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Ramboss

202 posts

Master Geek


#98964 9-Mar-2012 19:31
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More specifically BEER, just wondering if any geeks out there still brew their own?

Starting a brew comp up with some mates, just wondering if anyone has any tips? 

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bonuscup
5 posts

Wannabe Geek


  #592986 9-Mar-2012 21:22
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1 Cleanliness is next to godliness

2 Control the fermentation temperature.
Yeast will throw off different flavour compounds at different temperatures. Pick a temperature and try to keep it steady, especially at the start of the brew. This is when vigorous fermentation will try to push the temperature up, as well as your rapidly dividing yeast cells releasing a bunch of esters at the same time.

3 Don't be afraid to tart a kit beer up a bit.
The best place to start would be to swap whatever was under the lid for something that has had a slightly easier existence than your average kit yeast (US-05 would be worth a shot if you're after something neutral).
After yeast, the easiest improvements are to add hops to your fermentor for a better aroma, or to steep some crystal malts for better body.

Apologies if you've already been sucked further down the homebrew hole than I assumed, but these were there biggest improvements I made to my beer when I was brewing from tins of goo.

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kyhwana2
2539 posts

Uber Geek


  #593047 9-Mar-2012 23:15
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Where abouts are you? There's a homebrew club started up in Hamilton recently, they're doing a homebrew comp this weekend.

+1 to bonuscup. I just use the basic kits at the moment (No space to do brew in a bag/full grain) and throw away the yeast that comes with the kits and use US-05..

1 and 2 are the most important.

minimoke
749 posts

Ultimate Geek


  #593243 10-Mar-2012 15:52
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Oh dear off down the rabbit hole you go. Started off with the beer kits, then moved onto malt/hops then back to kits now onto a still.

I used to worry about cleanliness and was meticulous with the metabisulphate. But in the end got lazy and found a quick swish with warm water did the trick.

The constant temperate was important - you don't want it too fast nor too slow. The instructions on the kit will give you the best idea. I had a heating pad and a towel. The pad was used too initially keep the brew at a constant temperature until the fermentation kicked in properly and maintained its own heat. After that I'd wrap with a towel over night. In winter it needed the towel and heating pad - but it gets cold in my basement in Christchurch.

Once you've drunk the brew, clean the bottles out quickly. The gunk on the bottom can be a bit hard to clean out if you leave it too long.

You can tweak the sugar to adjust the alcohol content. Sometimes this can result in the first bottle tasting pretty bad but after you're second you won't care. 

Watch how much sugar you put in the bottle - too much and you'll blow the caps.

Try and get a decent supply of empties. It tastes better after being left in the bottle for a while. I ended up with a couple of brews in bottles with one begin brewed. This wasn't a bad rotation until mates came around. 



kyhwana2
2539 posts

Uber Geek


  #593244 10-Mar-2012 15:55
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If you're really into it and can get enough bottles, brew every weekend (or second weekend)
You'll want to leave the beer for at least a month or so after you've bottled it.

Ramboss

202 posts

Master Geek


  #593703 11-Mar-2012 19:56
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Thanks for all the great tips

Have put down my first brew down (well first since i used to do it when i was at uni 10 years ago, which tasted crap and used solely to get drunk). Me and 2 other mates got a Copper Tun Kit, we will see who can do the best job, did just use the yeast that came with it as that was our rules but will look to better yeast for future brews. Also it had a enhancer with it that you use instead of sugar.
Do these enhancers make much difference to the brew? I have never used them before. 

Just another quick question, how long in the bottles do you recommend i keep it before drinking it? Guy in the shop recommended about 3 months and that his best was left after 15 months.  

Ramboss

202 posts

Master Geek


  #593709 11-Mar-2012 20:00
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kyhwana2: Where abouts are you? There's a homebrew club started up in Hamilton recently, they're doing a homebrew comp this weekend.

+1 to bonuscup. I just use the basic kits at the moment (No space to do brew in a bag/full grain) and throw away the yeast that comes with the kits and use US-05..

1 and 2 are the most important.


Hey i am in the Tron not keen on any comps yet but wouldn't mind finding out about this club, also where do you get US-05, had a look in the Brew your own liquor shop (man look mind you) and didn't see it.

kyhwana2
2539 posts

Uber Geek


  #593715 11-Mar-2012 20:11
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Ramboss:

Hey i am in the Tron not keen on any comps yet but wouldn't mind finding out about this club, also where do you get US-05, had a look in the Brew your own liquor shop (man look mind you) and didn't see it.


They meet at the Ruakura campus club every 2nd thursday.. Follow @HamBrewersAssoc on twitter for more info.. everyones welcome :)

I got the US-05 from brew your on liqour, you have to ask for it. AFAIK they still keep it in the fridge there.




kyhwana2
2539 posts

Uber Geek


  #593716 11-Mar-2012 20:12
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Ramboss: Thanks for all the great tips


Just another quick question, how long in the bottles do you recommend i keep it before drinking it? Guy in the shop recommended about 3 months and that his best was left after 15 months.  


I'd say at _least_ a month before they're drinkable. I drank most of mine around 2-3 months.. How long they'll keep depends on the type of beer you're brewing.. I wouldn't keep em for more than 12 months unless it's a porter, stout or barley wine of somekind.


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