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mskyfshntchr

Brewing you own BEER- Anyone do it?

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mskyfshntchr

Looking for info on brewing my own beer.

Anyone know any sites that have reliable information?

Any tips on where to buy equipment?

An idea of start up cost?

An idea of cost per case?

Anything else I am forgetting?

Thanks!!

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Ice Hole

I've done it plenty of times.....kind of a fun hobby!

You can make it as easy or difficult as you want, depending on whether you want to do it from extract kits or all-grain.

I'm sure there's plenty of places to get equipment and materials from. I get mine from a company in St. Paul (if you search for beer making kits St. Paul, you'll find their website) and I've been happy with their equipment, kits, and loads of information.

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buddha

Great time and especially if you like beer, real beer with flavor it is a great hobby. I buy from the same place in St. Paul. Start small and grow from that point on. As long as you buy a kit, follow directions and keep your stuff CLEAN during the process it will turn out fine.

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minneman

I get some items from Northern Brewer on line, they're in St Paul.

My brother got me started with a cheap kit, which by the way brewed some awesome beer, have since changed to carboys instead of plastic pails, can now brew up to 27 gal. we're thinking its's costing us aprox $9 - $10 per case.

If at all possible get someone who has brewed before to go threw the basics, as mentioned clean = good beer!

there are also a wealth of sites online with user forums as well.

Have fun, and just try and save a couple for when you brew again, it's tougher than you think.

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Iceboy

Northern Brewer or Midwest Homebrew Supply are both premier homebrew supply sellers. I personally am an all-grain brewer who has a 10 gallon brewery in my garage. I brew around 120 gallons of beer a year - a fun hobby with benefits! Before hop prices went through the roof I think I averaged around $.25 a bottle. Now it is closer to $.40, but still cheap! I think you will find you won't be doing it to save money, though - it takes time, but is worth it in the end.

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Whoaru99

Northern Brewer or Midwest Homebrew Supply are both premier homebrew supply sellers.

Which do you recommend?

Or, is it like shopping for groceries...one place is cheaper on dairy but higher on produce and vice versa?

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hydro

Try either one, buy a starter kit and give it a try. You can make beer with a big pot and a 5 gallon plastic bucket, or go all out and buy the latest equipment. The end product will be drinkable either way!

It's a lot like fishing you can spend as much as you want on equipment but you won't see any results until you try it.

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CadCruzer

Me and a bunch of my buddies go brewing at Vine Park in St. Paul MN. THey help you do the brewing and show you how to bottel. It cost a little more to start, you must buy reusable bottels. But their knowledge of brewing makes it almost fool proof. Also the amount of recipies to choose from is a pluse.Go to thier web site to check it out.

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JoshTrutwin

Homebrewing... I love it - there is NOTHING better than bringing a little 5 liter keg of homebrew out to set in the snow while you catch fish. Enjoy in moderation of course....

Some tips to get you started:

Next time you are in the cities go to Midwest Supplies: midwestsupplies.com (can't say anything about Northern - never been there). Best supply store in the state if you ask me, off Highway 100. Tons of stuff, they'll make recipes for you, usually about 8 people working in the store so plenty of help if you need it. Not a supply they don't have, it's actually kind of daunting to think of all the money you could drop. I personally don't care for Bakers in St. Cloud even though it's the closest thing to me. If you get into wine making (which is actually easier than beer) Midwest is good there too.

Figure about $150-$200 to get a good startup kit and first recipe going, also don't forget you'll want bottles and caps too.

Items you absolutely have to have (in my humble opinion):

1. Big pot for brewing, the bigger the better. 5 gallons is probably big enough because you'll add cold water to what you end up boiling, but less is not recommended as when you add hops, boilovers can happen easily. And there's nothing worse for a homebrew hobby than a wife/gf who's had a kitchen stove messed up by a batch of beer. I think it smells fantastic, she not so much. I have to brew in my garage now....

2. 5 gallon carboy - splurge a couple $$ and get a glass one,

3. 5 gallon brew pail with spigot and lid. You can also get 2 glass carboys but I find that using the pail the first week of brewing useful because the extra space prevents spillovers during the most active fermentation time. Why 2 pails/carboys? Cause you have to transfer the beer from one to the other occasionally to leave off the stuff that settles on the bottom. You also use the pail at bottling time.

4. For transferring beer from one to another you NEED a racking tube and siphoning hose so you don't transfer the crud on the bottom. Don't go cheap here, the bigger the tube, the more beer going through it and less time spent transferring. A funnel's not a bad idea here. Also recommend a thief to extract a sample off the top to check your progress - don't draw off the bottom cause that's where the junk settles.

5. hydrometer - measures the specific gravity of your beer as yeast changes sugars to beloved alcohol, if the measurement is the same over a number of days your beer is ready to bottle.

6. thermometer - most kits other than the basic basic ones will ask you to hold the temperature of some water at a certain temp. Also you can't pitch the yeast until the water cools below 70 degrees.

7. bottles, caps and bottle capper - beer doesn't taste good out of a pail. Plus you add a little more sugar at bottling time to make the carbonation. Personally, I'd also get some mini-kegs but they can push the budget up cause of the tapping equipment. If you know someone with Cornelius kegs you're golden. smile For 5 gallons: For 12 oz. bottles, you'll need about 53 bottles, For 22 oz. bottles, about 29 bottles. If you go bottles, get the 22 oz. ones, less time cleaning, more beer to drink in a sitting.

8. cleansers and sanitizers, bottle/keg brushes, faucet jet cleaner. The number one tip to making good beer is to be VERY clean. Everything needs to be washed and sanitized after the brew has boiled to prevent spoilage. For cleanser I recommend One Step and sanitizer Star San (available at any decent homebrew shop). The jet cleaner is something you screw onto a faucet to shoot a jet of water into a bottle - highly recommended.

9. Friends. Brewing is fun no matter what, but even better if you have someone to help you (they can clean) and maybe to help drink the beer. I'm always happy to help someone start out. wink

10. Time. Figure about 2-4 hours on brew day to do the boiling, cooling, mixing, yeast addition, etc depending on complexity of recipe. Figure a couple minutes every other day after that to draw a sample (with sanitized equipment) to check the specific gravity. After about a week you'll transfer into carboy/pail which usually takes 40-60 minutes (gotta clean/sanitize). Bottling usually takes about 4 hours and is the worst part about the process except for the fact that you're almost done! If you get into it, your first upgrade should be mini-kegs to save time here. Plus kegged beer is ready sooner.

Basically if you go to the site above and look at the Intermediate Starter kit, that's almost everything I mentioned, they have 2 pails/carboys for times when you wanna have 2 batches going simultaneously.

Other tips:

It's considered slightly more work, but I recommend getting a recipe kit that has some kind of real grain in it instead of the syrup extract cans. Basically you'll put the grain in a grain bag and let it sit in some water at a controlled temp for a while, then chuck it in the garbage. In my opinion it's very easy to do and the flavor is so much better than an all extract / syrup kit. Stay away from all-grain brewing until you're ready to get more equipment. I don't feel snobby when I say that beer made 100% from grain just plain tastes better, but it's a LOT more time on brew day. That said, beer made from an extract / grain combo tastes better than most stuff you buy from the store.

Don't be afraid to mess up. Maybe you forgot to sanitize something or put the hops in at the wrong time or whatever. If you make a mistake sometimes you'll get a bad batch, but just learn from your mistakes and try again. Almost all the batches I've made I think at some point in the process I didn't do something the "right" way but the beer still turned out. On that note though I do recommend keeping a journal to write down readings, take notes, etc.

Man, I didn't mean to write a novel, but I got started and there was so much to say. I don't wanna scare you off from it. Like others have said, you can get into it crazy like I have and spend lots of $$$ on it, or you can give it a whirl and if it's not for you go fishing instead.

That said, do not hesitate to contact me for more questions or even if you want someone to walk you through your first batch.

Dang, now I want a beer... Good luck brewing!

Josh

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JoshTrutwin

Above I meant to say 6.5 gallon plastic bucket

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mskyfshntchr

Josh..WOW...great info. Thank you.

Could you shoot me an email- I have a few questions for you.

[email protected]

Thanks!!

Nate

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Iceboy

This will get you started:

[note from admin- please read forum policy before posting again]

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MinnesotaMuskie

There is a great place right next doo rot you in Pine Island that has all you need...I have been brewing for about 10 years and order 90% of my supplies from them.

Visit the Von Klopp Brew Shop in Rochester.

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CJH

My buddy brews his own beer and he keeps two small kegs in his basement fridge with different flavors in them. Needless to say, I like going to his house.......

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mnflyfisherman

Look online for an online recipe book called The Cat's Meow.

It has more recipes than anyone might ever want to try.

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