Author Topic: Homebrew thread  (Read 21771 times)

FerriswheelBueller

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Re: Homebrew thread
« Reply #120 on: April 19, 2020, 08:40:26 PM »
They were just two big teabags full of hops pellets, the instructions said to put them in a cup of boiling water and leave it for 10 minutes then chuck the lot in. It said to do it a week before the end of the brew for some kits and a couple of days before for American craft beers.

Should work no problem, but it isn’t a process I’m used to so seems unusual to me. I’m not the be all and end all though

Blue Jam

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Re: Homebrew thread
« Reply #121 on: April 19, 2020, 08:54:43 PM »
Day 2 and Kid CreVole is bubbling quite aggressively. Good. It's like having a pet this, isn't it?

FerriswheelBueller

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Re: Homebrew thread
« Reply #122 on: April 19, 2020, 11:15:34 PM »
Day 2 and Kid CreVole is bubbling quite aggressively. Good. It's like having a pet this, isn't it?

Better, as I very rarely drink my pets.

Blue Jam

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Re: Homebrew thread
« Reply #123 on: April 24, 2020, 03:04:10 PM »
Bottled the Kid CreVole today. Fermentation went like the clappers in this warmer weather. Opened the fermenter this morning and it smelled fucking heavenly. Saw a lovely layer of toasted coconut floating on top with a few islands of a waxy substance which I realised was coconut oil. Made a health beer here lads.

It's just bottle-conditioning now and I can't wait to taste the chilled, carbonated finished product. I wish I could send you all a bottle because I tried the flat beer and I am chuffed to fuck with it. The coconut is strong in this one and it really brings out the chocolate notes of the St. Peter's Honey Flavoured Porter.

Not going to use the yeast for baking this time. I hate to waste yeast because yeast is a beautiful thing and I had wanted to make coconut bread with this batch but in the end I just chucked it because it tastes really fucking weird, a bit like coconut-infused Marmite. It might be good for something but I can't imagine what.

Now to get working on another daft label and plan my next batch. That one will be the Glory Vole.

FerriswheelBueller

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Re: Homebrew thread
« Reply #124 on: April 24, 2020, 03:25:45 PM »
I gave this a go, but also gave it a wee stir with one of the hops bags I chucked in there. Looks like it's reading 1016-1014 so it's still slowly coming down and there was more froth on the top of it so it's still going I think. Will give it another couple of days. The hops bags have given it a hoppy taste already. Possibly too much for my liking.

Did you bottle this in the end? I bet it’s nice.

sirhenry

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Re: Homebrew thread
« Reply #125 on: April 24, 2020, 04:09:43 PM »
The smoked pasilla mead is finally ready for bottling. Tastes so good I've started another couple of demijohns of the stuff. At least that way there might be some left for my birthday in August.

touchingcloth

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Re: Homebrew thread
« Reply #126 on: April 24, 2020, 07:09:03 PM »
Bottled the Kid CreVole today. Fermentation went like the clappers in this warmer weather. Opened the fermenter this morning and it smelled fucking heavenly. Saw a lovely layer of toasted coconut floating on top with a few islands of a waxy substance which I realised was coconut oil. Made a health beer here lads.

It's just bottle-conditioning now and I can't wait to taste the chilled, carbonated finished product. I wish I could send you all a bottle because I tried the flat beer and I am chuffed to fuck with it. The coconut is strong in this one and it really brings out the chocolate notes of the St. Peter's Honey Flavoured Porter.

Not going to use the yeast for baking this time. I hate to waste yeast because yeast is a beautiful thing and I had wanted to make coconut bread with this batch but in the end I just chucked it because it tastes really fucking weird, a bit like coconut-infused Marmite. It might be good for something but I can't imagine what.

Now to get working on another daft label and plan my next batch. That one will be the Glory Vole.

Make Glory Vole in the same way, but leave the floating coagulated islands in and tell people it’s gen-you-wine cum.

Sebastian Cobb

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Re: Homebrew thread
« Reply #127 on: April 24, 2020, 07:13:17 PM »
Did you bottle this in the end? I bet it’s nice.

It was down to 1012 when I checked yesterday. I'll check it again tomorrow and if it hasn't budged get it bottled Sunday I think.

That reminds me. I found out when I first went to do all this my hydrometer vase got all bashed up and had split at the bottom. I managed to fix that by putting the cap on the bottom and judicious use of electrical tape (obviously I sterilise it all). Is it possible to buy just the vases or some tubing to replace it. It seems a waste to buy a new hydrometer, although they are only £3.50 from Wilko. I wouldn't bother if it was more stubby but it bottoms out in most of my glasses.

FerriswheelBueller

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Re: Homebrew thread
« Reply #128 on: April 24, 2020, 07:55:13 PM »
It was down to 1012 when I checked yesterday. I'll check it again tomorrow and if it hasn't budged get it bottled Sunday I think.

That reminds me. I found out when I first went to do all this my hydrometer vase got all bashed up and had split at the bottom. I managed to fix that by putting the cap on the bottom and judicious use of electrical tape (obviously I sterilise it all). Is it possible to buy just the vases or some tubing to replace it. It seems a waste to buy a new hydrometer, although they are only £3.50 from Wilko. I wouldn't bother if it was more stubby but it bottoms out in most of my glasses.

You mean the long test tube thing you fill with beer and pop the hydrometer in? Yeah any old bit of tubing or a tall glass will replace that, but you don’t really need one - you can pop your hydrometer (sterilized and rinsed) directly into your brew bucket and it’ll do the same job (but will be more of a pain in the arse to read).

One caveat to that - those things break really easily, and splintered glass in a batch of homebrew means you have to ditch the lot for safety reasons because there’s really no way of filtering it out and it’s not worth the risk.

The fear of getting glass in my brew (which happened to a maple porter I still lose sleep over... it was too beautiful to live) meant that I got one of these like flashy brewing cunt which does the job and looks very scientific while I do it.

https://www.amazon.ca/Refractometer-Measuring-Equipment-Temperature-Compensation/dp/B01LW4HHRC/ref=sr_1_5?crid=239LUFS64V6BV&keywords=brix+refractometer&qid=1587754385&sprefix=Brix+refr%2Caps%2C149&sr=8-5

FerriswheelBueller

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Re: Homebrew thread
« Reply #129 on: April 24, 2020, 07:56:17 PM »
The smoked pasilla mead is finally ready for bottling. Tastes so good I've started another couple of demijohns of the stuff. At least that way there might be some left for my birthday in August.

I’ve never done a mead - how long do you age yours for? It’s one of those projects I’d love to do but lack the space for storage at the mo

Sebastian Cobb

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Re: Homebrew thread
« Reply #130 on: April 24, 2020, 07:57:56 PM »
You mean the long test tube thing you fill with beer and pop the hydrometer in? Yeah any old bit of tubing or a tall glass will replace that, but you don’t really need one - you can pop your hydrometer (sterilized and rinsed) directly into your brew bucket and it’ll do the same job (but will be more of a pain in the arse to read).

One caveat to that - those things break really easily, and splintered glass in a batch of homebrew means you have to ditch the lot for safety reasons because there’s really no way of filtering it out and it’s not worth the risk.

The fear of getting glass in my brew (which happened to a maple porter I still lose sleep over... it was too beautiful to live) meant that I got one of these like flashy brewing cunt which does the job and looks very scientific while I do it.

https://www.amazon.ca/Refractometer-Measuring-Equipment-Temperature-Compensation/dp/B01LW4HHRC/ref=sr_1_5?crid=239LUFS64V6BV&keywords=brix+refractometer&qid=1587754385&sprefix=Brix+refr%2Caps%2C149&sr=8-5

I tried it in the bucket but there's no way to get a decent reading at an angle. It's hard enough in tube.

FerriswheelBueller

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Re: Homebrew thread
« Reply #131 on: April 24, 2020, 08:00:30 PM »
Yeah it’s a pain. I used to wash hands and rinse them, then try to get my nail on the wort meniscus and pick it up out of the bucket keeping my hand in the same place, see where my nail is and read it like that, but it’s a lot of work vs a new tube thing for 3 quid.

Sebastian Cobb

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Re: Homebrew thread
« Reply #132 on: April 24, 2020, 08:05:58 PM »
One other question I had - how long would mixed steriliser keep for?

I use vwp powder, and it says to use 2 teaspoons for a gallon. So when it came to needing a small amount for the hydrometer and my hands, I had a 2.5l jug that used to hold deionised water so chucked a teaspoon in that and filled it and shook it and have been using it since so I don't have to mix it every time. Presumably that's fine given its job is to stop things living in it. I'll probably finish it off doing the bottles. I've got one of these deelys:



But I'll give them an overnight soak in soapy water first anyway. I've also got a drying tree.

FerriswheelBueller

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Re: Homebrew thread
« Reply #133 on: April 24, 2020, 08:11:48 PM »
Not familiar with the stuff, but depending on what you use it for I suspect you can keep it indefinitely? Most sterilizers I know of (for brewing anyway) keep things sterile via ph and I don’t think that’d change in a week or so. Not sure though.

I use diluted star san in a spray bottle and it’s a life saver. Doesn’t need rinsing and safe for human consumption so no worries if it goes on anything you end up putting in your beer, so if you aren’t sure you just give it another spray. You sterilized mate? Pshh pshhh you are now.

Sebastian Cobb

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Re: Homebrew thread
« Reply #134 on: April 24, 2020, 08:15:42 PM »
Yeah it sounds a lot easier and I reckon I'll get some of that when it runs out.

Google says vwp is bicarbonate/hydroxide, so a dilute bleach, basically.

FerriswheelBueller

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Re: Homebrew thread
« Reply #135 on: April 24, 2020, 08:18:40 PM »
I hear that’s a cure for the corona virus, you want to hold onto that

Sebastian Cobb

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Re: Homebrew thread
« Reply #136 on: April 24, 2020, 08:23:05 PM »
Maybe I should just spray everything with gt85, I managed to do that to the wasp that flew in to my makeshift office earlier. Serves me right for just reaching for something in the cupboard under the sink without bothering to read it I suppose.

sirhenry

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Re: Homebrew thread
« Reply #137 on: April 24, 2020, 08:35:40 PM »
I’ve never done a mead - how long do you age yours for? It’s one of those projects I’d love to do but lack the space for storage at the mo
Fermenting takes a couple of months, give or take (noticeably less when using yeast nutrient, usually within a month), then rack for a couple of weeks and then bottle.

You can drink it as soon as you bottle it, but the flavours usually improve over a year or so. The maple syrup one I made is going to take years to be drinkable, and even then may need backsweetening as it's painfully dry. On the other hand the smoked pasilla one may well all be gone by June. It varies drastically from one to another. Bottling it in beer bottles means you can test a batch every few months to see how it's developing - and by the time it's at its best there's usually just the one bottle left.

I've tried making 'short mead', which is a less alcoholic (strong beer strength), one month production. This is done using 1-1.5lb of honey per gallon rather than 3lb, but all I had was wine yeast so it ate it all up and left it tasteless and dry. I've just neutralised it with potassium sorbate and sodium metabisulphide and will add some honey to sweeten it tomorrow. I've bought some Belgian ale yeast so I'll see if that works better and leaves some flavour/sweetness in it.

It's dead easy to make as long as you have a good source of honey. I was given a lot of organic (unboiled) honey that tastes gorgeous, rich and dark, so it works well with darker flavours like smoke, red berries, etc. but you can use any honey, even something like Gales (processed as fuck with added sugar to bulk it out) as long as you add something else to flavour it.

FerriswheelBueller

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Re: Homebrew thread
« Reply #138 on: April 24, 2020, 08:40:12 PM »
Fermenting takes a couple of months, give or take (noticeably less when using yeast nutrient, usually within a month), then rack for a couple of weeks and then bottle.

You can drink it as soon as you bottle it, but the flavours usually improve over a year or so. The maple syrup one I made is going to take years to be drinkable, and even then may need backsweetening as it's painfully dry. On the other hand the smoked pasilla one may well all be gone by June. It varies drastically from one to another. Bottling it in beer bottles means you can test a batch every few months to see how it's developing - and by the time it's at its best there's usually just the one bottle left.

I've tried making 'short mead', which is a less alcoholic (strong beer strength), one month production. This is done using 1-1.5lb of honey per gallon rather than 3lb, but all I had was wine yeast so it ate it all up and left it tasteless and dry. I've just neutralised it with potassium sorbate and sodium metabisulphide and will add some honey to sweeten it tomorrow. I've bought some Belgian ale yeast so I'll see if that works better and leaves some flavour/sweetness in it.

It's dead easy to make as long as you have a good source of honey. I was given a lot of organic (unboiled) honey that tastes gorgeous, rich and dark, so it works well with darker flavours like smoke, red berries, etc. but you can use any honey, even something like Gales (processed as fuck with added sugar to bulk it out) as long as you add something else to flavour it.

Interesting, I%u2019ve never trusted myself with neutralizing and back sweetening, it%u2019s one of those things I%u2019d definitely fuck up and wake up in the middle of the night to exploding bottles. I%u2019ve heard the estimate of a year before, but %u201Cshort mead%u201D is a new one on me. I reckon some fancy honey at a farmers market would be just the job.

As soon as I get space, I%u2019m doing this. I like the idea of a carboy bubbling away somewhere for ages, then bottles ageing for months at a time. It%u2019s the sort of thing you make this Christmas in time for next Christmas.

Thanks for the info, appreciate it.

Sebastian Cobb

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Re: Homebrew thread
« Reply #139 on: April 25, 2020, 04:42:50 PM »
I was hoping to bottle this tomorrow but it looks like it's still going, it's at 1008 now, which is the bottom of the recommended range. The hoppiness has died down a bit too.

It's unlikely I'll bottle during the week, there's no real harm in it having another week is there?

Oh also I was talking to my old man and he said he's got a rotokeg in the loft I'm welcome to. That should make mixing the sugar in a second vessel like you describe easier I think. Or I could do the second fermentation in it and shove a soda stream bottle on it.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2020, 05:10:27 PM by Sebastian Cobb »

FerriswheelBueller

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Re: Homebrew thread
« Reply #140 on: April 25, 2020, 05:53:08 PM »
Yeah fine to leave it another week, sounds like it’ll be dry and crisp if it’s dipped below 1010 which is always nice. The hoppiness degrades pretty quickly, it’s why NEIPAs and similar styles have to be uber fresh, and people who get seriously into making them use hop-backs and keg-spiders and all that sort of caper. If you’re not mad into it, the hoppiness will be fine as is.

It’s all pretty difficult to get wrong tbh, if you make a bollocks of the hops/malt/yeast you can just say it’s a different style and no one will question you.

I don’t have experience with roto keg thing, but Blue Jam likes theirs I think

Sebastian Cobb

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Re: Homebrew thread
« Reply #141 on: April 25, 2020, 05:54:39 PM »
In all honesty I'm not mad for hops and if I bought the same kit again would consider leaving them out.

As I say, my first kit produced a lot of beer that gushed, I thought I might've contaminated the brew or bottles but now I'm thinking maybe I just bottled it too early.

I'm guessing if you contaminate a beer and skunk it becomes undrinkable rather than a bit off, because the one I got wrong was drinkable, you just had to open them over the sink.

FerriswheelBueller

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Re: Homebrew thread
« Reply #142 on: April 25, 2020, 05:56:27 PM »
A hop tea 2 weeks prior to bottling (with another ~2 weeks of bottle conditioning), the hops won’t be overpowering at all unless you used mad amounts. It’ll be grand.

Worst case, if you find it is too hoppy you can stick it in the fridge for another week to condition and they’ll have faded even more.

Sebastian Cobb

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Re: Homebrew thread
« Reply #143 on: May 02, 2020, 04:37:14 PM »
Hoping to do it this weekend. It's at 1006 now. All the foam has gone from the bucket and it's a lot clearer, I can read the hydrometer through the vase now where I couldn't before.

I'm going to pre-emptively put my bottles in to soak today. I'll probably sterilise them tomorrow and move the brew into my bathroom onto the upturned plastic box I soak them in and leave it to settle with a view to bottling Monday (it's a day off here).

Blue Jam

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Re: Homebrew thread
« Reply #144 on: May 02, 2020, 04:47:07 PM »
Kid Crevole with hastily cobbled-together clipart labels: DONE:



Glory Vole will be next. I might get the St. Peter's Golden Ale kit, brew up half as before, and when I know what it tastes like I'll decide what flavours I should add for the second batch.

I'd like to make a tonka bean porter at some point, and a vanilla and cardamom porter, but I'm a bit stumped for ideas for lighter ales. What flavours have you all tried?

FerriswheelBueller

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Re: Homebrew thread
« Reply #145 on: May 02, 2020, 05:05:21 PM »
Hoping to do it this weekend. It's at 1006 now. All the foam has gone from the bucket and it's a lot clearer, I can read the hydrometer through the vase now where I couldn't before.

I'm going to pre-emptively put my bottles in to soak today. I'll probably sterilise them tomorrow and move the brew into my bathroom onto the upturned plastic box I soak them in and leave it to settle with a view to bottling Monday (it's a day off here).

Lovely job. If you got gushers, it is unlikely it was contaminated. Just bottled a little to early or overcarbonated with bottling sugar. It’s also really tough to skunk a beer unless it is in a clear bottle and sitting in the sun for weeks. You’ll be alright.

Also loving the clipart labels, Jam. If you stick with ales, I’m a big fan of vanilla beans or toasted oak cubes which are nice in a lighter beer

Blue Jam

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Re: Homebrew thread
« Reply #146 on: May 02, 2020, 05:14:28 PM »
Also loving the clipart labels, Jam. If you stick with ales, I’m a big fan of vanilla beans or toasted oak cubes which are nice in a lighter beer

Cheers once again. I've read about toasted oak cubes and may have to order some with my next kit once Brewstore starts accepting orders again. Not sure about adding fruit to a lighter beer- I love Campervan's pineapple wheat beer but that is a rare thing indeed. Herbs and spices seem a bit of a minefield too. Coriander can be tricky to get right, and whenever I've tried lemongrass beers they've been really nice and refreshing for the first two sips and then they just start to taste like soap.

Ever tried tonka bean, Ferris? I once had a chocolate and tonka bean porter that was incredible. You know an ingredient must be good when it's banned in the US and chefs risk getting busted for using it anyway:

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2010/11/the-tonka-bean-an-ingredient-so-good-it-has-to-be-illegal/65616/

Another tasty ingredient which is banned for containing too much coumarin is bison grass, which is why you can't buy Zubrowka vodka in the US. I bet a bison grass beer would be amazing... Prairie Vole anyone?
« Last Edit: May 02, 2020, 05:25:00 PM by Blue Jam »

FerriswheelBueller

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Re: Homebrew thread
« Reply #147 on: May 02, 2020, 05:40:31 PM »
I did a blackberry light ale thing a few years ago. It wasn’t great, but I think that was more my fault than a problem with the idea. I think it’d be nice if you got it right.

I’ve never even heard of tonka berries! Surely they are made up.

Toasted oak cubes, that’s the ticket. If you can ferment a little on the warmer side (and if you do a grain brew, leave the lid on) and it’ll be extra oaky/buttery sort of. Mmmmm.

Blue Jam

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Re: Homebrew thread
« Reply #148 on: May 02, 2020, 05:45:54 PM »
Titanic once did a very nice blackberry ale:

https://www.ratebeer.com/beer/titanic-blackberry-gold/357706/

Tonka beans can be bought on Amazon. They're native to Brazil and they're used in fragrance and as a cheap vanilla substitute, which is weird because they taste a lot nicer and more complex. I first heard of them when I went to Restaurant Mark Greenaway in Embra and ordered the tonka bean ice cream and it was so nice I just had to try and recreate it at home. Tonka was a popular ingredient on Masterchef a few series back, every chef seemed to be using a laaaahverly bit o' tonka.

Oak sounds the way to go, will definitely be trying that, cheers. I'll also be getting some bison grass off eBay, found a few sellers who supply it as a vodka flavouring.

Sebastian Cobb

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Re: Homebrew thread
« Reply #149 on: May 02, 2020, 06:00:40 PM »
Nice labels!

I don't have a proper printer but I do have a tillroll/thermal printer kicking about from an abandoned project. I wonder if I could use that to print some lineart/vector labels if I got an adhesive roll.

Might have to be ascii art actually, I abandoned the project because I couldn't get the thing to print bitmaps which it is supposed to be able to do.

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