Home Brewing

A forum for all things cooking, food or snack related
Under the Kofun
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2016 2:46 pm
Been thanked: 11 times

Home Brewing

Post by Under the Kofun » Mon Jan 25, 2016 3:04 pm

Has anyone tried making beer at home? I'd love to hear any tricks and tips.

I got a kit and gave it a go last December. It came with a can of lager extract, although the yeast was made for ales. Anyway, following a recipe I found on Youtube, I substituted the brewing sugar with brown sugar (decent Okinawan stuff). It finished fermenting after a week, but I left it in the fermenter for another 7 days before bottling. I've tried a few bottles and they're, well, drinkable.

On the "successful" side of things:

-the taste is decent. Not quite tailor-made, but not bad at all.
-there was no contamination (everything new, so I didn't expect a problem).
-it pours really clear (the extra week wait before bottling helped, I think).

On the "needs work" side:

-head is thin (this stands to reason since my ingredients were so simple).
-flavour and aroma are lacking (extra hops would have helped).
-while not a big issue for me, carbonation is lacking (time might improve this)


I'll be interested to see what another month of storage does to this batch. I suspect that they will mature / condition a little more.

I'm going to try my hand at a pale ale next time, with rough plans to work with a bit of grains and hops, and to use dry malt extract as a fermentable, not to mention a better yeast.

User avatar
Zasso Nouka
Tech Support
Tech Support
Posts: 2377
Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2015 9:37 am
Location: Chiba Prefecture
Has thanked: 1319 times
Been thanked: 920 times
Contact:

Re: Home Brewing

Post by Zasso Nouka » Mon Jan 25, 2016 4:41 pm

I've not tried it myself but one of our friends is growing his own mugi that winter that he wants to turn into beer and he is looking for some hop plants to grow this year but hasn't found any yet.

Would be interested to hear how you get one with your brewing adventures.

User avatar
BrettRas
Posts: 121
Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2015 8:30 am
Location: Ojika Island, Nagasaki
Has thanked: 54 times
Been thanked: 151 times
Contact:

Re: Home Brewing

Post by BrettRas » Tue Jan 26, 2016 2:25 pm

I recommend not using the yeast that comes with the extract no matter what variety it is. You can buy better quality yeast appropriate to the style you are brewing for an additional cost, and it will improve the end product quite a bit.

I'd also personally recommend not leaving the beer in the fermenter so long after the fermenting is complete, in my (admittedly limited) experience it has a fairly negative impact on the flavor and subsequent bottle conditioning.

Sounds like your plans for the next batches are coming along, if you do a few rounds taking small steps to improve things each time, you should begin to get a better picture of what steps have the biggest impact on your finished beer. Look forward to hearing how things come along! :)
Brett Rasmussen

http://www.okibi.jp

Under the Kofun
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2016 2:46 pm
Been thanked: 11 times

Re: Home Brewing

Post by Under the Kofun » Tue Jan 26, 2016 2:40 pm

Thanks for the input, Brett.

I've come across several people online who suggest that leaving it in the primary fermenter isn't harmful and that the yeast "cleans up" a bit more. Would you recommend secondary fermenting instead?

I'll definitely spring for better yeast next time. It's cheap enough. I'll probably make a starter, as well.

Was thinking about doing an all grain, 4-5 L batch sometime using an umeshu container and a homemade airlock. Just need to get a pot big enough for the boil. It could potentially make some very high quality beer.

User avatar
BrettRas
Posts: 121
Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2015 8:30 am
Location: Ojika Island, Nagasaki
Has thanked: 54 times
Been thanked: 151 times
Contact:

Re: Home Brewing

Post by BrettRas » Tue Jan 26, 2016 2:58 pm

Sure no problem. I've never been too concerned with the clean look I suppose ;) I do leave it 2-3 days before bottling (and adding sugar for bottle conditioning) and I feel the amount of yeast going into the bottle is not too substantial for my taste. The yeast then makes for some fantastically tasty breads and doughs!

I imagine folks' opinions/methods will vary, I just recently had an experience with a friend's batch that was left in the fermenter for 10-14 days or so and the taste was off, and it seemed like the conditioning in the bottle didn't go well...little head, sour flavor, etc.
Anyways, maybe worth experimenting with.
Brett Rasmussen

http://www.okibi.jp

Under the Kofun
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2016 2:46 pm
Been thanked: 11 times

Re: Home Brewing

Post by Under the Kofun » Tue Jan 26, 2016 4:20 pm

Cheers once again. Using the remaining yeast sounds interesting. I'd like to mess about with that a bit.

I plan on experimenting quite a lot with brewing. Youtube sure has a lot of people offering ideas, not to mention other forums. Just need to collect more bottles now.

User avatar
Eric in Japan
Posts: 237
Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2015 4:21 pm
Has thanked: 187 times
Been thanked: 353 times
Contact:

Re: Home Brewing

Post by Eric in Japan » Wed Jan 27, 2016 7:56 am

I got a kit from a place called "Advanced Brewing" on Rakuten. It was pretty nice. Good documentation, not so expensive. I kept a financial record here.
I recommend starting with the kits they have, and the instructions for tweaking them they give. I like to think of this part as practicing. You get a drinkable beer for a decent price, and you learn the easiest way to sterilize, rack, etc...

Then, move on to real homebrew, with experimentals and personal customization.

*****edit****
apparently Advanced Brewing has either changed names or gone out of business.
"... so, the cucumbers said to the cabbage, `Lettuce Go.`"

User avatar
BrettRas
Posts: 121
Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2015 8:30 am
Location: Ojika Island, Nagasaki
Has thanked: 54 times
Been thanked: 151 times
Contact:

Re: Home Brewing

Post by BrettRas » Wed Jan 27, 2016 12:48 pm

You can still order directly from Advanced Brewing's website at http://advanced-brewing.com

I've ordered from them several times and they've been good except for taking quite a while to ship things.
Brett Rasmussen

http://www.okibi.jp

paradoxbox
Posts: 261
Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2015 11:52 pm
Has thanked: 108 times
Been thanked: 321 times

Re: Home Brewing

Post by paradoxbox » Wed Jan 27, 2016 1:45 pm

Ah, my kind of thread.

Your carbonation issue is related to sugar content or pressure of the bottles / vessel, and possibly the current temperature of the liquid.

If you have a beer with a low sugar content you're not going to get that much carbonation. You can boost the bubbles by adding a teaspoon or so of sugar to each bottle but you need to be real careful with glass or it could explode, especially if you have big variations in temperature of the fermenting liquid. You can also just put the liquid in a bottle for a few days and let it sit. Providing the fermentation was not finished when you bottled it, it'll carbonate quite strongly even in just 1 or 2 days.

The head can also be improved by having more sugar and more "complex" sugars. I wonder if your grain mash process wasn't quite perfect. Adding some honey or normal white sugar to the brew might improve the head next time though.

Leaving a beer in the fermenter will eventually affect taste in most beers, the reason is that beer is only 5% alcohol and unwanted bacteria or yeasts are much more likely to get in and change the flavor of your beer eventually. Another factor is that the lees (Dead yeast at the bottom of the ferment) start to rot and the breakdown of the yeast produces off flavors. The sooner you bottle it or get it into a secondary ferment, the better. The risk of this happening goes way down once your alcohol level goes over 10% and by 15% only certain wine yeasts can live easily. Always a risk of acetic infection though (Turns your brew to vinegar!) and leaving the lees for too long always has the possibility of turning the flavor bad. There seems to be a balance point between letting it age on the lees and destroying the brew by letting it sit too long.

I don't brew much beer but I do brew mead and wine. I have been meaning to make a wine tutorial for a long time but am waiting for my last batch to come up to the right alcohol level before I do the photography for it. I started them in late November and they're currently at around 7%, I put sugar in them for a final volume of 10%

Under the Kofun
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2016 2:46 pm
Been thanked: 11 times

Re: Home Brewing

Post by Under the Kofun » Thu Jan 28, 2016 2:08 pm

I used Coopers' carbonation drops in mine, 2 per bottle as recommended (745 ml PETs). Some people online haven't been too thrilled with the drops; others have said they require more time; others still have said that cold temperatures will slow the process down. The room that the bottles are in is indeed pretty chilly these days. Perhaps that's a factor.

A secondary fermenter sounds like a must-have piece of equipment. I'll have to express this fact to my wife in the strongest of terms. :pray:

Overlooking the original cost of equipment, DIY beer definitely seems cheaper than store-bought. My Coopers' lager variation worked out to 90 yen per 745 ml bottle! My next potential recipe, which will require a tin of malt extract, some grain, dry malt extract, hops, and yeast, will work out to about 176 yen per bottle.

Post Reply