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Home brew help

Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 11:15 am
by theowl
Not sure if this should be in technical advice? Im about to start on a home brew kit ( ale ) that I got for chrimbo. Anyone on here had any experience/success with them? Its my first one so any tips would be handy. Cheers. theowl.

Re: Home brew help

Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 12:47 pm
by 850norton
I remember some mates had made some, over 30 years back, and they kept it in a cool dark place while it fermented. Had something to do with the process I think as well keeping it stable so it would pop the corks/caps off through too much pressure or something.

Re: Home brew help

Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 2:36 pm
by triumph5ta
Personally I find the kits that use concentrate never taste that good. But they are easy. If you want really good home brew its best to buy proper dried hops and so on. But... thats a lot more faff and takes up more space.
My only advice would be make sure all your kit is scrupulously clean. Especially bottles if you are using bottles.
A home brew plastic barrel is a good idea with a fitting for a CO2 bulb on the top. This is not to fizz up the beer but to fill the barrel as you draw the beer off. If you dont have that then beer will oxidise. Then your beer will taste like a pint that has been left out all night, it will be drinkable but well past its best. The CO2 sits on top the beer and keeps the air off it.
Its good fun though, go for it.

Re: Home brew help

Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 3:29 pm
by theowl
Thanks for that, I will look into to one of those co2 bulbs, cos bottling it sounds like a lot of faffing about. Believe Wilkinsons is good for home brew stuff? I am looking forward to it...

Re: Home brew help

Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 5:01 pm
by triumph5ta
You MIGHT get away without it. In theory as the beer ferments it releases CO2 which you gradually release by slackening off the lid on the top of the barrel. At the end of fermentation you have a barrel of beer with a layer of CO2 on top. Some CO2 will go into the beer giving it a bit of life , head and so on it depends how much you choose to let out and how fizzy or not you like your beer.
Then as you drink the beer you have to open the lid now and then to let air in. IN THEORY the CO2 on top of the beer will keep the air off.
OR if you brew it for a party and it all goes in one night it doesnt really matter... Cheersh!
The type of barrel im talking about is plastic with a tap at the bottom and a screw lid about 4" wide on the top like the basic one for £24.99 here:
http://www.art-of-brewing.co.uk/acatalo ... ___17.html

Re: Home brew help

Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 6:07 pm
by theowl
The interweb was my next stop so cheers for the link...surely 40 pints wont go in one night will it???

Re: Home brew help

Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 10:32 pm
by The Mighty Gusset
Clean and sterilise absolutely everything.
During the main brewing process just keep it somewhere where the temperature is reasonably stable - it doesn't need to be especially warm - it'll just take longer if it's cold.
Allow double the time anyway.
Empty plastic pop bottles are a cheap way of bottling the finished product - or one of those plastic camping water bottle things - but you'll have to vent off some of the excess pressure.
Storing it in bulk means it'll take a lot longer to 'condition' (become drinkable) than bottling it.

Rockerators - you might want to move this to the BEER section !

Re: Home brew help

Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 11:11 pm
by Hooli
The Mighty Gusset wrote:Rockerators - you might want to move this to the BEER section !


I was thinking Technical Advice tbh :D

Pub does sound the best place for beer mind, so hold the door...

Re: Home brew help

Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 11:29 pm
by The Mighty Gusset
I should've asked what you were planning on brewing it in.
You need a large (5 gallon or 45 pint is usual) brewing bin (bucket !) with a tight fitting lid.
It needs to be food-grade plastic (white or opaque usually)
This is where the beer will spend the first couple of weeks of it's life before being syphoned off into either a barrel or bottles.

You also need a length of syphon tube, preferably with a tap on one end and a sludge trap on the other.

Sterilising fluid for babies bottles is good enough - or you can buy powdered Sodium Metabisulphate (also sold as Campden Tablets) from brewing shops.

There is (or always used to be) a Home Brew stall inside Cov Market.

Re: Home brew help

Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 11:46 pm
by Old Codger
A long time since I used a kit, tend to make up my own recipes. However, I can only echo the comments made and advice given.

A decent Dark Ale;
2lb (1kg) Chocolate Malt;
2ld (1kg) Dark Malt Extract;
4oz (100g) Fuggles or Goldings hops;
Water to 5 gall.

Makes a decent tasting but not too strong ale.
Ingredients can be varied to suit taste.