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Anyone into home brewing of beer, mead, home made root beer, ginger ale, etc.?

Discussion in 'The Breakroom' started by mrichelo, Jan 11, 2009.

  1. mrichelo

    mrichelo Loaded Pockets

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    I love ginger brew. Like REED'S Inc. Once I had some really good "homemade" ginger brew at an East Indian restaurant, and it was different, but still really good. Recently I started searching for recipes and came across all different sorts of recipes for root beer, ginger ale, and different types of sodas. Then I started searching for brewing herbs and came across recipes for mead and people that brew historical beers. It is almost overwhelming the sheer volume of info out there on the subject.

    Right now I'm in the middle of brewing a batch of ginger brew (nonalcoholic or at least negliable alcohol content.) I'm really motivated to try my hand at brewing some mead, but I'm going to have to get a few supplies first. There is a significant time investment involved. I don't think I could age it for a year! I want to drink it. :)

    Is anyone into home brewing?

    Mark
     
  2. VT-aroo

    VT-aroo Loaded Pockets

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    Brewed on batch of Ale, from a kit. Not a bad flavor, and way potent :idiot2: One bottle seemed to be quite enough at one time.
    I do not know if this applies to meed but the beer bubbled over when I was cooking it. Watch the pot closely. My uncle who brews a lot laughed his but off when I told him.
     
  3. mrichelo

    mrichelo Loaded Pockets

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    Re: Anyone into home brewing of beer, mead, home made root beer, ginger ale, etc

    My mom showed me a trick, it sounds crazy but it seems to work. When I boil water for pasta I use a wooden spoon. If you lay the spoon across the top of the pot, somehow it magically stops it from boiling over. Of course I lower the heat, but we have an electric stove :( so the heat doesn't go down right away.

    I'm like "that can't work" but it did.

    I read that when simmering mead you don't want to boil it, heat it to below boiling and simmer it. Supposedly boiling the mead makes the honey loose flavor.

    Mark
     
  4. schadenfreude

    schadenfreude Empty Pockets

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    Me and a couple friends started this fall. We've made an awesome IPA, a stout that's quite drinkable, and just set up our dark ale. Loads of fun.
     
  5. mrichelo

    mrichelo Loaded Pockets

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    Re: Anyone into home brewing of beer, mead, home made root beer, ginger ale, etc

    mmm stout. How I love stout, and any other dark beer for that matter.

    Where do you get your recipes from, and do you have a 5 gallon pot, or do you cook it in a bunch of smaller pots? Right now I'm only doing smaller batches of brewed ginger brew, and I really just started. But I have been doing a ton of research. In a day or so my ginger brew should be drinkable and I'll see how it is.

    The idea of making mead, or brewing things with different herbs and flavors is really appealing to me. Also (it is going to be difficult) but the idea af aging mead for many months or even years is fascinating. I just hope I can gather the discipline to actually age it.

    Mark
     
  6. DB

    DB Kilted Moderator

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    Re: Anyone into home brewing of beer, mead, home made root beer, ginger ale, etc

    I'm all about making beer and mead! Have about 6 gallons of mead in my basement currently....man that's a lot of honey!
     
  7. mrichelo

    mrichelo Loaded Pockets

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    Re: Anyone into home brewing of beer, mead, home made root beer, ginger ale, etc

    What do you heat it up in? Do you huge a HUGE pot, or several less huge really big pots? Yeah I imagine 6 gallons mead gets costly with all that honey, what did you use like 12 lbs of honey?

    I'd be more than happy to do a review of it if you send me a few bottles :p

    Mark
     
  8. Spydermonkey

    Spydermonkey Loaded Pockets

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    I brewed a batch of hard cider a little over a year ago and I still have it aging in the basement. I thought I was gonna have a mess on my hands because I forgot to grab caps for the bottles I had and I ended up using empty Mtn Dew bottles. I got lucky that they only bulged a little bit. I don't think I'll try that again, but the cider came out good.
     
  9. DB

    DB Kilted Moderator

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    Re: Anyone into home brewing of beer, mead, home made root beer, ginger ale, etc

    LOL...well, I didn't do it all at once....different batches that add up to 6 gallons. Takes about 2-3 pounds of honey per gallon batch. I bought 20 pounds to start with just to make sure I had enough.
     
  10. GQGeek81

    GQGeek81 Loaded Pockets

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    I occasionally brew but I don't do it very often.

    I've done several beers, a hard cider, a couple meads and some wine. I've got a book on sodas and such but haven't done one yet.

    There's a lot of crossover between the different beverages so while you do need a few specialized items to really get into some of them, the basics are all somewhat similar.

    The very easiest thing is hard cider. You can get sorbate free Simply Apple brand apple juice at walmart, add some yeast and let it do its thing. You'd only need a container, an air lock, some sanitizer and the yeast. It would probably be about $20 to get started. After a week or two the yeast runs out of sugar to eat and settles to the bottom. You could pour off the cider into something else and add more fresh juice and keep going with the same supplies.

    You could play around with spices, oak, adjust the PH ect. and move on to mead/wine/beer from there as well.
     
  11. mrichelo

    mrichelo Loaded Pockets

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    Re: Anyone into home brewing of beer, mead, home made root beer, ginger ale, etc

    My ginger brew seemed done today. In my excitement I tasted it before the cold storage, and wow... it has a pretty high alcohol content which I wasn't expecting. I did attempt to halve a recipe, kinda made my own recipe from a few that I saw online.

    I can't believe how strong it is... it came out like Mike's Hard Lemonade but harder. :) So now it is in cold storage to stop the yeast. I'll see how it is after that.

    I was going for a ginger brew style soda, and what I have so far is more like hard alcohol. I guess too much honey/ sugar? I'll have to revisit the recipe and figure out what went wrong.

    Mark
     
  12. schadenfreude

    schadenfreude Empty Pockets

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    Re: Anyone into home brewing of beer, mead, home made root beer, ginger ale, etc

    We got a homebrew kit from a local shop (Bob's) here in Seattle. It came with a 5 gallon pot, a primary fermenter, and a 5 gallon secondary/carboy. The first time we brewed we used the stove, which took FOREVER, so we use the propane-powered turkey fryer burner now. We also built a wort chiller (copper coil hooked to the garden hose) to bring the temp down quickly after the boil before pitching the yeast. We're loving it so far. The initial investment is high, but once you make a few batches you get close to breaking even.

    The same shop has recipes and sells all the raw goods. We're probably going to make cider at some point, but hadn't considered mead or ginger beer yet. Best homemade ginger ale I've had was at a small lunch place in Belize. I'd like to try your recipe, though!
     
  13. Rpuppet
    • In Omnia Paratus

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    Re: Anyone into home brewing of beer, mead, home made root beer, ginger ale, etc

    I recently learned to distill alcohol. Which is actually a lot easier than brewing. Of course you have to do some brewing before you can distill anything. My first attempt was with some apples, (There's a tree nearby). The apple cider I brewed was fairly awful, but once I distilled it a couple times it became a strong vodka with hint of apple. With distilling you can salvage all of your brews through further distilling.
     
  14. spaceconvoy

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    Never tried meade, but as far as regular beer goes, you don't need a 5 gallon pot to get 5 gallons of beer. It's less hassle (but of course more expensive) to buy the malt extract and start things from there. You can get away with making a super-concentrated wort in a 2 gallon pot, dump it over a whole lot of ice straight into the fermenting bucket, and top it off with water. That way, there's no need to buy those ridiculously expensive wort chillers.

    I only made two batches, (gave up after I moved and had to sell the equipment), all in an apartment with a 20" kitchen stove and a refridgerator the size of a cooler... so some improvizing was unavoidable. Came out great, though it definitely gets better with age. Seemed like 2 months after bottling was the sweet spot.

    Good luck!
     
  15. rwdflynavy
    • GITD Manix 2XL Owner

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    [img width=480 height=640]http://www.davisgang90.com/images/kegerator1.jpg[/img]

    Yep
     
  16. ashleyh57

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    I've made wine a couple of times that turned out ok. I brewed beer once and it turned out exceptionally better than I thought I could create.