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(Short List)   Home brew kit makes beer in 3.5 hours? We'll never go to the bar again What do you mean it takes a week to ferment?   (shortlist.com) divider line 90
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3415 clicks; posted to Geek » on 04 Oct 2013 at 9:25 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-10-04 11:50:17 AM  
I like wort.

You can tell the quality of the beer by the quality of the wort.

Actually I just like to say wort.

Wort  Wort  Wort  Wort  Wort  Wort  Wort  Wort  Wort  Wort  Wort  Wort  Wort  Wort  Wort  Wort  Wort!
 
2013-10-04 12:04:12 PM  

Cortez the Killer: If I need to bottle, which is rare but does come up from time to time (your examples match mine), I use a bottling gun.


I use the taps on my kegerator with a one-foot length of vinyl tubing. I had a growler filled at a liquor store once and that's how they did it there; good enough for them, good enough for me. There is a little bit of foaming but it's not too bad.
 
2013-10-04 12:21:13 PM  
This looks like a 1500 dollar Mr. Beer kit.

And yet its over 100% funded in 5 days so what do I know.

 Many red flags to this brewer though.
Such as them burying in the FAQ that it doesn't actually boil, and they seem to think that doesn't matter.
 
2013-10-04 12:23:29 PM  
Oh and for anyone interested in building your own this is just a RIMS.

Recirculating Infusion Mash.

I'm sure a quick google of RIMS build plans or something similar will get you where you need to be.
 
2013-10-04 12:29:02 PM  

jimpoz: Cortez the Killer: If I need to bottle, which is rare but does come up from time to time (your examples match mine), I use a bottling gun.

I use the taps on my kegerator with a one-foot length of vinyl tubing. I had a growler filled at a liquor store once and that's how they did it there; good enough for them, good enough for me. There is a little bit of foaming but it's not too bad.


To get rid of 100% of the foam on a growler fill, get a short length of straight racking cane (long enough to reach the bottom of growler) and one of your carboy rubber stoppers. Insert the racking cane into your vinyl tubing and then through the carboy stopper. Slide the stopper up toward the top of the racking cane and insert the whole shebang into your growler.

Start filling while maintaining pressure against the stopper - slowly allow excess pressure to burp up by slightly pinching the stopper from time to time.

If you do this right you will be able to growler fill right to the top with zero foaming as none of the CO2 was pushed out of suspension.
 
2013-10-04 12:37:40 PM  

Calehedron: While brewing my own beer sounds tempting, I will just stick to making Meade.  Its a lot more forgiving than beer for the most part.


Just don't overcarbonate prior to bottling.  Nothing quite like most of a case of IPA going spontaneously supernova.
 
2013-10-04 12:41:56 PM  

bonkmeist: Many red flags to this brewer though.
Such as them burying in the FAQ that it doesn't actually boil, and they seem to think that doesn't matter.


They actually explain why they think it doesn't matter. From a chemistry and physics perspective their explanation makes sense. Consistency at near boil, for all sorts of processes, is either just as good or better than boiling.

Now it could be that they are totally wrong, but I wouldn't be surprised if they are right.
 
2013-10-04 12:45:22 PM  

entropic_existence: bonkmeist: Many red flags to this brewer though.
Such as them burying in the FAQ that it doesn't actually boil, and they seem to think that doesn't matter.

They actually explain why they think it doesn't matter. From a chemistry and physics perspective their explanation makes sense. Consistency at near boil, for all sorts of processes, is either just as good or better than boiling.

Now it could be that they are totally wrong, but I wouldn't be surprised if they are right.


I just am skeptical that they have dismissed years worth of research into brewing science.  They basically say boiling is a relic from a time before thermometers but ignore the fact that we've done QUITE a bit of research in between then and now.

They basically acknowledge its a problem with the very next question.  I'm skeptical they are able to evaporate enough DMS for it to not show up as an off flavor.

Regardless, this is a fine product as long as people know what they are getting into.  It seems like a Mr Beer kit for someone with more money than they know what to do with.
 
2013-10-04 12:46:20 PM  

baconbeard: This thing seems to sit in the no-man's-land between the two and likely won't hold much appeal. It's a neat personal project with almost no commercial application.


About the only major benefit that I could see from these brewing machines is that it might result in a more consistent wort.  When doing it in a pot over the stove, there is more room to get different results.

That's actually my issue right now.  I passed up on a chance to get an external thermostat for my fridge (which only goes up to 60F), so I just use a large insulated box with blue ice packs to keep the temp in the low 70s to high 60s.  It doesn't do a very good job of keeping the temps stable enough, so my batches have all been coming out tasting a little different.  I've seen external thermostats on eBay, but they're kinda expensive.
 
2013-10-04 12:46:39 PM  

Elzar: jimpoz: Cortez the Killer: If I need to bottle, which is rare but does come up from time to time (your examples match mine), I use a bottling gun.

I use the taps on my kegerator with a one-foot length of vinyl tubing. I had a growler filled at a liquor store once and that's how they did it there; good enough for them, good enough for me. There is a little bit of foaming but it's not too bad.

To get rid of 100% of the foam on a growler fill, get a short length of straight racking cane (long enough to reach the bottom of growler) and one of your carboy rubber stoppers. Insert the racking cane into your vinyl tubing and then through the carboy stopper. Slide the stopper up toward the top of the racking cane and insert the whole shebang into your growler.

Start filling while maintaining pressure against the stopper - slowly allow excess pressure to burp up by slightly pinching the stopper from time to time.

If you do this right you will be able to growler fill right to the top with zero foaming as none of the CO2 was pushed out of suspension.


You are correct. That is a good setup. I would have done it that way instead of the gun if I would have figure that out before I purchased the bottling gun.
 
2013-10-04 01:04:02 PM  

the cake is a pie: I'm only putting one bottle at a time in the fridge, because I'm kind of worried about them asploding.


If you're worried about them asploding, you should refrigerate ALL THE BEERS:

1) It puts the yeast to sleep, stopping them from building up even more pressure
2) More CO₂ will dissolve into the beer at cold temperatures, reducing the overall pressure
 
2013-10-04 01:47:46 PM  

you have pee hands: AngryDragon: One tastes like beer, one tastes like grass filtered through a jockstrap. It's the miracle of fermentation.

They drink unfermented malt extract in Iceland.  Tastes exactly like it sounds.  I thought it was a practical joke on tourists at first but it's everywhere.


Hrmmm.  Chase it with a pinch of yeast and be belching and farting CO2 all day while you slowly get drunk.
 
2013-10-04 01:53:50 PM  
Now that I've got all you home brewer types together in one place, can anyone tell me where the magical 5 gallon volume comes from?  Seems to be what most recipes are based on.  Spontaneous industry standard?  Can I halve all the ingredients so I can try to brew more types of beer and drink less of each?  Or is the mere thought of drinking less beer anathema?

\currently building lautering tun manifold
\\may be brewing by this weekend
 
2013-10-04 02:01:32 PM  

Honest Geologist: Now that I've got all you home brewer types together in one place, can anyone tell me where the magical 5 gallon volume comes from?


I've always assumed it was just a defacto standard based on a glass carboy size that's easy enough for most people to wrestle around.
 
2013-10-04 02:36:43 PM  
All yours for the low price of $1499...
 
2013-10-04 02:42:12 PM  

Honest Geologist: Now that I've got all you home brewer types together in one place, can anyone tell me where the magical 5 gallon volume comes from?


Like SansNeural said, it's about the largest batch you can make without a need for pumps and other special equipment and a common carboy size. Now, $1499 may seem like a lot for a fully automated home brew system, and that could buy an awful lot of beer, it's still a lot cheaper than back surgery. I've had to switch to smaller batches and using a pump because my lower back ain't worth a damn.
 
2013-10-04 03:03:01 PM  
been out for many years

http://www.beermachine.com/

thebeermachine.smartt.com
 
2013-10-04 03:51:52 PM  

Cortez the Killer: Tyrone Slothrop: you have pee hands: You just need a shiatload of bottles that you spend your whole life sterilizing and then you can just rotate, there will always be some fresh.

/really need to start kegging
//really need a basemen

That's one of the things that really sucks about living in Austin, none of the houses have basements. I have to ferment my beer in a temperature-controlled box freezer.

If you are doing ales, I've had great success fermenting at room temperature (~69-70 degrees F).


Room temperature for me is around 75-76.
 
2013-10-04 04:00:31 PM  

Dinjiin: baconbeard: This thing seems to sit in the no-man's-land between the two and likely won't hold much appeal. It's a neat personal project with almost no commercial application.

About the only major benefit that I could see from these brewing machines is that it might result in a more consistent wort.  When doing it in a pot over the stove, there is more room to get different results.

That's actually my issue right now.  I passed up on a chance to get an external thermostat for my fridge (which only goes up to 60F), so I just use a large insulated box with blue ice packs to keep the temp in the low 70s to high 60s.  It doesn't do a very good job of keeping the temps stable enough, so my batches have all been coming out tasting a little different.  I've seen external thermostats on eBay, but they're kinda expensive.


Use this. It's < $60, maybe $50 if you catch it on sale somewhere. Or Amazon.
 
2013-10-04 04:06:43 PM  
For most of you who are only doing 5-10 gallons at a time (one or two 5 gal carboys), there's this.

Fermentation temp stability is the second most important thing to consistent flavors as far as I'm concerned. (the most important is proper mash/sparge temps/durations).
 
2013-10-04 04:38:10 PM  

the cake is a pie: My buddy got me a Mr. Beer kit for my bday last year, so I've been playing with that. They provide the wort in a can, lots of different varieties (they also provide recipes to make your own, but I'm not quite ready for that yet), but it still requires fermenting and all that.

I'm not very good at it, though. First batch came out perfect. Second batch the yeast was dead so it never fermented. Third batch seemed alright but it never carbonated in the bottles for whatever reason. Fourth batch was good except I got the sugar wrong so it super-carbonated. Tastes fine, it just takes forever to pour a glass because I have to wait for the foam to go down, and I'm only putting one bottle at a time in the fridge, because I'm kind of worried about them asploding.

It's a pretty good setup, though, and a good way to get to know your beer a little bit better.


As a home wine-maker, when i moved away from making kit wines, my stuff got better. With kits, even following the directions, the ferment times were wrong, one batch got over-oaked, etc. With so many steps, theres a lot to go wrong.

Now that i work from my own pure juice and fresh grapes, and selecting my own yeasts, etc,  i get much better, and more consistent results.
 
2013-10-04 04:54:35 PM  

SansNeural: Honest Geologist: Now that I've got all you home brewer types together in one place, can anyone tell me where the magical 5 gallon volume comes from?

I've always assumed it was just a defacto standard based on a glass carboy size that's easy enough for most people to wrestle around.


And it makes about two cases worth of beer, or fills one corney keg. That's the way I always figured it - nobody wants to bottle more than 4 doz. bottles at a stretch, and 5 gal corney kegs are about the most common size dispenser out there.

xalres: I've been doing barley wine with the pomegranates from my tree the last couple years. Its great but takes forever to mature flavor-wise. I've always wanted to get into beer but I don't have time for doing the full grain process. Does extract brewing produce decent quality beer? Should I just get a Mr. Beer kit and some quality yeast?


I've gotten some very drinkable beers using extract and some specialty grains. Usually, a can of LME, a bag of DME, a pound of specialty grains, and two kinds of hops is a very simple and delicious way to try it out. There's enough hop/grain/yeast varieties out there that just working through the different permutations until you find a favorite will keep you entertained for a long time with minimal equipment. Hell, I didn't even have a hydrometer for the first two or three batches I did, just estimated when fermenting was done by counting burps in the airlock.

For all of you guys talking about doing small specialty batches, it's a lot easier to do that with extract than with all-grain. With extract, you have resealable jugs of LME and ziploc bags of DME just hanging out in your kitchen that you can use to mix and match a wort that you like. Toss in some specialty grains which are super cheap in bulk and whatever hops have caught your fancy and away you go. I used to do one gallon batches and ferment them in an old barbecue sauce bottle with a rubber stopper and an airlock on the top. I've even done half gal batches in growlers if I wanted to compare finishing hops or yeast strains or something. Midwest Supply has the Briess malts that work quite well for most everything - you basically just pick a color and it's a fairly neutral and repeatable wort base to experiment with hop/grain/yeast varieties. I've also used Mt. Mellick in the past, which I've only been able to find pre-hopped (not recommended) and the Munton & Fison, which I did not like as well, either - probably because both are imports, so the Briess is fresher.
 
2013-10-04 05:07:54 PM  
Thanks for all the tips, everyone. I appreciate it. I'm just getting started with all this, but I enjoy doing it so I hope I'll graduate to something a little more DIY soon, once I've nailed the process on the kit.
 
2013-10-04 06:15:30 PM  
This looks really dumb.  For 100 bucks, you can get a turkey fryer, copper wort chiller and brew bucket and be able to boil up 5 gallons/batch of extract/specialty grain brew in about the same amount of time.  After that, beer only costs between 30-60 bucks / batch on average (depending on ingredients).  Seriously, brewing beer is almost as easy as boiling water.
 
2013-10-04 06:22:17 PM  
I'm brewing a Best Bitter this weekend so I'm am really getting a kick out of these replies...
 
2013-10-04 06:35:23 PM  

travoltron: For most of you who are only doing 5-10 gallons at a time (one or two 5 gal carboys), there's this.

Fermentation temp stability is the second most important thing to consistent flavors as far as I'm concerned. (the most important is proper mash/sparge temps/durations).


Questions for more experienced homebrewers than I:

Would it be better to use a freezer like this one plus a temperature controller or a big enough wine cellar with the temperature control already built in?  I usually only have one batch going at a time, so I'm only worried about finding something reliable that doesn't take much storage space.

/5 extract + specialty grain batches in
//About to start constructing an all-grain setup
///Probably base it off The Electric Brewery but make my own control panel
 
2013-10-04 06:47:07 PM  
As long as you can set the temperature for the fermentation and have it static, you should be alright. I myself have graduated to glycol wraps and a lot more money than I want to admit to spending (going legit is not cheap, oof), but stable is the key.

Also, pay attention to your ferment temps as they're going on. If you've got a vigorous pile of yeast going to town, you'll see a temperature increase of a couple to a few degrees as they get rolling. Be sure to adjust for that as your lighter brews have less malt/hop hiding place for off flavors.
 
2013-10-04 06:58:59 PM  
Nice, but the whole process of brewing beer is much too enjoyable to automate it.
 
2013-10-04 07:31:36 PM  

natazha: Nice, but the whole process of brewing beer is much too enjoyable to automate it.


^

Plus, this thing is basically a Keurig for beer, and when they say things like it will be done fermenting in about a week, and fermenting right in the keg you will be drinking it out of, and it will carbonate in 24 hours, it makes me really question the quality of the product this thing will produce.
 
2013-10-04 08:25:28 PM  

Doogled: travoltron: For most of you who are only doing 5-10 gallons at a time (one or two 5 gal carboys), there's this.

Fermentation temp stability is the second most important thing to consistent flavors as far as I'm concerned. (the most important is proper mash/sparge temps/durations).

Questions for more experienced homebrewers than I:

Would it be better to use a freezer like this one plus a temperature controller or a big enough wine cellar with the temperature control already built in?  I usually only have one batch going at a time, so I'm only worried about finding something reliable that doesn't take much storage space.

/5 extract + specialty grain batches in
//About to start constructing an all-grain setup
///Probably base it off The Electric Brewery but make my own control panel


Before buying a temp controller for a freezer, see if the thermostat can be hacked to convert it to a fridge.

I plan to dump my gas setup, and go electric next year.
 
2013-10-04 09:04:57 PM  
I guess I shouldn't be, but I'm still surprised that nobody read enough of the article to find out that this device WILL make 5 gallon batches. It was one of my concerns while deciding if I would buy it. The second concern was the variation in recipes (ie, can you make your own recipes and how many different hop additions can you have in a recipe. Seems to be 4). Third was how big this thing was, and finally cost ($1300-$1400 if I jump in now, it seems).

I'm not personally averse to simplifying the brewing process, but while reading the page I also learned that it's still up to you to chill it (I guess that'd make it really, really expensive instead of simply really expensive) which is one of the harder parts of home brewing for me. Well, not the chilling so much as the cleaning the chiller of all those hop particles afterward.

But for that much cash, I think I'll keep brewing the way I do now. It's a nice afternoon or evening of work for about 50 bottles of beer that's better than anything I can buy at a store, with very, very few exceptions.

Oh and if you let the beer only ferment for a week you're crazy. 2 weeks in the primary, 2 or 3 in the secondary, and another week or 2 in the bottle seems to be the sweet spot for time and taste.
 
2013-10-04 09:39:43 PM  
It is ridiculously easy to make your own alcohol, you just need yeast, sugar, water, a 2L pop bottle, and a balloon or condom:

1 mix 1 cup of sugar with water in 2l bottle
2 activate 1 packet bread yeast using warm water and a bit of sugar
3 pour in the activated yeast and top the bottle off with water
4 poke some holes in the condom/balloon to allow gases to excape the bottle without letting air in.
5 put it over the opening of the bottle and secure with elasticband/tape/whatever
6 wait 1-2 weeks, done
 
2013-10-04 09:56:50 PM  

abhorrent1: I want  This One


$45,000!?  I take this one, or this one, or...for that kind of coin I'd set up THIS!
 
2013-10-04 10:25:57 PM  

Lars The Canadian Viking: It is ridiculously easy to make your own alcohol, you just need yeast, sugar, water, a 2L pop bottle, and a balloon or condom:

1 mix 1 cup of sugar with water in 2l bottle
2 activate 1 packet bread yeast using warm water and a bit of sugar
3 pour in the activated yeast and top the bottle off with water
4 poke some holes in the condom/balloon to allow gases to excape the bottle without letting air in.
5 put it over the opening of the bottle and secure with elasticband/tape/whatever
6 wait 1-2 weeks, done


Sounds nasty.  Maybe toss a Lipton teabag in there for color and a little flavor.

/Errrrpp!
 
2013-10-04 11:48:39 PM  

Yotto: I guess I shouldn't be, but I'm still surprised that nobody read enough of the article to find out that this device WILL make 5 gallon batches. It was one of my concerns while deciding if I would buy it. The second concern was the variation in recipes (ie, can you make your own recipes and how many different hop additions can you have in a recipe. Seems to be 4). Third was how big this thing was, and finally cost ($1300-$1400 if I jump in now, it seems).

I'm not personally averse to simplifying the brewing process, but while reading the page I also learned that it's still up to you to chill it (I guess that'd make it really, really expensive instead of simply really expensive) which is one of the harder parts of home brewing for me. Well, not the chilling so much as the cleaning the chiller of all those hop particles afterward.

But for that much cash, I think I'll keep brewing the way I do now. It's a nice afternoon or evening of work for about 50 bottles of beer that's better than anything I can buy at a store, with very, very few exceptions.

Oh and if you let the beer only ferment for a week you're crazy. 2 weeks in the primary, 2 or 3 in the secondary, and another week or 2 in the bottle seems to be the sweet spot for time and taste.


And if you head over to the homebrewtalk forums, all of the veteran brewers over there are now convinced that a secondary is unnecessary.  The basic guidelines they throw around is 3 in the primary, and 3 in the bottles.  And the more hardcore folks insist that a week in the fridge after bottle conditioning will lead to better tasting beer.
 
2013-10-05 02:09:47 AM  
It looks too small and simple and expensive for me. I guess you could throw a plate chiller between it and the keg, but can the pump handle a hop back? What about DMS without a chiller? How farking hard is that thing to take apart to clean? And how easy is it to break it?

I'll just stick to my 10-11 gallon hodgepodge setup I have now.
 
2013-10-05 02:17:03 AM  
Cheers mark
 
2013-10-05 11:05:52 AM  
Although it's true CO2 will infuse the liquid better at colder temperatures, the lower temperatures also place your yeast at risk of going dormant and resulting in under-carbonation. I generally do two weeks in the primary and keg/bottle it. The only time I set things down for a significant duration is when I'm doing meads or ciders. I've never had a beer bottle explode (wine and mead bottles make nice grenades if you're not careful though). Austinhomebrew.com has a good selection and flat-rate shipping, and I've been using their recipes for years. Most come out pretty good.
 
2013-10-05 11:10:43 AM  

Torion!: Cheers mark


干杯 time.
 
2013-10-05 06:32:51 PM  
I make my own hard cider. Cider is way easier than beer and I think it tastes better too.

If you want to start making your own it is wickedly simple to get started....

Go to a store and buy a large bottle of Cider, just make sure it has no preservatives in it (no sodium benzoate or potassium sorbate listed on label). Get some cheap wine yeast from your local brew shop, or off the internet. This kind will do just fine:

http://www.amazon.com/Packs-Lalvin-Dried-EC-1118/dp/B003TOEEFG/ref=s r_ 1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1381009583&sr=8-2&keywords=yeast+wine

Finally get a balloon, a pin, and a can of frozen apple juice concentrate.

Poke a super-small hole in the top of the balloon with the pin. Open the bottle of cider (keep the lid for later), pour off about 10%, dump the yeast in (you can use just half a packet if you want, that should be plenty), put the balloon over the top and put the bottle on your kitchen counter or out in the garage for a week or so (someplace that is pretty consistently around 60-70 degrees)
Keep an eye on the balloon, it will fill with gas and sit straight for a while, then eventually fall over to the side. Once it falls over wait two more days then very gently poor about 90% of the the cider out into a another (very very clean) container. Leave the bottom 10% in the original bottle because that is where the unpalatable "lees" should have settled by now. Clean the original bottle (and it's lid) out with hot water and a little dish soap. Rinse it good and poor the cider back into it. Replace the lid.
Next you need to decide whether to back sweeten. Pour a small glass and try it out. If you want it sweeter put some frozen apple juice concentrate in the bottle and shake it up good, then test it for sweetness again. Keep adding more concentrate until it is a little sweeter than you really like (because it will be less sweet when cold). Then put it in the fridge for a few hours and drink away.
 
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