Brewing Tips and Links

What a Yeast Packet Looks Like

It's about the size of a condom wrapper. That's what most people thought it was when I showed them.
It's about the size of a condom wrapper. That's what most people thought it was when I showed them.

The Start Point for the Home Brewer

    For the most part, there are dozens of other hub-writers that have touched on this base. Rather than be redundant on their work, I will say enough to get you started and then point you in their direction.

    I got into brewing when I deployed. Turns out alcohol is illegal to consume or possess while in Iraq as an enlisted soldier. Soooo, there's a huge black market. Good for business. Knowing this in advance, I bought six packets of brewing yeast and stuffed them in a remote pocket to take them overseas. Once there, I ended up brewing nearly sixty gallons of wine. Most of it tasted like shit because I was learning as well as had limited resources. But shitty alcohol is still alcohol and not a drop was wasted.

    The "Operation" was incredibly simple. For me the recipe was as such:  find an empty five-gallon water jug, add 70 boxes of juice stolen from the dining facility, add a packet of yeast. Leave in the baking sun for a week and add two pounds of sugar. Leave in the sun for another week or two and then taste-test. I don't drink, so I had to have friends taste-test for me. The consensus is that it tasted like shit but gave a really good buzz.

    Simple, huh? Everybody talked about how complicated it must be and it really was just that simple. Now you're probably wanting a brew that tastes a bit better than the survival alcohol we gagged down out there. That's where the other brew advisors come into play, as well as a greater availability of resources.

    Let me point you in the right direction:  Grab a brewing book to start with. Download it, buy it at a used book store, and even some shops around your city will have one. Some hubs even have decent recipes to start you off. This step lets you determine what you can make with what is available to you as well as tells you the name of the ideal yeast to order. It's super easy to get yeast. I got mine on EBAY! Yeah! Six packets for less than ten bucks, shipped to my house. There are catalogues you can order from as well, giving you a wider range of yeasts. Check out this chart:  http://www.lallemandwine.us/products/yeast_chart.php I am not affiliated in any way with these people, I just pasted the first cool link off of google.

    You can get containers anywhere. Currently I'm using the half-gallon juice bottle from the store. I only opened the bottle to put the yeast in. Then I pocked a hole in the lid to let the carbonation escape. This is a big step most people overlook:  let the carbonation escape or you'll rupture a weak container (learned the hard way - made quite the mess). Other containers that work are the one, two, or five- gallon water jugs that you see in dispensers in offices... Most yeast packets are good to brew a batch that big. Perfect! So I bought a couple of those too. So I've got a batch of white wine going, a big batch of red wine, and an experimental vodka batch going.

    Equipment is available everywhere. Shops, ebay, or you can improvise with equipment made for other processes.

    Now for actual recipes and ideas, I'll refer you to some other hubs I've seen around. Enjoy and have fun! For me the fun was not in the success, but in the experimenting and trying out new things.

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Science Guru 6 years ago Author

And be warned! If you decide to add sugar while your brew is still carbonated, the crystals will catalyze the release of carbon dioxide. Your brew will froth all over your counter and floor. A solution to this would be to pour a little of your brew into a container and dissolve the crystals into that small bit, then put it back with the rest when it's done dissolving.

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