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#51 Posted by coaxmetal (1703 posts) -

@elsux0r: Mos Def, Ruination is one of my Fav IPA's as well. Come to think of it, its been a while since i've had some, i'll have to pick some up soon.

#52 Posted by Vampir (146 posts) -

Somehow I had myself under the impression that doing your own mash was a days or weeks long process, and was hesitant to make the step up from using extracts. It actually sounds pretty doable. What do you use to mill?

#53 Posted by Brewmaster_Andy (599 posts) -

@Vampir: The mash itself takes an hour. Technically conversion from starch to sugar can occur around 45 minutes in, but the hour provides a safety buffer. As for milling my grain, I used to have a local homebrew store that had a fantastic electric mill, but since I moved out of the city I order my ingredients through Austin Homebrew Supply. Their prices are good and their milled grain is pretty good. I just ask for a fine crush with my order and they usually accommodate. I have hit my numbers spot on with all of my brews using their grain, so they are doing something right. I can get around 83% efficiency from my grain based on that crush and my own methods.

#54 Posted by DJ_Lae (671 posts) -

That's awesome. I like in an apartment so space is tight for all of the equipment, but I have fermented my own beer using a kit before (the wet kits, not the dry ones). You can still tweak them a bit to your liking (adding oats or coffee and cloves to a stout or a handful of varieties of hops to an IPA) but you get to skip the wort step and cooldown which is where most of the mess happens, in my experience.

Like a decent wine kit, the wet kits aren't cheap, though. But you still get about 23L of beer (maybe 60 bottles) for about $40. Here in Canada, at least, that's significantly less than beer from a liquor store, and as long as you don't screw up the sanitizing process, it'll taste far better too.

I only stopped doing it because I found that having so much beer lying around was an incredible temptation...plus, I didn't have adequate cold storage for all the beer, which cut down on its shelf life a bit. I do miss it, though, that kit made a fantastic stout.

#55 Posted by Vampir (146 posts) -

@elsux0r: A local homebrew store is such an awesome thing to have around. I used to go to a great one up in Nashua, NH, but I'm too far away now.

I'll hopefully be headed to the next Pax East as well. Giant Bomb Homebrewers Fest 2012, indeed.

#56 Posted by Enigma777 (6224 posts) -

This shit is fascinating.

#57 Posted by Trace (3672 posts) -

Late to the party, but this is an amazing read and an amazing thread. I haven't had much of a taste for beer over the last week or two, but looking at those pics and the process...yeah, turned that around. Those brews look delicious.

I was hoping to try some of your brews at PAX East this year, but didn't realize that you were the guy supplying the staff at the Rock Band party until I asked Jeff at JJ Foley's and the beer was long gone. Hopefully I'll be able to make it to PAX East next year...

@elsux0r said:

I am already planning to have a batch of chocolate mint stout this year!

...because this sounds so damn good and I want to try some.

Moderator Online
#58 Posted by TheHT (12189 posts) -
@Wonloong said:

@adoggz said:

@ArchScabby said:
I've had beer before.
shit man really? what was it like?

I heard it tastes like cat piss.

Hmmm, so purchasing a cat could be lucrative.
#59 Posted by Muerthoz (364 posts) -

I'm not a beer drinker but I sure enjoy a good How It's Made/How Stuff Works.

#60 Posted by DAFTPUNK (1307 posts) -

very nice!

#61 Posted by CrazyBagMan (872 posts) -

Very cool stuff. A few of my friends make their own beer as well so it's cool to see photos of someone else doing it.

#62 Posted by Brewmaster_Andy (599 posts) -

Quick update: kegging this weekend!

#63 Posted by fodigga (133 posts) -

@elsux0r: How many different brews do you make or are you just regularly coming up with completely new flavors? I think my favorite part of this process is that it seems like you can kind of just throw in all kinds of ingredients and come up with something delicious and completely unique.

What are you planning for PAX East? I live in Massachusetts and I am thinking about checking out some of this stuff.

#64 Posted by buzz_killington (3655 posts) -

I haven't had a sip of alcohol my whole life. What's it like?

#65 Posted by Brewmaster_Andy (599 posts) -

@thebroken: I try to do a new recipe every time I brew, but I archive everything I make so that I can make it again if it turns out really well. Sometimes I will stick with a fairly similar base style and just change small things about the recipe, like varietal of hops, smaller malt additions, etc. It's fun to experiment but it is also fun to know a recipe is popular and make more of it. Most of my "new" recipes start as variations on recipes I already made and enjoyed, with subtle tweaks. Sometimes I brew the same beer with a new name (my Badass President Centennial Amber was re-named My Notebook: Amber for PAX).

This year for PAX East, my current plan is to have a batch of chocolate mint stout (a standby recipe that I have brewed a bunch) and a new IPA custom-made for the guys. My stout is around 6% ABV, the IPA will probably be a double IPA and clock in around 8% ABV. Scoring a taste of the brews is tough at PAX - I will likely be getting a hotel room this year and thus will bring both kegs with me, but we'll see what the situation is come PAX time. It may be in limited supply, but expect that the gentlemen will be drinking out of suspicious red cups at this year's panel just like they were last year, haha

Hopefully we can finagle a more wide-spread tasting this year!

#66 Posted by sagesebas (2157 posts) -
@elsux0r: That looks really fucking cool, did you make the Pumpkin ale/ Also Is this just a hobby or what you do for a living.
#67 Posted by Brewmaster_Andy (599 posts) -
@sagesebas The pumpkin ale is from Shipyard, a brewery in Maine. I do make my own pumpkin ale (and unlike Shipyard, I actually use real pumpkin in my brew instead of just pumpkin pie spices) but usually don't brew it until mid September.

As for your other question, brewing is just a hobby of mine. I'm a full time English teacher at a local high school, so that keeps me pretty busy. Brewing is my weekend thing!
#68 Posted by Azteck (7416 posts) -
@blacklabeldomm said:
I've heard multiple stories and watched multiple TV shows and movies where brewing beer results in bottles exploding and making gunshot noises in the middle of the night. I don't need that...
I saw that on the Simpsons too!
#69 Posted by Meowshi (2917 posts) -

I've never drank beer.   

#70 Posted by jacksonroye (78 posts) -

I made the 1800+ mile trek from NE Mississippi (a state with awfully backwards "blue" laws) to PAX Prime last weekend. The only locally available IPA is Sam Adams' Latitude 48. It tastes pretty good, I think, though it's almost too floral. There are a few places locally here that have decent beer selections, but for the most part you're lucky if the place you're buying at has anything outside the Big Three (Anheuser-Busch, Miller, Coors). Anyway, While in Seattle, I had what may be my current favorite IPA. There was a place called Rock Bottom that had its own microbrews, 2 of which were IPA's. The one I enjoyed most was called the Hop Bomb. It actually wasn't ridiculously hoppy, I think the IBU was somewhere in the 70s. It was nice to go somewhere with some variety in selection beyond the norms. I'm hoping to be at PAX East next year and I would love to try out your brew!

#71 Posted by Brewmaster_Andy (599 posts) -

So, I kegged the beer today! Some of you may have actually heard me announce that to Patrick over the Big Red Phone, in fact, and it is no less true! Vinny's beer is kegged and in the kegerator carbonating! I took some photos to show the process. It isn't very exciting but I wanted to document as much as I could so people could see. Enjoy! 
First, I fill my kegs with sanitizer. I kegged three different beers today, hence the pile of kegs! 

These are 5 gallon kegs. 
Once the kegs are sanitized, I bring them into my shop and use an auto-siphon to transfer the beer from its fermenting bucket to a clean keg. 
The beer starts its journey here... 
... and ends it here! Note the rad green shoes. 
Once the beer is in the keg, I bring the whole thing into my bar room and hook the keg up to the CO2. The beer goes into the kegerator after the pressure is set.
After that, it's basically a waiting game as the beer carbonates. However, a good brewer always samples his brew at every stage in the process. At this point, it's beer. It tastes very close to the final product, only without any carbonation. Here's the first pour through of Vinny's beer! 
Four days from now and the beer will be carbed and ready! 
I hope you guys are enjoying these updates!
#72 Posted by GPink (61 posts) -

This is an awesome looking setup elsux0r. How long have you been brewing for? And what's the best way you find to go about sanitizing and cleaning everything you're using?

I ask because I'm about 1.5 weeks into the primary fermentation of my first batch of mead, and I'm going to be moving on to beer after that's banged out. The hardest thing, the most annoying perhaps, but also the thing that I paid the most attention to, was making sure everything had boiling water poured on it, and was sanitized with sodium metabisulfite.

#73 Posted by Brewmaster_Andy (599 posts) -

@GPink: I use an acid sanitizer called Star San. You can get about 32 oz. of it for 15 bucks. It is the BEST, and when it foams up the foam breaks down into yeast nutrient. It's kinda pricey but it saves a huge amount of hassle.

I have been brewing for a few years, but it is a hobby that I fell headlong into, so I pretty much go for broke with each batch.

#74 Posted by Brewmaster_Andy (599 posts) -


Second day on the CO2 and I am starting to taste some small hints of bubbles. Great flavor on the beer, although it is a little more roasty and a little less hoppy than I had planned for. Once it's fully carbonated and cleared I'll have a better idea, but so far so good!

#75 Posted by Burzmali (456 posts) -

Your kegorator looks homemade. Do you have a link to instructions on how to do that? I brew beer, too, but I've only ever bottled my stuff. Having a kegorator available would be awesome. Plus the carbonating seems like it goes faster (4 days instead of 1 to 2 weeks).

#76 Edited by rentfn (1374 posts) -

@Vampir:Jasper's in Nashua is amazing. That is the one I go to they have been helping me out a lot.

@elsux0r: Great new update. I can't wait to try to get a taste at PAX East and I hope to share a brew or two of mine. I will have bottles though I think.

#77 Posted by Brewmaster_Andy (599 posts) -
@Burzmali: The one I have is actually a store bought kegerator that I got off a dude on Craigslist. It is SUPER easy to make your own, though. Just google homemade kegerator and you'll see a bunch of guides. 
It takes a lot of the problems out of bottling - you carbonate your beer faster (four to seven days), your beer carbonates more evenly, and you can store the beer easier. And, if you want bottles, you can build a cheap contraption that allows you to bottle from your keg tap to share beer. I have growlers that I can fill from my tap and bring to parties, and I can also bottle a six pack to ship (like I will be doing for Vinny).  Do it!
#78 Posted by Suigyoken (197 posts) -

You've gotta share that recipe... Or how much vanilla/cinnamon you've used. I'm trying to get into full-boil brewing, but so far I'm just doing the partial stuff, still doing armature small scale stuff.

#79 Posted by Brewmaster_Andy (599 posts) -

I have to dig up the recipe sheet, but I used about a tablespoon of vanilla and a teaspoon of cinnamon. Just a hint for some flavor! 
The beer was shipped, and arrived! Hope Vinny enjoys!

#80 Posted by Mr_Skeleton (5195 posts) -

@elsux0r: You should also add the updates to the original post.

#81 Posted by Brewmaster_Andy (599 posts) -
@Mr_Skeleton: Good call!
#82 Posted by TheHumanDove (2522 posts) -

Dude what the hell. Brew for me plz

#83 Posted by Mr_Skeleton (5195 posts) -

Damn the beer looks good.

#84 Posted by guiseppe (2843 posts) -

Even though I dont drink beer, that is awesome.

#85 Posted by TooWalrus (13302 posts) -

Man that looks good. Too bad beer is just like drinking bread, which doesn't fit in with the way I'm tryin' to eat right now.

#86 Posted by SLUSHiNaToR (168 posts) -

@Vinny_Says said:

I've heard multiple stories and watched multiple TV shows and movies where brewing beer results in bottles exploding and making gunshot noises in the middle of the night. I don't need that...

My dad has been brewing beer for over 10 years and that has never happened.. lol. He did, however, have a glass carboy explode.. lmao

#87 Posted by Brewmaster_Andy (599 posts) -

GUYS I HAVE BAD NEWS! The keg is kicked :(

#88 Posted by Manhattan_Project (2200 posts) -

@elsux0r: I have no idea what that means. Should I shed a tear for the keg?

#89 Posted by RobotHamster (4235 posts) -

I don't drink beer but that's pretty cool that you made it, and Vinny seemed to like it!

#90 Posted by Brewmaster_Andy (599 posts) -

@Manhattan_Project: It means I finished the beer that was in the keg.

#91 Posted by psylah (2272 posts) -

I think I saw the guys (including vinny) drinking some of this beer while signing the members posters.

#92 Posted by Suigyoken (197 posts) -


So did you use the Vanilla and Cinnamon during the primary boil, or did you let it ferment with the wort? I'm going to make a citrus Canadian for the first time and am thinking of adding some spice to it, just would like to know what stage would be good for a hint of flavor like you did. Thanks again ;D

#93 Posted by Brewmaster_Andy (599 posts) -
@Suigyoken: The general rule of thumb for any spice addition is adding it late. I added both ingredients for the last 5 minutes of the boil, then left it in while the beer fermented. Citrus additions can usually be last 10 minutes of the boil but it depends if you're using zest, peel, or whatever else. You can always add more later during primary fermentation or at bottling/kegging, but you can't take it away, so it helps to use a small amount.
#94 Posted by Bamsen (359 posts) -

Man thats awesome, keep up the good work

#95 Posted by 1Gorebash1 (77 posts) -

Great name for a beer.