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Old 08-25-2010, 02:17 AM   #2426
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

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Originally Posted by Ineedaride2 View Post
I'm really, really close to pulling the trigger on a home brew kit and giving it a try. People have about 24 hours to talk me into it or out of it.

Seriously, is it worth the hassle? I enjoy doing things just to do them, but how's the beer? I'm always scared that people think it's better than it actually is because they sunk a month into making it.

Also, why do I keep reading about bottle capping failures? Do the caps not seal on a regular basis?

Lastly, and this is one I really don't get. From what I'm reading, sanitation is very important. Sanitize, sanitize, sanitize. But beer's been around a whole lot longer than sanitary practices. Why is it so important now when it couldn't have been hundreds of years ago? Did beer just suck back then?
what kit? I'd talk you out of a "no boil" kit. Are you buying from a shop like Napa fermentation or Northern Brewer? Details plz.
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Old 08-25-2010, 07:38 AM   #2427
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

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what kit? I'd talk you out of a "no boil" kit. Are you buying from a shop like Napa fermentation or Northern Brewer? Details plz.
Haven't ordered anything yet, but looking at something like this:

http://www.homebrewers.com/product/S...gredients.html
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Old 08-25-2010, 07:41 AM   #2428
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

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For me, it isn't a hassle. It's an afternoon, or morning, or whatever, spent outside doing something fun and interesting. After that day, in a couple weeks, it turns into a fun and gratifying drink.

As with poker, "it depends" how things turn out. In general, though, even first time brewers will make a decent batch. Unlike as little as ten years ago, a homebrewer today can buy the same yeast as a pro brewer, as well as the same malt and the same hops. Brewing itself is a pretty forgiving process, so given quality ingredients, its not hard for a novice to make a pretty good batch of beer.

I'm not sure what you mean about capping failures. The caps, cappers, and bottles around today are pretty idiot proof.

For your last question, I'm not sure anyone knows. Sanitization is critical because freshly brewed wort is the perfect incubator for just about any critter, and the only one we want in there is our strain of yeast. Beer yeast, though, is a pretty hardy fungus, and has advantages like alcohol tolerance on its side. I'm not positive, but from memory I think that once you get to 2% ABV, the yeast will win out over most other organisms. Did beers from 1800 suck? I dunno, but I bet most weren't as clean as today's beers, and I bet a lot did suck compared to today's beers.. Some historical records clearly describe bacterial infections as part of the flavor of a beer, and some of those flavors actually have become hallmarks of the beer style.

In a previous post, you asked about websites that shipped beers, because your local options are limited. Often, people think that homebrewers are out to save money by brewing their own instead of saving money. Given the time and equipment investments, it takes a long time to make beer more cheaply than you can buy it. However, its much easier to make beers that you wouldn't otherwise be able to experience. I've never had a macadamia coconut porter, but I could make one tomorrow if I wanted to try it out. I've had Russian River's Pliny the Elder, but I can't buy it in TN. I could brew up a clone tomorrow if I wanted, and maybe my first attempt - or two - wouldn't be spot on, but it would still be a pretty good beer, and I know I could nail it down if I wanted to.

Homebrewing isn't for everyone. I know people that have given it a shot and decided they'd rather just buy commercial beer. But its not a hobby that takes a bunch of money or time to figure out if you like it. Your first brew will run you maybe $100 and an afternoon. Two weeks later you'll spend another two hours, and then two weeks after that you'll have a pretty good idea if your initial $100 was an investment in a lifelong hobby or the most expensive two cases of beer you'll ever buy.
Thanks for the detailed response.

Funny you mentioned Pliny the Elder, because that's one I really want to try. I guess everybody does at some point.
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Old 08-25-2010, 07:58 AM   #2429
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

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I have read that Newcastle Brown is a blend of two different beers but didn't know they used coloring.
it's my understanding that Newcastle ain't what it used to be.
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Old 08-25-2010, 08:08 AM   #2430
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

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Originally Posted by Ineedaride2 View Post
Also, why do I keep reading about bottle capping failures? Do the caps not seal on a regular basis?
do you mean exploding bottles?
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Old 08-25-2010, 09:12 AM   #2431
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

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do you mean exploding bottles?
No, read a couple of exchanges (not here) that made it sound like it's not unusual for a bottle cap to seal improperly.

Must not be a big issue, or else they were doing something wrong.
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Old 08-25-2010, 09:25 AM   #2432
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

Yeah, capping is pretty easy.

or you could always get a couple of Party Pigs
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Old 08-25-2010, 09:33 AM   #2433
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

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Originally Posted by Ineedaride2 View Post
Haven't ordered anything yet, but looking at something like this:

http://www.homebrewers.com/product/S...gredients.html
This is a pretty decent kit, it comes with a lot of stuff that some kits dont. Well at least my kit that didnt.

IMO though, go for this kit. Austin Homebrew and Northern Brewer seem to be the best for ordering anything online.

http://www.austinhomebrew.com/produc...ducts_id=11357

My only gripe is for $135 they should be giving you a glass carboy imo, but they are only like $25-30 anyway. You'll still need a brew kettle which imo you shouldnt skimp on, dont go on Amazon and just order the cheapest 20q one you can find. Shell out $50-70 for a decent one, itll be decent enough to keep you going for quite some time.


Brewpots from AHS

But in all honesty I am novice, any info Im relaying Ive learned from reading up online and here from Mark and RDH. Ive been brewing for 4 months with 5 batches under my belt.

FYI dont do an all-grain triple as your first ever batch lol.
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Old 08-25-2010, 09:38 AM   #2434
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

Mark I got a quick question, maybe you can help me out.

I cracked open my last Belgian Triple that I brewed 4 months ago, my first batch. Now that I know a little more about brewing from forums and a few other batches under my belt, Im wondering why this might have happened.

When I crack open one of the 12oz bottles, they are so carbonated I have to pour it immediately, I cannot wait even half a second or its gonna bubble over and flow out of the top of the bottle! Some bottles were better than others but this was the case for the majority. Not surprisingly this causes an issue with head retention. What do you think would be the cause of this?

I have 2 guesses, one I used a different type of honey as the priming sugar than the recipe called for (called for orange blossom and I used a honey jar with the comb inside, ugh wtf?). My other guess is maybe I was under or over filling some of the bottles?
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Old 08-25-2010, 09:44 AM   #2435
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

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What do you think would be the cause of this?
The most likely culprit is too much sugar added when bottle conditioning. Probably the honey actually had a higher volume of sugar than the powdered version.

However, many triples I had - in fact, most - are pretty volatile, so you are probably not too far off at all. My buddy Bob from St. Somewhere does 750ml bottles and he instructs everyone he can to always uncork with your other hand over the top to prevent eye loss.

By any chance, did you use Champagne yeast when bottling as well?
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Old 08-25-2010, 09:58 AM   #2436
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

wrt to the honey, thats kind of what I thought. I was pissed bc I couldnt find the orange blossom at the grocery store so I just snagged whatever I saw, lol noob. Then 2 days later I was at Trader Joes again, ahhh they have it wtf?

Quote:
By any chance, did you use Champagne yeast when bottling as well?
I wish I wrote it down, I just checked the website where I got it from and it doesnt say in the instructions.

Just racked a PSA IPA last night, I hit my OG and FG spot on which I was happy about. That was a problem for me with my last batch actually, right on 5.5% ABV.
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Old 08-25-2010, 10:21 AM   #2437
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

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Originally Posted by Markusgc View Post
Yeah, capping is pretty easy.

or you could always get a couple of Party Pigs
Those look like they would be just the trick. I was going to ask about kegging the beer instead of bottling it, but I guess that question has been answered.
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Old 08-25-2010, 10:35 AM   #2438
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

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Originally Posted by Ineedaride2 View Post
I'm really, really close to pulling the trigger on a home brew kit and giving it a try. People have about 24 hours to talk me into it or out of it.

Seriously, is it worth the hassle? I enjoy doing things just to do them, but how's the beer? I'm always scared that people think it's better than it actually is because they sunk a month into making it.
Whether it's worth the hassle is up to you. If it ends up being a labor of love it doesn't seem like a hassle any more than a round of golf does for a recreational golfer. IMO homebrewing is not about 'having beer'...it's about the brewing process.

It's called pretty baby syndrome. Everybody thinks their baby is cuter or their dog is smarter or their beer is better. Totally natural.

Quote:
Also, why do I keep reading about bottle capping failures? Do the caps not seal on a regular basis?
Not sure unless it's a bottle bomb thing. I've never had problems getting good a seal and I use a cheapo wing-capper.

Quote:
Lastly, and this is one I really don't get. From what I'm reading, sanitation is very important. Sanitize, sanitize, sanitize. But beer's been around a whole lot longer than sanitary practices. Why is it so important now when it couldn't have been hundreds of years ago? Did beer just suck back then?
Long ago it wasn't a matter of IF the beer would spoil but WHEN. Most homebrewed beer has some amount of contamination but it's usually not enough to ruin the beer. Spoiled beer will just taste bad, it won't make you sick, no known pathogens can survive in beer. Sanitizing is important but even more important is cleanliness. If everything is clean then more than half that battle is done and you can't sanitize something that's dirty anyway. It's more of an extra step to try and reduce the risk of contamination as much as possible.

Between the two products PBW (Powdered Brewery Wash) and Starsan, keeping everything clean and sanitized is very easy. They aren't cheap though. If you have reasonably soft water (or are just trying a batch or two) you can use Oxiclean Free instead of PBW. Mix Starsan with Distilled water and it will last for weeks/months.

Give it a shot, it may stick or it may not but you won't be out much, you'll likely learn something, and you'll have something to share with your friends/family...or worst enemies.
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Old 08-25-2010, 10:52 AM   #2439
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

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This is a pretty decent kit, it comes with a lot of stuff that some kits dont. Well at least my kit that didnt.

IMO though, go for this kit. Austin Homebrew and Northern Brewer seem to be the best for ordering anything online.

http://www.austinhomebrew.com/produc...ducts_id=11357

My only gripe is for $135 they should be giving you a glass carboy imo, but they are only like $25-30 anyway. You'll still need a brew kettle which imo you shouldnt skimp on, dont go on Amazon and just order the cheapest 20q one you can find. Shell out $50-70 for a decent one, itll be decent enough to keep you going for quite some time.


Brewpots from AHS

But in all honesty I am novice, any info Im relaying Ive learned from reading up online and here from Mark and RDH. Ive been brewing for 4 months with 5 batches under my belt.

FYI dont do an all-grain triple as your first ever batch lol.
Just noticed that the kit I linked to didn't appear to come with a carboy. I'll go with your kit link.
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Old 08-25-2010, 11:23 AM   #2440
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

Those kits look good, go with the glass carboy. You will also need nylon brushes to clean carboys and bottles, a capper and caps. I'd get a wine thief too. And as has been said, don't skimp on the brew pot.
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Old 08-25-2010, 11:30 AM   #2441
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

I was actually looking to get a wine thief, for extracting during fermentation to test your gravity?

When you do that do you toss what youve extracted or dump it back in?
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Old 08-25-2010, 12:04 PM   #2442
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

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Those kits look good, go with the glass carboy. You will also need nylon brushes to clean carboys and bottles, a capper and caps. I'd get a wine thief too. And as has been said, don't skimp on the brew pot.
How many quarts should the brew pot be? Also, looks like a lot of recipes require a second pot if you use extra "ingredients." Go ahead and order a smaller brew pot at the same time? If so, what size?

Edit:

Quote:
My only gripe is for $135 they should be giving you a glass carboy imo, but they are only like $25-30 anyway. You'll still need a brew kettle which imo you shouldnt skimp on, dont go on Amazon and just order the cheapest 20q one you can find. Shell out $50-70 for a decent one, itll be decent enough to keep you going for quite some time.
I missed where coff mentioned 20 q in there.
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Old 08-25-2010, 12:08 PM   #2443
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

Hell, let me just ask a BUNCH of questions.

I just remembered that I have a pretty nice pot which I -think- is 20 quarts that I was going to use for frying turkeys. Can you use these pots to cook with when you're not brewing with them (assuming you clean them up properly afterwards) or is it recommended that you just brew in them?

(I swear I'm reading "How to Brew:" right now. I've just got tons of questions and am about ready to buy some tools)
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Old 08-25-2010, 12:47 PM   #2444
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

Never return the hydro sample to the beer, just taste it and dump the rest. I've had a wine thief for a while now and have yet to use it (or have a need to use it). But I'm one of those brewers that doesn't take a lot of gravity readings. Usually just one pre-fermentation and one post-fermentation and I don't need a wine thief for either.

Kettle size is kind of a loaded question. Ideally it's better to do full boils but then you have to chill that entire volume (or brew 'no chill' like the aussies do). If you do partial boils you can just stick the pot (which is much smaller than that required for full boils) in an ice bath and top off with cool water. For just starting out I'd just use the 20 qt pot, chill it in an ice bath in your sink, and top off with cool water in the fermenter.

For partial mashes, for just starting out I'd get a grain bag and use the single pot.

You can use the pots for cooking but obv they must be thoroughly cleaned and rinsed. You don't want any oils/grease whatsoever and no soap/detergent residue either (both kill head).

Regarding the brushes for bottles/carboys: If you use PBW you won't need them. Just soak and rinse...done. It's worth the price just for this convenience imo. It's amazing stuff. Oxiclean Free works too but if you have hard water will leave a thin film, I have hard water so I use PBW (PBW rinses easier/better).
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Old 08-25-2010, 12:48 PM   #2445
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

The more I talk about this the more I learn and I know the more knowledgeable brewers itt the thread feel the same way.

Im a nit when it comes to sanitization, so I would say dont use a multi-purpose pot. Just get a pot a label it "get the **** away from my damn brewpot" and leave your Turkey pot for the Turkeys.
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Old 08-25-2010, 12:51 PM   #2446
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

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Originally Posted by Ineedaride2 View Post
How many quarts should the brew pot be? Also, looks like a lot of recipes require a second pot if you use extra "ingredients." Go ahead and order a smaller brew pot at the same time? If so, what size?
Elaborate on this, bc all-grain recipes require a 2nd pot most of the time (well the on I did). I wouldnt jump into all-grain recipes right off the bat, stick with extract batches.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DonkeyChip View Post
Never return the hydro sample to the beer, just taste it and dump the rest. I've had a wine thief for a while now and have yet to use it (or have a need to use it). But I'm one of those brewers that doesn't take a lot of gravity readings. Usually just one pre-fermentation and one post-fermentation and I don't need a wine thief for either.
Yea thats what I assumed, I only take the SG and FG as well but I still think Id like to have one of these around just in case.
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Old 08-25-2010, 01:12 PM   #2447
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

Thanks for the information, everybody.
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Old 08-25-2010, 02:25 PM   #2448
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

I'll add my 2 cents. Ask 5 homebrewers a question and you'll get 7 answers. For the most part no one is right and no one is wrong, there's just different levels of experience and conviction ( and budgets ).

In the end we all just want to make good beer and most debates should just be left at that.

Right off the bat I'll invite criticism and advise you to jump right into all grain. It's not harder. It doesn't take longer. It's more fun. It tastes better.

Above all else: stay sanitized. First step of brew day should be fill a large pot and fill it with sanitizer and water. Dunk everything you use into this pot before you put it anywhere near your beer. Without sanitation there is no good beer. Never take shortcuts with sanitation. The minute you tell yourself "it probably won't hurt if ... " the infections have already won. Sanitation just becomes second nature and it's not a big deal at all once you get your process down.

First equipment purchase: you're never going to be happy with your equipment. There's always some other trinket to add on or swap out. My advice is to start with one of the basic kits and not start dumping money into it until you have actually brewed a couple batches. Then you'll discover what sucks about working with your system and you can improve upon it. If you hate brewing you can always CL your stuff for probably 75% what you bought it for.

First batches: stay simple. Very simple. My first or second batch was something like a Cherry Chocolate Stout that mandated cherry puree. It was bad and got me off on the wrong foot. Just about any of the $20 or $25 recipe kits from Northern Brewer are going to be *excellent* introductory batches:

IPA: http://www.northernbrewer.com/brewin...grain-kit.html
Stout: http://www.northernbrewer.com/brewin...grain-kit.html
Red: http://www.northernbrewer.com/brewin...grain-kit.html

Your first couple batches, no matter which path you take ( all grain vs extract ), you're going to be mentally overwhelmed by the process and trying to remember everything you've ever heard or read. Keep it simple: you're making flavored water. Heat up water, add grains, water pulls sugar from the grains, boil the water, add hops, add yeast to convert sugar to alcohol, drink.

A couple specifics that work for me ... the complete opposite can and does work for many others:

Use plastic fermenters rather than glass. Glass can explode, freeze, crack. These are awesome: http://www.northernbrewer.com/brewin...-6-gallon.html

Buy starsan rather than any of the powdered sanitizers. It's practically idiot proof. As mentioned above, fill a large pot with water, add an ounce of starsan and you have your sanitizing bucket for the entire day.

If you're going to buy something, buy excess capacity. You're going to start with 5g batches, buy a 6g fermenter ( linked above ). If you don't already have a boil kettle, buy larger than 20qt ( 5g ). If you're going to spend any money, it's not going to cost much more to buy the next size up.

Read, *a lot*. But take it one step at a time. http://www.homebrewtalk.com/ is invaluable.

Before brew day visualize the entire process. If you can't visualize every step, read your instructions again or read online until you can see everything. YouTube has some great stuff as well.

Homebrewing has a great community. No one will ever *not* answer your question even tho there's nothing new under the sun. PM me if you want to ask anything, but this beginners forum has answered every question 50 times already and they'll answer each 50 more times: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/

Sounds cliche but above all else, have fun, you're making beer. I take quite a bit of pride when my neighbors hand me their pint glass and ask for another. It's a great hobby.
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Old 08-25-2010, 02:50 PM   #2449
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

Good stuff rapidacid, just two things (imo):
Quote:
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Right off the bat I'll invite criticism and advise you to jump right into all grain. It's not harder. It doesn't take longer. It's more fun. It tastes better.
I disagree that it's not harder and doesn't take longer. IMO, doing a full mash is more work and takes longer than just mixing extract with water. Just the saccarification rest is usually about an hour and the lauter/sparge can take almost that long as well. Totally agree on 'more fun'. 'Tastes better' is subjective and the other side of the coin is that there is more stuff to **** up when brewing all-grain. 'Has the potential to taste better' seems more accurate.

Quote:
Above all else: stay sanitized. First step of brew day should be fill a large pot and fill it with sanitizer and water. Dunk everything you use into this pot before you put it anywhere near your beer. Without sanitation there is no good beer. Never take shortcuts with sanitation. The minute you tell yourself "it probably won't hurt if ... " the infections have already won. Sanitation just becomes second nature and it's not a big deal at all once you get your process down.
Anything preboil doesn't need to be sanitized since the boil will sanitize the wort. Certainly won't hurt to sanitize everything but it's a little more work and not necessary. I've never sanitized my mash tun. Everything should be clean though.
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Old 08-25-2010, 03:30 PM   #2450
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

Ah wtf, all this brew talk got me excited so I went to my local brew shop for some Octoberfest ingredients. I told him I was in need a new blowoff tube, he asked why.

I told him that my 2 glass carboys bubble over pretty violently in the first 48 hrs of fermentation. He responds "wait, what size carboy are you using?" I informed him I was using the 5 gallon one that came with my kit.

Ugh wtf was I doing, so he suckered me into buying a plastic bucket which I now regret, I should have just gotten one of those better bottles. Oh well Im buying one anyway. But I need some reasurrance that he is correct, my batches have turned out fine should I stick with what Ive been doing?

I think this is what rapacid is talking about wrt to buying equipment.

Last edited by Coff; 08-25-2010 at 03:51 PM.
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