23
votes
6answers
15k views

What are some alternatives to hops?

I have a friend that is allergic to hops and can not drink our beer (or just about any others for that matter). What alternatives do I have if I want to make a beer for him? What could I substitute ...
8
votes
1answer
481 views

Calculating the exact alcohol volume

Using a hydrometer is great for most people, but the geek in me would like to know the exact alcohol content of my brew. What would be the process, titration? And what chemicals would I need?
7
votes
2answers
1k views

My beer tastes like green apples.

I brewed a blonde ale with extract a little over a month ago. I fermented in primary for three weeks and have been bottle-conditioning for two weeks. I didn't take an OG, but the final gravity ...
25
votes
10answers
18k views

Brewing Solid Things: Can Leftover Yeast Be Used for Bread?

I find myself baking a couple loaves of bread just about every weekend. Has anyone tried reusing their yeast from brewing for baking bread? I've heard that using some of the spent grain in bread ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

What should be done differently for high-gravity beers?

What, if anything, should you do differently when brewing a high-gravity beer?
4
votes
2answers
392 views

Looking for a relatively low attenuating yeast with distinct Belgian flavors.

I'm working on a recipe for a Baltic porter but would like to ferment it with a stran that produces distinct belgian flavors. The problem is that most of your belgian strains are too high attenuating. ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

How long should a Shiraz age?

I made a Shiraz from a kit early this spring (bottled in April). I also made a Johannesburg Riesling. I know reds take longer than whites to age, but we've been enjoying the Riesling for some time now ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

How do you insulate a cooler based mash tun?

I have a Coleman 70 Quart Xtreme cooler that I've modified for my mash tun. I seem to be losing a lot of heat out the top. Are there any good ways to insulate it to help prevent heat loss?
6
votes
4answers
3k views

What are some methods to increase extraction efficiency and consistency?

I've got some irregular sugar extraction efficiency problems. My efficiency is regularly low. I need your help. :) I get anywhere from 60% - 85%. I've fine tuned my mill to the best of my ability, so ...
13
votes
4answers
2k views

How to add adjuncts (hops, fruit, spices, etc) to the fermenter without contaminating the beer?

What is the best way to sterilize things like dry hops, spices or fruit before putting them in the fermenter? Some stuff you can obviously boil. But boiling hops, say, would defeat the purpose of ...
26
votes
12answers
23k views

How to add fruit to beer

What is the best way to add fruit to a beer? I'm afraid boiling it will break down the fruit too much (a muslin bag could fix this I guess), but I'm not sure how to add it to the fermenter without ...
12
votes
3answers
6k views

Will scaling a recipe from 5 gallons to 1 gallon introduce significant differences?

Will scaling a recipe down to 1 gallon (i.e.: dividing the amount of each ingredient by 5) produce a pretty close approximation of the results of a full 5 gallon batch? Are there any additional ...
10
votes
7answers
5k views

Aluminium boil pots: Heresy or not?

Are aluminium pots acceptable as boil vessels? They're cheap, but I've heard they can produce off-flavors. Any experiences with them?
18
votes
3answers
5k views

How Does a Hydrometer Work?

I know how to use my hydrometer, and I know what numbers to look at and write down on my brewing sheets, but I'm not sure what those numbers actually represent, or even what units I should use to ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

How do I make a Yeast Starter?

I know I should be using a Yeast Starter so that I can make sure I have enough, healthy yeast, but I've never managed to go around to it. How would I start a yeast starter? How long before brewday ...
5
votes
1answer
441 views

How do I improve head retention?

Just opened a bottle conditioned "Belgian Black"-- delicious and well carbed. However, there is little no head on the pour and the lacing is pretty weak, too. How do I ensure good head retention?
14
votes
4answers
989 views

How do you cool wort?

More specifically, what methods exist to cool your wort after the boil, and what are there respective pros/cons?
6
votes
5answers
3k views

How are 10-gallon batches commonly fermented?

Currently I brew 5-gallon all-grain batches using my propane burner and 7.5-gallon brew pot. I've been considering buying a bigger pot and building a bigger MLT to do 10-gallon batches, but I'm not ...
10
votes
1answer
1k views

What does Irish Moss do?

I've heard that it helps clear the beer, but how does it do that, and how is it used? Further, are there any tradeoffs associated with using it?
10
votes
4answers
2k views

What material should I make my brew paddle with?

I've been using the cheap plastic spoon that you'll typically find at your local homebrew store. It's pretty terrible when it comes to agitating my mash tun. Heat + Resistance = Bent plastic spoon. I'...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

How do you sparge small amounts of grain in a partial mash recipe?

For less than around 2 pounds of milled grain in a nylon bag, do you need an elaborate sparging process? Do you need much of the equipment for an all-grain setup, or can you basically just soak the ...
6
votes
4answers
2k views

IPA recipe left very sweet, little bitterness or aroma

Very new brewer here, and I recently tried a generic IPA recipe doled out by my LHBS, and it ended up very sweet with little bitterness or hop aroma. The recipe is here: http://homebrewmart.com/...
6
votes
2answers
359 views

I want to make a Rauchbier. How do I go about smoking my grain?

I've never made a Rauchbier before. I have some pear wood that I've been curing for about 5 months now and would like to use. I've got an all-grain setup, but no smoker; I suppose I'll need to get one....
8
votes
2answers
2k views

Boiling with lid on or off?

In this answer it is mentioned that boiling with the lid on or off may make a difference in final gravity. Which do you recommend and why?
4
votes
3answers
5k views

Why is our Original Gravity low?

When brewing from an extract kit we always seem to be low in the Original Gravity department. It's usually not a lot -- something like 1.055 instead of 1.060. What might be causing this to happen? Is ...
5
votes
3answers
453 views

What's your favorite type of beer to brew… and why? [closed]

Many people have drastically different taste in beers. I can only imagine that carries over to the types of beer people love to brew. What's your favorite beer to brew yourself, and why?
13
votes
1answer
2k views

Do Oxygen Absorbing Caps Make Any Difference

So, I was looking to refill my supply of bottle caps and ran across "Oxygen Absorbing" bottle caps. The implication is that their absorbency will reduce oxidation in the bottled beer. If you're ...
7
votes
10answers
7k views

Is there an online equivalent of Beer Smith?

Simple question, does anyone know if there is a purely web based equivalent of Beer Smith / Brew Target, etc? Just looking for a decent product that I don't have to install on my desktop.
7
votes
2answers
754 views

How long for a pellicle to drop when brewing lambic?

I made a saison earlier this summer. After primary fermentation was complete I took 3 gallons of it and added Wyeast Roeselare Blend. Two months later I added cherries and pecan chips. It formed a ...
3
votes
1answer
188 views

How much sugar does it take to get “cidery” off flavors.

I've added a bunch of sugar to brews before, upwards of 30% of the grain weight and I'm yet to get any cidery flavors. You always hear sugar causes cider, but all I've ever noticed is a thinner body. ...
14
votes
4answers
2k views

How can I maximize dry hops aroma?

I recently made an IPA. I put an ounce of Cascade pellets in the secondary (for a 23-litre [6-U.S.-gallon] batch), but there is hardly any hops aroma in the finished product. By the end of the two ...
6
votes
2answers
378 views

How much does a full boil affect things?

I've seen a few threads here and there saying that one thing to do as soon as possible is start doing a full boil (5 gallons in the boil instead of ~3 in the boil with ~2 of water added later). For ...
12
votes
4answers
1k views

How would you ship your brew?

I've been thinking about shipping my beer to a fellow homebrewer on the opposite coast. I know the post office doesn't exactly condone this, but if you were to mail a bottle or two, how would you do ...
7
votes
3answers
3k views

How long can yeast be stored?

If I buy a tube of liquid yeast from my local homebrew store and throw it in the fridge, how long before it's no good? How 'bout dry yeast?
7
votes
2answers
2k views

How long does StarSan last?

I keep StarSan in a spray bottle for easier sanitizing during brew day. How long does the StarSan last in that bottle? Is it good forever?
6
votes
8answers
3k views

Which commercial bottles are good for repurposing?

I bottle condition my beer, and in the past, I've always just reused commercial beer bottles (I never understood paying for empty beer bottles when I could buy them full of tasty beer!) Are there are ...
7
votes
1answer
729 views

How can you use an oaken barrel for secondary fermentation?

I may be able to get my hands on a oaken barrel that I'd love to age a Scottish ale in. What can I do to sanitize it adequately and minimize oxygen exposure?
25
votes
14answers
42k views

What can I do with my spent grain after mashing?

After brewing a batch of beer, I always end up with ~14 lbs of spent grain that I usually just toss in a pile in the corner of the yard. Are there better things to do with it (i.e. cooking, baking, ...
9
votes
4answers
2k views

Permanent Bottle Labels

I'm considering making permanent labels for my bottles. I've had a friend create a label design with a blank banner in the center. My idea is to have the design printed on vinyl stickers and then ...
8
votes
3answers
446 views

Hops: Buy vs. Grow

Is it worth it to grow my own hops or should I just buy them somewhere?
6
votes
2answers
4k views

How do I convert between all-grain and extract recipes?

If I have an all-grain recipe, and I want to convert it to an extract or partial-mash recipe, the easiest way is to replace the base malt with malt extract. Conversely, converting an extract recipe to ...
20
votes
2answers
17k views

What's the difference between 2-row and 6-row malt?

I know the difference has to do with how the grains grow on the stock, but I'm not completely sure what that difference is. It also seems like 2-row is more commonly used as a base malt, but I've seen ...
13
votes
9answers
1k views

What are some good online sources for recipes?

What are some good online sources for recipes? Please specify the type of recipes the site has (extract, all-grain, mead, cider, etc.).
4
votes
2answers
96 views

What is a good resource for flavor contributions of different ingredients?

For those of us who are still brewing from kits and recipes and want to branch out and try building our own flavors, what resources are there that describe the various flavors contributed by ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

Per-bottle priming tablets?

The "Why is our beer not carbonating?" question mentions "sugar tablets". I am aware of a product called "prime tabs", but as far as I can tell that product is not longer being produced. I have used ...
7
votes
4answers
3k views

What equipment do I need to start making mead?

What equipment do I need to start making mead at home?
4
votes
3answers
808 views

What equipment do I need to starting making wine?

What equipment do I need to start making wine at home?
6
votes
3answers
2k views

How can I make sure my bottle cap is sealed tightly?

I have concerns over why our beers are not carbonating properly. One suggestion was to check and make sure the bottles are sealed properly. What might be a good way to do this?
7
votes
4answers
1k views

Does bottle color matter for a given beer style?

With clear, green, and brown bottles abound (e.g., Corona, Heineken, and Yeungling respectively), is there a hard and fast rule for what color of bottle to use for a given beer style? Also, are brown ...
8
votes
4answers
4k views

Hard cider with pasteurized regular cider

I made a great cider last year and would like to do the same this year. Problem is that I'm too lazy to get all the way out to an apple orchard that sells non pasteurized cider. Can I use organic ...

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