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Home Brewing


alreadyexists

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I've done some searching and I can't seem to find a thread about brewing (apologies if there is one but it didn't come up in my searching).

I've always liked beer but I got in to brewing my own beer about 3 years ago now, mainly for fun at first but then I progressed to trying to make the best beer possible. I started with kit beers and I've done probably 15+ of those, with mostly very positive results. I've recently taken the plunge to all grain brewing and I'm loving it! The cost of the set up for all grain is a more but the quality is higher, whereas you can get the set up for kit brewing for around £50, and still produce very good beers.

I've done some great kits, including the youngs kits (American amber ale, american Pale Ale were both good), the woodfordes kits are good (made by muntons I believe) and I've done Wherry, admirals reserve, and they are all two can kits so have all liquid malt extracts and produce pretty good results. 

I've recently got a grainfather to to start all grain brewing and it's brilliant, the quality is brilliant, brewery quality to be honest and perhaps better. 

Does anyone else brew, or have you done homebrew in the past or are thinking about doing it? Anybody done anything other than beer?

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I've done all the kits you mention above with about a 8/10 success rate.

Wouldnt mind trying the all grain method, but looks like a lot of faff to me. Happy to be proved wrong!

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I would love to have a go at this but just don't think I would have the time right now. Have no idea how I would learn the complexities of it though. 

Through my work I have just insured a micro brewery who have listed in their kit a 35 gallon barrel "for experimentation purposes" How good does that sound? 

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Cool project, man! I've always been interested in home brewing, just not enough to try it, honestly. But I admire the honest pursuit of tasty suds. How difficult is it to enter the domestic market as a startup commercial brewer in Britain? (This could be more than just a hobby?)

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I bought my first home brewing set in 1985 in Seattle.   It came with a book called something like, "Homebrewing Beers and Stouts", written by an English guy in the 1960's.  I progressed from mainly malt extract beers to all grain and made some wonderful stuff (also some pretty dismal failures).  Friends of mine have been hosting a home brewing party every year for 20 years, which has grown from a few of us hacks bringing beers in recycled bottles to now having 20+ beers from hardcore brewers with serious tap rigs.  Alas, I had to get rid of my equipment years ago when moving into a small apartment and i haven't picked up the hobby again.  But I had a ton of fun coming up with my own recipes, including a killer American brown ale infused with fresh jalapenos from our garden (just enough to give the flavor and a little bite but not overpower the beer).  You'll never be wanting for friends if you make a good homebrew!

RELAX.  DON'T WORRY.  HAVE A HOMEBREW.

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6 hours ago, maqroll said:

How difficult is it to enter the domestic market as a startup commercial brewer in Britain? (This could be more than just a hobby?)

Apparently quite a few have gone out of business, because so many entered the market over the last few years, and it became a pretty crowded market with not a lot of capacity to increase demand, so they were all fighting for each other's market share.  I suppose that means you can pick up second-hand kit more easily, but it sounds like some good market research and business planning is even more essential, where perhaps it was easier a few years back.  There's been some great successes as well.

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7 hours ago, maqroll said:

Cool project, man! I've always been interested in home brewing, just not enough to try it, honestly. But I admire the honest pursuit of tasty suds. How difficult is it to enter the domestic market as a startup commercial brewer in Britain? (This could be more than just a hobby?)

The basic principles of brewing don't change if you were to upscale to commercial level, just the qualities. The sheer volume obviously requires specialist kit though. I would imagine most people could brew some very good beers just with a rudimentary knowledge of it all.

Like @peterms said, a lot of microbrewerys have started and gone bust recently, I think it's a bit of a dream job for a lot of blokes and perhaps they didn't quite have the business nouse to make it work. I would say opening one now is just behind the curve, and if you'd opened one say, 5 years ago you would have much more chance at cornering a market. That said it is a tempting concept... I would love to do it. Maybe I'll just jack in the job and get a 200k bank loan and just go for it!

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10 hours ago, sidcow said:

I would love to have a go at this but just don't think I would have the time right now. Have no idea how I would learn the complexities of it though. 

Through my work I have just insured a micro brewery who have listed in their kit a 35 gallon barrel "for experimentation purposes" How good does that sound? 

That's the dream isn't it, getting paid to mess about with beer!?

It's not too difficult mate, honestly, there are loads of books and doing it is the best way to learn. 

eBay here is a link to a starter kit, it's got everything you need and even has the ingredients for one brew! There's probably other/better kits but just for an example, this is good. Then once you have the equipment it's just about £15-20 for each brew kit of ingredients which make about 40pints.

@stuart_75 yeah the jump to all grain is expensive, you can get all the equipment for that for probably about £200 if your thrifty (maybe less) but it is a bit of a leap. The quality is so good though, and you can make your own beers to your own recipes from scratch. Which kits did you have trouble with, what were the problems? 

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Terrorist... think of the corporations!

More seriously, this is something I'd like to get onto in the future, once I can escape apartment-land. The quality and variety of local breweries here in Michigan is just brilliant. 

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10 hours ago, alreadyexists said:

The basic principles of brewing don't change if you were to upscale to commercial level, just the qualities. The sheer volume obviously requires specialist kit though. I would imagine most people could brew some very good beers just with a rudimentary knowledge of it all.

Like @peterms said, a lot of microbrewerys have started and gone bust recently, I think it's a bit of a dream job for a lot of blokes and perhaps they didn't quite have the business nouse to make it work. I would say opening one now is just behind the curve, and if you'd opened one say, 5 years ago you would have much more chance at cornering a market. That said it is a tempting concept... I would love to do it. Maybe I'll just jack in the job and get a 200k bank loan and just go for it!

Nah. All you have to do now is put it in a bottle instead and call it Craft Beer instead of real Ale.  Hey presto add 50%to to your prices and have a massive new market of pretentious bars looking for the next big craft Ale. 

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14 minutes ago, sidcow said:

Nah. All you have to do now is put it in a bottle instead and call it Craft Beer instead of real Ale.  Hey presto add 50%to to your prices and have a massive new market of pretentious bars looking for the next big craft Ale. 

And hire bar men who exclusively have those curly moustaches and sailor tattoos... we're on to a winner here. 

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On 6/5/2017 at 09:38, alreadyexists said:

 

@stuart_75 yeah the jump to all grain is expensive, you can get all the equipment for that for probably about £200 if your thrifty (maybe less) but it is a bit of a leap. The quality is so good though, and you can make your own beers to your own recipes from scratch. Which kits did you have trouble with, what were the problems? 

I think my failures were down to contamination or just left in the fermenting vessel too long. Most the brews that I've bottled have been decent, but Ive also got 2 corny kegs and 2 pumps and with those Ive had limited success. I think sediment sat at the bottom of the keg and getting pulled up into the glass doesnt help, would like any advice on using corny kegs if possible.

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2 hours ago, stuart_75 said:

I think my failures were down to contamination or just left in the fermenting vessel too long. Most the brews that I've bottled have been decent, but Ive also got 2 corny kegs and 2 pumps and with those Ive had limited success. I think sediment sat at the bottom of the keg and getting pulled up into the glass doesnt help, would like any advice on using corny kegs if possible.

I've never lost a batch to contamination yet, I can imagine that very frustrating though after the time invested in it. How long were you leaving the beer in the fermentation vessel (FV)? I have left mine up to, and over 4 weeks, with no ill effects... perhaps it's just some yeasts are more temperamental that others. 

I don't personally use Cornelius (Corny) Kegs as I just don't have the space, I have a brew fridge and all the other bits and bobs so just can't fit the corney kegs in... if and when we move I'll make sure I have a garage so I can get a full corney keg set up as it is something I want to do. I've done some force carbing with friends though with their kegs, and I understand the basics, this is a really useful breakdown of all the details of using them from start to finish (it is american tho!) Corny Kegs

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