bobbo Brews BEER, and the Hobby of being CHEAP.

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Re: bobbo Brews BEER, and the Hobby of being CHEAP.

Postby Nikki Nyx » Thu Feb 15, 2018 6:38 pm

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:Heh, heh........"white" restaurants ARE CHAIN RESTAURANTS. Close your eyes.......and just accept it.
Not always. My city has a mom & pop pierogi place (take away or dine in), a chef-owned Italian restaurant, a family-owned Puerto Rican restaurant, a burrito place owned by two brothers, a locally-owned Russian market, a brew pub owned by a friend of mine (who's the brewer) and her partner (who's the chef), and more.
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Re: bobbo Brews BEER, and the Hobby of being CHEAP.

Postby Nikki Nyx » Thu Feb 15, 2018 6:47 pm

Tapped one sugar maple yesterday with two taps (it's a large tree). Here is 24 hours of sap; the buckets are 5-gallon, so the two buckets together are about 2 gallons of sap in 24 hours. At a 40-to-1 ratio, this would make slightly more than ¾ cup of maple syrup. At the current retail price of $160/gallon, that's a bit less than $10 worth...for free...in one day.
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Re: bobbo Brews BEER, and the Hobby of being CHEAP.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Thu Feb 15, 2018 9:28 pm

"Not Always." //// Thank you. Exceptions like that prove the rule. We can think/feel opposite to one another, and both be right.

That tree sap is much clearer than I thought it would be.....nice job. Is going to be a pain to heat that stuff for as long as you do........but no different to any other kind of distilling effort. .......... Outside using wood...a lot of effort that.... and probably illegal in most parts: open flame and all. Air Pollution...

I'm thinking an indoor pressure cooker would still have some benefits....the pressure cooker part just allows for a higher temp to be maintained with less heat input.....run a short exhaust tube to the outside.... and "Bob's your Uncle." Or just use a pot and hotplate outside out of sight...easy and clean. .............. Lot's of options.

Hmmm....I assume you can't "ice distill" as is possible with alcohol? Too bad, given you have the cold......but I do notice that when my tea freezes in my refrigerator that the liquid does tend to separate with the flavanoids in the bottom of the jug. Both parts are frozen but I have thought I could saw off the top and get a concentrated tea if I wanted to. I don't, so I let it all melt back together. It might be "inefficient" and not per standard practice........but I'd at least check it out?

Edit: by not efficient...I could believe that ice distilling tree sap might lose 20% of the maximum outcome possible ((although maybe not if you also lose sugar by heating as is your concern)), but it might be worth it if the result would greatly reduce the amount of cooking required. It also hit me that the golden color of real maple syrup must come from the caramelization of the sugar?.........so there is going to be some heat for sure. Heh, heh...does drive me to wonder just how small the difference is between real maple syrup and standard sugar syrups? I'll even bet a quick and easy sugar syrup with maple flavoring might be preferred? ....................... It's just taste.
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Re: bobbo Brews BEER, and the Hobby of being CHEAP.

Postby Nikki Nyx » Fri Feb 16, 2018 5:33 pm

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:"Not Always." //// Thank you. Exceptions like that prove the rule. We can think/feel opposite to one another, and both be right.
I tend to reject generalizations by actively searching out exceptions. Life is chaotic, not uniform.

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:That tree sap is much clearer than I thought it would be.....nice job.
I didn't expect it to be clear either, based on the color of maple syrup and on seeing pine sap. I loved to climb trees when I was a kid, so I always had the damn stuff on my hands in patches. :mrgreen:

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:I'm thinking an indoor pressure cooker would still have some benefits...
It would...for very small batches of sap. But if the tree is producing 2 gallons a day, a larger arrangement is required.

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:Hmmm....I assume you can't "ice distill" as is possible with alcohol?
You can, but only to reduce the amount; it still has to be boiled both to pasteurize and to thicken the consistency. The sap is like water.

Some industrial producers run their lines through a refrigerated pipe, then melt and drain off the ice. Obviously, that kind of set-up isn't feasible for the hobbyist, and we haven't had the consistent cold temperatures required for freezing the sap outside in buckets.

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:Edit: by not efficient...I could believe that ice distilling tree sap might lose 20% of the maximum outcome possible
There is loss. This hobbyist experimented, boiling down the freeze-distilled sap and the ice separately. Both resulted in syrup, although the ice had a 50-to-1 ratio of sap to syrup (while sugar maple sap has a 40-to-1 ratio). That seems like quite a bit of loss.

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:It also hit me that the golden color of real maple syrup must come from the caramelization of the sugar?
I would agree with that. The sap must reach 219º to become syrup. It seems that the process is very similar to making any type of sugar syrup, from simple syrup to actual caramel.
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Re: bobbo Brews BEER, and the Hobby of being CHEAP.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sat Feb 17, 2018 2:04 am

Nikki Nyx wrote:
bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:Edit: by not efficient...I could believe that ice distilling tree sap might lose 20% of the maximum outcome possible
There is loss. This hobbyist experimented, boiling down the freeze-distilled sap and the ice separately. Both resulted in syrup, although the ice had a 50-to-1 ratio of sap to syrup (while sugar maple sap has a 40-to-1 ratio). That seems like quite a bit of loss.


Interesting link confirming many of our thoughts.

of note: if Standard Boil is 40 to 1 product, then the Ice Distillate of 50 to 1 would represent a 25% loss using that technique.....but we still don't know how much is lost to the boil off method. YOU SAY...the steam is sticky. If so...sugar is going up in steam........and if so, I'd bet close to the same 25% loss?

A technique in ice distilling of alcohol is not to let the mixture totally freeze as that does capture more alcohol....only let it freeze a little bit and take that ice out. Sounds like that is what our link did as well, only taking out ice chunks. I would also just guess that having a tall column stand still for a while would also allow more of the sugar to gravity settle to the bottom region...upping the efficiency. But I don't know.

To me, its an issue of do you want to spend your time watching the tv....or monitoring a burning fire???? The cost....always the cost, but that is my hobby.

Just as I enjoy the cheapest macaroni and cheese there is (Kraft in a box) over premium gourmet from scratch product because I grew up with the cheap stuff.......I do admit, I prefer the cheap artificial maple syrup, it reminds me of childhood. The benefit of making your own real stuff is that you can still enjoy it, mixing with fake as your pleasure allows, or not if your taste buds go that way.

Its always fun.
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Re: bobbo Brews BEER, and the Hobby of being CHEAP.

Postby Nikki Nyx » Sat Feb 17, 2018 11:19 pm

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:
Nikki Nyx wrote:
bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:Edit: by not efficient...I could believe that ice distilling tree sap might lose 20% of the maximum outcome possible
There is loss. This hobbyist experimented, boiling down the freeze-distilled sap and the ice separately. Both resulted in syrup, although the ice had a 50-to-1 ratio of sap to syrup (while sugar maple sap has a 40-to-1 ratio). That seems like quite a bit of loss.
Interesting link confirming many of our thoughts.

of note: if Standard Boil is 40 to 1 product, then the Ice Distillate of 50 to 1 would represent a 25% loss using that technique.....but we still don't know how much is lost to the boil off method. YOU SAY...the steam is sticky. If so...sugar is going up in steam........and if so, I'd bet close to the same 25% loss?
Without instrumentation I lack, there's no way of knowing (unless someone has been kind enough to do the experiment for us).

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:To me, its an issue of do you want to spend your time watching the tv....or monitoring a burning fire???? The cost....always the cost, but that is my hobby.
Jacquie tended the fire today and boiled it down to 25% of its original volume. She's going to finish the process on the range tonight. Also, she's learned from the process today that she needs to shield the pans from the smoke; today's batch is smoked maple syrup. :mrgreen: Not that that's a bad thing per se, but we don't want all of it to be smoked. I think the smoked would be excellent in marinades and sauces, but not so much on pancakes. Chicken and waffles? The smoked would work for that.

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:Just as I enjoy the cheapest macaroni and cheese there is (Kraft in a box) over premium gourmet from scratch product because I grew up with the cheap stuff.......I do admit, I prefer the cheap artificial maple syrup, it reminds me of childhood.
My mom always made scratch mac 'n' cheese; I never tasted the boxed stuff until I was in college and broke AF. I swear, I lived on that and ramen, both at 10/$1.00.

And we always had real syrups on the table...not only maple, but also blueberry, raspberry, and boysenberry. That stemmed from a breakfast place on the Cape that offered multiple syrups on the table. I do agree we can't underrate the impact of childhood nostalgia, and I do (on rare occasions) enjoy Spaghetti-Os for that reason. (As a child, I'd eat them cold, right out of the can. *shudder*)
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Re: bobbo Brews BEER, and the Hobby of being CHEAP.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Mon Feb 19, 2018 12:33 am

1. Week 4: recharged non-rechargeable batteries still going strong. EXCELLENT cost savings and recycling being experienced here.

2. Growing yeast starter from the old/first batch of HCider: after 4 days, my sugar water showed some scum on top and the interior showed a few gas bubbles had formed. So......it did take way longer than I thought, but I think I could keep the yeast going. As it was 3 quarts of sugar water, I went ahead and pitched it into my bucket to make better use of it. I'll use smaller experiments in the future. It has just occurred to me that an important variable I failed to consider is the temperature of my sugar water. After initial pitch, it was on average about 55-60 degrees F. Ideal range is 70-85 but that says nothing about what is ideal for the yeast as opposed to the ideal for production of good tasting cider? Anyway: next experiment will be no more than one cup kept at the right temp...... see what happens then? I'm almost looking forward to having to buy a 10 gallon stainless steel pot. Costly....but I'll feel good every time I use it! ////// Going back to proofing the original dried yeast...... that is done at 100-110 degrees. That is a huge difference? I'll google to confirm, but I'll bet to grow a batch of yeast for pitching into another mash....it should be done at 110 Degrees....not 55. That makes sense, and would explain what I have observed. Right or wrong.....I don't know.

3. My pound of amylase arrived today. 1-2-3 teaspoons per 5 gallons to convert starch to sugar to use on bread and rice alcohol mashing...but..once you have the amylase, got to research using potatoes as well as we get them too and they are the cheapest starch source in the store (maybe rice when on sale???). Initially, I won't be distilling these horrors (?). I'm wondering how much of these can be mixed with apples to give a neutral flavor? I'm thinking it actually can't be done and that moving to starch based mash instead of apple/fruit/sugar based "wines" should not be done except for later distilling. Well, I'll give both a try ONCE and see what they taste like. I've had good commercial sake....and did not like it. Don't see how home made could be anything but worse? ///// Here is the play of values. I'm considering mashing starch in order to save the cost of sugar......but given all the other variables but mostly the final DRINKABILITY of the fermentation/hard product: why bother? Buy sugar in bulk and be happy saving the money that does and the resulting very clear alcohol it produces. Buying sugar in 25 pound bags is 46cents a pound. 5 pounds a batch. Very cost effective....also saving the $$$ it takes to heat the starch prior to using the amylase. .............. Always a trade off. Darn!==>now I gotta finish my still so I can use up the amylase I just bought. ...........ha, ha. Thats how hobbies do.

4. My vacuum jar sealing supplies have not arrived yet but my "Just for You" YouTube channel starting serving up videos on survivalists, homesteaders, and building/insulation science. Lots of good videos to look at and be informed. YouTube has morphed into a real educational source. Nice to hear first person accounts on the downside of homesteading, small homes, container homes, solar power, building codes and such. You can never know too much. its occurring to me a simple vacuum canning system might be reverse plumbing a standard Igloo Cooler and making a box vacuum device using the suction power of multi-tasking my shop vac. always a pleasure to multi-task the tools you already have. Its saves space just to start with. Always the pros and cons with convenience with "fun." I still "enjoy" spending $$$ on hobbies...I have to force myself not to when the priority is my hobby of being CHEAP!

5. My neighbor with the expensive twin auger horizontal juicing machine just got too busy, so I went ahead and put my wheat grass into my Vita Mix along with some of my HCider. Then filtered the result thru a fine mesh nylon tea strainer. Made horrible HCider....but acceptable wheat grass. I still don't like the taste, and don't think the health benefits are so outstanding as to justify the process. I'll just stick to lettuce, spinach, and arugula for my chlorophyll.

Gotta love those hobbies.
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Re: bobbo Brews BEER, and the Hobby of being CHEAP.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Mon Feb 19, 2018 9:04 am

Just made a pizza. What to drink with it? I WANT HCIDER, but the batch is just made and way too sweet. What to do for a week while sugar => alcohol takes place? Yes...I'd rather have my HCider than a beer. I've switched to the cheap stuff.... for its taste.

So...I mix in equal parts the early sweet mash/with unsweetened strong ice tea/with the banana wine I made last year. The banana wine is about 8% but has a tartness I don't like. Seems to disappear in the HCider. Going to put some beer in the fridge....I don't like wasting the HCider.

I've taken a cup of mash and placed it in a glass cup. Surrounded it with heated water. It starts to produce gas bubbles almost right away and dies down as the water bath cools down. What any newbie knows: fermentation is very temperature sensitive. I do consider myself a newbie. In another two months, my kitchen will be 80 Degrees, but right now it is 55 going to about 40 tonight. For next winter/fall...I'm going to heat my batch. I do prefer my wine yeast get what temp it needs to convert rather than allow an opening for volunteer yeast to take over. I could buy a heating belt for this single purpose, or multitask a nice big stainless pot. Of course.....I'm going for the multi-tasker.

Saw a news item on Turkey fundamentalists basically putting bars/night clubs out of business by raising the tax on alcohol driving some of the best Muslims to make their own beer. Brewers Malt, water, and yeast..... looks easy enough.
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Re: bobbo Brews BEER, and the Hobby of being CHEAP.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Wed Feb 21, 2018 12:37 am

Apparently, a standard starting recipe for HCider is 8 pounds apples, 8 pounds sugar, handfull of raisins, add to 5 gallon bucket filled with water, add yeast. //// That is way cheaper than pitching yeast into 5 gallons of store bought apple juice which was my basic first batch. As reported that first batch did not taste like apple juice. There must be apple "notes" in the HCider but the LIVE ISSUE is: would that same carry over flavor be accomplished by using just 8 pounds of apples? I can see the answer could be YES. If not...perhaps just add some raw apple juice to the final product? Anyway...I think this will be my next project as I am right now still collecting bread for my first bread wine + amylase % run. I'll do straight bread the first time and see what I get.....then, add 8 pounds of apples to that and see what that produces???

This is a HOBBY. Been watching lots of YouTubes on subject, and I'm getting sucked into the hobby of it. Lots of science and theory. I just wish I liked actual alcohol more than I ...((don't)). To me, sucked into the hobby means spending only $20 to get a bottle capper to store and age what I'm producing. It's irresponsible to be drinking my mash before it even fully ferments. Got to let the HCider get ahead of my own appetite and the only way to do that is bottle it. If I do that...no reason not to move on to beer as well until the next batch of free apples arrives?

I've only read about bread + amylaze to make %. No YouTubes, no discussion about making BEER from bread. But that is the source of our first beers supposedly. final product perhaps not "modern beer" but the LIVE QUESTION is can a bread mash (that I get for free) make a drink that is acceptable? Like I said....I'm getting sucked in. The process question of concern re beer is how critical/accurate the holding temperatures seem to be....although a lot of Youtubes show guys doing "all kinds of things" and they still enjoy the final product. Ha, ha...how much time, trouble, $$, equipment to spend on an issue "that doesn't make a real difference?"

Almost related, fell across an excellent new product: the on demand honey bee hive. I can see getting such a product for making...........mead? More interesting: get a 3-D printer and make my own honeycombs. THAT would be a use of the 3-D printer that would actually pay for itself. Another hobby (bee keeping) that with minimal initial investment could bring years of interest and returns. I've never been attracted to the bee costumes, smoking, breaking up the hives and so forth....this new product makes it dead simple? I've always wanted a huge ant colony in my house...watch them work away. too bad those ants don't produce anything useful. I have no interest in breeding fire ants to stick my arm into for a hallucinatory venom trip.

All these hobbies..........so little time (and space!).

https://www.honeyflow.com/
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Re: bobbo Brews BEER, and the Hobby of being CHEAP.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Fri Feb 23, 2018 7:26 am

Have had this monkey on my back for apple cider, brewing, distilling. Spent the last few days on the internet.

I am moved more towards the "cross cultural" recognition of reality vs culture. USA Home Brewers: obsessed in a totally incompetent way over cleanliness. "Sterilize everything".......and then constantly wipe your hands on your face, hair, and clothing....then start a siphon transfer with your mouth. ALL TO THE POINT: I wonder how much of the "advice" we get is overtly to sell disinfectant? Nutrient?? Stainless Steel, and so forth??? Now....I know myself and that I'm all too willing to be dirty, so I try to draw back. But whats a person to do who has eaten raw eggs his whole life??????

The cleanliness issue was nailed down when I came across this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RuEVoqx-Zgc ///Watch it in amazement: dog, cat, geese and bird {!#%@} all part of the process. Apples stored on the ground and shoveled up to make the mash when they are good and rotten, aka en Francais: fermented. I even used to cringe watching the mechanized process in the USA....dropping applies from a 20 foot loader without water has got to bruise them all up. The different between table fruit and juice fruit? Gosh....it sure would save half the work just to chuck my apples into my juicer. I've been quartering to check for flesh quality, bugs and such. And I do throw out a couple of apples and cut half of other apples out. I wouldn't want to drink a juice made from such apples....but what of one out of 300 apples? NO.....i'M not French....but I'm not a Chemical Sales person either.

Brewing beer: looking more and more likely but this may be seasonal for me when my room temps will be in the range: spring and fall. On almost every point: you can find the general agreement, but also direct contradiction. One nice find: no need (for most beers) for any double fermentation....just do it all in the first fermentation. Also: can sparge with cold water and just heat it up. Saves having a whole third pot. I looked for quite a while for a recipe using whole raw grains but could only find MALTED recipes. but finally: yes, using the cheaper unprocessed grains is totally doable. This save all kinds of effort and process as well. Then on closer cost review...turns out virtually none between malted vs unmalted barley at least in the 55 pound bags. Might be different for other grains. It all makes sticking with HCider look better and better all the time....lots of pros to it, no cons.

Speaking of temps, My house temp goes down to about 45F these nights and during the day around 55....so, turns out my tv remotes don't like that and start not working. to assure functionality, I have to heat them up with a hair dryer. Ha, ha....little plastic dears think they are yeast cultures!!!!!

QUESTION ONE - BREWING: I keep reading two things in conflict: yeast dies and sinks to the bottom of the fermenter, often just above the trub so best to "top harvest" your yeast for future pitching. Then, on YouTube nothing but people harvesting yeast from that very same bottom layer. Now...I "assume" the bottom white layer of yeast is a combo of live and dead? But thats never said. I have to find that top harvest video again as even in the video you could not see any yeast. Hmmm...are the live yeast invisible and the dead ones white? Curious newbies want to know.
//// Answered below by Poodle. My guess is correct. Poodle provides more. Thank You.

Any good hobby .... provides lots to learn.

Edit: QUESTION TWO: DISTILLING I can make HCider right now in 6 gallon batches with what I have now...but to make beer or to distill, I need to upgrade my "burner/pot" and if I do that, no reason not to add an Angel Arm to a condensing coil. I like the compact design of the water jacket type condenser that fits over the Angel Arm ...usually about 18 to 24 inches long and makes good %. But, take the same still and condense the water vapor in a Worm...and now the copper pipe is 25-35 feet long. Seems if the Jacket Condenser works in a two feet run of copper pipe, why is the worm tubing so much longer? To sell copper???? Dead simple to buy the copper pipe already curled and just throw it in a bucket covered with water.....but even easier and cheaper to throw 5 feet of copper into the same arrangement....still have a safety factor of 100 per cent?.........or is there a not obvious reason it doesn't work?
Last edited by bobbo_the_Pragmatist on Fri Feb 23, 2018 9:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: bobbo Brews BEER, and the Hobby of being CHEAP.

Postby Poodle » Fri Feb 23, 2018 8:02 am

Well, I can answer your bottom yeast question, bobbo, and you can probably guess what I'm going to say - it depends. In beer making, there are two kinds of yeast - ale yeast and lager yeast. Ale yeast produces that creamy froth (and is therefore known as a top fermenter), whereas lager yeast doesn't, so is known as a bottom fermenter. You takes yer pick. Wine yeast ferments at the bottom but rides along with the bubbles of carbon dioxide, and it can (but doesn't always) form a froth. Describe that how you want. But the main point is that dead yeast cells ALWAYS end up at the bottom, where they will begin a process called autolysis - they break down eventually, developing a distinct Marmite/Vegemite kind of aroma and flavour.
You can always skim beer froth off to start a new fermentation. You can dig out the stuff at the bottom of a lager or wine fermentation to start a new one, but you'll have to wait longer to get a decent start as a result of a preponderance of dead cells. But the best thing is to use it to make a new yeast starter. Get a small bottle or a coverable glass, put some tepid water into it and a half-teaspoon of sugar. When the sugar's dissolved, give it a violent shake to oxygenate it (yeast won't reproduce in the absence of oxygen) add a spoonful of bottom gunge and then leave it in a warmish place for a few hours or a day. Bingo - there's your new starter.
And I've left you loads of opportunities to make jokes about bottom gunge.

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Re: bobbo Brews BEER, and the Hobby of being CHEAP.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Fri Feb 23, 2018 9:17 am

Thanks Poodle. You are 100 % clear whereas 100 Websites left it ambiguous.

Here's another "Everything Thing You know is Wrong" recognition: Chilling the Wort. Have to buy more copper, sanitizer, spend more $$ and time. No reason for it. There are 3 standard reasons given for doing it, none make sense on the face of it. One guy in a video just left his wort to cool overnight. "never had a problem." I don't think I will either..... although, the Beer/Distilling connection was strengthened when I recognized I could cut off both ends of a wort chiller coil and install hose clamps to turn it into a worm screw as well. A nice double use of such a product. But "now" I could see having a wort cooler and not even use it for that because its just a waste of time.

This is a type of "target fixation" that develops in all fields of interest. ///////// ====>Mind the Gap.
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Re: bobbo Brews BEER, and the Hobby of being CHEAP.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Fri Feb 23, 2018 9:37 am

Still Design: Gonna Use a Thumper.

Took awhile for me to understand how they work but in the main for almost no money, time, effort they up the % of a pot still AND they are fun to look at and listen to while they are in operation....if you use a mason jar as the thumper body. In my mind, this helps make the still kinetic which is an art form I like. I can repeat the words, that a thumper "is like" a second distillation and the fumes are purified thus upping the %. I can "SAY" that, but I don't understand why that is true. Its not an obvious result on its face, not to me...but I trust the literature. The alternative is to build a more complicated Reflux column or to run multiple distillations which takes more energy and time. So...a Mason Quart Jar thumper it is..............when and if it is.
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Re: bobbo Brews BEER, and the Hobby of being CHEAP.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sat Feb 24, 2018 7:21 am

I woke up this morning with the answer for the difference in copper length between the short straight 2 foot long Jacket vs the 25 foot coiled copper in the worm: it must be the rate at which water is passing over the different units. Fast flow/lots of water over the short length....slower and less water used in the worm. All the various youtubes on point just talk about "regulating the water flow based on condensation drip rate" but quite a few are concerned about the cost of cooling water.

With all those good old boys running the moonshine stills, I'm kinda surprised they didn't come up with cooling the distillate thru a car radiator. maybe.....no electricity to turn a fan on it, so they used what was out in the woods? But...I'm still attracted to the mini radiator concept to cool the worm water if not the distillate itself. It "could work" quite efficiently with zero waste of water. Would need a small radiator like from electronics or maybe motorcycle...a sized high flow fan, and a small water pump. Easy.

Radiator: $32 Too cheap to even one trip to salvage yard for a dirty old one https://www.amazon.com/Prime-Choice-Aut ... s=radiator

Yes...I was thinking a base board radiator heater...but a car radiator is more compact. I like it/the idea. I'd prefer a smaller unit as I just assume it is highly efficient for the given purpose? Maybe not as worm water will not be as hot as coming from an engine...but still. NOW---how to multi-task it? //// It could work to cool beer wort as well, if that was decided to be done?

I actually do enjoy the thinking and planning.......more than the doing..... until I pay money for booze at the grocery store. "I could make this myself" has ruined quite a few normal hooman activities for me.
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Re: bobbo Brews BEER, and the Hobby of being CHEAP.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sun Feb 25, 2018 9:26 am

Well now....lot's of $$ and time saving conclusions have been reached mostly made possible by distilling a bit along with making beer on occasion. The reason is that to do one activity you have all the equipment you need for the second activity. Yet to be researched: using a mini keg and freezer rather than do all the bottling required.

Here's the KEY: use the basic distilling cook kettle for all other operations. No need for 2-3-4-5 additional expensive SS pots. The one cook kettle can do it all saving lots of one time costs but also time. This might justify getting a cheap plastic transfer bucket just to make the process easier.....and THAT bucket could be used for HCider. ((All this multi-tasking of equipment makes me want to rape somebody. Joke.....re Lance)). I would also plan on a BATCH SPARGE as well as overnight wort cooling prior to fermentation. I might go ahead and use a wort cooler because mounted in a worm bucket it could be used as a distillation cooler as well....run the wort thru the copper as if it was distillate. Its "backwards" but no reason it should not work...especially when it doesn't need to be done at all and could just sit overnight.

I've run thru all the reasons I've heard not to do any of these things. I disagree.......AND other home brewers confirm they do each one of these repeatedly without issues. many of the procedures appear to be based on what large volume commercial brewers find necessary to do.........aka...... not the home brewer.

In somewhat the same vein....I almost decided not to heat my kettle with induction cooker as the power cycles so much. I've run into this with other cooking issues and really don't like this sledgehammer approach to the tech. I assume in a few years the power cycling will get solved with a variable thermostat ....but until such time, all anyone has to do is size the cooling system to the Max Temps to be generated. Power cycling will then not overload the system....just go from system design to below what the system can handle, aka: no prob. this feels right to me for pot stills.....and to me probably close enough for reflux stills as well....but I won't be doing reflux, so that fine distinction is not relevant.

In the main, the issue is never can you or can't you do it, but like in everything else: what is the tradeoff? In batch sparging for instance...all you have to do is add 50 cents more grain to get the same final output values as a 3 hour complicated circulating sparge.......who needs THAT?

..............and so forth.

I welcome disagreement, questions, concerns. All I really need now to go forward is a 50 foot roll of half inch soft copper tubing. Hmmm...and a 20 gallon food grade bucket. A few couplings. No need to dither on the left out details.
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Re: bobbo Brews BEER, and the Hobby of being CHEAP.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sat Mar 17, 2018 7:15 pm

I'm on my third batch of hard cider reusing the same yeast I started with....I'm just mixing the entire mash well before removing 90% of it, straining it thru cheese cloth and returning the solids to the bucket. "Should be" lots of yeast in the 10% and the returned solids...and sure enough, each time I add some fresh juice, the bucket bubbles up....but only for about one day, then it seems to go almost dormant.

I assume........its all temperature as my area has gone into a cold spell with my unheated kitchen getting down to 45 F at night. So...I assumed the fermentation would slow down but after two weeks...my hydrometer is stuck on the Original reading saying I should get about 16%. So...I moved my bucket to underneath my desk where I have a space heater I use to heat my TV room. The bucket temp rose to 80 F on the heat side and 78 on the opposite side...and son of a gun...the liquid is bubbling away like a brand new batch. Google says optimum temp for fermentation to keep the fruit flavor is 60 F. so I throttle back. Hydrometer says % is down to 12% now...so the sugar is being converted just as the bubbling indicates.

Lesson Learned: I think brewing/distilling/fermenting is "highly" temperature sensitive....at least you have to get "IN THE RANGE" of what it takes to work. I thought the cooler temps would just take more time...not basically shut the whole thing down. Live and Learn. I think this does mean I won't be able to brew any HCider or beer in the 2-3 hot summer months....although I do look with tech envy on those "in bottle" heat exchangers that cool or heat fermentations. Nice thermo-electric units that should be super accurate and efficient. I can see that being a very special toy....after buying a few more carboys to justify the toy price. I can see fermenting and aging in 5 gallon carboys as a very efficient way to do things....if having to force drink a beverage is acceptable. Its notable how against bottling I am.......did dear old Dad torture me in those root beer bottling sessions? I don't recall any such abuse.....but it must have been horrible.

My recharged standard battery is still going strong. ......... Saw a show on how many brands of standard HDTV screens are actually 4K screens. All you have to do is plug in 32 GB Memory Stick into a USB port and the TV will automatically display 4K pixels. I would think that standard batteries are just that.......not supposed to be rechargeable with large enough market to support them with rechargeable IN FACT being more expensive?.......but how else do we explain what is supposed to be "chemically impossible?" I GOTTA SAY: concerns me the non-rechargeable battery is holding the charge longer than the rechargeable batteries are. I do assume the "impossible" claim is simply wrong, and that I got a bad batch of rechargeable batteries......the issue needs more testing.

Going from brewing HCider and maybe beer to fermentable tea, milk, and kavass or other fruits. Don't care about the health benefits but looking for "taste." I can see for instance a nice fermented lemonade/orange drink being nice in the summer time or mixed with the HCider? Mixing your source materials is where the real art of these things comes into play. Sadly.........I'm no artist.

Edit: fermented ginger root for ginger ale is the other fermentable I could not recall. Could be nice. Other issue: I have not observed ANY "dead" or white or the mix of live and dead yeast cells at the bottom of my bucket or the side containers I have drawn off for the purpose. Maybe HCider "incorporates" them in some way? They must live and die as in any other fermenting process...but where are they?

As I have been going to each next batch, the amount of apple pulp has been reduced as the amount of sugar wash has increased. This third batch actually got thin/watery enough for the hydrometer to actually work. Before that, too many solids in the Mash to get a reading. My next batch as soon as fermentation basically stops will be to decant and strain as before but to add back in a mash made from fermented used bread using amylaze to convert that starch. It might be totally undrinkable? And if so...store it away for a future distilling run .......

Thing is re retaining all these "fruit notes" that indicated using a slower ferementing schedule. Seems to me all the fruit flavors/nuance you want can be gained by mixing in some fresh apple juice right at the end...as in the glass you actually drink? This ought to "charge" any bread based % made on the cheap? Well....we'll see. Not even knowing basic fermenting yet...always fun to experiment anyway. For me...its all about CHEAP ...and taste. Enough taste to make it worthwhile. So far....I've been winning what with free apples.

...........and as always: FITK (Fun in the Kitchen)
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Re: bobbo Brews BEER, and the Hobby of being CHEAP.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sat Apr 21, 2018 4:56 pm

April 21: my remote control needs new batteries. One battery is fully discharged and has a bit of white corrosion on the negative terminal. The second battery is right at the Low/Recharge mark. So....the standard Akaline batteries kept their charge for 3 months: BETTER THAN the rechargeable batteries I have for the same purpose. what to do? Think I will recharge the Akalines a second time and see what happens?

Standard NON-rechargeable batteries can be recharged. Now the question is: how many times?

////////////////

I am still on primary fermentation of my third batch of Hard Cider. Been about 2 months now but I think the first 4-6 weeks, the house temperature was not much above 50...so most of the time has been spent at near stasis? Now the house is up to 70F most days. So, very slow fermentation, supposed to preserve the fruit flavors more than a quick high temp ferment. I'll check with Hydrometer...but mostly on taste. Two weeks ago the ferment was too sweet to drink...so I left it to ferment more. It "should be" done by now and ready for bottling with a one month age. I'll bottle half for later and half for right now into mason jars to flavor as desired and drink inbetween beers. I've been drinking fliptop Grolsch beer. At $6.50 per four pack, I'm getting the bottles for about 80 cents apiece. Cheaper than ordering empty bottles. I plan to use a few screw top plastic juice bottles as well. The bottles are robust and will swell/harden when the co2 is produced and stored. Drink it along the way and you get constantly carbonated sparkling hard cider. I'll back sweeten with some grape juice and see how close to wine it might taste? With the price difference (near free compared to whatever you pay for wine)...the taste difference will be well worth it.
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Re: bobbo Brews BEER, and the Hobby of being CHEAP.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sun Apr 22, 2018 6:53 am

Well....I'm impressed. My HCider came out at 14% alcohol AND: it tastes like it. A tad "harsh" but back sweetened with a cup of grape juice and 2 cups of hyacinth tea....and its got a slight sweetness and has cut the "bite" of the alcohol. I am very pleased: 7 gal of moonshine wine from apples and sugar and it tastes great. Not "wine" per se but the cost/value equation is totally there. So glad: I'm not a snob....or I have no taste? What's the real difference there?

So...bottle the rest later tonight and put the last gallon of dregs into a glass mason jar...see how it settles out. Want to use the active yeast to ferment my first ever batch of bread wine./////Thats bread crumbs and water heated to 160F and then hit with amylase catalyst to turn the bread starch into sugar. Hold for one hour, cool, throw in the yeast. I should have beaucoup yeast from the dregs of my HCider. I'll let it settle overnight and wash it....and see how it goes. With another 7 gallons on the brew...I wouldn't object to throwing in some fresh champagne yeast.

Excellent Hobby.
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Re: bobbo Brews BEER, and the Hobby of being CHEAP.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Tue Apr 24, 2018 11:50 pm

HARD CIDER: I ran my 6 gallons of mash thru cheese cloth and saved the filtered out material to harvest the yeast to repitch my next batch. Unlike brewing beer or wine...this HC seems to distribute the dead yeast throughout the mix? ie: after24 hours of "settling" there is no observable differentiation. Same with the taste. I was expecting the very last glass of HC to have a harsh or bitter taste compared to the first glass of the batch...but I don't taste any: "Good to the Last drop..." Well....thats a real advantage of making your own HC using basically apples and sugar and water.

On to the next batch:

WINE FROM BREAD: I've been saving my unused bread for a few months. My recipe: boil all the bread I can in 6 gallons of water, cool to 160F, add amylase enzyme to convert starch to sugar, hold for one hour, cool to 80F and pitch in my used yeast/filtered material. confirm fermentation. If not...add a package of wine yeast. Once fermentation established: add fresh pureed apples. My first 6 quart batch is resting right now at 160F. I'm cleaning my mash buckets to take the strained liquid from the pot once it cools. All the recipes I have seen only add a minimum amount of bread....for the idea of it? or minor flavoring elements?? I'm using bread and amylase for my basic sugar wash. Will add sugar only if the SG indicates it is needed.

Had a BIG SURPRISE when getting my stale bread: it was growing mold. Light blue and black varieties. I picked thru it and got the bread with little to no mold. Actually held the mash at 160 for 15 minutes to kill the badies....and assume the alcohol will do the rest? ..................................BUT........................... I have in essence another two batches of bread to mash up and some of it is fairly well infected. What to do? I KNOW: throw it out and learn the lesson that you need to oven dry the bread to preserve it for this use. Well...instead....from my reading: "Most of the time" moldy bread can only make you sick. "Usually" not kill you. No off smell other than the mold...so I'm going thru it and cutting out/throwing away the worst of it. What remains will be pressure cooked at 240 for 5 minutes then the previous recipe used. I've been cutting mold off of bread, cheese, fruits and vegetables for years...without incident. I think the risk of poisoning is "real" but over hyped........and I just don't want to waste the resource due to overhyped concerns. for some reason, I am fairly quick to dispose of meat with anything on it. My DNA is alerting me to some smell or look? I will drink milk that has gone bad....for a few days, it can be frozen and blended into a nice milk shake or ice cream that tastes just fine. I've never had a spoiled egg. I"ll crack open the ones that float and if no off smell, eat it too. Very few floaters....eggs last a long time. Miracle food.

Ha, ha...........we will see.............
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Re: bobbo Brews BEER, and the Hobby of being CHEAP.

Postby Poodle » Wed Apr 25, 2018 6:29 am

Bobbo - your experiments are fascinating. NO - they really are. But sometimes I get the impression that you're sailing pretty near the wind. Bread mould, for instance - the normal bluey-grey stuff tastes odd but probably won't harm you, but you can't know that's all that's there. To be frank, I can't see how you're producing much alcohol at all but, as you're obviously getting blasted, you must be.
However - do be careful. The wrong alcohols can be very damaging, as can the wrong moulds or bacteria.
I'd feel guilty if you very suddenly stopped posting.

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Re: bobbo Brews BEER, and the Hobby of being CHEAP.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Wed Apr 25, 2018 6:42 pm

Well, thanks Poodle. If I do "suddenly" stop posting the odds will be: food poisoning.....or tripping on my own pant cuff falling to a head injury. I'm designing an add on for my house: an 8 by 50 foot sun room along the south side. The desired spec is for the floor to be the 2.5 inch thick rubber playground mats that have become the new safety standard for the kiddies. Good enough for a 3 year old?==>good enough for me. this is leading me to think of doing the same for the rest of the house.....room by room, tear up the old carpet, repair the underfloor system that is rotten and sagging in about 8 areas, and re-carpet with bamboo wood looking rubber mats that are a half inch thick. Then...install some hand rails at critical spots. No reason not to set up a permanent compact fermenting/distilling station out there as well? Like Mom before me....my sense of balance appears to be the first thing to go....a close tie with general body strength?

Why would you think that 14% alcohol is not that much? It did strike me just a few days ago: the $$ being saved. Again...the raw materials are all scrounged so free. Then given the 14%, I'm only drinking 1-2 bottles of the stuff rather than the 5-6 beers that would be the alternative, so its going to last longer than I first thought as well. Right now, when I feel like a night cap, I'm finding my taste preference turning towards the home brew. Its not wine, but a dry beverage with just enough fresh grape or apple juice to have it barely sweet and a taste of wine with the characteristic of no tannin at all, which I prefer. Usually drinking wine....I don't like the first 1-2-3 sips, my tongue has to get used to the bitter/tannin quality of all red wines....but my HCider doesn't have that. Its "better" in that way....surely koolaide to any sophisticated palate.

IF you mean the current batch of WINE FROM BREAD...the first press of the bread mash gave a potential of 7% alcohol and the sparge water gave me about zero....could that be right? No reason to sparge would save a good bit of time. So....I agree the 4% alcohol potential from this first batch of bread wine is not worth the effort. Later today or tomorrow when fermentation is evident, I'll add fresh apples along with some sugar to get back to the near 20% range. Right now...I'd say the effort with bread is about the same as with apples....so, it will just depend on what my free starch/sugar source of the time will be....assuming the bread wine tastes like anything. I have to say it does smell sweet, amazing what amylase will do. I have a hankering to do something with the bread pulp that is left over. Wish I had some sort of paper mache project to do....but if the starch has all been removed/converted...it might not work at all?

On the moldy bread, don't get me wrong, I am cutting out huge sections of the bread. Not just the moldy bit but the area around it too. Some rolls are too far gone and just thrown out. If I ate it, there would be no mold taste. I'd say I'm discarding bout 30% of my bread. More than the rotten bit of the apples I cut out as well..........whats the difference?===>and did you see that HCider video from France: rotten apples off the ground right into that natural organic high quality fresh pressed cider. That was an eye opener for me. Now, I know the mycelium grows deeper into the substrate and cannot be seen or smelled...so I would not be doing this if BOILING THE MASH was not a 99.99 cure for the mold/bacteria/yeast that is present in "all things" already. My favorite tussle with life: perception vs reality. This is NOT A HOBBY: but an expression of EXISTENTIAL WILL. ( :roll: )

As to bad alcohol being produced: how would that happen? I'm not distilling, as yet. I have read multiple times that making these wine fermentations has no risk of bad alcohols. I forget the reason for that...I think I recall either the amount of bad ethyls is too small to matter or the bad ethyls are created only when heat is applied to a mash....and perhaps then only with grain mashes? I'd have to find and reread that.

To anyone else reading here: give it a try. Get a large bucket. Put 5 pounds of apples thru your blender to chop it up, add 5 pounds of sugar dissolved in hot water then cooled, fill up the bucket less 4 inches with warm water. Cover. it should ferment on its own but for more "control" add a package of any yeast you have. Even more control: boil the apples in the water you dissolve the sugar in. Bottle the juice produced in 2-3 weeks in old milk jugs. For $6..you should get 5 gallons of "a change of pace."

............keeps me off the streets and out of bars. Lots of bad ethyls out there.........
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Re: bobbo Brews BEER, and the Hobby of being CHEAP.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Thu Apr 26, 2018 12:03 am

Checking now about 16 hours after pitching a half gallon of my totally used apple cider filtered out solids into the bucket. Nice thick firm crust has formed on the BREAD WINE. I assume this is going to be mostly "crud" and skim it off to throw it away....dead yeast, solids, bread crumbs and such?...... with the alcohol in the mash!

Its interesting how the various different mashes/recipes have different reactions to the other elements along with temp changes/agitation and what not. Seems that if you look long enough you can find people discussing the pros and cons of every little detail of any given process. I'm thinking now of when using amylase the taste of the final beer will be drier or sweeter depending on the temperature you heat your mash to....or even if you step the temps thru a range. "Everything Counts."

Well....after dinner, gonna mash my apples and dissolve my sugar and add to the bucket. Hmmmm....or should I just brew the bread and see what that actually tastes like? This is supposed to be beer.....or bread is how early beers were made. OK....next time...I'll boil some hops to throw in and see what this all does taste like. Right now...I know I like sugar wine flavored with apples or grape juice, and/or hyacinth hibiscus tea. The hyacinth hibiscus tea is another direction to go: very flavorful and cheap to brew...just add sugar and yeast?

Of interest to me....is most of the ingredients to the mash lose their essential "taste" when undergoing fermentation. ie: its not apple cider anymore, tastes very different. But hold back some of that apple juice and put it in the glass after complete fermentation and just before drinking: totally different. The more juice you add...the closer to a fruit drink you get. Lots of ways to play...and I'm think Grape Juice can cover up a lot of sins.

All these choices.........
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Re: bobbo Brews BEER, and the Hobby of being CHEAP.

Postby Poodle » Thu Apr 26, 2018 7:58 pm

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:... Right now...I know I like sugar wine flavored with apples or grape juice, and/or hyacinth hibiscus tea. The hyacinth hibiscus tea is another direction to go: very flavorful and cheap to brew...just add sugar and yeast? .....

Ahah! I can tell you about this, because I do it a lot. Hibiscus is the main ingredient of some fruit tea bags over here (and you need about 20 teabags per Imperial gallon). You're almost correct, but as the sweetened hibiscus juice you create is incredibly low on nutrients (ie virtually nil) you have to add some. You need some Vit. B1, certainly (tablets from your health store or a bit of Marmite/Vegemite - not too much, though (about a tenth of a tablet - or the tip of a teaspoon of Marmite - per gallon). I always add a handful of chopped raisins or sultanas too - that's more nutrient and it also aids flavour (a lot). That should do it. Don't take it over 12% ABV - the thin body won't carry more comfortably. Oh - pour boiling water over the hibiscus (bags) and the sugar, stir until the sugar's dissolved, and leave to infuse for a couple of days. Strain off the liquid and that's your raw material ready to add nutrients and raisins/sultanas and yeasticles.
Do it right and you and up with a crystal-clear very pale red wine with no body to speak of. Drink a lot and it'll get you drunk, but it's not particularly pleasant. However, on a hot summer day, diluted (no weaker than 50-50) with lemonade and a bit of citrus floating on the top, it's a delight. No cocktail umbrellas, though, in case your neighbours see you.

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Re: bobbo Brews BEER, and the Hobby of being CHEAP.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Thu Apr 26, 2018 8:14 pm

Thanks Poodle: best recipe I have seen so far....I will use it.

Re raisins....I have read it mentioned as nutrients for the yeasties, but also as a source for yeast? As to a nutrient source....what would grapes have that apples would not?

HOME MADE NUTRIENTS: The residue of casual reading has me adding raisins and tomato sauce to my brew. and Yesterday for the BREAD WINE I added a ground up egg shell. I read that additional calcium helps the amylase to convert starch to sugar...I can't imagine all that much, but egg shells are handy...so why not?

Do you know?: are dead/spent yeasties a "total" nutrient for newly pitched yeast? What I've read implies that but doesn't say it outright. If so...pitching a half gallon of filtered sludge from the HCider should have a ton of dead yeast in it....although my naked eye cannot detect them.

Hibiscus Tea: several of my local stores carry dried hibiscus flowers in bulk in their Mexican Food or Bulk Food departments. I don't remember why I have it a try the first time but I can't drink tea anymore without hibiscus being added for flavor. It is amusing that to drink it straight, I now have to find an additive for it?===>maybe a mixture of black and green tea? Ha, ha. Same brew: just call it hibiscus tea instead? My real motivation right now is just to have it carbonated. I can do that naturally or with my Soda Stream. Soda Steam is a good toy. I use it hot and heavy in spurts now and then...... just to change things up. Works for flat beer too. aka: a sound investment.

I was reading up on using amylase to make raw corn or wheat mash and it was emphasized that the grain to water ratio is also important to maximize sugar production. I can't believe, like most things, that the concern is "major" as in returning more than a slight percentage from the 7% Brix score I already get.....but right now I used more water for my final and fourth batch of BREAD MASH....and it sure is more liquidity and will be easier to strain the solids out of. Takes more cooking, but maybe easier overall? Pros and Cons to all we do.

HIBISCUS TEA: as to your additives, I've been looking at Ginger Tea, bugs, rootbeer, and so forth. I pureed and strained some fresh ginger into my standard tea and noticed the ginger was "there". Its slightly different, would certainly change by how much was put in there. I did not grow up with ginger...I'm rather neutral on its use...... so mostly won't use it given its just another step for not much advantage. Adding a hit of lemon juice....or the dry citric acid I have is easy to do and I do like that taste addition as an alternative.

Cooking, brewing, baking: 15 options at every step. Fun.
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Re: bobbo Brews BEER, and the Hobby of being CHEAP.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sun Apr 29, 2018 4:14 am

A very revolting development: found out all the free apples, banannas, and bread I have been getting for the past 5 years is OVER. Trader Joe's and Costco and Safeway have made alternative arrangements. So....after only taking advantage of free source materials for about 6 months.............now, i'm on my own.

Pros and Cons to all we do?

I have become aware of the potential for brewing my own. Even if all the recipe elements have to be purchased, the cost savings are worth the effort as I have experienced that the final product is worthwhile.

POODLE: you have much more experience in this than me...... AND ......... I have not seen the subject discussed in the several forum I pull info from. I have noticed that a simple/CHEAPEST/sugar wash creates reliable neutral alcohol....so my question is how to best incorporate this cost solution into my future home brew. To the point: seems to me a combo of some sort of sugar wine and fruit needs to be identified. Easy but expensive to just buy fruit, fruit concentrate, or fruit juice and add the sugar wash to make a nice brew for home consumption. But fermenting a juice was started by me because it was a free source of "sugar" with the added sugar only added for the kick. I have already discovered that the "back sweetening" of fermented juices provides the means to create the cheapest best tasting cider...but now, I think I need to understand the tradeoffs?

I want to avoid the rot-gut/pruno/prison brew of sugar wine and apples juice combos.....even though that may be 90% of what actually works? /////// In other words........I'm wondering how much fruit "BASE" must be fermented in order to avoid the Pruno label? My bread wine right now....I have two batches...... the first has about 6 pounds of apples while the second batch has about 2 pounds. A big enough difference I think to judge if apples need to be in the first mash at all?

So......I'll be playing with pure sugar washes, hibiscus tea, apples added at various different stages in various different amounts........all to maximize having a "nice" drink at the cheapest cost of production.

(((I don't like my first batch of year old banana wine I made so I am adding it at about 20% level to my very appreciated HCider....should use it up after another month or so. Drinking it right now.........Ha, ha.....how far from dumpster diving could I really be? Turning rejected wedding cakes (bread and sugar frosting) along with almost rotted fruit should be a totally acceptable BASE for HCider......eh.... too much effort............))))
Poodle: any thoughts you have would be greatly appreciated..............
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Re: bobbo Brews BEER, and the Hobby of being CHEAP.

Postby Poodle » Sun Apr 29, 2018 11:05 am

That's a very complex set of questions, bobbo. I can answer them - just not right at the moment. Probably tonight (that's UK tonight).
In the meantime, take a look at Jack Keller's website. He's well over the top sometimes, but generally good.

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Re: bobbo Brews BEER, and the Hobby of being CHEAP.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Mon Apr 30, 2018 12:57 am

Thanks for the reference: http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/

"for the Beginner, Novice, and Seasoned Hobbyist." ==>seems to miss my category: "impatient low class sybarites that are so cheap they will wreck this hobby....."

I see a jack keller for songwriting and another for playing poker. Seems Jack Keller is into every hobby I admire?

I'll spend more time on the website later and there might be a good forum there to ask the kinds of questions not normally made: "How to do this cheaper or easier even at the cost of taste." aka: everything is a tradeoff.....but do note I still have "taste" values I uphold. I don't like the banana wine I made and would like to work on my recipe but I'm not throwing my bad batch out...just spreading it thin. And I'm more interested in HCider only because apples are cheaper than bananas. Hmmm ... not totally true. My very limited experience is that HCider is a very forgiving fermentation to make....allows for a lot of variation that still has an acceptable final product if played with by back sweetening or "refreshing" with fresh juices to mask whatever flavor I don't like.

Yes....very forgiving...which leaves room to play with. ..... the sugar wine is also very forgiving or maybe mistake proof? So...two good elements to start with........
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Re: bobbo Brews BEER, and the Hobby of being CHEAP.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Mon Apr 30, 2018 5:38 am

Say Poodle (et al?)....I can see my next steps: brew nothing but a sugar wash and see what that tastes like. Should be 20% "pure" vodka? Vodka is by definition just alcohol and water.....with whatever taste elements bleed thru as the difference between $8 a bottle and $80?....ie: pure marketing BS.

Assuming that is what I will get....then I'm already thinking that the next step is just to use that alone as a "kick" to whatever else I might mix? Thinking right off the bat of using any of the juice concentrates to mix in....ie: the concentrate will mix with the water % of my ferment. If I used orange juice for instance, I might get an acceptable screw driver? I've never liked screwdrivers.......but , time to test it again. I do like HC...so maybe mixing in various amounts of apple concentrate would be all I need to do? THE bottom line simplist of recipes/procedures? One step up from that for more "complex" flavor profiles would be to add the concentrate to the mash?....then more concentrate after the ferment?

All kinds of variables.

What to you think?
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Re: bobbo Brews BEER, and the Hobby of being CHEAP.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Tue May 01, 2018 3:52 am

WoW, MoM, Wow: My first sample of Batch No 3 Hard Cider. Its HC with sugar supplement at about 16% alcohol but less for the back sweetener of tea, grape juice, and hibicus tea. It is highly carbonated at the pour...but with only 5 days of bottling, the carbonation goes fairly fast....unlike champagne...the bubbles do not continue in the glass, but they are still evident on the tongue.

I would actually pay money for this. Don't know how much of course....but it is the equal measure of any bottom rung "brut" champagne I have purchased.

So.........I'm totally HOOKED. going to be playing with "exact" recipes of sugar mash with crushed apples. I prefer it to beer, and at mere "dimes" per bottle...I've found my poison for the foreseeable future.

Life is good. ((bobbonote: it occurs to me that another "backsweetener" element could be some kind of wine as well? Some cheap Carlo Rossie sangiovese is first on my list................so many ways to go................))
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Re: bobbo Brews BEER, and the Hobby of being CHEAP.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sun May 06, 2018 12:39 am

Home Made Beer: not counting equipment and such which is to be amortized over the years, I finally decided the ingredient cost would come out to about 20 cents per bottle. Well, that got me so excited I started getting ready to pull the trigger on getting the main element of my missing equipment: the brew kettle. I've gone back and forth between aluminum and stainless and between 10 gallon vs 20 gallon. (I have decided SS because I want to use the single pot brew system and MORE by using the same pot to ferment the product...so whatever I make may spend a few weeks sitting in the unit. Aluminum would probably work for me but the cost difference is not that much. SS does look better too.........? As to size, I have boiled over already so i want to avoid that and basically the "work" is the same regardless of batch size so bigger is better? 5 gallons makes 48 standard beers. So...getting serious with myself, how many bottles of beer do I want aging around or otherwise? ((I do plan to use quite a few plastic jugs as they are "safer" when it comes to self carbonating the product....the benefit of making Hard Cider has shown me this)). So.....as I got down to finally deciding on getting a 10 gal SS brew kettle (from Webrestaurant Supply) I decided to do a "final search" on: (simplest homemade beer) and found this: https://learn.eartheasy.com/guides/simp ... made-beer/ which is basically just use liquid mash extract (or Dried depending on supply choices and cost) that really does simplify the entire process allowing me not to have to buy any more equipment than what I already have....smaller batches just thrown together so I can procrastinate longer. I have see but never looked at the "brew kit" packages for sale...I just assumed they weren't all that good.....but now, I think they would work...and cut down on the work, risk, equipment, time, space required to bottle a batch of beer. Yes... I think this will be my first type of beer as finally after the contemplation of it all, I'm more interested in the final product than I am with the hobby or process........and, my taste buds just aren't all that discriminating...

CONTRA: I also got bummed out last week as the temperatures have gotten into the 80's around here. I can still brew and boil my wort..........but I can't ferment.......without getting a cooling system. My CHEAP solution that is doable is to build a styrofoam box with a hole in it to mount a mini-refrigerator to. Cheap to buy and operate and could also be used for my cheesemaking......which I've been needing to do as so far my cheeses are no good at all: bad temp control and no control at all over humidity. ain't it wonderful when all your hobbies finally come together? And for some reason: I am picky about cheese. Go figure.

So....anyway.......I'm posting for TWO POINTS:
1. diy beer can save more money than I thought....save more by starting as early as you can?
2. give extract brewing (liquid or dry) a try. Could be good all on its own, or the easiest starter to get going.

YMMV.

........right now.....I'm making hibiscus flower extract to add to my bread wine. Good for the color if nothing else. For the taste of the tea...I'll add that by backsweetening at the glass. Its the easiest way to do it and allows for lots of experimentation.
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Re: bobbo Brews BEER, and the Hobby of being CHEAP.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Mon May 07, 2018 2:26 am

This is a high water mark for the DIY crowd: Making Beer in a Washing Machine. I thought of this myself when I came across some youtubes heating wort with washing machine heating elements rather than hot water tank heating elements. So I put the notion into google and found the link. The guy is doing everything I have thought of including using a car radiator as his cooler. It is instructive in showing that the grain itself will form a filter to give you clean wort. Also gave me a new idea for the inline heating element plus pump to use in a more standard set up. I am also encouraged by how little modification of the washing machine is required and basically how it works "off the shelf." Given the equipment cost of standard equipment......more people really should be doing it this way? I know.......its not as cool...... but I love it...........AND I even have a spare washing machine. Haven't turned it on in 20 years. Almost threw it out last year and was just thinking about cannibalizing the heating element when this issue came to mind. I assume my machine won't work.....but it might be easily fixed?

Contra: I still have it in mind to use my beer brew equipment to distill alcohol and the washing machine approach is not "easily" adapted to that. Rube Goldberg immediately comes to mind..........

Another idea gained from this continuing research is from a youtuber who makes the cold break before fermenting by dumping the hot wort into the fermenter that is filled with ice cubes. Once again, I may have a cooling coil as part of my distilling equipment that could be dual purposed, and some folks don't use a cold break at all. So many options. How many beers will it take for me to figure out the easiest/cheapest way to do this?

There are 12 videos in all. Wish he showed how he cleans his system.....but a cycle with bleach water or cleansing fluid seems easy to do?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9ezq3XYGIg&index=0&list=PLVo5HAi17a4gTR6qpAVLK4x_mfMw_Sqsg
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Re: bobbo Brews BEER, and the Hobby of being CHEAP.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Mon May 07, 2018 3:28 am

Before I googled the link above, my idea was to cannibalize my washer for the heating element....then I thought maybe remove the tub to use as a brew kettle or fermenter. Just seal the holes and make a lid? I'm sure the heating element could be replaced with a hotter one that would work both as a mash tub and as a distilling heater. Its only viewing the link that allows me to see it can be used as a pumped/recirculating wort system....but if I went back to removing the tub from the unit, I may get the double bang for the buck (beer and distilling).

This goes to the CHEAP part of this hobby. Like any hobby....its just too easy to overspend and actually not get pay back before you lose interest?........at least, I always do. Then go back to it a few years later? Just about ready to get back into aquariums now.......This is supposed to be offset somewhat by the "fun" of the hobby so as always, there are pros and cons and what else you gonna spend your money on anyway? The ROI issue is keeping me from buying/using a brewjacket to keep the fermentor cool during the summer time. It would take 20 cases of beer to get ROI. The cheaper and more variable use alternative is making a mini-fridge mounted cold box that could store 4 different carboys and more as well as cheese, root vegetables etc in the 110 degree summers we get here in Sacramento. Even Cheaper: just brew in the winter time.

Pros and Cons to all we do.
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Re: bobbo Brews BEER, and the Hobby of being CHEAP.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Fri May 11, 2018 10:19 am

DRINKING HCIDER BATCH NO 3..... the one that started with several 10 pounds of old moldy bread. Added sugar and raw apples and cranberry sauce and raisins and applesauce. This is three weeks into fermentation and I've had enough beer to give it a taste. Not as good as the pure apple version or the lots of apples with a bit of sugar version. With a bit of hops and some carbonation....this might even be a nice summer beer?

Its drinkable, I don't "like it" but I would drink it on its own.....so.... time to play with backsweetening with grape juice and hibiscus AND as I read last week....see what it tastes like with some store bought beer mixed into it.

I've been pushing to design a system I could do "everything" in and its doable....but cost wise I think cheaper to do everything but fermenting in a brew kettle and do the fermenting in a conical set up. By everything I mean using the same kettle to mash and to distill. Learning about lots of things.....a great hobby and now I have 12 gallons of brew to fix and consume. Got a few flip top bottles of BREW NO2 left. Weird how some of them are nicely carbonated while others are flat. It could be the bottles....but my thought is its actually "me" but I don't have any evidence either way....except as stated.

Another $300 on this hobby and I should be all set. That will take 20 cases of HCider/Beer to break even.....thats two years from now. Well, I said it was fun and keeps me off the street..............
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Re: bobbo Brews BEER, and the Hobby of being CHEAP.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Fri May 11, 2018 10:23 am

Oops.....add another $100 for an ice box cooler for summer brewing. Can't have a real hobby working seasonally......and I can re-examine my bad cheese situation.....grow some mushrooms??? What else???
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Re: bobbo Brews BEER, and the Hobby of being CHEAP.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sat May 12, 2018 6:58 am

A conclusion about using old bread to brew a mash: my experience is it tastes "ok" as the bland flavor is easily masked by sugar, apple juice, grape juice or hibisucs (the only 4 I have tried so far==all make it better and just past acceptable meaning a desired alternative to real beer.) So...if bread was all you had to brew with, I'd go with it. but:

My main complaint is separating the ferment into desired liquid vs the solids. My apple based ferment was easy to clean using an old towel over a strainer. The bread mash though clogs the towel very quickly. Its failry amendable to very slight pressure by twisting the towel to force the liquid out, but that is a "messy" process.

So much easier to just use a sugar wash with however many apples you want to add to the mix. I may be overly reacting to another feature: my hands feel like an oily substance is being transferred to them from the ferment. It does not wash off with plain water but a dab of soap does the job. There is oil in some of the bread I used...could it be surviving the whole process? I would think not and that the substance is some result of the amylase, BUT I DON'T KNOW.

I think I'll deal with reality and not make bread brew again. Hobbies are supposed to be fun...... and sugar is cheap.
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Re: bobbo Brews BEER, and the Hobby of being CHEAP.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Mon May 14, 2018 7:27 pm

...............I "almost" splurged on a 10 gallon cooler to convert to a mash tun ...........but........in my normal procrastinating way I decided to try another testing route: brew in the bottle pressure caps. One from Australia and One from USA do the same thing. Cap replaces the cap on standard 1.5-2 liter juice bottles and allows pressure to build to some set limit. This will naturally carbonate the drink. From what I can see from a few videos, the "valve" is simply a slit cut in some kind of rubber washer. It has the ability to open and close back up. A nice compact solution. so...Amazon has a rip off verison selling only 2 caps. The E-Z Cap company sells 6 caps for about the same.

Right after I paid via credit card, the easy home made diy pressure relief valve came to me: just attach an air tube to an barbed connector, slit the air tube at the end and lay the resulting two flat extensions facing each other. Then...a simple spring clip will provide the pressure needed to restrain the exiting gas. It would take some time to figure out the right spring mechanism, subject to failure etc. so...I'm happy with my purchase, and we'll see how it works. Too cheap not to try out.....even with "real" beer. The caps could also be glued onto other types of caps to ferment in carboys and several other options. If the desire for home brew still exists 1-2-3 years from now....easy to get further in.

http://www.e-z-caps.com/purchase.html

EDIT: Dang, I should have thunk on this some more. The "slit in rubber" relief valve should be just that. Find any rubber mat that is fairly stiff and just cut a small slit. My first 3 weeks of thinking about it was that some kind of special self closing rubber was needed....but now I'm thinking that really "any" rubber will do....the natural shape of the rubber would be flat and "closed" with the slit opening only to the pressure from below. The issue of what rubber mat/sheet to use would still be present....but not the problem I thought it was. Darn. If I could cancel...I would.....then probably spend as much on different sheets of rubber? Pros and cons to all we do. Lots of people report using these simple caps for years, so....I shouldn't be too hard on myself for the "cheap" part of this hobby?

Pros and cons to all we do.
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