Home Brew Basics

 

For the full article, visit Ladybud.

If you are a fan of good beer – not the mass-produced mega-corporation style swill that is forced on us through endless streams of commercials – then you have no doubt witnessed the explosion of craft beer over the past few years. Hundreds of microbrews now pack the shelves at your local liquor stores. Finally, beer with flavor and character is available for the masses. Supporting local “Mom and Pop” businesses and breweries AND enjoying quality beer is now possible.

The popularity of these microbrews has led many beer-lovers to question how beer is made and what is involved. As a result, home brewing has quickly grown in popularity. Who doesn’t want to just walk into the kitchen and grab a fresh, delicious beer – one where you know every single ingredient used to make it? If the ingredients are chosen carefully, gone are the issues of headaches due to preservatives and chemical additives, gone are any issues of GMO’s in the beer, and gone are possible allergic reactions.

You may be thinking of trying this out for yourself, but you probably have a lot of questions. Fortunately, there are multiple sources of information and help out there, and that home brewers are generally a fun and helpful group of people.

Here’s a little Q&A to help you get started:

“Isn’t there a large amount of equipment required?”
Generally, to brew beer at home, some equipment is required. At a minimum, you need a large stock pot – roughly 5 gallons in capacity, a 5-gallon plastic bottle with an airlock (also called a fermentor), a 5-gallon plastic bucket with a spigot and bottling equipment (to get the beer from the fermentor and into bottles), and cleaning/sanitizing equipment – nothing worse than spending the time to brew your beer only to have it get funky on you (in a bad way). Of course, you can always go “bigger” and more advanced – with kegging systems, brewing stands, and other pieces of specialized equipment.

“Does it cost a lot of money to get started?”
You can find pre-packaged starter kits at the multitude of brewing stores that have sprung up in the past few years. Depending of the size of the batch of beer you want to brew and the complexity level of your brewing kit, it should cost anywhere from $80 – $200 to get started initially. Of course, you can go big and it could cost in the $1,000’s.

“Do I have to keep buying equipment?”
Not typically. If you keep your equipment clean and sanitize it properly, you can re-use almost everything (except bottle caps, cleansers, and ingredients). Keep reusing your bottles and bottling equipment.

“How long does it take?”
Brew day can take a few hours. It typically consists of bringing 2-3 gallons of water up to a boil, adding ingredients, boiling for an hour, quickly cooling the batch down, adding the yeast, and transferring it to a fermentor. After the beer starts fermenting, it can be ready for bottling in as little as two weeks or upwards of three months, depending on the style of beer you are making. After that, you can either bottle it, or keg it. If you bottle it, it can take about two weeks to carbonate. Kegging will yield drinkable beer in a matter of a few days.

These are just the very basics of getting started in home brewing. As you learn more, you can create more complex beers that can rival those of the big breweries. But even with a simple brew, you will have the satisfaction of knowing you did it yourself and you know what is in your beer. Plus, giving home brewed beer is a great gift or a good excuse to have friends over and enjoy a few beers.

Have fun with it and enjoy the end results, responsibly of course!

 

 

This Week’s OBK Thirsty Thursday Deals (Jan. 2) — Discounted Beer Grains & 10% Off Drip Trays!

10% Off Any Drip Tray!

Beer Grains

New pricing structure. $.99 Daily for Select Base Grains, $.89 on Thursdays! $1.29 Daily for Specialty Grains, $1.19 on Thursdays!

 

Add to cart for discount!

www.ontariobeerkegs.com

This Week’s OBK Thirsty Thursday Deals (Dec. 19) — 10% Off SS Weldless Brew Pot Accessories & $.89/lb Grains!

10% Off Stainless Steel Weldless Brew Pot Accessories!

 

Beer Grains — $.89/lb

 

Add to cart for discount

www.ontariobeerkegs.com

This Week’s OBK Thirsty Thursday Deals (Nov. 28) — Free T-Shirt on Orders Over $100 & $.89/lb Grains!

OBK Weekly Deals

OBK Weekly Deals

FREE T-Shirt on Orders Over $100! 

Limited Quantities Available!

 

Beer Grains — $.89/lb

Add to cart for discount

 

 

www.ontariobeerkegs.com

OntarioBeerKegs Black Friday / Cyber Monday Sales Event 2013

Visit OBK this week for deals on Homebrewing Supplies, Kegging Equipment, Full Size Kegerators, Recipe Kits, Stainless Steel Hardware and more! More than 100 products will be listed as rotating deals, some items will be limited quantities and may not last long! Be sure to get in before the weekend too and snap up some of the Early Bird deals!

The perfect time to save some cash on the products you want. Or pick out some gifts for your homebrewing/beer loving friend for the holidays!

Visit www.ontariobeerkegs.com and follow the Black Friday Banner, or go directly to the Weekend Sales Section.

This Week’s OBK Thirsty Thursday Deals (Nov. 21) — Free T-Shirt on Orders Over $100 & $.89/lb Grains!

 

FREE T-Shirt on Orders Over $100! 

Limited Quantities Available!

 

Beer Grains — $.89/lb

Add to cart for discount

 

 

www.ontariobeerkegs.com

Build Your Own Home-Brewing Mash Tun

Build Your Own Home Brewing Mash Tun

 

Full Article at PopularMechanics.com:

Using a standard beverage cooler and some easily sourced hardware, build some DIY home-brewing equipment.

If you’re getting the hang of home brewing and thinking about making the jump from using malt extract to using all grain, you’ll need a mash tun. The mash tun is a large-scale filter in which the grain used in your brew will sit while the starch converts to sugar. Following the conversion process, a properly built tun acts as a basic filter that allows the brewer to strain the sweet liquid from the grain. And the beauty of a home-brew tun is that it can be as simple or as complicated as you wish, while still brewing great beer.

You can buy a mash tun from a home-brewing supplier for hundreds of dollars, depending upon how fancy you want to get. Or, you can build a home-brew mash tun similar to the one pictured using a 10-gallon beverage cooler and some parts easily found in the plumbing section of your local hardware store.

Materials

• One 10-gallon round beverage cooler
• 12 to 18 inches of 1/2-inch stainless-steel supply hose
• One 1/2-inch threaded ball valve (brass or stainless steel)
• One 1/2-inch MIP x 1-1/2-inch pipe nipple (brass or stainless steel)
• Three 3/4-inch stainless-steel cut washers
• One 1/2-inch female NPT x 1/2-inch hose barb
• One 1/2-inch male NPT x 1/2-inch hose barb
• Two 1/2-inch stainless-steel worm clamps
• One 1/2-inch brass head plug
• Two 1/2-inch silicone O-rings
• Teflon tape

Instructions

1. Remove the cooler spigot by removing the plastic nut on the inside of the cooler wall.

2. Remove the silicone gasket from the space between the inner and outer wall of the cooler.

3. Wrap a thin layer of Teflon tape around both ends of the 1-1/2-inch pipe nipple, then fit it through the now-empty hole in the cooler.

4. Cut the ends off the stainless-steel braid using a hacksaw or Dremel tool, and discard them.

5. Using a pair of needle-nose pliers, firmly grip the inner rubber tubing of the supply hose and push the braid off it. You should be left with the stainless-steel braid by itself.

6. Insert the threaded end of the 1/2-inch head plug into one end of the stainless braid, and secure with a worm clamp. The head plug will ensure that your braid does not float in your mash water and remains at the bottom of the cooler.

7. Fit the other end of the stainless braid over the barb end of the 1/2-inch female hose barb and secure with another worm clamp.

8. Fit one silicone O-ring and two of the stainless-steel washers on the inside of the cooler, and thread the hose barb onto the inside nipple. The O-ring should be closest to the wall of the cooler.

9. On the outside of the cooler, fit a silicone O-ring and your remaining stainless-steel washer, then thread on your ball valve.

10. Wrap a thin layer of Teflon tape to the threaded end of your male hose barb, then thread it into your ball valve.

11. Ensure a tight fit of all connections, but be sure to not overtighten or you risk cracking the wall of the cooler.

12. Leak-test your cooler using warm water. Most leaks (if any) can be solved by simply readjusting the tightness of the threads on each section of the valve assembly and/or applying more Teflon tape.

13. Enjoy your brew day!

 

For parts required to assemble your own mash tun (in Canada) visit OBK‘s selection of Stainless Steel Hardware and Igloo Coolers.

 

Or if you are not the DIY type or just want to save some time, purchase a fully assembled cooler Mash Tun with your choice of False Bottom or Bazooka Screen!