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An Affordable Brew Your Own Beer Kit

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Photo: Williams-Sonoma

As both a long time hobbyist and long time beer drinker, I have always considered making my own beer. So you can imagine my delight when I stumbled on this inexpensive Beer Making Kit, well my excitement was palpable. At only $39.95 I think it is quite a steal.

Kit includes: 1-gal. glass fermenting jug. Screw-cap stopper. 3-piece chambered air lock. Racking cane. 4' tubing. Tube clamp. 12" laboratory thermometer. Sanitizer packet. Ingredient mix.

There are also step-by-step instructions to guide you through the process. Sure there may be some additional equipment -pots and pans and stuff- that may be needed, but we're talking about brewing beer here. That is at least a 30 day commitment.

Have any of you guys ever brewed your own brew? Tell us about it in the comment section! I am very tempted to start it up myself, so your input may actually influence my decision.


Photo: Williams-Sonoma

Link | Via G4TV


Is there a brew shop in your city? I'd spend a little more on a 5 gallon carboy. If you try with the 1 gallon batch and you like it you will run out right away, and you will want your next batch to be big enough to last so you'll end up buying a bigger carboy anyway. If you try it and don't like it you can easily sell the used carboy on craigslist. Plus it will be hard to buy ingredients in a small size for a 1 gallon batch.
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My dad used to brew his own beer. He first started out using a 10-gallon porcelain crock. He used water, sugar, yeast and canned malt extract. (I have long since forgotten the exact recipe.) The crock was covered with a lid that just sat on top of the crock (not airtight) and was kept in the basement where it was cool (about 60 degrees). He would check the brew every day, and just when it would stop making bubbles, which took about ten days, he would bottle it, adding a bit of sugar to the bottom of the bottle to give the yeast enough to generate more CO2 to give the brew a nice head when it was opened and poured out to drink. I tried brewing my own using this same recipe once about 25 years ago, and it worked well, except when our air conditioner went out several days after bottling and the house got up to 90-plus degrees and several bottles exploded in the pantry! After that my wife made me promise to not brew my own again!
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There are starter kits out there ranging from $80-$125 that will produce much more, and higher quality beer. I would only take advantage of this if you're thinking of brewing beer on a whim lol. If it's something you think you might do for a few years, spend the extra money and get a bigger/better kit.

As Mitch mentioned, brew shops are popping up all over the place as the craft beer industry is one that continues to grow throughout the recession (I'm currently working towards my brewing science degree!). If you have a brew shop nearby, I definitely suggest going in and talking to someone there. Most people in the industry are very eager to help newbies and guide you towards purchasing the necessary equipment that will meet your special hobby needs!

For those of you living in the SE Michigan area, Adventures in Homebrewing is a fantastic store and they have locations in Taylor and Ann Arbor. I don't work there lol, but I have most definitely taken advantage of their expansive knowledge and outstanding service!
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As far as I know, it won't hurt ya! If those beers are 20 years old, they'll probably be disgusting, assuming they haven't been stored in ideal conditions lol. There are a lot of beers (like wine) that do age well, but 20 years.....I don't know lol.
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I think that would be a perfect size for somebody wanting to brew with space limitations, like in an apartment. The few times I've brewed it either turned out to be the most wonderful concoction on the face of the planet, or bum urine. Couldn't seem to get a middle ground. I have a 10 gallon setup, but I think this 1 gallon setup would be great for trying out new recipes. If it sucks, you won't feel bad only pouring out a gallon worth of beer, instead of 10
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I am a home-brewer, and I live in an apartment, but have managed to make consistently good beer the last year or so. I use a 5 gallon fermenting bucket and bottle all of my beer. Space-wise, there isn't a problem with the larger batch.

As far as the product mentioned above, it wouldn't be a bad choice if you want to get your feet wet. Try it, and if you like it maybe make the step up to a larger kit. Some guys go all-out with equipment and practically run their own brewery (and believe me you can spend A LOT of money on brew equipment).

If you are looking for some more advice check out http://www.homebrewtalk.com/
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For $40, it is a nice gift. On the other hand, I can get you started making world class brew for $40 in ingredients and $20 in equipment. For double that, your will have contest-ready beer. If you live near Southern California, drop by for a brew day. Usually one every other week.
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I used to work as a microbiology lab TA, and we brewed beer as one of our projects in class - based on watching student groups make about 10 different brews, all I can say is pay attention to the details and be very focused on the task at hand, and USE A GOOD THERMOMETER. That is one thing you REALLY shouldn't skimp on, since basically all microbes have a temperature sweet spot, and as playtrombone64 found out, if Saccharomyces cerevisiae gets too warm, they'll start metabolizing like crazy and produce waaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyy more CO2 than you want.

In other words, if you can't find a brewer, find a microbiologist or mycologist to help you out. We know our stuff.
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