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General Chat Thread, Beer brewing kit... in General; My fella has a developed a bit of a thing for Ales, Porters and Stouts. On his Christmas list he's ...
  1. #1

    Little-Miss's Avatar
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    Beer brewing kit...

    My fella has a developed a bit of a thing for Ales, Porters and Stouts. On his Christmas list he's asked for a brewing kit (he specified Porter or Stout)

    Can anyone recommend a starter kit? Something he can maybe develop/upgrade(?) eventually? I'm sure there are plenty out there, i just haven't had a look yet, but was wondering if ayone had any recommedations first.

  2. #2

    LosOjos's Avatar
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    Get yourself to Wilkos, they have loads of gear to get you started and the prices are pretty good too

    [I haven't actually gotten round to brewing my own yet, but that's where I'll eventually buy my gear from when I finally have the cash!]

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    Little-Miss (11th December 2013)

  4. #3

    Little-Miss's Avatar
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    oh! Good to know, thanks!

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    Larger Tescos store also sell the kits.

    But basically you need a large plastic spoon, a large bucket, some sanitiser and a siphon.

    Persoanlly from experience I would buy them seperately probably because then you can but a better siphon that will stop bits going into the bottles.

    As for the "beers", honestly I would go toa brew shop if one was close and buy a more expensive one. There is also 2 tins (very little extra suger needed) or 1 tin kits that need brewers sugar too normally, although different kits in that respect are well different. 2 tins are usually better though.

    Bottles are the msot expensive if he hasn't kept loads yet, you need about 40 500ml bottle per brew, caps are cheap but get a decent capper, it makes life so much easier!

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    Little-Miss (11th December 2013)

  7. #5

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    Be prepared for some of the worst smells you can imagine when he's making beer. You have to boil this thick, treacle like stuff and then put in hops (looks like potpourri) and boil for a bit longer and it smells like burnt marmite!

    It is a fun pastime though and the beer can turn out rather good.

    EDIT: Second the decent capper tip - the very basic ones that you can get that are basically a metal cup you bang on with a mallet are awful (think broken bottles). You need a proper mechanical one, or easier is proper 'beer-grade' plastic bottles with screw tops.
    Last edited by crc-ict; 11th December 2013 at 10:44 AM.

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    yeah go for two-tin kits, generally better than one-tin kits

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    unixman_again's Avatar
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    If you can find a Coopers Stout kit it comes out exactly that same as they make at the brewery. I know this to be true as I used to drink Coopers and tried the kit out once. In the end, I found it easier to go to the bottle-o and buy it. ("Bottle-o" - Aussie for drive through off licence. I wish they had them here in Blighty.)

  11. #8

    sonofsanta's Avatar
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    You want:

    Fermenting bin to start with: Wilko Fermenting Bin and Lid 25lt at wilko.com

    Pressure barrel for the second stage: Wilko Pressure Barrel 23L/40 Pints at wilko.com

    Siphon for moving between the two: Wilko Siphon Pack at wilko.com

    Long spoon for stirring: Wilko Long Plastic Spoon at wilko.com

    Steriliser for keeping everything clean (seriously, always be clean, if you are in good habits with steriliser you will never get a bad batch): Wilko Cleaner/Steriliser 100g at wilko.com

    If you want to bottle it, use these caps and this capper, although tbh I just drink it straight from the pressure barrel Wilko Bottle Cap Metal Beer 50 at wilko.com & Wilko Capper Boxed at wilko.com (you need to bottle if you think it will take you longer than two weeks to drink 40 pints though - leaving it in the pressure barrel means it keeps fermenting, and eventually it ends up All Alcohol and No Taste. You don't need to buy bottles, just rinse out empty ale bottles, sterilise and recap them)

    Then take your pick from one of these kits: Cider & Beer Brewing | wilko.com and use a 1kg bag of normal sugar. One of the single tin solutions will be plenty fine, I usually brew from them, and it'll be a bit simpler for his first brew (two tin solutions are great for his second/third attempt). Brewers sugar will help the beer clear quicker but it's not necessary, normal granulated works fine.


    You should just about break even on cost of all that kit versus buying 40 pints this first time; the second time, you spend a tenner on the kit & sugar and that's it. 25p a pint is good plus it's an easy present in future to just get him a kit.

    All the above is proper homebrew kit to continue with once you get in the habit of it - some of the "starter kits" you get are only good for that system, for wont of a better word, whereas all the above will stand you in good stead for years to come. With some demijohns and airlocks you can start brewing wine as well, which is incredibly straightforward and cheap - just takes a bit more patience, 6 months opposed to 6 weeks. For reference, those homebrew kits take about two weeks in the bin then four weeks to clear in the pressure barrel, then you have a two week window to drink unless (as mentioned) you bottle it.

    Homebrew is easy, delicious and entertaining. He'll love it
    Last edited by sonofsanta; 11th December 2013 at 11:20 AM.

  12. 4 Thanks to sonofsanta:

    hallb15 (18th December 2013), Little-Miss (11th December 2013), plexer (11th December 2013), soveryapt (12th December 2013)

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    plexer's Avatar
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    I have all that basic equipment and that same capper and it works well don't forget to sterilise the caps as well as the bottles.

    hop,grape, brew, wine making kits,home brew is a good site and I have SIMPLY EXPORT STOUT - Home Brew Kits, beer kits, wine kits for Beer Making and homebrew Wine Making at HopandGrape.com sitting in a box at home just calling for me to make it.

    Ben

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    bandgeekmafia78's Avatar
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    Thanks sonofsanta, I've just spent my birthday money of all of the equipment you suggested. I'm sure my missus will be delighted...

    Can the fermentation process take place in an area such as a cellar (which is a little bit damp) or does it have to be in completely dry conditions? Also, when you are bottling/capping the ale, will there be yeast in the final brew or does this settle at the bottom of the pressure barrel? I also heard that adding malt extract instead of 1Kg sugar is fine. Is that true?

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    bushby's Avatar
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    got kit at home and made cider over sept-october with my dad this was all from our apple trees and got about 300l-500l and my god where were in wasp heaven at the time.

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    sonofsanta's Avatar
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    I don't think dampness matters as the pressure barrel is sealed (for the pressure to build up so you don't get flat beer) but the temperature wants to be between 18-24C for the yeast to do its thing. If it's the lower end of the scale it will ferment more slowly, and if it's too high it can kill the yeast, but it's not a difficult temperature range to keep as 18-24 is about comfortable for people in a house, so fermenting indoors usually means you're ok. If your cellar is warm enough to stand in in just a t-shirt you should be fine, if it's too cold you may need to move it indoors or get a heating belt.

    There's yeast but it settles out at the bottom; be careful moving anything with yeast in so you don't stir it up, and leave a bit at the bottom. When I drink out of the pressure barrel there's usually a couple of pints at the bottom that don't look too tasty, but if you've just drunk 38 it's hard to get too worked up over it

    (Incidentally, the dregs that are left are excellent for washing hair.)

    Malt extract: no idea, never used it maybe someone else knows.

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    bandgeekmafia78 (11th December 2013)

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    sonofsanta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bushby View Post
    got kit at home and made cider over sept-october with my dad this was all from our apple trees and got about 300l-500l and my god where were in wasp heaven at the time.
    What did you use to press the apples? I'd like to try and make proper cider but the presses are 100-something and I'm too lazy/incompetent to make my own press...

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    nephilim's Avatar
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    Home brewing is fun. Be warned, it is addictive as he develops a taste, adjusts things and makes more and more (I got told off for having near 700 ltrs of beers). It became a present for neighbours last christmas, think each on in our culdesac got about 12 bottles each, some asking for more as it was good.

    Also worth noting...a steam cleaner is the best way to sanitise them, any chemicals will spoil the beer. Also if he wants to ferment anything from say a beer to a heavier drink, worth investing in a demi-john. I did my fair share of making pear and apple cider brandy.

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  22. #15

    nephilim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bandgeekmafia78 View Post
    Thanks sonofsanta, I've just spent my birthday money of all of the equipment you suggested. I'm sure my missus will be delighted...

    Can the fermentation process take place in an area such as a cellar (which is a little bit damp) or does it have to be in completely dry conditions? Also, when you are bottling/capping the ale, will there be yeast in the final brew or does this settle at the bottom of the pressure barrel? I also heard that adding malt extract instead of 1Kg sugar is fine. Is that true?
    Should be dry conditions, damp conditions can spoil the brew by adding harmful bacteria.

    Always leave the bottom of the barrel stuff, its where the "sludge" accumulates and any going into the bottles is not pleasant.

    Malt extract is fine, but should really be done if brewing a spirit or a bitter.

  23. 2 Thanks to nephilim:

    bandgeekmafia78 (11th December 2013), sonofsanta (11th December 2013)

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