add less water next time.

    Ingredient kit:
    http://morebeer.com/view_product/183...tract_Beer_Kit

    Burner:
    http://www.amazon.com/Camp-Chef-SHP-...dp/B0001D32QK/

    Stainless steel brew kettle:
    http://www.amazon.com/Bayou-Classic-...dp/B0009JXYUA/

  28. Post #28
    analrapist's Avatar
    August 2010
    1,836 Posts
    Oh jesus, I got home today and went to check on the beer, and it overflowed EVERYWHERE.
    Made a huge mess and got foam and sticky beer juice on the floor and a bunch of books and stuff. Damn!

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  29. Post #29
    Gold Member
    peabrain101's Avatar
    December 2005
    2,192 Posts
    My father's customer recently got into beer making as a hobby and gave our family six bottles of his craft. It was awful, hopefully your batch is better. Alcohol brewing is quite a profitable talent.

  30. Post #30
    Gold Member
    Kondor58's Avatar
    April 2006
    14,096 Posts
    It's carbonating now and tastes pretty shit but maybe it will improve, also it's my first ever batch

  31. Post #31
    Gold Member
    TheForeigner's Avatar
    November 2008
    6,966 Posts
    Lower a bottle of vodka in it while making
    ???
    mow unsuspecting women with it

  32. Post #32
    analrapist's Avatar
    August 2010
    1,836 Posts
    The problem with bottling is that it's easy to fuck things up in that step, and it can leave the beer tasting weird and with a strong yeast flavor.

    The flavors will mingle and mellow with age, so the longer you let the beer settle in the bottle before drinking the better. Try to wait at least 4-8 weeks after bottling before drinking the beer.

    When you keg and force carbonate the beer is carbonated enough to drink in about 2-3 days, but it tastes like ass for about a month until the flavor mellows. I don't know what causes it to taste bad in the beginning, but time really does make a difference.

  33. Post #33
    analrapist's Avatar
    August 2010
    1,836 Posts
    My IPA is still fermenting so much that I haven't racked it to secondary*. No real update.


    * When someone says "racked it to secondary" what that means is to transfer the beer from one fermenting container to a second fermenting container. When you do this you are supposed to "rack" the beer, which is basically just siphoning it so that you don't get a bunch of oxygen mixed in by pouring it. This is done to help clear the beer by leaving sediment and gross stuff in the bottom of the first container.

  34. Post #34
    analrapist's Avatar
    August 2010
    1,836 Posts
    I transferred the IPA that was fermenting like crazy into a keg on Wednesday. I'm force carbonating it at 30PSI in hopes that I can have it carbonated in time for a BBQ this weekend. I didn't bother racking it to secondary, so it is going to be a very cloudy beer.



    Check it out! I planted some hops so I could try growing my own for making beer!
    It took them about 3 weeks after planting before they came up, but it is finally growing now. Very exciting!

    That little guy is about 1" high right now.

  35. Post #35
    I wasted a dollar on a stupid title.
    nikomo's Avatar
    September 2007
    16,822 Posts
    If you want to make something on your own but can't be arsed getting all of these sweet kits, try mead.
    All you really need is like, a bit under a week, a bucket, water, a couple of lemons, yeast.. What am I missing?
    When you bottle it, drop in like 2-4 raisins a bottle to indicate when it's ready to put into the fridge and let it sit there for a couple of days. Filter raisins out when you want to consume, done.

  36. Post #36
    analrapist's Avatar
    August 2010
    1,836 Posts
    You can also try "Panty Dropper Sweet Cider (For the Ladies)"

    8 cans of Wal-Mart Apple Juice Concentrate
    2 Gallons Tree Top Apple Juice
    2 lbs Regular White Table Sugar
    Sweet Mead Yeast (such as White Labs WLP720)
    Topped up to 5.5 gallons with bottled spring water

    Heat one gallon of juice up to 150 and add four cans of concentrate and the sugar to dissolve.
    Leave out the other four cans of concentrate to soften and use to cool down the heated mix.
    Combine all ingredients in fermenting bucket or other container, and then add yeast.
    Add airlock to container, and leave in a dark, room-temperature area for 4 weeks.


    http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f32/pant...-recipe-31460/

  37. Post #37
    analrapist's Avatar
    August 2010
    1,836 Posts
    I'm going to be brewing another batch or two of beer this Sunday with some friends.

    Does anyone have any questions about beer making, or is there anything people would like to see pictures of?
    I'll try to take pictures of anything anybody wants.