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Who here home brews?

beer, wine or spirits....if you home brew, shout out, post some pics, spread the gospel and tell us why you do it :cigar:

it is certainly something that has always interested me.......home brew gin particularly. 

is it worthwhile?......the investment/time/return  etal.  :thinking:

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Just bottled some guava cider. It’s a very rewarding process if you have the time. I previously made some serviceable home made gin using a 5x distilled wheat mash (sweeter finish) and then soaking a mixture of botanicals (juniper, wattle seed, star anise plus a few others) for several days then filtering. 

Home made hooch (if legal in your hood) is ?

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I do, although it has been a while; my business took off big time and we just bought a handy man special.  

But now that the kitchen is finally finished (had to be demoed down to the baring walls and joists), and since we have a lot more room it is getting time to start up again.  We even have an extra less-then-one-year-old refrigerator left over from the previous owners, so I am planning on giving lagering a try this year too.  

Why do I do it?  First, I love cooking and, and brewing is kind of cooking.  I obviously love beer too and it is easier to make then wine or liquor.  Last, when I made my hobby my business (photography), I kind of needed to fill that hobby void with something else.  

Is it worth it?  Depends how much patience you have and how cleanly you can be.  A light ale will take at least 4 weeks to brew; 2 if you keg it.  Anything strong will take longer.  Lagers need to ferment at 40 to 50 F, so they ferment really slowly and can take 3 or 4 months.  Also, you need to make sure everything is sterile because beer gets infected real easily.  Nothing like opening a beer you brewed you thought would turn out great only to have it turn into a geyser after you popped the cap off.  

It is reality easy to learn though (albeit difficult to master), and lighter beers are kind of fool proof, so long as you keep everything clean.  

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I used to be an avid homebrewer buying 100's of lbs of grain at a time and pounds of fresh hops from the farm. I can ferment up to 25 gallons at a time and at one time had nearly 30 5gallon ball lock kegs for dispensing. Yeah no capping bottles for me. I had a converted chest freezer and still own a Victory 2 door commercial reach in refrigerator in my garage. 

I never entered any contest or brewed froo-froo beer. Just Ales, Scotch Ales, Bitters, Esp, IPAs, ect. Towards the end I was focused on high gravity stuff 9-10%. I made some lagers for my wife and some stouts and porters for other family members, but for me I like ales and such so that is what I focused on. With kegging and forced carbonation I could brew a beer and be drinking it in 10 days.

I found out that beer made me really fat, who knew right? So I slowed wayy down. Also I think I started to have an allergic reaction from hops because I would become very stuffed up and my hands would swell when ever I drank heavily hopped beers. I began drinking Scotch and Bourbon and it went away. So I stopped brewing all together.

I sold off a few of my kegs when prices went through the roof, which paid for one very large shipment I made early on. I still have my keggle aka 15.5 gallon brew pot and fermenter one is a 15 gallon ss fermenter along with my reach in cooler. I might put it to work when I return home. Who knows. 

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43 minutes ago, Str8BlkCoffee said:

I can ferment up to 25 gallons at a time and at one time had nearly 30 5gallon ball lock kegs for dispensing. Yeah no capping bottles for me.

Nice! Looked into these a while ago and never pulled the trigger. Manual bottling is probably the worst part.

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I've been making wine since 1982.

I've evolved from just buying grapes and doing all the crushing / pressing myself, to just buying the juice, to just using concentrate, to going to a shop that does  almost everything for you.

NOW - I go to a place in town that uses real juice and does everything but fill and cork the bottles (well, and take them home to drink! LOL)

I do it because its far cheaper for everyday wine - and I DO drink a glass or two every day. A cheap bottle at the store is about $9 while I get it made from juice for about $3.

If I want a nice fancy shmancy bottle for some occasion, the store is 5 minutes away and has an enormous selection.

I know my wines, have taken several courses over the years. The stuff I have made is just a hair behind the everyday stuff at the store.

Oh, and as far as investment is concerned...... zero. I use bottles from previous wines bought / made, corks labels and shrink caps are provided. (I don't bother with shrink caps or labels.... you can get why LOL) 

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9 hours ago, jackupster said:

I have been brewing since the early 90's. My wife bought me a beginners kit with ingredients at a local homebrew store. I recently upped my game and have a high end system that does 10 gallon batches. I could get 30 gallon kettles and move up to 20 gallon batches. I also went to 5 gallon corny kegs and a kegerator. I just entered my first contest, the California State Fair Homebrew Contest with 3 beers. A Red IPA, A Rye IPA and a Russian Imperial Stout. I usually stick to beer flavored beer and not fruit or spices etc. But I have added bourbon and oak to a few batches. 

Is it worth it? I have a bunch of money in it and It doesn't save tons of money unless you buy ingredients wholesale. But tasting something delicious from something you made from raw ingredients is sort of magical. So if you enjoy making great food then you will enjoy making great beer (booze-wine). 

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How do you like the blichmann? I’ve been looking at their eHERMs setups and comparing it to a few other brands 

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Back when I lived south of the Mason-Dixon I had a repair guy over to fix my HVAC and he saw that I had some beer brewing. He goes, “Oh awesome, I make moonshine.” Then he whips out his phone and shows me all the pictures of his highly illegal still. I’d known him for all of 30 seconds. I’m a chemist, so I’m pretty interested in that kind of stuff. We ended up talking about it while he fixed the HVAC....some of those redneck distillers are pretty sophisticated. A lot of the little boutique booze companies started out the same way and went legit.

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I’m not terribly active here lately, but this is a topic I’ll chime in on!

 

I make wine professionally but last year made a few gallons of something for myself, dipping my toes into a very specific type of wine (Auslese-style Riesling) to see if I may want to start my own label some day. Turning it professional will be years off if it happens but my first try is absolutely delicious and I’m doubling my fruit source for this year. 

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14 hours ago, boilers183 said:

How do you like the blichmann? I’ve been looking at their eHERMs setups and comparing it to a few other brands 

I love it. After few runs and watching a bunch of Youtube I have it pretty well dialed in and can hit all my expected numbers. Electric would have been the only thing I wish I had...I have to brew outside with propane. I got lucky and bought this one from two tech guys in Silicon Valley for about half what they paid new. I had to drive 3 hours one way to pick it up though. They had done about 20 brews when I got it. The were both about 30 and had pregnant wives...LOl. Watch Craigslist and you can often get deals on systems. Someone in my area about a year ago had a Sabco BrewMagic for sale and I was trying to get my buddy to buy it. He kept trying to offer way too low and it sold to someone else. Now he regrets it! Let me know if you have any other questions...I love talking beer!

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Got into it in the 90's had a lot of fun and brewed some great beers for a couple decades , thanks , to a Charlie Papazian seminar and his book The Complete Joy of Homebrewing ,where his catchphrase debuted “Relax, don’t worry, have a homebrew” became the mission statement for homebrewers. 

The bottling process became just to tedious after a while and the hobby fizzled out.

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7 hours ago, helix said:

Got into it in the 90's had a lot of fun and brewed some great beers for a couple decades , thanks , to a Charlie Papazian seminar and his book The Complete Joy of Homebrewing ,where his catchphrase debuted “Relax, don’t worry, have a homebrew” became the mission statement for homebrewers. 

The bottling process became just to tedious after a while and the hobby fizzled out.

My foray into homebrewing was IPA liquid malt extract kits. My buddy and I would buy a pack of Grolsh flip-tops every time we bought beer and saved them until we had enough for a 5 gallon batch. We made it in buckets and fermented it in my hall closet. My first batch was a raging success despite the beer grenades that would explode and mess up the wife's coats ? 

Washing and sanitizing the bottles is why I got into kegging after my first 4-5 batches with the Grolsh bottles we only had to remove and boil the rubber gaskets so no caper or crown caps to suffer with. I want to say that I later purchased a capper since I have a few cases of the old school longnecks from the days when that was what was sold in bars.

I got lucky and my BIL traded me a 15lb Co2 tank rescued from an old fire extinguishing system for a batch of Chocolate Oatmeal Porter. I had it re-certified for like 20 bucks and took it to the local Airgas and had it filled for 10.00 or less. Kegging is so easy just clean and sanitize, Rack from fermenter to the keg, seal, fill and purge with C02 wait 2-3 days and carbonated beer. No more messy filling and cumbersome washing the bottles, and ugg capping?. Since I already had the Co2 I built a racking cane to push from the fermenter with C02. With my Sabco fermenter I can rack without the homemade racking cane as it has all the ball lock connections built in.

I went straight to All grain brewing from the LME kits. After buying a malt mill from a group buy from a forum I was a member of I went off buying sacks of grain. I made some of my equipment, using a Stainless steel braided water line and an old Coleman Cooler as my mashtun, an old beer keg I got from a scrap yard for my boil kettle. The equipment added up but none was expensive until I purchased the Sabco fermenter. I paid 200.00 for it from a forum member who suddenly liquidated all his brewing equipment and dropped out off the site. The other was the plate chiller to cool the wort as it left the boil kettle. Worth its weight in gold IMHO.

I used Cobra taps to serve. Wasn't fancy but it worked and was cheap. I bought a chest freezer off a floor sale for cost built a collar out of 2x6 purchased a temperature controller and used it to server then later as a lager chamber.

I saved some money homebrewing if I didn't count my time as brew days were long. I increased my volume as the time spent to make a 5 gallon batch was the same to make a 10-12 gallon batch. I would knock out 2 brews in a day since the equipment was set-up and I had several burners going at once anyway. I would be racking over previous brews while waiting for various things like mashing in, boiling wort and adding the hops. Buying in bulk meant cheaper brews per session for sure, but the main thing was I could make any beer I wanted and have 100% control over it. I could change the profile by swapping yeasts or fermenting temps, adjusting hop schedules, or the grain bill or many other methods.

Yeast ranching was one of the biggest cost savers. Buying liquid yeast was pricey. So I would collect yeast from previous batches and wash to store. I would also buy slants for a few bucks and step them up using agar plates. Making plates from substrates and stepping up the yeast volume to pitch became another side hobby. I had 200L vacuum flasks and a stir plate to help with that. I kept yeast samples in Mason jars in the fridge from past batches too. The wife is heavy into microbiology so she thought it was pretty cool so that helped.

 

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The best thing (and simultaneously the worst thing) you can do to facilitate homebrewing is buy a kegerator.  No cleaning bottles, no mess, you just drain the beer into the keg and put some pressure on it!  At the same time it makes it far too easy to have a tasty beer or two.  Every time I walk past it it seems to asking if I am thirsty.

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I love home brewing.  Got out of the hobby for about 5 years,but started brewing again about 6 months ago. Brewed a kolsch last weekend and got 2 IPA’s in line for the next two weeks.  I’m still doing kits.  Want to get into all grain but uncle same just requested all my play money.  Maybe next year.

when I started I would bottle everything.  This go around I converted my freezer into a keezer.  Love having brews on draft.

the open tap hole is for nitro. Hoping to upgrade to that soon.

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1 hour ago, cgarner said:

I love home brewing.  Got out of the hobby for about 5 years,but started brewing again about 6 months ago. Brewed a kolsch last weekend and got 2 IPA’s in line for the next two weeks.  I’m still doing kits.  Want to get into all grain but uncle same just requested all my play money.  Maybe next year.

when I started I would bottle everything.  This go around I converted my freezer into a keezer.  Love having brews on draft.

the open tap hole is for nitro. Hoping to upgrade to that soon.

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I see a local Nor Cal guy! Bike Dog, YOLO, Fieldwork and Knee Deep. 

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