Brewing beer from scratch the simple way

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123sologne
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Brewing beer from scratch the simple way

Post: #275676 123sologne
Tue Jul 30, 2013 11:28 am

My husband made a mistake and bought the grain instead of the ready mix stuff to do some beer. Instead of sending the grain back he decided to have a go at making his own preparation, but it looks very complicated with different temperatures which need to be kept for a while while doing the preparation. Also, having looked for simpler methods, all we find is people who seam to have bought a brewery's equipment to do the job.... :(
Have any of you made this using simpler tools, pots and so on? What about the fast cooling process too, any suggestions with that? Or do you simply not bother??.... :dontknow:

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Re: Brewing beer from scratch the simple way

Post: #275678 gregorach
Tue Jul 30, 2013 12:11 pm

The simplest option for brewing from grain is known as "brew in a bag" - you'll find plenty of information if you search for it. It's not a technique I know much about myself though... I do it the complicated way.
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Re: Brewing beer from scratch the simple way

Post: #275720 wulf
Fri Aug 02, 2013 10:09 am

I'm a fan of the brew in the bag approach. I like the control that comes from starting with your own choice of crushed grain and hops but don't want to invest the money (or, more importantly, the storage space) in a "proper" all-grain set up.

It just so happens that I wrote a fairly extensive summary of my latest experiment. I still used some specialist equipment (brewing bag, siphoning tube - preferably with a tap on one end and a fixing on the other to stop sucking up the dregs, sanitising powder, plastic brew vat) and a couple of things that might not be kicking round in the average kitchen (2l plastic jug, 10l plastic jerry can, digital temperature probe) but, other than that, it was all domestic equipment.

See:

http://web-den.org.uk/blog/2013/08/conc ... -homebrew/

I suspect you can pare the list back even further but, as you turn away from more scientific methods, you do lose control over important variables and getting a good result comes more down to chance.

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Re: Brewing beer from scratch the simple way

Post: #275721 Maykal
Fri Aug 02, 2013 10:34 am

Anyone brewed beer with fresh hops rather than dry hops?

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Re: Brewing beer from scratch the simple way

Post: #275722 gregorach
Fri Aug 02, 2013 11:52 am

No, but I know a few people who have... The main issue is that you have absolutely no idea what the alpha acid content is, so bittering is a rather hit-and-miss affair. You can get around that to some extent by doing trial brews and either comparing them to known references or your extensive tasting experience, but it's always going to be a bit variable. The flavour is apparently superior though.

(Bear in mind that I'm the sort of brewer who calculates everything to two decimal places and measures hop additions to a tenth of a gram, which is completely pointless. I freely admit that I'm insane.)
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Re: Brewing beer from scratch the simple way

Post: #275724 Maykal
Fri Aug 02, 2013 4:54 pm

Thanks Dunc,

I asked because there's a hops farm (brewer's gold and magnum, I think) more or less on my doorstep, so getting a sack or two of fresh hops wouldn't be a problem. I've regularly made kits beers at various times in my life, but was wondering about trying some BITB or all-grain at some time in the future seeing as I could get local barley and hops. Some neighbours are about to branch out into making home-made beer and will probably get all the kit. Would be interesting one day to try making a very local low-food-mileage beer.

I think alcohol production in these parts would drive you nuts. It's all very much 'squash it up, chuck it in a barrel, leave it, see what comes out, if it takes like pish, distil it.' I was chatting with a neighbour about making wine this year (got loads of grapes) and I mentioned adding a selected yeast (rather than just leaving the lid off for a couple of weeks for the natural stuff) - thought I was going to get run through with a pitchfork and burnt at the stake for all my newfangled wizardry.

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Re: Brewing beer from scratch the simple way

Post: #275728 123sologne
Sat Aug 03, 2013 7:33 am

Thanks guys for all the info. :thumbright:
Hubby did his brew using various pots.... At least we have the brew bucket for the end product which has already started to bubble away in a corner in the kitchen. One thing we used was an old large metal pot with a tap at the bottom which was used in the old days by mum when she still made cream from milk to sell locally. Luckily (for once), mum and dad didn't get rid of anything, because that pot which was part of a machine, has not been used for at least 30 years.... But it helped us for getting the liquid out of the mashed barley. However next time, hubby already decided to use a bag as well as we ended up with a bit of barley everywhere...
One good thing already: The hens (new addition to the family) love the barley mush left behind. As for the beer, well, we will have to wait to see what it tastes like in a few weeks. It certainly smelt very nice when it was cooking.... :tongue:
If we like to result, we may try to get some barley from a local farmer to do the 1st cooking process ourselves too (this time we got the barley pre-cooked with all the other bits as part of a bought pack)...

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Re: Brewing beer from scratch the simple way

Post: #275756 gregorach
Mon Aug 05, 2013 8:10 am

123sologne wrote:If we like to result, we may try to get some barley from a local farmer to do the 1st cooking process ourselves too (this time we got the barley pre-cooked with all the other bits as part of a bought pack)...


Malting barley is a tricky process, not to mention extremely labour-intensive by hand. I've heard of some particularly enthusiastic individuals giving it a try, but only out of curiosity... Nobody does it more than once or twice.
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Re: Brewing beer from scratch the simple way

Post: #275760 wulf
Mon Aug 05, 2013 9:48 am

If even Dunc doesn't malt his own barley (hops to the nearest 0.1g you say!) then you know it is going to be hard work!

BTW, those spent grains are human edible. Being on the high fibre end of the scale, I wouldn't want to eat too many but I've found that, among other things, they make a great mix to spread over the top of a homemade loaf after shaping and before its final, pre-cooking rest.

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Re: Brewing beer from scratch the simple way

Post: #276044 Andy Hamilton
Mon Aug 26, 2013 12:21 pm

I've made beer using fresh hops and will do so again this year. I used about double what I would have dried. Dunc is right about calculating IBU's and all that and what you can do is have a cup of hop tea and compare it to hop with known and higher AA's and keep diluting by 50% until you get a match. I didn't do all that and the beer tasted ok, not an award winner but good enough to have all the bottles go at a party!

As for malting your own barley have a search on youtube, plenty of people have done it there. It is a very labour intensive job.
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Re: Brewing beer from scratch the simple way

Post: #276045 123sologne
Mon Aug 26, 2013 3:59 pm

Well thanks again for all the info. Our beer is now in bottle awaiting the secondary fermentation to be done. At least one thing I am sure after reading all the comments: We won't try to do our own malting, as it seams way too complicated... We already have so many things to do, we don't need to go that far. However, brewing from pre-malted barley seams to be the way forward for us. :thumbright:

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Re: Brewing beer from scratch the simple way

Post: #276048 gregorach
Tue Aug 27, 2013 8:37 am

Yeah, there's a reason even big commercial breweries don't malt their own barley...
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Re: Brewing beer from scratch the simple way

Post: #276067 123sologne
Wed Aug 28, 2013 5:25 pm

gregorach wrote:Yeah, there's a reason even big commercial breweries don't malt their own barley...


Whoa, I would have thought they at least did that!... :shock:

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Re: Brewing beer from scratch the simple way

Post: #276070 gregorach
Thu Aug 29, 2013 8:51 am

No, they buy their malt in from specialist maltsters, and there's only around a dozen of them in the UK. As far as I know, the only brewery company that actually owns its own maltings is Molson Coors. Some whisky distilleries malt their own barley, but it's very unusual.
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Re: Brewing beer from scratch the simple way

Post: #276244 Andy Hamilton
Sun Sep 08, 2013 7:40 pm

Black Isle come close, they grow and send it 10 or so miles down the road!
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