Relax, Don't Worry, Have a Homebrew Thread

It’s been a while since we’ve had a good home-brewing thread. We’ve got quite a collection of brewers on here, both amateur and pro.
To start things out, I’ll throw out a couple questions:

  1. any opinions on using amylase enzyme? I brewed up my most recent batch today, and mashed 7# of 2 row pale malt, 1# carapils and 6 oz. vienna malt, by bringing it from room temperature slowly (~60 minutes) to 158*, held it for 35 minutes. 1 tsp Amylase in from the get-go. Wow, the OG was crazy high - 1.068. No sparging, just kept it in a grain bag. Was this a result of the amylase? The same method usually yields an OG of 1.055-1.060 and that was the only difference.

  2. I’m thinking about growing some hops from rhizomes starting next spring. Will they grow well on a chain-link fence? Any particularly strains well-suited to part-sun? Anybody ever grow in pots?

  3. I’ve totally dropped liquid yeasts in favor of safale dry yeasts. Love em, and the price is right. Still, I want to culture some strains. How hard is it? Where to get started?

As for beers in the works, I’ve got:

Primary: today’s Hoptoberfest (5 gal) - above mentioned malts plus 1 oz Nugget (14.5 AA) and 1/2 oz. Willamette. Gonna dry-hop with another 1/2 of Willamette. Safale-05 The wort has the maltiness of a strong Octoberfest and a strong hop bite. I’m thinking it’s gonna ferment out to something like Sierra Nevada’s Celebration Ale. This was a spur of the moment, driving past the brew shop kind of beer. Pleased I took the plunge.

Secondary: Black Gold Coffee Chocolate Stout. (3 gal) - Vienna, Munich and Chocolate Malts, 1 oz Northern Brewer, Safale-05, 4 oz. medium roast Guatemalan coffee, 2 oz baking chocolate.

Secondary: (3 gal) Cider, Stanton and Braeburn apples, Safale-04 (english). Gonna take silenus’ advice and condition in keg with apple juice concentrate to prime it

Conditioning: Beastie Brown Ale (5 gal)- a multi-malt brown ale that I don’t really remember the exact ingredients and can’t be arsed to go get my brew book to look up. But man, it’s a full bodied brown somewhere between Newcastle and Sam Smith. Pouring it next week and very excited.

On Deck: an as-yet unnamed blueberry porter. Haven’t decided on how to approach this, but I’m eager to try.

Bump. Anyone? <crickets>

The amylase is probably responsible for the bump in your OG. Never use the stuff myself, but friends do.

Culturing your own strains is a pain, unless you have the space and are really keen on maintaining a hard-to-get strain. I’ve done it, but wouldn’t do it again.

Hops don’t grow well in pots. They will grow along a chain-link fence, but you had better have some trellises prepared. They get very tall very quickly. The Cascade a friend planted next to his house ate the chimney in one season.

I am not a homebrewer but I have a friend who is really into it.

A few years ago, he made a Christmas brew that had a little peppermint and essence of pine in it. I was the only one who liked it, I think, but I bugged him about it every year so he makes more.

I used to homebrew back in my grad school days in Madison. But since then, the micro-brewing revolution in the US has put it way down on my time-spending priority list. I can get excellent beers for a decent price at the local 7-Eleven now.

I still miss the way it makes the apartment smell, though. Ahhhhhh…TRM

I have two batches going now: a Hefeweizen and a cream stout. I’m going to keg them this weekend and have them ready for a Halloween party.

Bottled microbrews are pretty good, but nothing beats a nice, fresh keg of homebrew.

I was debating starting a thread myself. I’ve got a nut brown ale bottled, and should be ready to drink at the start of next week.

A question on sediment, though. Could you save it, dry it out, and use it as a nutritional supplement? That’s basically what brewer’s yeast that you get in health food stores is, right? I was thinking of saving the last bit of every bottle into a plastic container in the fridge, and then putting that in a Pyrex dish in a warm oven for a few hours to dry. Has anybody had experience doing this, or know of anyone who has?

OT, but I’ve been hanging out in gaming forums too much. When I saw the title, I thought it was a reference to RPGs.

Sorta. Brewer’s yeast from the store is a pure culture that has been washed and packaged. What you would be harvesting is going to be contaminated with hops, bits of grain, and other residue. Easier and cheaper to buy the tablets.

Now, if all you are going to be doing is re-using the yeast, go for it. I’ve harvested sludge, washed it, and kept re-using the same yeast for months. It gives you a butt-load of cells to pitch. Eventually it gets too contaminated to use, but you can save a bundle on yeast as long as you plan your brewing schedule and make the same kind of beer every time.

Not 20 minutes ago, Mrs. Urquhart and I finished bottling our second batch of homebrew – it’s a Brewer’s Best kit for Dortmunder, to which we added a few teaspoons of spices and will call our holiday ale. Earlier this evening, I transferred our third batch, a Scottish ale from a Brewer’s Best kit, to the secondary fermenter.

Our first batch was an Oktoberfest (from a Brewer’s Best kit) that turned out very well. It’s extraordinarily rewarding to drink beer that you have made.

We’re not sure what our fourth batch will be – maybe a porter. The Brewer’s Best kits have been good to us, but I think we’ll move on to some recipes from … speaking of RDWHAH … The Complete Joy of Homebrewing.

After ruining 3 5 gallon batches of cider over the last 3 years, I have decided to go with 1 gallon batches until I can figure out what the hell I’m doing wrong. Stupid cider.

Post your procedure. I’d be glad to trouble-shoot it.

The Mr. and I homebrew. We’ve made several beers, mostly from kits, but one time we brewed up a nice light American lager style using some wild hops harvested by my father-in-law and grains and yeast recommended by our brew store guy. It was nice for our first DIY recipe.

We’ve also brewed up three wines - the Riesling we made this year is particularly nice - and a bunch of cider. Love love love the cider. We can’t keep it in stock we go through it so fast. 6 gallons simply does not make enough.

I need to try the apple juice concentrate for priming - that’s intriguing.

I wish we were more knowledgeable. Although we’ve got the kegerator, 2 cornelius kegs, the mini kegs, and all the brewing stuff, we still rely on kits a ton instead of going our own way. But it works for us, so it’s all good.

I’ve only got one beer going right now–it’s basically going to be a kriek. It won’t be a true lambic, or course, but I got as close as I could to making that sort of base. Don’t have the recipe here at work to post though.

It’s been aging for about 3 months now with some oak cubes, and I’m going to let it go another 3 or so–then add 10 lbs of extremely sour cherries. 1 more year of aging after that before bottling.

Can anyone recommend an extract-based recipe to get me started again? I got a few brews under the belt last year but packed everything up when our first child came along. I’ve been thinking of getting things back up and running - looking for a really solid recipe for something like a moderately hopped IPA - any ideas?

I grew a few rhizomes in pots this season and ended up with a few ounces. They went crazy! I just ran twine up to the eaves and they took off, had to cut them back quite a bit to keep them from taking over.

I have found that most pots have drainage problems that leads to root-rot. Yours must be well drained.

I am very excited to grow my own hops next season. I have 2 4x16 ft sections of chain link fence and another 24 ft run of the same, which gets a little less light (not enough for tomatoes, but for other veggies no problem.)

So while we’re talking hops…

I’m gathering that the hops will climb, can they be cut back regularly or will this diminish growth/flowering?

Is cross pollination an issue? I’d hoped to run a variety of strains, from low to high alphas.

Would I better served with an arbor, as in grapes? I have the space and could site it nicely for max sun.

I’ve been ridiculously excited about this ever since we bought the house and I convinced the wife this would be a good idea. (She likes beer, but has concerns that they’ll overwhelm her garden)

This is the perfect thread for this reminder I think - November 7th is ‘Teach a Friend to Homebrew Day!’ It’s always the first Saturday in November.

My husband will be at school that day, so we had our Teach a Friend to Homebrew Day on the first Saturday in September instead. It was so fun. We brewed in the kitchen while a friend of ours brought his equipment over and brewed on our back patio. We had about 10 friends over and tasted over 15 different beers and had a barbecue, sort of a southern style picnic/BBQ meets Oktoberfest.

We just finished a Honey Wheat that my son said was the best beer he’s ever tasted. It was damn good. Props to Demo. :wink:

Oatmeal Stout is on tap now, but the past couple of weeks we’ve been busy making wine. And teaching friends how to make wine.

My gf and I have been making wine for a few years. At any given time, she has 12 gallons going and I have anywhere from 6 to 18. We’ve had some great outcomes, and even the worst wines have been as good as what we would buy from the liquor store.

Our latest success story is a pear wine that we just bottled. Made from pears we grew and picked ourselves, we took it all the way to dry and it is excellent, with just a hint of nutmeg in the background.

This winter we are going to try some beer. I have most of the equipment already, as well as a few books. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm