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Does anyone brew their own beer?

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by JDC1, Aug 18, 2011.

  1. Danno77

    Danno77 Minister of Fire

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    I heard something about regular paper and milk?!?!?

    I'll just be using some sticky label paper that I ordered from a brewing website.

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  2. pyper

    pyper New Member

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    Only way I ever did it. Just wipe on the milk and put the label on the bottle. Sticks like glue (pun intended)>

    Easy to remove too -- just soak in water and they come right off.

    I have some that I put on bottles over 10 years ago (anniversary barleywine) and they are still stuck strong.

    Regarding the cider -- I have a batch (in process) made from pasteurized grocery store cider and dry Red Star montreche yeast. If you use grocery store cider, avoid the kind with preservatives since they can inhibit the yeast. It was old yeast, so it's not going very well. The next batch will be better though -- I'm going to drain the cider off the yeast and pour in more cider.

    It will ferment better if you shake air into it before adding yeast.

    A friend of mine used to use raisins as a yeast source for cider. Makes sense, but I never tried it.
  3. JDC1

    JDC1 Feeling the Heat

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    I had a witbier yeast contaminate a keg of brown ale, it tasted like dark witbier. Would the raisins bring unpredictable yeast with them or do the carry a consistent yeast. I like idea of champagne yeast to make a repeatable cider.
  4. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    I use the heat because it also aids in dissolving the sugar and getting even dispersement of the spices. Just remember you do not boil cider or for that matter any fruit juice mixtures, if you do you are heading for jelly.
  5. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    I'm thinking I may need to make a trip to Standish at some point in the future. ;) :)
  6. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    Shouldn't your label have an old man setting on a milk crate splitting ash with a scowl on his face?
  7. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    We had some hard apple cider made with champagne yeast over the holidays. It was fantastic. I have to try this!
  8. pyper

    pyper New Member

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    This is the yeast I use for any sort of fruit. It always works well, without introducing flavors:

    http://www.williamsbrewing.com/RED-STAR-MONTRACHET-YEAST-P1276C128.aspx

    For $0.75 a pack, it's hard for me to justify playing with raisins. I suspect they'd be good though -- when they make wine the traditional way it's just grapes with the yeast that's on them.

    I used champagne yeast to finish a beer once and it definitely added flavors.
  9. Danno77

    Danno77 Minister of Fire

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    I don't speak much German, so if the online translator is right, then this says "Make Firewood Vertically... Drink beer until you are horizontal"

    Best I could do on short notice...
    [​IMG]
  10. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    Or maybe it says "Drink too much of this and it will kick your ash!"
  11. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

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    Champagne yeast is all I have used in my cider - I usually add extra fermentables as well - last year I made a batch that was technically a mead based on honey content. Since then, I have purchased a 3 gallon carboy and this winter will make two, three gallon batches - one with added fermentables, one without. Last year I did a single 5 gallon batch. I also have a St. Paul porter in secondary right next to the cider.

    My labeling consists of a sharpie mark on the cap as well!

    I did make a batch of wine and we had labels made up for it - sort of fun to do.
  12. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Over Xmas I had 15 family members over and we consumed a pretty good quantity of my latest hard cider. It was wonderful. All commercial cider sold must be pasteurized. This is a good thing so long as they don't do it with chemicals. We bought cider from a local orchard in Enumclaw that does it with temperature. 5.5 gallons of honeycrisp cider that was very sweet and cloudy.

    So I then added 2#s of brown sugar to bump up the alcohol content. I did this by warming up a half gallon of cider until it steamed and then dissolving the sugar in that pot, then add to the fermenter along with the remaining 4.5 gallons and the yeast load. I use nottingham ale yeast since I do not like the taste of wine or champagne.

    Cider is very easy to make. No heating is required, commercial cider is prepasteurized so no campden tablets (sulfites=yuk), yeast of your choice and let it work. Beer is much more difficult.

    The cider in this last batch was high quality and the finished product really was superior to my "proof of concept" run with motts supermarket cider.
  13. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

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    The pasteurization rule must vary by state - here in Ohio I purchase bulk cider from serveral orchards close to my house that press and sell their own - neither pastuerize but I believe one runs the cider through a UV filter. For anyone interested, I suggest talking with local orchard owners - at both places I mentioned I can drop off my own (cleaned and labeled) bucket and they'll fill it for me when they are pressing saving me $0.50/gallon. Great deal and supporting the locals.
  14. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Good point, it might be state law, not sure. Kinda like milk must be pasteurized, maybe also homogenized, before sale but if you know the farmer you can sometimes get him to sell you some raw milk.
  15. fredarm

    fredarm Minister of Fire

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    I've brewed several True Brew kits (a brown ale, red ale, a Canadian ale, and a porter) and had good luck with each of them. Time to brew another batch! Maybe an amber or pale ale. I've tried kegging and bottling and prefer the results with bottling. The keg is now used for making root beer for the kids.
  16. JDC1

    JDC1 Feeling the Heat

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    Thats funny, I thought I was the only one to like bottling over kegging. I like to taste the beer as it ages and my kegs seem to go to fast.
  17. pyper

    pyper New Member

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    In general, if your beer improves with age, it's a sign that there is some part of your process that can be improved.
  18. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Well now, the experts all seem to think that there is a peak of greatness between green beer and old beer.

    I've witnessed improved carbonation in beer and cider over time which I like. The beer didn't really taste better over time but the cider taste did improve over time.
  19. Agent

    Agent Member

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    I personally like to bottle vs keg as well, mostly because I don't like to take up fridge space with something that I couldn't stand to drink every single day.
    I also think there is more of a three way split as to beers and aging - 1) Aging helps hide minor flaws (who's perfect?) 2) Aging is not helpful (wheats/highly hopped brews) 3) Aging brings balance to the beer much like it does wine (Ever try a 2 month old barleywine vs a 2 year old one?)
  20. homebrewz

    homebrewz Minister of Fire

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    There is a certain "sweet spot" that can be found in certain beers. Generally, the stronger the beer the better it ages. I've also noticed that extract-based beer can benefit from a few months of aging.

    "A barleywine before its time is like a mountain without a peak" -Charlie Papazian
  21. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    There is a place for both. I like equally a fresh fresh hopped IPA just as much as a 4 year old barleywine. Finding a couple guys with similar tastes to share batches solved the too old problem for us. It also lets us consolidate the equipment investment, grow a lot more of the ingredients ourselves and the product never gets too old.
  22. fredarm

    fredarm Minister of Fire

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    On one of my batches, I bottled half and kegged half, aged it for the same amount of time, and tasted. I thought the bottled beer tasted better than the kegged beer. That was my unscientific test, and I've been bottling ever since.
  23. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    The UV setup is also known as cold pasteurization and is one of three legally allowed methods that can be used before selling to the public in most states, the other two are heat (165 degrees Fahrenheit or more, but not boiled), and chemical.

    You have to stay away from the ciders with preservatives as they will not ferment (almost all store cider is this way).
  24. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

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    I purchased plans to build my own "whizbang" cider press system from Herrick Kimball, link below, and hope to press my own soon:

    http://www.whizbangcider.com/
  25. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    That's pretty cool Tim. Solves a lot of the issues I have with mine. I can't imagine ever making cider in the kitchen though.

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