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Worthog

80 Batches and still going strong

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G'day all,

As I  have just passed through the 80 (82) batch mark - all 22L minimum - I thought it would be good to see how all you brewers out there have progressed also.

So let us know about your progress.😃

Below I have listed the batch number from where I have changed or improved my brewing understanding and processes. 

Batch#   
1    Coopers Kits
7    Kits and basic Coopers recipes
27  Hop additions; boils, steeps
35  Hop additions and grain steeps; kits'n'bits
54  First All Grain (biab)
59  Permanent change to AG (biab) and FWH
61  First No-Chill Cube process.

Cheers

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I am up to batch 38 since starting on 18th March 2017.

1 kit with hop tea or dry hop

8 kit and grains with hop boils

12 fwk ginger beer. The ease and how great a beer it made, blew my mind

12 - 38 same, partial mashes, kits and bits and fwk. I really was focused on making a beer I loved to drink, so I put down a lot of pale ales and the like, XPA tropical ale whatever to refine and try to be able to make a beer consistently.

30 - 38 Yeast reusing. This has saved some dough and allowed me to get a little yeast stash going. Joystick, Nottingham, M44, and M42.

I have been pretty happy with the beers I have making and keeping the kegs filled while the time has been kept to a minimum. So I like where I am at, not sure If I will ever go AG. But time will tell.

Cheers

Norris

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14 beers since August 2018. All kit beers and very happy with that.

I started hopping shortly after the first few. Now just starting to steep some grains as well. That's as complicated as I'm going to get. Need to keep it simple and easy and keep supplied.

Some really, really good beers, a few meh, because I made poor choices, a couple of duds - trying a lager with ale yeast. Nothing spoiled, nothing undrinkable.

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56 Brews since February 2017

Brew 1 Coopers kits; Brew 4 Extra hops and grain steep (KR's Easy Pale Ale)

Since then I have worked my way through virtually all of the Cooper kits.

Done many ROTM's

Several split brews with different additives like hops and grains to see the difference

Around brew 30 I did my first brew using my home grown hops

Done lots of the Coopers recipe pages brews and pimped some of them too.

1 Russian Imperial Stout

2 Saisons

1 NEIPA genuine partial mash

Mostly good beers.  I have tipped two brews, but only after drinking 3-4 bottles, by the 5th I decided not worth keeping on going.

 

 

 

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Hey warthog

I'm about 150. I stopped recording a while ago. Have 9 recipes in my beersmith that are winners so I'm happy with that. About batch 15 or so I got given a full size fridge from the brother in law. Biggest difference you can make for a brew. About brew 20 I started doing extract boils and about batch 30 I got my robobrew and started all grain. 

Biggest learning for me is temp control. A kit beer with temp control will beat an all grain beer without temp control. Unless it's a Saison 🙂

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I've lost count. I did have a short stint brewing various kits around 2000-2001/2, but then stopped because I thought the fermenter had been thrown out. 

In December 2011 I found it, cleaned it out and started again. I'm probably somewhere near 150 batches now, with about 135-140 of them being all grain. I couldn't tell you what batch numbers I tried new things but I can give a timeline of sorts.

The first batch of this second time around was a Tooheys special lager kit, mixed up with 1kg Coopers brewing sugar and fermented at ambient with the kit yeast. Best and only cider I've ever made 😜

Second batch was the Ashes ale. I did a short hop boil, used malt instead of sugar/dextrose and implemented some primitive temp control in the form of sitting the fermenter in a large pot saucer and putting a wet towel around it. This batch proved more successful. 

Did a few more kits and bits, then moved onto extract brewing, the first and best of these was Neill's Centenarillo ale. These mostly were good beers and somewhere around this time I started using an old fridge that was sitting in the laundry doing nothing for temp control. Still got that fridge to this day. 

In October 2012 I brewed my first AG batch, a Cascade pale ale recipe that Craftbrewer gave me when I bought the equipment. I would have done it sooner but funds didn't allow it. This beer was streets ahead of anything I'd previously brewed, although the SMOTY ale and the Centenarillo pale ale came close. I brewed my first properly done lager some time in the first half of 2013. After that first batch I never went back to kits or extract brewing*, and over the years have adopted different processes that have steadily improved my beers. 

I still record all my recipes but I don't really bother numbering them anymore. What's the point when I've lost count anyway 😂

* I did one English Bitter kit in March 2014 with 500g dry malt, kit yeast and in the fridge, as due to a trip away I had no time to brew an AG batch. It was nice enough and better than my earlier kits but it certainly highlighted the difference between kits and AG. To me at least, it just wasn't as nice.

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Posted (edited)

Clearly started at kits and I honestly can’t remember how many batches maybe half a dozen before switching to biab all grain. 

I’m at 50 all grain brews but that doesn’t include batches I’ve done a double batch with same brew different yeast, or different flameout hops or  hop schedules for that matter. I’ve done a lot of side by side stuff and given away a lot of beer. I guess it’s good to be mates with The Captain. 

I guess all in all up up to 70-75 total all grain. Since about July 2017.

but been brewing with my old man since about 1986 ha ha ha. Actually probably bottling since then. 

Biggest learning from me apart from temp control is learning and adjusting your process. Problems or issues can be singled out when you know your process. 

Learn that, learn your palate and your tastes. Then you’ll start to make amazing beer for your tastes. 

Cant wait to brew again to be honest

Edited by The Captain!!
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I have no idea how many I have done; record keeping has changed a lot over time and I have also starting brewing the same recipes over the past few years to try to perfect them.

I started about 10 years ago with kits.

  • First was a Coopers Lager with Brewing Sugar. It was actually OK as I got lucky with ambient temps.
  • Second was a Canadian Blonde with BE1. This wasn’t as good as my first.
  • Then I started using malt and adding some specialty grain and hops.
  • Then onto full extract brews.
  • Then partial mash beers. Mostly using a hopped kit with the rest made up with grain.
  • Then a few stovetop AG brews.
  • Then progressed to 3V system with a big esky, false bottom, 50 litre kettle and Italian Spiral burner.
  • Then I switched to the Grainfather and that is where I am now.

The main thing is just to brew what you like and how you like. If you like kit and kilos then do it. If you want to do AG then do it. If you want to make the same beer over and over then do it. Just have fun and enjoy the fruits of your labour.

It sounds a bit wanky but that is what this hobby is about.

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I also have no idea how many brews I have done. Started in the 80,s somewhere with very basic kits, stopped until 2010 due to work commitments, since then started back on kits and thanks to this forum have progressed to extracts and my first AG in a 20ltr urn, and now have the 40ltr. Have to say back around late 70,s coopers had a wort in a box, gave that a go as well

cheers

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I’m only up to brew 10, With ingredients for brew 11 ready to go once the FV is free. 

I’m going to say that every Brew thus far has taught me something, even if it’s something small like how to stream line the whole bottling process. 

In terms of a real eye opener, my 6th batch which was a west coast pale ale recipe I got off BYO, Using unhopped extract and steeped speciality grains. It kind of opened up the reasons why certain hop additions are done when and what for etc. 

I’d like to jump to all grain but said to myself that I should brew at least each of one style of beer that I like, first to see what I actually REALLY like and to touch on various processes used in different styles. Just to build up some form of process knowledge (crawl before walking Yano?)

 

Anyway, im rambling, 

M

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Probably not a bad idea actually. Better off brewing a kit or something like that which doesn't take much time to try styles out than spending the best part of a day brewing the wort only to not like it. But I guess the four or five weeks it takes from pitching to drinking is a fair while for something that isn't to your taste either. 

That's why I use commercial examples for trying new styles. At least then it's only a bottle or two rather than 20 odd litres. I tried a chimay blue or something once, bloody glad  I didn't have a keg worth of it. 😂

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Posted (edited)
On 4/16/2019 at 4:46 PM, Norris! said:

If I will ever go AG. But time will tell.

Ha ha ha ha stop lying to yourself. I see you even stumbled when writing that codswallop by putting in a capital I on the If.!!!!

My brother often comes over and giggles at me because I originally said that I was going to stay extract. How silly I was. Now he comes round and says, "Mate! ya beers good but bloody hell, you have so much sh!t here for it" He's not wrong.

Edited by The Captain!!
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I used to pretend that I am brewing about 20 years ago. It was almost all k&k and I thought I was sophisticated because I added half a cup of very strong instant coffee to a Coopers stout and called it a coffee stout 😂 I also used to "brew" in the garage...in Summer...in Queensland 😂 After I literally cooked a few batches, I simply lost interest. Of course it wasn't my fault, it was the weather's.

Last year, I got a Mr. Beer kit for my birthday and since it only was 29 bucks in Aldi, I bought another. I now also have two full size FVs and another on order. I made about 12-15 batches since but am not keeping records until I get the right equipment. There is no real point to it at the moment, although I do take some notes. Once I have a fridge and a thermostat, things will change. Until then, I'm experimenting and playing with a few things. Learning by doing as they say. Between batches, I mostly lurk around here to soak up some knowledge 🍻

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Yeah, right after I wrote that I looked at 26l biab set ups at Cheeky Peaks! Seriously, every time I do a partial mash all I think is, if I spent just a maybe an hour or so more, I could of done an AG batch, well probably a tad more time, but you get the point Cap.

Right now I like what I am making but I have wondered and thought about it a lot lately, but it is the time really, if I plan my day right though I could mow the lawn, clean up in between the mash and boils, especially if I am doing my normal brews.

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7 hours ago, Otto Von Blotto said:

Probably not a bad idea actually. Better off brewing a kit or something like that which doesn't take much time to try styles out than spending the best part of a day brewing the wort only to not like it. But I guess the four or five weeks it takes from pitching to drinking is a fair while for something that isn't to your taste either. 

That's why I use commercial examples for trying new styles. At least then it's only a bottle or two rather than 20 odd litres. I tried a chimay blue or something once, bloody glad  I didn't have a keg worth of it. 😂

The “to brew list” is definitely getting longer through constant commercial sample testing in uncle dans. I rekon before brew 20 I’ll hopefully be all aboard the all grain train. When that day comes, I’d much prefer to be able to brew a handful of beers really well and know the how’s and whys an ins and out of each rather than brewing something different each time and not concentrating on what could be improved next time

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52 minutes ago, Norris! said:

Yeah, right after I wrote that I looked at 26l biab set ups at Cheeky Peaks! Seriously, every time I do a partial mash all I think is, if I spent just a maybe an hour or so more, I could of done an AG batch, well probably a tad more time, but you get the point Cap.

Right now I like what I am making but I have wondered and thought about it a lot lately, but it is the time really, if I plan my day right though I could mow the lawn, clean up in between the mash and boils, especially if I am doing my normal brews.

Mate I spend about half hour-fourth five around my kettle when brewing. I know my ramp up times and set alarms on my phone to check. I get heaps of other stuff done while making a brew including lawns, gardening and housework.

Its really that simple once you find your times. And what you brew. 

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I usually do the same, although I tend to avoid mowing because it takes longer than any of the available time between brewing related tasks. Put a load of washing on beforehand then it's usually ready to hang out when the mash begins. Do that, put another on if needed. Clean up any equipment no longer needed, sort out dishes. Then relax with a beer or two until the temp ramp up is due. Faff around with that until the bag is hoisted then do whatever else for the half hour draining time. Squeeze bag and either start bringing to boil or add FWH addition. More time doing nothing with it for other small tasks, like the second load of washing. 

However, by the time the boil starts I am out of motivation for household chores so I just sit and relax with more beer, among cleaning the grain bag, false bottom and other bits and pieces. The urn and hop spider get cleaned the next day because by the time it's in the cube I usually can't be arsed and just want to watch footy or a movie or whatever 😂

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Posted (edited)

I am up to Brew # 48 in the last 2 years plus around 30 K&K in the late 90's when things were a bit more primitive in regards to using only kit yeast occasional malt, dex and corn syrup mixtures with not temp control other than a heat belt in winter.

The last 2 years with the interwebs, temp control, different yeasts, grains, hops  and recipes, things have helped to turn out great beers.

Doubt very much that I will go all grain, I also said I didn't want to get into kegging but that changed.

edit; I keep records of all my brews

Edited by Gus96

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I have no idea how many brews I've got under my belt.   The last several years represents my 3rd foray into homebrewing since my very first dodgy indulgences way back in the early 80's.   This time round I've been pretty intense with my brewing schedule and would guess I've brewed around 150-ish batches so far...   🤔  I generally brew 2 -3 batches per month.   It's been a fairly even mix of partials and extract/kit brews I'd say with the occasional 1/2 batch AG beer.    I can't see myself adopting full batch AG brewing anytime soon, I think my 50/50 partials are on a par and require a lot less equipment and time!   

Bit sick of beer now though, might take up winemaking instead....   😁  

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27 minutes ago, BlackSands said:

Bit sick of beer now though, might take up winemaking instead....   😁  

Mmmm NZ Pinot. Very nice indeed.

Manuka Mead? Surely that would taste sensational 

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I'm only a baby 😁

Put my first brew down probably late Jan and it was the Mr. Beer Coopers Kit (Amber Ale). Had the wet towel around the FV in a struggle tokeep the FV in the recommended temp range. It tasted OK, some off flavours most likely due to the temp and no head on the beer but overall I was happy with it as a first brew.


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Next brew I upgraded to the 30L FV and got myself a fridge, temp control, proper sanitiser and some more knowledge. Brewed the Coopers lager with W30-70 yeast @ 12C, did a diacetyl rest and cold crash. They are now lagering at 1C (have been there for a month). Although I had to crack a couple and test them out... Very nice beer :).

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Next was my first time with hops. Tried a S&W Pacific Ale clone. Started with base extract (LME and Wheat Malt Extract) and boiled hops to hit my IBUs, along with adding dry hops. Beer is very enjoyable, but more bitter then the original. Will definitely be a recipe I'll re-visit and change my hop schedule.

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And my latest brew is my first experience with grain (my take on a 150 Lashes). Steeped 200g of Crystal grain before adding that into my hop boil. Once again using a base of LME and Wheat Malt Extract. Currently in the FV fermenting at 18C (day 4). Only time will tell how this one will go :).

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This forum has been a massive help and I am sure that without it my brews wouldn't be where they are now. Thanks to all that have helped!

Happy Brewing!

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I recently bottled my 75th batch of beer and have done one mead on top of that. I went to partial mash and all-grain fairly early on, but still do kit and extract beers from time to time. Usually I'm experimenting with new ingredients and yeast strains - have hardly ever brewed the same recipe or a refinement of the same recipe more than once.

Over time I've found that first your process gets more complicated and then it becomes more streamlined once you work out what really matters from experience. A few excellent simplifications I've introduced were buying an oversized mash tun to enable easy no-sparge mashing, ditching the cubes and doing no-chill in the kettle and the 'sloppy slurry' yeast harvesting method. Tasty beer keeps getting easier... I like it! 

Cheers, 

John 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, porschemad911 said:

......have hardly ever brewed the same recipe or a refinement of the same recipe more than once.

 ....ditching the cubes and doing no-chill in the kettle and the 'sloppy slurry' yeast harvesting method. Tasty beer keeps getting easier... I like it! 

Cheers, 

John 

Yes, I like that progression. We are never completely satisfied and there will always be an iteration to even our most loved brew.

I love the "No chill in the kettle" idea. I would want a fully sealable lid though?

Cheers

Edited by Worthog

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I've seen pictures of kettles sealed up to slow chill that have ended up warped as a result of the pressure drop inside. I think one of them was a crown urn. I'm not much of a fan of the practice anyway but I wouldn't be sealing it. Might as well just use a cube if you're gonna seal it up. 

I have a few recipes that I'm happy with and don't change anymore. Most of the ones I'm always doing something different with are pale ales, but I'm past the point of experimenting with new styles. I don't see the point in brewing all different shit that I don't enjoy just to have variety. 

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Posted (edited)

This week marks 12 months in my 2nd stint at brewing. I got back into brewing beer at home after starting a few batches of Kombucha and it sparked memories of my first stint making cheap K&K hooch back in the early 2000's in my sharehouse kitchens while at Uni.

Fast forward a few more sharehouses, a wedding and some kids. I'm now at a point where I've got the time to revisit all the hobbies I had before the kids came along. Next is to get back into pressing, shaping and painting skateboards... But that's a story for a different forum.

I've brewed 28 batches in the past 12 months and learned a hell of a lot more than I ever did last time - mostly around hop additions, yeasts, temp control and mashing (so, you know, everything...).

collage.thumb.png.b9388fd143d2b1423ab7820665c248e4.png

Some of the styles I've visited are:

  • Pale Ale
  • Amber Ale
  • Red Ale
  • Vintage Ale
  • XPA
  • Belgium Abbey Ale
  • American IPA
  • Australian IPA
  • Scottish IPA
  • Bohemian Pilsner
  • Black Pilsner
  • American Lagers
  • Caribbean Porter
  • Coconut Porter
  • Hefeweizen

These are mostly kits and bits / partial mashes. I headed right into hop additions from the start as I had some basic knowledge from the old days. I have equal love for complex and simplistic recpies. I do get a kick out of how some really basic ingredients/processes can still make a great beer.

I keep a pretty tight google sheet around my brews which also tracks my costs against buying cheap commercial beer based on volume as a justification for buying more gear 😜 (currently up $1.5k). It has also helped in the recreation of a few cracking beers with good success.

In the next 12 months I'm probably going to purchase a 40L Urn (got a mate in wholesale kitchen supplies) and try my hand a AG BIAB - wary of the time sink that this will be, but there's a few good points on this thread around maximising the timings around other odd jobs.

👍 Big ups to this forum for helping me along this journey. I'm always amazed at the amount of friendly advice that is given out so eagerly on here.

Edited by elLachlano
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