Home brewing (including wine making)

Wyshiepoo

Senior Member
Joined
30 Jun 2018
Local time
2:07 PM
Messages
822
Location
Guernsey
How much did the original kit cost and how much does it yield? I've never attempted home brewing.
I can't remember exactly. But it's offered for sale at
John Bull London Porter Home Brew Beer Kit
for £12.96.
Yield was 40 pints.

I also bought something like this,
Equipment Only Starter Kit 5 Gallons
which is advertised for £45.36, however this is obviously reusable once cleaned and sterilised. I also bought a bottle capper and a keg system.

R & L Red Crown Bottle Capper
Mini Keg Stater Kit

I haven't bothered buying bottles as I just re use old ones and the landlord at my local said I could help myself to empties whenever I like.


Brewing with what are called Extract kits like the John Bull range is remarkably easy, you just need to set aside a little time and follow the instructions. Generally everything you need (barring equipment) is supplied with the kit except for sugar and water. The general process is to sterilise everything I recommend Starsan or similar (don't fear the foam). Boil X amount of water, mix your extract and sugar with the boiling water in your fermentation vessel and then add X amount of cold water to bring the wort to around the correct temperature. Once it's at the correct temperature pitch your yeast, fit lid and airlock and wait for about a week or two. Then rack off to another (sterilised) vessel and bottle or keg until ready to drink.

I'm going to upgrade to a Brewjacket Immersion Pro which is a solid state heat exchanger that keeps your brewing beer (wort) at the correct temperature and is especially useful when 'cold crashing' during fermenting, used when lagering mostly which is why most lager is so clear and bright.
Immersion Pro for 4-Legged Conicals

And either later this year or maybe next year I'll upgrade to a Robobrew and start all grain brewing.
BrewZilla / RoboBrew 35L | Generation 3.1 | Kegland 3 Years Extended Warranty

I had to halt my brewing while some work was being carried out on the house but starting again shortly. Quite happy to post recipes and progress on here if you like perhaps in 'whatcha drinking' or in 'what did you cook today' as I doubt it's worth having a special topic for brewing/winemaking as I'll probably be the only person posting.
 

TastyReuben

Nosh 'n' Splosh
Joined
15 Jul 2019
Local time
9:07 AM
Messages
4,954
Location
Ohio, US
I home-brewed quite a bit for about a dozen years. I got my start about the simplest way possible, with a very basic kit from Boots.

I soon upgraded after that, but that first batch was a load of fun. Just a bucket, a can of extract, a packet of yeast, and some plastic bottles. It wasn't the best beer by any means, but it was a good introduction to the process.

I'll second that you have to sterilize everything. Everything. All it takes is forgetting to sterilize a spoon, or this or that, and a whole batch ruined.
 

Wyshiepoo

Senior Member
Joined
30 Jun 2018
Local time
2:07 PM
Messages
822
Location
Guernsey
I home-brewed quite a bit for about a dozen years. I got my start about the simplest way possible, with a very basic kit from Boots.

I soon upgraded after that, but that first batch was a load of fun. Just a bucket, a can of extract, a packet of yeast, and some plastic bottles. It wasn't the best beer by any means, but it was a good introduction to the process.

I'll second that you have to sterilize everything. Everything. All it takes is forgetting to sterilize a spoon, or this or that, and a whole batch ruined.
Yep, I even sterilise the can that the extract comes in and the outside of the yeast packet!

If ever you start up again let me know and we can compare notes. Perhaps even do a virtual brew together.
 

morning glory

Obsessive cook
Staff member
Joined
19 Apr 2015
Local time
2:07 PM
Messages
34,260
Location
Maidstone, Kent, UK
I doubt it's worth having a special topic for brewing/winemaking as I'll probably be the only person posting.
Maybe - but there might be others who take it up. I think MrsDangermouse mentioned something about buying a kit recently (wine?). If I move these posts to a new thread it means the topic is searchable on the forum rather than buried in another thread.

[Done]
 

MrsDangermouse

Veteran
Joined
30 Nov 2012
Local time
2:07 PM
Messages
756
Location
Hampshire, UK
I think MrsDangermouse mentioned something about buying a kit recently (wine?).
Yes, we make our own wine from wine kits we buy from a local homebrew shop - none of it will win any prizes, but its perfectly drinkable and works out way cheaper than buying cheap wine for everyday drinking* We still buy nice wine for special occasions though.

We did experiment making wine from our own fruit: the apple wine turned out ok, but really benefited from a good 18 months of ageing. But the strawberry wine was vile.....maybe that will improve with age too but I'm not holding out much hope!

* To clarify....we don't actually drink every day!
 
Joined
30 Mar 2017
Local time
9:07 AM
Messages
3,382
Location
Detroit, USA
Website
absolute0cooking.com
I brewed beer for many years...I didn't realize it then, but I was flexing my home cooking muscles for the first time. I also started out with a kit, then gradually branched off from there:
  • Replacing powdered malt with liquid malts and eventually whole grains. Powered vs liquid really isn't much of a difference, except that liquid malt dissolves more easily. Using grains, however, is quite an operation. You need significantly more to get the volume of malt you need to brew a batch of beer. To me, it's like the difference between using fresh herbs and dry herbs: both can create good results, but one is more expensive and requires more work, with the potential for better results.
  • Replacing dry yeast with liquid yeast. This was more expensive, but I never regretted doing this: the liquid yeast packets are more evolved and nuanced than the dry yeast, and they never failed to ferment the beer. If you ever decide to make a Belgian lambic style ale, this is probably what you'll want to use.
  • Adding a hops at different stages of the brew.
    • Add them at the beginning of the boil to contribute bitterness. These are generally the high IBU (International Bitterness Units) hops. IBU is a bit like the Scoville scale for measuring the spiciness of peppers.
    • Add them midway through or thereabouts to add flavoring. These are typically the low-to-mid IBU hops.
    • Add the in the last few minutes to contribute an aroma. There are likewise hops that are specific to this sort of thing.
  • Brewing truly wacky things.I brewed strawberry, raspberry, and blueberry ales, but those are relatively pedestrian compared to some that I brewed:
    • I brewed a honey spruce beer that required a significant amount of time to mellow out: after a month of aging, it still had the flavor of a freshly-mowed lawn. After two months, it was magical.
    • I brewed a Rauchbier (German smoked beer), which used liquid smoke. I found this to be truly excellent with cheeses.
    • I know people who brewed beer with hot peppers. I never felt tempted to do that, but it's a fairly simple thing to do.
    • I also know one person who said he wanted to brew a "smoked salmon beer". I don't know if he ever did, but I can see where such a thing would be possible.
I think I'm going to have to find all my brewing equipment and get going on this again, once the weather is warm enough to leave the windows open. Brewing a batch of beer does tend to stink up the house. :)
 
Joined
30 Mar 2017
Local time
9:07 AM
Messages
3,382
Location
Detroit, USA
Website
absolute0cooking.com
I've always thought it smelled wonderful, sort of like slightly-burnt Cheerios. :)
I'm not the one who I have to accommodate here: it's MsLateNightGourmet who has an aversion to the smell. Come to think of it, I have heard of people making their wort using a hot plate. It seems that I could bring my operation outdoors and let the wind carry the aroma away.
 

Wyshiepoo

Senior Member
Joined
30 Jun 2018
Local time
2:07 PM
Messages
822
Location
Guernsey
I brewed beer for many years...I didn't realize it then, but I was flexing my home cooking muscles for the first time. I also started out with a kit, then gradually branched off from there:
  • Replacing powdered malt with liquid malts and eventually whole grains. Powered vs liquid really isn't much of a difference, except that liquid malt dissolves more easily. Using grains, however, is quite an operation. You need significantly more to get the volume of malt you need to brew a batch of beer. To me, it's like the difference between using fresh herbs and dry herbs: both can create good results, but one is more expensive and requires more work, with the potential for better results.
  • Replacing dry yeast with liquid yeast. This was more expensive, but I never regretted doing this: the liquid yeast packets are more evolved and nuanced than the dry yeast, and they never failed to ferment the beer. If you ever decide to make a Belgian lambic style ale, this is probably what you'll want to use.
  • Adding a hops at different stages of the brew.
    • Add them at the beginning of the boil to contribute bitterness. These are generally the high IBU (International Bitterness Units) hops. IBU is a bit like the Scoville scale for measuring the spiciness of peppers.
    • Add them midway through or thereabouts to add flavoring. These are typically the low-to-mid IBU hops.
    • Add the in the last few minutes to contribute an aroma. There are likewise hops that are specific to this sort of thing.
  • Brewing truly wacky things.I brewed strawberry, raspberry, and blueberry ales, but those are relatively pedestrian compared to some that I brewed:
    • I brewed a honey spruce beer that required a significant amount of time to mellow out: after a month of aging, it still had the flavor of a freshly-mowed lawn. After two months, it was magical.
    • I brewed a Rauchbier (German smoked beer), which used liquid smoke. I found this to be truly excellent with cheeses.
    • I know people who brewed beer with hot peppers. I never felt tempted to do that, but it's a fairly simple thing to do.
    • I also know one person who said he wanted to brew a "smoked salmon beer". I don't know if he ever did, but I can see where such a thing would be possible.
I think I'm going to have to find all my brewing equipment and get going on this again, once the weather is warm enough to leave the windows open. Brewing a batch of beer does tend to stink up the house. :)
Liquid yeast packets, are those the ones you have to 'smack' to activate?

Wacky? Well slightly wacky I suppose, but last Christmas I bought a Christmas Pudding beer and it did have notes of Christmas Pudding when tasting.
 

TastyReuben

Nosh 'n' Splosh
Joined
15 Jul 2019
Local time
9:07 AM
Messages
4,954
Location
Ohio, US
Home brewing can be done very cheaply or very expensively, depending on the ingredients and equipment used. It can be a long, deep rabbit hole (and a fun one!).

By the time I stopped, I had a very modest setup of a primary fermenter, a secondary fermenter, a bottling bucket, and associated bits and pieces, like a long spoon, a siphon,capper, a device for determining the alcohol content, bottles (so many bottles), airlock, and the cooking bits: stock pot, muslin for the grains, that sort of thing.

I probably spent a couple hundred bucks over time to get that stuff, but there's so much more you can buy if you're the obsessive type, like wort chillers and setting up to keg the beer instead of bottling it, it can get crazy expensive.

My nephew wanted to try his hand at it (he goes from one thing to the next with no discipline), and asked me for help/advice, and before a week was up, and after I specifically told him not to spend a lot of money, he dropped several hundred dollars on a "super-deluxe" kit, money he didn't have, and he brewed exactly one time.
 
Last edited:
Top Bottom