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Phlebmaster's Homebrew Evolution


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Ok, I know it has been a very long time since I have come around. Life has a funny way of changing on you when you least expect it. Work has taken quite a bit more time than before and my family time is at a premium. I may soon be getting a 1969 510 for Chey's graduation!!! Stay tuned!

 

Anyway...on to the beer!! :D

 

A HybridZer can never be happy with sitting around between Datsuns, so I went from building engines to brewing beer. I think Datsun's and homebrew fit together real well. I am brewing a 5 gallon batch of a Chocolate Mocha Stout right now....see picks! So far I have done very well, as a matter of fact, the batch I am brewing now if for a paying customer!! :D I will be brewing 15 gallons of a real strong IPA this Friday which means I will have 20 gallons of beer fermenting away in my closet for the next 4 week. lol

 

You may remember these counter tops covered with engine parts...but look now.

 

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I even have a recipe book

 

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Ahhhh....the rewards of brewing! It is a 10.5% chocolate mocha stout.

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See ya around!!

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Richard, the sugar water brewed in the dorms doesn't constitute wine :P

 

Any tips/tricks/advice for the brewing noobs among us? It's something I want to try this fall!

Yes, find a good homebrew shop to buy your stuff. Start out with an all extract batch because it is as easy as boiling, cooling, and pitching the yeast. Find a beer you like after that and search for a recipe then you can get more involved with grains and adjuncts.

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I did the same. Tried some wine and some beer. It was fun and cheap. The yeast, hydrometer, corks, air lock, sugar, and grape concentrate was all I remember buying. Came out to be like under $20. Tasted alright... I don't really have a sensitive pallet. Just be sure to sanitize everything so you don't get sick or get any nasty obvious off flavors from wild yeast and stuff.

Edited by josh817
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I just finished brewing a 15 gallon imperial IPA batch. Started at 10am and finished at 7pm...I am exhausted!! BUT the beer must go on, so here are the pics of my brew day.

 

First I gathered all my supplies..

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I put my mash tun together.....

 

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Poured in the grains..all 21 pounds of them

 

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The smell was awesome!! If I had horses they would have gone nuts for the grains..

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I layed out all of my brew supplies in order of brewing, I have over a pound of hops for this IPA!! That is a lot incase you didn't know..

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The boil process took over 6 hours!!

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My wife cam up with a cool way to cool down the beer...a concrete mixing tub!

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Say hello to 15 gallons of imperial IPA!!

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I now have 20 gallons of beer brewing in my closet.....

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...as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms peeks their heads around the corner of the yard :D

...and do nothing

 

Making wines, hard ciders, beers, is legal. Distilling is the illegal part. They purposely and admittedly say that they make it outrageously difficult to obtain a distilling license. Now on the other hand, getting an ethanol license is apparently easy and just some paperwork to fill out. Again, unless you have a farm of some sort or access to a lot of cheap crop (anything with sugar or starch) it's not really worth while. At that point it really depends on how efficient your fermentation is and your still. My store bought bakers yeast fermented out to like 9-10% ABV and it was a 5 gallon carboy. Lets just say 5 gallons is 19 liters, multiply by .1, and that's 1.9 liters of 100% alcohol I would get, which I can't get using a still.

 

Yeast from a brew shop and other cultivated species can get up to like 25%. The limiting factor for yeast is alcohol content and food/environment. If they run out of sugar or nutrients to feast on, they stop. If the alcohol content gets to a certain point, they stop/die. If it's too hot or cold, they stop. Wines, you won't load up with sugar for them to feast, because you don't want a 25% ABV/50 proof wine and if you stop it early or get a species of yeast that dies at a low ABV then it still has unfermented sugar and is sweet. Sugar wine woot!

 

Different still designs will be more efficient. The very basic pot still will distill out to like 40%, then you run that 40% through again and maybe get 70 or 80%. Whereas a reflux still will redistill inside the vessel before it spits it out for collecting (don't really know for sure how it all works). Slowly separating the water from the alcohol. Although, I don't know why you would redistill unless you were drinking it. Anything over like 50% or something should burn. You'd be wasting your time trying to get a higher ABV, only to find you know have less volume and can get away with 40% so you'll probably mix water back into it... Unless you want to be awesome and run almost straight alcohol instead of that watered down girly ****.

 

When distilling, I think over 97% is unobtainable without using dryers and chemicals, and then you have to keep in mind that the "10% ABV" is a mix of alcohols. Methanol, acetone, propanol, ethanol, and esters are all in there and would need to be cut if you wanted to actually drink it. If they aren't cut you could get sick or that old saying "makes you go blind", from the methanol.

Edited by josh817
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Nice post! B) Most of the time beer goes wrong it has to do with sanitation, but the bugs that infect your beer will not kill you...just ruin your brew. lol You may wish you were dead though after all that work.

 

...and do nothing

 

Making wines, hard ciders, beers, is legal. Distilling is the illegal part. They purposely and admittedly say that they make it outrageously difficult to obtain a distilling license. Now on the other hand, getting an ethanol license is apparently easy and just some paperwork to fill out. Again, unless you have a farm of some sort or access to a lot of cheap crop (anything with sugar or starch) it's not really worth while. At that point it really depends on how efficient your fermentation is and your still. My store bought bakers yeast fermented out to like 9-10% ABV and it was a 5 gallon carboy. Lets just say 5 gallons is 19 liters, multiply by .1, and that's 1.9 liters of 100% alcohol I would get, which I can't get using a still.

 

Yeast from a brew shop and other cultivated species can get up to like 25%. The limiting factor for yeast is alcohol content and food/environment. If they run out of sugar or nutrients to feast on, they stop. If the alcohol content gets to a certain point, they stop/die. If it's too hot or cold, they stop. Wines, you won't load up with sugar for them to feast, because you don't want a 25% ABV/50 proof wine and if you stop it early or get a species of yeast that dies at a low ABV then it still has unfermented sugar and is sweet. Sugar wine woot!

 

Different still designs will be more efficient. The very basic pot still will distill out to like 40%, then you run that 40% through again and maybe get 70 or 80%. Whereas a reflux still will redistill inside the vessel before it spits it out for collecting (don't really know for sure how it all works). Slowly separating the water from the alcohol. Although, I don't know why you would redistill unless you were drinking it. Anything over like 50% or something should burn. You'd be wasting your time trying to get a higher ABV, only to find you know have less volume and can get away with 40% so you'll probably mix water back into it... Unless you want to be awesome and run almost straight alcohol instead of that watered down girly ****.

 

When distilling, I think over 97% is unobtainable without using dryers and chemicals, and then you have to keep in mind that the "10% ABV" is a mix of alcohols. Methanol, acetone, propanol, ethanol, and esters are all in there and would need to be cut if you wanted to actually drink it. If they aren't cut you could get sick or that old saying "makes you go blind", from the methanol.

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...and do nothing

 

Making wines, hard ciders, beers, is legal. Distilling is the illegal part. They purposely and admittedly say that they make it outrageously difficult to obtain a distilling license. Now on the other hand, getting an ethanol license is apparently easy and just some paperwork to fill out. Again, unless you have a farm of some sort or access to a lot of cheap crop (anything with sugar or starch) it's not really worth while. At that point it really depends on how efficient your fermentation is and your still. My store bought bakers yeast fermented out to like 9-10% ABV and it was a 5 gallon carboy. Lets just say 5 gallons is 19 liters, multiply by .1, and that's 1.9 liters of 100% alcohol I would get, which I can't get using a still.

 

Ha, I already knew that. It was a joke. The mental image of three suited gentlemen peeking around a tree was intended to be amusing.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Today was bottling day. I had a combo of about 180 22oz and 14oz bottles gracing my kitchen counters this afternoon. And before you ask...no they were all not for me since this batch was a joint venture. But I have my share... :D

 

As I always do, I have posted a new video of my process for some of you who are curious how this whole thing works.

 

 

 

 

Enjoy!

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Richard, the sugar water brewed in the dorms doesn't constitute wine :P

 

So the revelation that putting the yeast in Kool Aid and letting it sit in the corner of the basement...then straining it after a couple of weeks didn't constitute 'Lemon Beer' as we called it back when I was 12? :blink:

 

C'mon, it didn't take college for you guys to figure out how to make alcohol out of common home components? We would always 'loose cap' several dozen bottles when making Root Beer, and then recap them tightly about 8 days later. Sure the fizz was down a bit, but man I think we INVENTED (literally) alco-pop! Root Beer at about 5%, if not higher bead draw...

 

And don't even get me started on distillation. Somewhere I have a personal use distillation permit for making alcohol fuel for motor vehicles issued in 1979 from BATF...as well as all the logs as required at the time.

 

What do you do when your great aunties had a grappa distillery in the back room, and who made their own wine...and had heirlooms from 'the good old days' when "Mr. Al" would come to the Wisconsin Dells and vacation.

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As for Josh's comments, I would agree. Having distilled 500 gallons of Ethanol and running it as my 'sole fuel' for a summer it's a LOT of work.

 

And sugar beets were cheap ($20 a ton) and have an AWESOME sugar content. That was my base stock of choice. I found that it was economically viable when I mixed it with gas and applied for the tax refunds on the gasoline used. That extended the range, but wasn't really what I was looking for...

 

Making 500 gallons of alcohol is a shitepot of work for one person, especially when you use a woodfired still!

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So the revelation that putting the yeast in Kool Aid and letting it sit in the corner of the basement...then straining it after a couple of weeks didn't constitute 'Lemon Beer' as we called it back when I was 12? :blink:

 

C'mon, it didn't take college for you guys to figure out how to make alcohol out of common home components? We would always 'loose cap' several dozen bottles when making Root Beer, and then recap them tightly about 8 days later. Sure the fizz was down a bit, but man I think we INVENTED (literally) alco-pop! Root Beer at about 5%, if not higher bead draw...

 

And don't even get me started on distillation. Somewhere I have a personal use distillation permit for making alcohol fuel for motor vehicles issued in 1979 from BATF...as well as all the logs as required at the time.

 

What do you do when your great aunties had a grappa distillery in the back room, and who made their own wine...and had heirlooms from 'the good old days' when "Mr. Al" would come to the Wisconsin Dells and vacation.

I always read that soda would kill the yeast from its acidity/preservatives. Now I want to try it. I've been wanting to do different flavors of wines and stuff. Alco-pop sounds fun too! Only catch is hopefully it won't have a yeasty taste... Hopefully some of this stuff will actually taste like what it should. I tried infusing vodka with apple cinnamon, oranges, and then some with blue berries. All three smell great but when you taste them it isn't very good. I compared it to some Grey Goose Pear and citrus and the flavor is distinct. I can smell/taste the Grey Goose and go "yup that's pear" whereas mine you can only smell and you go oh god that's bitter, with a faint apple cinnamon flavor. Perhaps I didn't leave the fruit in long enough, or maybe I should add some sugar to it.

 

Phleb, how do you get the mocha and the chocolate flavors in your beer?

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No on no no you do not have to add yeast to get alcoholic root-beer! All you have to do is let the fermentation process go and off-gas for a couple of days before you tight-cap the bottles. What gives root-beer it's effervsecence is the fermentation process (at least home brewed, we didn't make syrup and soda water, it was made as a batch then bottled---it was flat going into the bottles, and the fermentation carbonated it.) you are right to say the carbonic acid kills it, and with so much sugar it really doesn't have any alcohol to make a lot of CO2 and pressurize the bottles --- well before any appreciable alcohol is produced. If it's too much sugar, the fermentation goes too hard, and likely the tops blow off or the bottles explode---no light in the basement keeps the process slow and gives time for carbonation to do it's work killing the bugs making the CO2. Too cold and it's like syrup and flat. Sometimes it gets high pressure and leaks out a bad cap which gave you flat alco-beer, yuk! :(

 

But leave that cap off and you will get alcoholic root beer. The longer you leave it off-gas, the higher the alcohol component will be obviously, but the closer you will be to the end of the fermentation process and resultantly get less 'fizz' in the root beer. Which really sucks. I hate flat root beer. Gotta have fizz. But having alcoholic root beer was actually a mistake on our part. Loose capped a few bottles in the 1975 batch and found them by accident but were smart enough to keep our mouths shut to the adults. The next year we loosecapped several dozen bottles (yes, we did not buy commercial soda pop other than coke or orange nehi, we bottled our own root beer!) out of a wallful of bottles (this helps when the adults drink a lot of beer, so you have lots of bottles to use for your root beer...)

 

The 76 batch was a resounding success. But the adults found us out by someone going down and grabbing from the 'sepcial shelf' wihtout knowing it...and our secret was out. They asked us about it...and there was denial... But they soon realized ANY bottle in that section of the wall (low to the floor where adults wouldn't normally bend over to grab from...) was alcoholic. The next year though we made a LOT MORE alco-beers as some of the adults liked it more than we did (I think it was the novelty, and the bragging rights to their beer-drinking friends: HEY LOOK WHAT MY KID FIGURED OUT!)

 

At that time technically it was illegal. I think it was in 76 or 77 that Carter allowed home brewing once again (holdovers from the stupid Volstead Act) and then they started making REAL beer (though illegal winemaking continually happened even throughout prohibition.)

 

I still have a bottle capper somewhere. Two as a matter of fact. It was a hoot while it lasted. I moved in 79, and it was 80-81 that I got the license to make the hard stuff for the bus. But that was discussed elsewhere... :lol:

Edited by Tony D
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I always wondered what I was tasting when I took a sip of some rootbeer. I guess it was obvious by the name.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Root_beer

 

Quite interesting! I like how the Sassafras albidum roots have oils believed to be carcinogenic. I guess its time to pick up another carboy so I can get started on some wines and rootbeer. If Phleb gets back on the mocha chocolate, I'd be interested in that too!

 

Edit:

From what I'm seeing, people are using rootbeer extracts added to a sugar-water solution and only a 1/4 teaspoon of yeast. I think what worries me is putting a cap on it to carbonate. With 5 gallons of anything fermenting I can see a fast pressure build up. The how-to's are saying let it carbonate/ferment for two days, then put it in the fridge to stop the fermentation. If I can keep from exploding for two days and then put my airlock/bubbler cap on it so it can vent like you said and produce a little bit of alcohol, I'll be set.

 

I guess this is going to answer my question "how do home brewers carbonate their beer. I have a feeling its the same concept... For some reason I was thinking like a keg of some sort and you pressurize it with CO2 from an external source.

 

Avoiding this lol:

Edited by josh817
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