I've been drawing up plans for a greenhouse and I've decided to go with a rectangle design, which is best for the site I've chosen. The orientation of the greenhouse will be east/west so that the longest side will face the sun during late fall-early spring to extend the growing season, but there's only going to be glass on the south side and the north side will be for storage. I'll have probably a 10' by 8' section on the north side that I want to use as a workshop and now I'm thinking it'd also be a great place to experiment with brewing. I have some equipment already, but I was hoping some of you have tried brewing beer from home and might have some advice for me. I have stolen and recrafted some recipes for a saison, a hefeweizen and a vanilla porter. I just need to figure out what the bare minimum equipment requirements are. I do plan on bottling my beer, but that looks like another $200 or so. I could just build a cask for the first batch. Any tips, advice, tricks, criticisms or potential taste-testers?
I don't know what recrafting is, so you might know more than I do. I've just made small batches of beer at home from recipes my dad has given me.
Bare minimum ime:
- A nice big stainless steel pot
- A couple 5 gal buckets. Airlock optional, but a very good idea, highly recommended (and cheap if you just get the kind that's attached to a cork, and drill a hole in the lid of your bucket for it. There might be other varieties that I don't know about that are also simple and cheap)
-Bottles and capper/caps, if you get that kind, otherwise the kind with the locking down tops (like Grolsch bottles) are nice and easy to use and since bottles are reusable that's a one-time expense. How much beer are you planning on making that it's going to cost you $200 in bottles though?? That's a lot of bottles.
-Siphon tubing and filler (cheapest filler is usually less than $5, and siphon tubing doesn't cost much either)
-Your ingredients: water, malt, yeast, hops, and sometimes sugar (plus whatever optional ingredients you want to add per recipe)
Last edited by squark; 06-20-2013 at 03:25 PM.
By recrafting, I mean taking out ingredients that I don't like and adding ingredients that suit my palate.
I want to make several 5g batches one after another, maybe three at a time. Each 5gal batch would be about 53 12oz bottles($25 x 3 batches) + caps($2 for 60) + crimping tool(I like the one with a lever $30-50). I do have about 50 Grolsch bottles laying around or I can get 1/2 gallon jugs like a heathen. ok, ok, ok I guess this is more long-term planning. I have no good reason for buying any bottles or bottling equipment right now, since I want to make one batch first to make sure I want to do this, even though I'm like 99.8% sure that I'm going to like planning, making and drinking my own beer and I've been thinking about it and procrastinating for two years and now I'm trying to do things that I've been putting off, like road trips to the mountains and making my own beer and not screwing around inside my own head like some kind of doped up philosopher-rat-child.
Yeah, the 50 Grolsch bottles you already have would be enough for a test batch before investing in more equipment. I didn't really buy anything. Pretty much everything I have I got from my dad. He makes beer all the time, and a friend of his who had just closed a microbrewery gave him a lot of stuff, so he had extras of everything. When I mentioned that I wanted to make beer when visiting my parents, he loaded up my car with enough stuff for several batches. You could even go full hillbilly though if you wanted and forgo almost all equipment to just start making it with what you have.
Try something alternative. I've seen people adding in jalapeno extractions for example. You could blend up whole vanilla beans in addition to a standard extract for depth of vanilla flavor. Whole beans are usually better than extracts. Wet steeping (put it into cold wort after brew) teas/herbs are another example. Cold steeping will keep the anti-oxidants high, as well as the flavor, avoiding bitterness and flavor loss from boiling. You have to use more tea/herb though vs hot. If I still had the equipment I would cold steep some green/white/oolong tea or hibiscus in a light ale or lager. Maybe some rooibos in a light amber ale. I've only had one green tea experimental beer and it was a genmaicha ale. I don't think they knew what they were doing so much lol, it tasted of overly bitter brown rice more than anything else. They probably boiled it, which you should never do with green tea. With the beer market so saturated don't be afraid to try new things.