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  #21  
Old 11-28-2007, 11:25 AM
RunDownHouse RunDownHouse is offline
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Default Re: any homebrewers?

Bald,

I live in a pretty small apartment. There's hardly enough room in the kitchen for two people, and I'm still able to make beer with minimal problems.

The thing is, the boiling part of the beer takes stove-top space, and the fermenting part takes... well, however much beer you made. If you make a 5 gallon batch, you're going to need just a bit more than 5 gallons worth of space. Maybe you've heard that Mr. Beer takes up less room, which is true, but that's because the fermenter is 2 gallons. Making small batches is fine, but 1) if you have room for the mostly-horizontal Mr. Beer fermenter, I bet you have room for a 5-gallon bucket, and 2) there's a reason most homebrewers eventually move to doing 10-gallon batches: it takes a minimal amount of extra effort to make 10 gallons as it does to make 2.

When you're doing extract, as in a Mr. Beer kit or most other starter kits, you basically boil your water and extract, adding hops as you go, cool it down so the yeast you throw in don't die, and then sit it in a corner for a couple weeks. Seen that way, how much space you need is dependent on how much you make and how much will fit in your corner, not whether you use Mr. Beer or whatever.

For me, it comes down to whether I want to spend a few hours making 2 gallons of beer or 5 gallons or 10 gallons. If you buy a Mr. Beer fermenter and a food-grade bucket, and use the same process and ingredients, theoretically you'll come out with identical beers (after all, Mr. Beer's gimmicky brown plastic barrel is just a food-grade bucket). The difference is that you'll have 2 gallons of said beer coming from the Mr. Beer setup, and 5+ from your other setup.

Besides negligible or non-existent differences in footprint and difficulty, there are a number of reasons you'd be better off with a starter kit like the one linked from northernbrewer. But in any case, spend a few minutes on basic research, and then go to your local shop and talk to somebody. They'll be more than happy to help.
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  #22  
Old 11-28-2007, 12:48 PM
Kneel B4 Zod Kneel B4 Zod is offline
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Default Re: any homebrewers?

whoah. I just had a "6 minute abs!" moment.

I've been doing 5 gallons this whole time, and actually split it with my buddy (it's like a little man-night get together for us).

when you do 10, do you buy 10 gallon equipment? or 2 sets of 5 gallon equipment?
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  #23  
Old 11-28-2007, 01:30 PM
GovmentCheese GovmentCheese is offline
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Location: Madison, WI
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Default Re: any homebrewers?

[ QUOTE ]
whoah. I just had a "6 minute abs!" moment.

I've been doing 5 gallons this whole time, and actually split it with my buddy (it's like a little man-night get together for us).

when you do 10, do you buy 10 gallon equipment? or 2 sets of 5 gallon equipment?

[/ QUOTE ]

Right now I brew with a friend who just happened to have his own equipment. Every time we brew, we make 2 styles.. and split the beer. So, I still end up with 5 gals, but with 2 different styles of beer. If one beer goes bad or something happens.. it's unlikely both go bad. It's a sweet setup.
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  #24  
Old 11-28-2007, 03:20 PM
Badger Badger is offline
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Default Re: any homebrewers?

I'd like to add a not on siphoning. I had an auto siphon but I broke it. I prefer not to use it anyways as my method is fast and effective.

With everything sanitized fill the siphoning tube with water. Put your thumb over the end of the tube beer will flow out of. Bend the top of the tube as much as it needs to be so you can insert it into the carboy/bucket without your hand touching the beer. Remove thumb and as soon as beer is flowing and not water move the pour from a bowl to whatever the desired receptacle is.

This may be standard practice, but I suck started my first few batches, which wasn't easy as I tried to find ways to avoid mouth-hose contact.

My first brew was also a nut brown. I've never had a batch go bad, but my nut brown was my only failure. I bought all my equipment used from somebody at work. Bottling night happened post midnight on the night before a hiking trip. I had some friends over who were helping bottle and organize gear for 16 people. It was then that we realized my capper didn't work with the bottles I had been given. It was too late to go buy beer to make empties, so my first batch went to waste.

Moral of the story: Don't use that crappy wing-nut looking capper. Buy the stand with the pull down arm, or keg.

Good luck and happy brewing.
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  #25  
Old 11-28-2007, 05:26 PM
BaldElephant BaldElephant is offline
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Default Re: any homebrewers?

Rundown,

Yeah, I suppose it's not a huge difference in space between the 2 gallon Mr. Beer and the 5 Gallon system. But, I have no need for 5 or 10 gallons of beer! Although I really enjoy beer, I don't drink all that often. I figure I can try more recipes and get more variety if I'm making 2 gallon batches. In fact, I think I would prefer a smaller system just so that the batches don't have to be so big. But, alas, the only small kit I've seen is the Mr. Beer kit.

<lightbulb>I suppose I could buy a regular kit and just make smaller batches though! Right???

Also, another question... How long does this homemade beer keep for?
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  #26  
Old 11-28-2007, 07:08 PM
RunDownHouse RunDownHouse is offline
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Default Re: any homebrewers?

[ QUOTE ]
when you do 10, do you buy 10 gallon equipment? or 2 sets of 5 gallon equipment?

[/ QUOTE ]
It's all about the boil. Most people that do more than 5 gallons split the batch into a couple fermenters, but the boil all takes place in the same vessel. If you're still on the stove, I really doubt you're going to be able to bring 13 or so gallons up to a boil. Lots of people use a commercial keg that has had the top sliced off and a valve added (a keggle) and a propane burner and brew outside. I have a 15-gallon pot as opposed to a keggle. When you start doing the bigger volumes, it pays to think about the physics before you decide what boil kettle to get. By "physics," I mean, "How am I going to move this 100-pound pot full of boiling wort around so I can cool it and get it in my fermenter?"

Other than physically being able to hold the volume and bring it to a boil, it's the same to do 5 gallons or 10 gallons or 10 barrels.

[ QUOTE ]
But, I have no need for 5 or 10 gallons of beer!

[/ QUOTE ]
That's fine, and lots of people do smaller batches. A pro brewer with Sierra Nevada is experimenting with brewing a single bottle of beer. But don't be daunted by numbers, either. Keep in mind that two gallons is going to be ~20 12-ounce bottles and 5 gallons is going to be ~48 12-ounce bottles. You'll typically get a bit less beer into the bottle than the total volume in your fermenter because coagulated proteins, dead/inactive yeast, etc, drops to the bottom of your fermenter and forms a sludgy mess known as the trub. And nobody bottles the trub.

[ QUOTE ]
I suppose I could buy a regular kit and just make smaller batches though! Right???


[/ QUOTE ]Yes... with a sort of qualification. You don't want a fermenter that's tooooo big for your volume of fermenting beer. You do want some excess room, as the wort (unfermented beer) will be generating a bunch of CO2 and foaming up, so you either need enough headspace in the fermenter to contain it or a way for it to blow off, as Govment Cheese discovered in the third or so post in this thread. At the same time, you wouldn't want to ferment one gallon of beer in a 40-gallon fermenter, because there'd be too much room and not enough CO2 generated. I'd think 2-3 gallons in a 5-gallon bucket would be just fine. I've never done it, but I can't imagine that'd be a problem.

[ QUOTE ]
Also, another question... How long does this homemade beer keep for?

[/ QUOTE ]
Just as long as any other unpasteurized beer, which many microbrews are. Assuming you don't have any infections or oxidization problems, your beer will be fine for months. Even after that, it will be "ok" in the sense of perfectly fine to drink, but the taste will start to mellow then dull the longer it sits after a certain point. The higher the ABV and the more hops, generally the longer until peak flavor. Something like your nut brown will probably be best to drink within 6 months; a monster 10% American Barleywine will probably not be great until it has sat for a couple months, and won't peak until 9-12 months out. Part of the fun is tasting your beer over intervals and seeing how it changes.
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  #27  
Old 11-28-2007, 07:28 PM
Grasshopp3r Grasshopp3r is offline
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Default Re: any homebrewers?

I have fermented apple cider in their gallon jugs by getting a rubber stopper to fit and rigging up a blow out tube in the hole. Hard cider is good.
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