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Started by Hundredsand on Sep 12, 2013 10:09:05 AM
Bung an Airlock in the Demi-john

If you've got stuff brewing in the cupboard, are you doing it because it gets cheap result, or is a tasty little hobby which can cost more than buying a bottle of plonk?

djsuggz - 16 Apr 2015 14:02:32 (#341 of 663)

Hello Hundred.

From a local shop, for convenience's sake, but it's easy peasy to get one online:

It's really, really nice. Ever so good - even straight out of the demijohn, after a few days to clear.

I'm pleased to hear about the rakia tale; I'll confess to being quite excited about the production of some straight out thunderous spirits.

Shabbyman - 16 Apr 2015 14:12:35 (#342 of 663)

Bubbling away at the moment I have 3 demijohns of apfelwein which should be ready in time for summer evenings. I'll be making some ginger beer in a week or two for drinking young and cloudy.

KittyKarateRedux - 16 Apr 2015 14:21:52 (#343 of 663)

Sadly Tesco Direct don't do the gooseberry country wine kit. Have you tried any of the other variants? My local brew shop lists it on their website, but their bricks and mortar shop is pretty random.

I'm a lazy mare who uses Tesco a lot as they quite often have 25% off on home brew (one just finished) and they are on the way home from work.

KittyKarateRedux - 16 Apr 2015 14:26:14 (#344 of 663)

Anyway, MrKitty is hogging our limited brew space by making an I.P.A. from a recipe in this book.

In a kind of all or nothing way, it's his first ever home brew and he's done it all without a kit.

djsuggz - 16 Apr 2015 15:55:17 (#345 of 663)

It's a quite tempting notion to have a go at beer from scratch. That's another thing I am as yet to try, but it always struck me as likely to be a bit of a faff, somehow.

However that's rather defeatist talk, I realise, and I love real ale, so maybe I should have a crack at it. I have background concerns about the availability of all the ingredients, but I might take a turn round my local place and have a look to see what they have in, as set against a list from an online recipe.

KittyKarateRedux - 16 Apr 2015 16:12:07 (#346 of 663)

Oh I'd definitely agree it's got a high faff factor. Also possibly needs more 'stuff' in terms of pans, thermometers and miscellaneous grains.

I bet your local place has all the bits though - this is my local place and while their shop is mainly leaning towers of kits, they had all the bits for grain based brewing hidden around the place.

KittyKarateRedux - 16 Apr 2015 16:16:33 (#347 of 663)

I wish there were more small batch beer kits available. I don't want 40 pints of beer cluttering up the house. 20 pints is a big ask, but 8-10 pints would be perfect.

djsuggz - 16 Apr 2015 16:22:18 (#348 of 663)

That's what our garage is for. There are mighty mighty great shelves on the walls that are now full of bottles for the Summer. It would not be feasible on that scale inside the house, although the fermentation stages take place in the kitchen, so we can keep an eye on things.

I really am tempted to do just one 40-pint run, and see how much it differs from the Razorback kit we bottled recently. That looks to be pretty splendid, at a net cost of about 50p per pint, and was beautifully altered by hop pellets. However, something from scratch as a comparison might be fun. And safer than distilling my apple wine.

Your brew shop sounds like ours. Kits up to the rafters, and other bits and bobs scattered around. It's quite a captivating place. Like a laboratory for boozehounds.

Tomnoddy - 16 Apr 2015 16:24:12 (#349 of 663)

I've a copy of Brew Your Own Real Ale at Home (CAMRA Guides) by Roger Protz, unless Son No2 has gone off with it. It is a fascinating read, with a lot of (now a bit out of date) info on sourcing etc. Protz recmmends getting hold of an old tea urn for amshing up.

Not having an urn, I've only ever salivated over the book and recipes.

KittyKarateRedux - 16 Apr 2015 16:28:05 (#350 of 663)

Actually as I'm a lazy mare/conservative brewer, I'd happily buy a larger kit and not use all of it, but I'm guessing that it's not as straight forwards as only prepping 50% of the ingredients and I'm guessing they're not easily resealable.

Tomnoddy - 16 Apr 2015 16:28:15 (#351 of 663)

As for distilling, my grandad was a blacksmith, and made his own whisky still with a copper worm. It lived in the outside privy at his remote cottage in the hills south of Edinburgh.

My dad and his two brothers had a ceremonial drinking of the last bottle of moonshine in our house ten years after the old man died. They allowed my cousin Erchie to sip it as he was now considered old enough. The other four Noddy cousins could only look on in envy.

Shabbyman - 16 Apr 2015 16:40:21 (#352 of 663)


If you're brewing all-grain or even partial, 18 litres is about as small a batch as it's worth doing, just because of the faff involved. If you don't want all that much of the end product, why not give it away once it's bottled and let it clutter up someone else's house?

A smaller, higher OG brew like a trippel or an imperial stout might be one answer, but the stronger the beer the longer it takes to mature so you still get the clutter.

djsuggz - 16 Apr 2015 16:42:46 (#353 of 663)

That's a rather touching story, Tom.

So far as I can see, the only issue I'd have with the beer plan would be boiling up sufficient malt extract. I only have a vessel large enough to boil, I'd say, about 1.5-2 gallons of fluid. I guess I could do it in shifts, and add the same modest amount of hop pellets and other flavours each time. It all needs to cool down anyway, before you can add the yeast.

Sound reasonable?

Shabbyman - 16 Apr 2015 16:48:06 (#354 of 663)

Or you can go the hop tea + dry hopping route and avoid boiling altogether and still get great results. It only gets as complicated as you choose to make it.

KittyKarateRedux - 16 Apr 2015 16:54:48 (#355 of 663)

I'd have more chance giving away bottles of Chateau du Chat 'Chardonnay' than beer with my social circle. I'm a hoppy outcast.

deadmanwalking23 - 17 Apr 2015 09:19:02 (#356 of 663)

I've just started making stout again after a couple of years break. I just made some Coopers stuff which is really nice. Can anyone recommend any other brands or a decent online shop?

djsuggz - 17 Apr 2015 09:25:46 (#357 of 663)

Morning dmw.

I made my latest batch of chocolate and treacle stout using the basic Wilko kit, and I tried the test bottle last night to find it was smooth and tasty:

Can't really go wrong for a tenner.

deadmanwalking23 - 17 Apr 2015 09:46:04 (#358 of 663)


Yeah was thinking I may have to go to Wilko, there's not really one near me but can travel. The postage buying online whacks the price up a bit.

Just seen the link, now thinking it may be better to buy online as the range in my nearest place (Woolwich or Penge) wasn't that great.

djsuggz - 17 Apr 2015 10:01:14 (#359 of 663)

Or you can go the hop tea + dry hopping route and avoid boiling altogether and still get great results. It only gets as complicated as you choose to make it.

I'm trying to work out how this works, by having a bit of a google, but I am not really getting anywhere. perhaps I am being thick?

Surely, if one is to use malt extract, or spray malt, for the sugar element, it needs to be heated up so as to dissolve? And, as part of that process, one wants a nice bag of hops sat in the heating fluid. I can't really see how to make beer without, at least initially, some heat.

Shabbyman - 17 Apr 2015 12:03:08 (#360 of 663)

Hot water from the kettle will do the trick and the instructions on extract kits specify how much so that when you top up your fermentation vessel with cold water it's all at about the right temperature to pitch the yeast. Malt extract syrup comes pre-hopped as all the boiling was done at the factory. You can of course dilute and boil to attenuate hop content but making a hop tea cuts the faff and works well too.

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