At times, I've been a pretty serious extract brewer. But on three separate occasions, my brewing partners have become parents, sinking our operation. (To say nothing of the time we got bleach all over my partner's wife's fashionably black maternity clothes.)
I've still got a decent setup, and hope to get back to brewing a keg or two (bottling is the worst part, IMO) of American pale ale once or twice a year, for parties. John
Yes bottling is a pain but also contributes to oxidation which takes away from the beer. Kegging is the way to go, even as a secondary fermenter.
I too brewed in the past but that was 15 years ago and now I'm going full steam.
I thought the audiophile hobby was intense with so many parts connected and playing significant roles and some black art and all those brands contributing too infinite possibilities, but brewing beer also has it's infinite possibilities.
My goal is to brew something like the duchess de bourgogne.
I was a home brewer for a couple of years then got a job as a professional brewer in Colorado for a brewpub. Its hard going back to making 5 gallon at a time after making 500 gallons.
I do agree that kegging is the way to go. Using corny kegs is the best thing since a dishwasher for homebrew.
I have always wanted to brew my own beer and have read a bunch of books on how it's done but didn't feel I knew enough about the different styles to be able to do it well. Therefore, I have spent the last two years tasting and reviewing different styles of beer from across the globe in order to train my palate and figure out what style of beer I'd want to brew.
I'm sure I'll never stop seeking out new beers to try but hopefully next year I'll be able to stop reading books about brewing and just go ahead and try it.
It would be great to hear some of your brew stories - good batches, mishaps etc. as well as maybe some advice for a novice but passionate brewer in training. Oh yeah and how about a list of the best 5 beers you've ever had.
Mine (in no particular order)
Thomas Hardy: English Ale
Eku: Optima 28
D carnegie and Co.: Stark Porter
Malheur: ale 12
JW Lee: Harvest Ale 1999
Damn that was difficult.
Glad to hear the appreciation you have for good beers!
I would just go for it, you'll need to start with the less complicated beers any way so get a kit or have a brew shop set you up with a bunch of ingredients and a set of instructions. The sooner you start the sooner you'll realize you will have to catch up for all the lost time seriously.
As for me I brewed 14 gallons in two weekends which is alot for a returning brewer.
My beginnings in homebrewing began with a pumpkin ale that couldn't be found that easily 16 years ago, so I had to brew. And pumpkin ale is what I brewed, I had a blast!
This time around I started with an IPA, then Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Barley Wine and up next will be a Brown Nut Ale.
Home brew beats commercial ale most of the time.
As for my favorites:
#1 best beer best anything I ever put in my mouth is Duchesse de Bourgogne. You'll never look at beer the same way again.
#2 Jolly Pumpkin Ale Rojo. A beer made with wild yeast.
#3 Dog Fish Head Ale IPA 60 MInute
#4 Stone IPA Ruinition-- this will make you drunf oops I still can't spell correctly.
#5 Corsendonk Pale Ale
There are so many more but I haven't explored lately.
Hi. I strongly favor American beers. Here's my list of the five best breweries in the country, though I could have easily added 10 more.
1. Sierra Nevada (CA)
2. Bell's (MI)
3. DuckRabbit (NC)
4. Rouge (OR)
5. Stone (CA)
Favorite brews I've done:
Dogfishhead 120 clone (18%abv!)
Chocolate Chilli Imperial Stout
Sierra Nevada Pale clone
Remember: if you've never had to mop the ceiling, you're not a homebrewer!
Happy Holidays! John
18% !!!!!!!!! That's an achievement. What yeast did you use?
Merry X-mas everyone!
It's a complicated recipee for the Dog 120, which is from an old issue of Zymurgy. The short of it: first pitch with a High Gravity Ale Yeast, followed in a few days by a second pitch of Champagne or Eau de Vie (sp?) yeast, followed by ten days of "feeding" with highly fermentable sugar, like dextrose, and very high IBU hops. Beer reminded me a bit of Sherry, tho it was surprisingly light in body, and had a bit of whiskey burn. Not the first thing I'd try, but if you're brewing regularly, a memorable challenge. John
Got a couple of friends who have been doing all grain in NYC apartments for a year or so -- which strikes me as an unnecessarily high degree of difficulty -- and I've just started into it myself. Have a batch of dark, belgian-style strong ale about to move to a secondary, and heading out to get supplies for #2 this afternoon. Think partial grain is as far as I may be willing to take this in a fourth-floor walkup, but we'll see....
Audiogoner; Toastedlager is the owner of the very fine Bluepoint brewery.
just saw this thread - I used to be a very active homebrewer, starting with kits and moving up to formulating my own recipes. Eventually I got too crazy and was putting too much malt in, and then I got some contamination problems, and my brewing partners lost interest. Haven't done it for several years now.
The best beers I ever brewed myself were a cinnamon brown, and an ESB. As far as my favorite commercial brews, IMO nothing out there beats Fuller's ESB. Simply a perfect beer, the smoothest I have ever had, and excellently hopped. My own ESB was as close as an approximation as I could get.
Yes, goes hand in hand with hifi!
"Relax, don't worry, have a homebrew" is like "Play Records". Been making homebrew since '84.
One of my old time favs is the Charlie Pappazon "Cherries in the Snow". Still make a batch for Xmas every year.
Mezmo: I think grain done right will get a bit more subtlety and elegance in the beer. But as you say, at a cost cost of mess, difficulty, and complexity in the process. Interestingly, some folks I know started brewing worse beer when the moved from extract to grains! I've never been tempted to take the plunge, since I've found that carefully done extract brews can compete pretty well with top commercial craft brews. I once saw several people prefer an extract-brewed Sierra Nevada Pale Ale clone to the real thing in side-by-side tasting; an effect I attribute to the freshness of the home brew, but still impressive. I'd stick to the extract, and keep my apartment livable! John
Memzo, wow. I'm a budding audiophile in nyc and my Dad is a home brewer. hats off to your friends for being audiophiles and doing all grain brewing in nyc. maybe i'll have to see what i can do... ha.