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  Reply # 915658 15-Oct-2013 18:59 Send private message

robjg63: I am a little surprised about the talk about bottles. But it seems a lot to do with personal preference...

While I am not a heavy homebrew maker, I have used only plastic bottles and not had an issue.
The one time I had a flat brew I used the coopers glucose pellets for the bottle conditioning. I always use ordinary white sugar now (its cheaper anyway) and always works.

You can reuse the plastic tops quite a few times as well. You just have to take the time to use sterilizer on the bottles and caps before you bottle.

If you rinse your plastic bottles with hot water after you have emptied (drank) them they dont seem to retain any residue and you shouldnt need to use a scratchy bottlebrush.

The general comments I have seen is that glass has a rougher surface in the bottle and is actually harder to sterilize. Of course if something goes wrong with your beer and it gets overcarbonated you could get bottles breaking - plastic isnt brittle so is a bit more forgiving.

The beer can go flat in plastic - the gas can escape through the walls apparently - If you take a year to drink your beer then it might be an issue - but thats a long time!

If you have a good source of 750ml glass bottles and a capper then use them - otherwise plastic works well enough.

NEVER reuse those 330ml glass stubbies - as noted above it could be dangerous.


I use 330ml glass bottles and use crown caps and have had no problems. 




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Master Geek
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  Reply # 915679 15-Oct-2013 19:44 Send private message

So enough bottle talk - what are people's favourite styles of beer that they have brewed?

Do you have a fool proof recipe or kit that you want to tell us all about?


I am partial to a good pilsner and will hunt out the recipe I used last to post here

39 posts

Geek
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  Reply # 915702 15-Oct-2013 20:25 Send private message

I have a recipe that is a perfect summer drink. A nice light cerveza style (kinda like Corona) but with just a hint of passionfruit. Smells and tastes amazing, and all my friends who have tried it want more. Having to make one up every 3rd brew or so.
As for the bottles preference, I use swing tops. Easy to reuse and clean, and look the part when the missus makes up some customised labels just for them.
Check out these sites for recipes and tips.

http://aussiehomebrewer.com/
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/

334 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 916000 16-Oct-2013 13:23 3 people support this post Send private message

I have been brewing on and off since I was a teen.

I started to get serious when I got back here after big OE and realised that I did not like the local commercial stuff and it was way too expensive anyway.

My first tip would be to get the right equipment. Do not try to cut corners there.

I bought the copper tun starter kit and then added additional items as I expanded my operation.

My second tip would be never to cut corners on the cleaning and sterilising of equipment.

I put those two tips as the reason that I have yet to have a bad batch of beer or wine.

Here are some more tips.

I use plastic bottles and have never had a problem with them. I use the caps that came with the bottles and I re-use them all the time. Recently, I had three bottles that failed to pressurise. One advantage of the plastic bottles is that you can give them a squeeze to check on the level of carbonation. That meant that I could see that these three had a problem before I tried to open them. They had fermented - I could see that there was yeast at the bottom of the bottle - but there was no pressure. Having ascertained that there was no problem with a leak from the bottle, I decided that the cap was the problem. I sterilised a fresh cap, took the old one off, added sugar and then put the fresh cap on. Another two weeks and the bottle was fine. I chucked the old cap away. I would guess that the cap had lasted about fifteen bottlings since I bought it. Of course, you must add the sugar carefully or the residual gas in the beer will manage to make enough foam to empty your bottle.

The caps are all standard and you do not have to buy new ones from the brew shop if you decide to replace yours after a couple of years use. As a family, we get through loads of Pam's lime juice concentrate. That comes in 750ml bottles and the caps fit the plastic bottles that you get from the brew shops. We re-use the Pam's bottles for wine as well - with the plastic screw caps. I am told that coke bottle caps also work.

If you are making beer from a kit, you should always discard the yeast that comes with the kit. They only ever use one type regardless of the beer so it is always a compromise. My wife uses the yeast that comes with the kits for baking. I only ever brew Pilsner Lager styles and I have found that the 1118 yeast that I can buy from the brew shops is way superior to the yeast with the kits. I thought of trying Saflager yeast until I saw the price. Also, because I am mean, I split one pack of yeast between two batches of beer. Finally, the wad of dead yeast at the bottom of the bottle seems to be less easy to disturb than the residue from using the yeasts from the kits.

Never add normal kitchen sugar to your beer. Always use dextrose either as you buy it from the brew-shop or in the form of one of the beer enhancer kits. If you want to economise, you can take one of the beer enhancer kits and split it between two batches and add dextrose to make up the weight. That will give a a beer with a less hoppy taste of course but it will still be more hoppy than most commercial beers in NZ. You will notice a difference if you compare it to a decent Czech beer though. You can add kitchen sugar to the bottles as primer though. If you are going to halve an enhancer like that, take care to shake it up well first as the ingredients are not mixed in the bag.

Carefully check the temperature at which you start your brew. I do not like the little plastic thermometer stickers that you get from the brew shops. I bought an infrared remote sensing thermometer from dx.com. It's great, it looks like a taser so I just point it at the brew and pull trigger and get the temperature. I aim to start brews off at between 23 and 25 C. I never make any yeast starters, I just chuck the yeast onto the top of the brew and within a couple of hours it is always bubbling away.

If you are using the plastic barrels with the screw-down lids, go to the pharmacy and buy a tub of vaseline. Then, before you screw the lid down, smear a thin film of V over the top edge of the barrel - the part that will seal to the rubber o-ring inside the lid. That will lubricate the interface between the ring and the barrel. You will get a better seal without having to tighten the lids so much and the rubber ring will last longer.

I go to haurakihomebrew quite often as they are just up the road from me. Try to go on a Saturday as you will see Tiffany - the daughter of the founders - who is very knowledgeable and always full of good advice.

Brewers co-op in Penrose is good too. I tend to favour them for wine supplies as it is not really worth driving down there just for a bag of yeast. I do not think that they are as good for advice as Tiffany ant HHB.

If you are going to make beer from kits, consider the kits on sale in the supermarkets. They are a lot cheaper than the ones in the brew shops and some of they styles are good.

When you are making a batch, consider the desired alcohol content. Often, the recipe that comes with the kit will result in a beer of lower strength than you might expect. I often add an additional 200g of dextrose to my brews.

Also, consider experimenting with the amount of sugar that you use for carbonation. The recommended amount is a compromise between different brew styles so it is almost certainly wrong for your preferences. Especially if you are making a brew that you want to keep in plastic bottles for an extended time. Plastic bottles are fine as long as there is a decent pressure in the bottle. The reason for a drop in quality is that the plastic bottle will allow a certain amount of oxygen to diffuse into the bottle and that will affect the taste. However, if the pressure in the bottle is high, the amount of oxygen that can enter is very much reduced. If you keep a bottle for a year, it will lose enough carbonation to allow enough oxygen into the bottle to affect the taste. However, if you boost the carbonation to counter this, your beer will stay fresher longer.

You can bottle beer direct from the fermentation barrel but it will be clearer and have less yeast in the bottom of the bottle if you rack it off into a carboy after fermentation finishes.

That's enough tips for now.


725 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 916016 16-Oct-2013 13:41 One person supports this post Send private message

jpoc - Thank you, you are now my offical beer-Yoda.

11 posts

Geek
+1 received by user: 1


Reply # 921902 25-Oct-2013 22:36 One person supports this post Send private message

Good to find a Kiwi based forum on this which doesn't get too complex straight away! 
Been brewing using standard Coopers kits for the last 2 and a half years and haven't had a bad batch yet. Got started when the missus got me a starter kit from Hauraki Homebrew . They've got just about everything and have always been good to deal with so recommend them highly .
Dabbled in ginger beers , chili lager and just recently apple cider, but on the lookout for new interesting recipes.
Oh, and glass big boy tallies for me! Easy as to keep clean and you always look staunch!

11 posts

Geek
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  Reply # 921904 25-Oct-2013 22:40 Send private message

maoriboy: I have a recipe that is a perfect summer drink. A nice light cerveza style (kinda like Corona) but with just a hint of passionfruit. Smells and tastes amazing, and all my friends who have tried it want more. Having to make one up every 3rd brew or so.
As for the bottles preference, I use swing tops. Easy to reuse and clean, and look the part when the missus makes up some customised labels just for them.
Check out these sites for recipes and tips.

http://aussiehomebrewer.com/
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/



Mind sharing your passionfruit recipe Maoriboy? Sounds an awesome summer brew 



167 posts

Master Geek
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Orcon

  Reply # 921907 25-Oct-2013 23:22 Send private message

I agree could we potentially get a recipe? That sounds pretty premo




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39 posts

Geek
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  Reply # 926002 1-Nov-2013 20:15 Send private message

Sorry guys, haven't been paying much attention to this thread and only just saw your request. TBH I don't really have a specific recipe for this brew, as each time I try it I change something to it just to see what difference it makes.
At it's basic its just
- 1.7 kg of light malt extract (liquid or LME)
- 1 kg of dry malt extract (DRM) or something like Coopers Brew Enhancer 2 (readily available at a number of supermarkets)
- 30 g of a light fruity hop like Cascade
- Safale 05
- 500 g of passionfruit (either pulp or syrup although I found the syrup easier to work with. Try the SHOTTS syrup brand)

being an extract brewer I do partial boils of approx 10 litres of water, mixing in 1/3 of the DRM and then once its boiling add in half the hops for 30 mins and the rest for 5 mins. Once the element or gas has been turned off, add the rest of the DME and LME and stir thoroughly adding the passionfruit in slowly.

Once completed chuck it all into the fermenter (that has been sterilised beforehand right?)and top up to 20 litres with cold water. Once it has cooled to between 18-19 degrees add in the yeast and away you go.
The rest is standard wait till the OG has settled then bottle or keg.

11 posts

Geek
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  Reply # 926284 2-Nov-2013 15:46 Send private message

Cheers Maoriboy - sounds great.

I dont do extract brewing myself, but I guess mixing the syrup in after my brew enhancer should have a similar effect. Although I have had trouble in the past when adding things like ginger root or chilis where I seem to get a flat brew. If anyone has a tip to counter this that'd be appreciated.
Either way, I'm giving this recipe a crack!
I'll let you know how it goes. :)

217 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 926878 4-Nov-2013 10:15 Send private message

hi

i have home brewed for 35ish years and the best advice I can give is DONT sterilise your equipment or bottles.
Regardless of how well you rinse your gear - there is always a slight residue/aftertaste.

I only wash my gear in hot water after use and I rinse my bottles in hot water and store upside down in crates.
The only downside is hot water washing does seem to make micro pits in the plastic vat that makes washing harder so I replace it every 5 years.

I learnt this from a uncle in Stokes valley that home brewed in a dirt floor garden shed with cobwebs in roof.



263 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 927582 5-Nov-2013 12:53 Send private message

 

I use 330ml glass bottles and use crown caps and have had no problems. 


I've never had issues, I usually cap a couple of twisties near the end of the bottling run as testers as it's aging.. (and they work out fine - can twist the tops off like usual, and get a nice 'pop')
Always held their carb, done about 10 brews, no blown seals or bottles.


It's not just the 330ml bottles that people should be scared of - it's pretty much all commercial bottles. 
All of the 500 - 660 ml from Garage Project, Tuatara will have no refill on the side - but I don't have issues.




I am about to get into BIAB - anyone know where to get a good gas burner for a 50 litre kettle? (that won't cost the earth)





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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 927594 5-Nov-2013 13:16 Send private message

anyone tried the Mangrove Jacks line.
I think they belong to Mad Millie who make other craft food kits as in cheese, cider etc




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Master Geek
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Mighty Ape

  Reply # 927627 5-Nov-2013 14:01 Send private message

If you are using a 50 litre kettle you'll want a minimum of a triple ring, but you'd be far better off with a four ringer....I got my triple at Mitre 10 Mega, it was a while ago, but pretty sure it was less than $100....you'll likely need to pay about that for a four ring one.




Matt East


725 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 927663 5-Nov-2013 14:38 Send private message

psychrn: anyone tried the Mangrove Jacks line.
I think they belong to Mad Millie who make other craft food kits as in cheese, cider etc


I'd have to check my brew book, but I'm pretty sure the first cider I did was a Mangrove Jacks kit. It was quite tasty, but too dry for the Mrs (until I dropped a shot of peach schnapps in her glass).

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