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Old 02-16-2011, 06:53 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 1,893
Default Home brew (the other hobby)

I got into making home brew last fall and it's been a fun and rewarding hobby, also saves on the pocket book as well. My brother has an overkill pro set up, where he makes beer from, but I wanted to keep things low key, scaled far down compared to what he has going on.

Initially I did a lot of research on it, talked to a few experts at it, and it seemed like there were so many steps and that the failure rate was high, and so many had you invest in kits, gear, etc. not making it a very affordable little hobby. Indeed, you can screw things up, especially if you don't use common sense, but you don't have to go in debt at all to play around with this hobby.

I opted to start out making cider and wine, still haven't tried to make beer yet, "avoiding the multi mega steps and expense on ingredients". And the initial obstical was to overcome was simply finding juice that didn't have preservatives in them, for that kills yeast. My first run was using bread yeast as well, and that works fine, but the extra expense for getting pro wine/beer making yeast is very much worth it and it's super cheap to get.

Out of all of of the run's I've done, I haven't had a single failure, and I'm not being super hard core about the facility or process at all. I did a couple of batches using some boiled down pears, brown sugar, and water, another batch using grape juice contentrate, others using apple juice and grape juice in their liquid form, and even did up a couple of the lipton sweet tea's you get in the dollar store.

Out of the lot, my favorites are the ciders, Kmart special, 10 for a dollar, 64oz apple juice and you are adding around 15 cents worth of yeast, for example, you cannot beat the price. I've even kept the process even more low key by simply mixing it up in the bottle, loosened up the cap to allow co2 to escape, and let sit for a week or two, and not even bothered filtering, just letting the spent yeast settle to the bottom, and that's it. I've taken it further with one of my earlier batches, after the yeast did it's thing, I poured it into a 2 liter bottle, added some sugar, a tad bit of yeast, and let it sit for a few days with the cap on tightly. The end result of the latter was a better tasting cider then you'll find in any store, higher alcohol content "that you cannot even taste", and perfect carbonation.

What I'm noticing now, the quality you get is far better then what you find in the store. I notice a huge difference between these home brews compared to the store bought ones, the taste is better, it doesn't taste like there is an artifical process to speed up fermentation, nor are there any preservatives. You don't notice that unless you have experienced the difference for a little while, and yeah, couple of times I was a bit tipsy, but there were zero after affects, unlike the store bought stuff., where you feel terrible the next day. On the latter, word of caution, home brew tends to be much stronger then store bought, so pace yourself with your enjoyment/sampling, it may not taste stronger, but trust me it is. I've had several visits with my brother, and what I didn't enjoy about his beer is that you could only enjoy a couple of them, anything more and you are rather buzzed to the point, you aren't going to be driving home that night.
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