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Thread: My Start To Homebrewing

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    Creepy Ass Cracka & Site Owner Ryan Ruck's Avatar
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    Default My Start To Homebrewing

    As most everyone here knows, I'm a big fan of beer!

    I've wanted to start homebrewing but it was always one of those things to get around to, especially since I had no idea what exactly I'd need to do it or how to even do it at all. Recently I ended up with a good deal on an entire homebrewing setup:





    It came with a bunch of bottles in an Oberon box so I knew it had to be a sign!

    Ended up with the whole setup for $140.

    I bought a new CO2 regulator since they suspected the old one could be bad for $25. I believe the CO2 canister needs filled but won't know for sure until I get the new regulator.

    I've since watched a number of YouTube videos on the subject and now have a decent grasp on what all the equipment does as well as equipment I didn't have but would need, like a beer gun so I could fill bottles from my kegs. The bottle filling wand listed can only be used if you're going straight from the carboy to bottles. I want to keep my brew in the kegs for less work and only bottle as needed, hence the need for the beer gun to dispense from the kegs.

    One of the biggest reasons I wanted to get into homebrewing was so that I could enjoy Oberon (or a very close approximation of it) year round since it is seasonal. So, with all that sorted, I went ahead and ordered an extract kit that is advertised as being an Oberon clone. This ended up being about $55 shipped, which on it's own would put my Oberon clone in the $11/gallon range instead of the $25/1.25 gallon range of the mini-kegs when they can be found.

    Doing the math on all of the equipment plus kit price, it will end up working out to needing to brew about 3 batches before I start to break even. That shouldn't take too long though.

    Right now the beer kit, some additional sanitizer, the regulator, and a beer gun are all inbound. Once I have the kit I'll get started since the brew needs time in primary and secondary fermentation before it can even be kegged, which would require use of the CO2, regulator, and beer gun so I can get started without those.

    I will update this thread with progress on my first batch as it happens...

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    Senior Member Toad's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Start To Homebrewing

    Congrat's Ryan! My first delve into homebrewing was 1991 and nearly 50 batches later I don't brew as often as I first did, it's still a fun Sat/Sunday afternoon hobby. (With benefits...) It also lead to home winemaking which I do more often now, and a epically failed attempt at home distilling. (Distilled well, just tasted like jet fuel.)


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    Creepy Ass Cracka & Site Owner Ryan Ruck's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Start To Homebrewing

    Thanks Toad!

    Big Brown Truck just dropped off my Oberon clone kit:




    Directions look simple enough.

    The only thing I'm unsure about though is Step 8 where it says "The wort will begin to ferment within 24 hours. When fermentation is complete..." But it doesn't say how long that would be and I'm not sure what complete fermentation would look like. In Step 9 though it says if you're only doing a single stage to leave it in the primary for another week, as though it should be 1 week in Step 8. It also doesn't specify if I should do single or 2 stage fermentation on this and, I have no idea what the pros and cons are of single versus 2 stage except I remember seeing 2 stage will leave behind some of the sediment in the first fermenter. I guess I need to do some looking to see if anyone has posted anything about this specific recipe/kit.

    I did add a bag of their Brew Vint alcohol boost to the order which is supposed to boost the ABV by 1%. I figured this was a good idea since their recipe says this kit as is should come out to 5.1% ABV while real Oberon is 5.8%.

    It looks like it may also be a good idea to get a hydrometer too since I don't have one of those.

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    Senior Member Toad's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Start To Homebrewing

    Hey Ryan,

    Single stage fermentation is better suited to lighter, lower alcohol beers. They ferment out quicker because there's fewer sugars to ferment out to alcohol. 2 stage ferments are more for the bigger bolder higher alcohol beers. They will often start with a robust fermentation then slow down as the rising alcohol content slows down the yeast action. After about a week when the airlock at the top of your fermenter slows down to 1 bubble a second or less, you draw off the liquid from the sediment as that sediment is all dead yeast and the longer your beer sits on it some "off flavors" can start to develop. Not bad flavors, but typically not what you're looking for. Don't worry, the liquid has PLENTY of life yeast still in it.

    You definitely want a hydrometer. If your recipe or kit is calculated out to be 5.8% ABV and you bottle/keg it prior to reaching that, you're going to have a sweet beer. The sugars haven't fermented all the way out. Worst, it keeps fermenting in your bottles and you wake up at 3am to the sound of New Years Eve in your beer storage area as bottle blow. A keg won't do that until you try to tap it then you get a beer bath. On the flip side, your beer may have already reached it's 5.8% and it's just sitting there sucking up off-flavors from the sediment.

    Most of all, don't get discouraged. Initially you may have some bad batches. Just the learning curve. Keep a recipe diary. Later I'll take a picture of mine so you can see how I recorded a batch so you can repeat success and learn from failure. And you will have failure.

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    Creepy Ass Cracka & Site Owner Ryan Ruck's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Start To Homebrewing

    AWESOME!

    That is exactly what I needed to know. Makes perfect sense.

    Hydrometer should be here tomorrow from Amazon.

    Thanks a ton!


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    Creepy Ass Cracka & Site Owner Ryan Ruck's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Start To Homebrewing

    Batch 1 has officially begun primary fermentation!

    Pretty sure I did everything to direction so, fingers crossed.

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    Creepy Ass Cracka & Site Owner Ryan Ruck's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Start To Homebrewing

    Starting to get a little concerned. 12 hours later and no signs fermentation has started.

    I realize it could take up to 24 hours so I'm being patient but, when I ordered this kit I had to order it with an ice pack for the yeast since it was liquid. However by the time it got here, the ice pack was melted. This was during warm weather. Wondering if the yeast warmed up enough to kill it.

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    Creepy Ass Cracka & Site Owner Ryan Ruck's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Start To Homebrewing

    Well, we're now at 24+ hours and still zero fermentation.

    I'm thinking I'm correct that the yeast was baked by the time I got it.

    Can the wort be saved adding live yeast of the same type of yeast I've already added? I would think it would be possible since it hasn't undergone any fermentation and is just sitting as it was. I should be able to find White Labs 320 locally...

    Guess I'll be emailing Adventures In Homebrewing since they packaged and shipped it to see what they say.

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    Creepy Ass Cracka & Site Owner Ryan Ruck's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Start To Homebrewing

    Well, of course my first batch decides to make me look like an idiot after I've emailed AIH.

    About to hit the sack and thought I'd give the carboy one more check when all of the sudden I see a bloop in the airlock!

    I guess it was just a late bloomer!

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    Creepy Ass Cracka & Site Owner Ryan Ruck's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Start To Homebrewing

    It's alive!


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    Creepy Ass Cracka & Site Owner Ryan Ruck's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Start To Homebrewing

    Just finished kegging the brew!

    That turned into an adventure... The first keg had a leak around the lid so I had to clean and sanitize the second.

    While kegging, I took a sample and if I read the hydrometer correctly both times, and my math is correct, I think the ABV works out to about 8.1%! A little higher than I expected if accurate. It's also a lot darker than Oberon.

    Sampled it from the graduated cylinder and I was pleased to see it hadn't gotten infected! Tasted a very, very slightly more bitter than Oberon and had more of a banana-y taste and smell. I'll reserve final judgement for when it isn't flat and warm but I remain cautiously optimistic!

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    Super Moderator Malsua's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Start To Homebrewing

    I had a still when I was a kid. I made grain alcohol with it. It tasted fucking horrible.

    I looked into beer and boy was that too much work, heh.

    Congrats if you've got it worked out. A close co-worker of mine makes a brewing system for beer. He's going to roll it out publicly one of these days.
    "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."
    -- Theodore Roosevelt


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    Creepy Ass Cracka & Site Owner Ryan Ruck's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Start To Homebrewing

    Quote Originally Posted by Malsua View Post
    I had a still when I was a kid. I made grain alcohol with it. It tasted fucking horrible.

    I looked into beer and boy was that too much work, heh.

    Congrats if you've got it worked out. A close co-worker of mine makes a brewing system for beer. He's going to roll it out publicly one of these days.


    I actually do want to add a still to my preps at some point. You know, for post-apocalyptic alcohol fuel only of course! Have had my eye on a nice one on eBay.

    The whole brewing process wasn't actually as bad as I thought it might be. The hardest part was, I think, sanitizing everything and keeping it sanitized. The instructions I posted before were surprisingly easy.

    That said, coming up with my own recipe versus brewing from a kit would be two completely different things. Very sure I'm not quite ready to come up with my own recipes yet since I've got no idea how various ingredients end up playing off of each other.

    Should be ready to sample my brew Saturday/Sunday depending on how well it's taken the carbonation.

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    Creepy Ass Cracka & Site Owner Ryan Ruck's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Start To Homebrewing

    Well, I officially tapped my first keg!

    Flavor on the brew does seem pretty close to Oberon but as mentioned before a little more banana. Body is a bit heavier. And the color, a coppery brown, is definitely not Oberon's hazy gold.

    After 3 days at 20 PSI it was decently carbonated but still flatter than I'd prefer. Upped the pressure to 30 PSI and I'm going to leave it a few more days, maybe try it again Monday or Tuesday night.

    Once I've got it dialed in I'll make sure to bottle some of it.

    I think next batch I'm going to try a different yeast strain and see what that results in.

    Also going to have to find another Corny keg. Maybe see if I can swap the one I've got somehow.

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    Creepy Ass Cracka & Site Owner Ryan Ruck's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Start To Homebrewing

    Well, I dun overcarbed it.

    I think I should have just been more patient and left it at 20 PSI a couple more days.

    Have done a couple tricks to get the carbonation down and the keg is sitting with the gas side vented at the moment.

    It tastes fine and actually has an interesting velvety/creamy texture. It's just a bitch to pour from the tap and takes it's time to settle.

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    Creepy Ass Cracka & Site Owner Ryan Ruck's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Start To Homebrewing

    Looks like I got it decarbed enough I'm now getting a pretty decent pour!



    Carbonation level is a bit more "noticeable" and less creamy which is more fitting for the brew.

    Definitely going to be more careful force carbing next time!

    It does seem like my kegerator isn't getting as cold as I'd like it to despite my temp controller being set to 36. Not sure if the probe is picking up cold off the freezer plate at the top or what. I get it all a bit colder and that should help with the carbonation/foaming situation further.

    After sampling several glasses during my test pours () I'd have to say the ABV is likely in the 6-7% range. I think my measurement of 8% seems high.

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